I was thinking today about the commercialization of the so-called Hallmark Holidays while I was washing the post-biking mud off me in the shower. I’ve gone through my phases of thinking that these holidays – like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Administrative Professionals day, and so on – are just scams to make people feel guilty and spend money on someone.
The conclusion that I came to is that, for the overwhelming majority it seems, the people in question being appreciated on these days are often painfully taken for granted. We care for our mothers, but do we go out of our way on a regular basis to make them feel special or appreciated? The majority does not. Same with husbands and wives – after a while, some couples still make efforts to show each other that they care, but many fall into the trap of complacency. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things go when you get used to seeing someone, or when you begin to expect certain things from a relationship. It is by no means bad to expect your mother to take care of you when you’re sick, for example – that is what mothers do, and they do it because they care. As an Administrative Professional, I can tell you first hand that people forget everything you do for a place, and you are often under appreciated. When I got tulips and a chocolate bar and a card with reasons why people at work think I’m awesome, it actually made my day.
The commercialization of these appreciation-based holidays is unfortunate, I suppose – although not surprising, since an industry will arise to fill any kind of consumer void. The existance of the days themselves is not at fault. To reject the holiday itself based on the commercialization of it is as bad as going overboard with said commercialization. Take the day and make it your own – if it’s mother’s day, do something nice for your mother because you really do appreciate her. At the very least, say to her that you appreciate her. If you don’t agree with having to do it on Mother’s day, that’s fine too. You can always choose another day and do something then, but either way remember that the spirit of the holiday is what matters. You can have mother’s day, valentine’s day, whatever day you like without buying into the commercialization of it.
Unexpected appreciation days, naturally, have a lot more impact than doing something on a pre-ordained day. Many of us just don’t think of it or don’t have time. A little reminder is not a bad thing.
Appreciate your mother while you have her around, if you truly do feel some appreciation for her. Same goes for your father, your admin assistant, your sweetheart. No one likes to be taken for granted – a reminder that you are aware of everything someone does for you can only make someone happy. A denial of such appreciation simply because you hate the commercialization is unnecessary.