Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
My husband and I were in Sunday School (religous education) recently, and the speaker touched on the topic of the Christian calendar (the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc.) that mark the Liturgical (Church)Year. He pointed out that we used to have two main classes of holidays: Holy Days and Patriotic Days. Thus, in the United States, our seasons would be marked by celebrations such as Independence Day and Presidents’ Day, as well as by religious holidays.
Over time, days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day got added into this mix. More recently, days exclusively for shopping have become holiday-like and deserving of their own names such as “Cyber Monday” (the best deals on-line), “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the American “Christmas shopping season” and similar to Boxing Day in the UK and Australia.) (You can read more about Black Friday and decluttering here.)
So, is holiday shopping a new phenomena, exclusive to our hyper consumer-oriented culture? It turns out that the answer is: Not so much.
According to Wikipedia, the purpose of the first U.S. Mother’s Days, held in the early 1900s, was to reunited families that had been divided by the American Civil War and were celebrated in church – a combination of patriotic and religious holidays – and mothers wore a white carnation. However “in part due to the shortage of white carnations, and in part due to the efforts to expand the sales of more types of flowers in Mother’s Day, the florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living, or a white one if she was dead; this was tirelessly promoted until it made its way into the popular observations at churches.”
Father’s Day was initiated just two years after Mother’s Day, originally in observance of a mining disaster in which many men were killed. It did take longer for it to be officially recognized by Congress – according to Wikipedia because Congress was afraid of it becoming too commercialized! However, merchandise sales were an important part of the holiday from the beginning. “The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers formed a National Father’s Day Committee in New York City in the 1930s, which was renamed in 1938 to National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day and incorporated several other trade groups. This council had the goals of legitimizing the holiday in the mind of the people and managing the holiday as a commercial event in a more systematic way, in order to boost the sales during the holiday.”
What did I learn from my research? That the promotion of holidays and shopping is as old as the holidays itself. Yes, I am sure that the intensity of the advertising and promotion has increased. Yes, a diamond necklace for Mother’s Day is a far site different than a white or red carnation, but the association of holidays, religious and secular, with shopping is as old as the holidays itself.
Today’s Declutter Item
Just one more stationary item that has been sitting around unused and needs to be out of here. Another thing for the thrift shop box.
Things that made me happy, made me laugh, made me feel grateful, fascinated me or I thought were just plain awesome.
- Tissues with aloe vera ~ I have had a bad case of hay-fever today but my aloe vera tissues are kinder to my nose that others I have tried.
- A hot cup of tea ~ This is a must when hay-fever is wearing you down.
- That there are no wars in my country ~ I wish there were none anywhere but unfortunately that is not the case.
- Some days it is enough to be just grateful that the day is done and I can sit back and relax for a while. Today is one of those days.
- People who go out of their way to be helpful.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.