As I wrote about Father’s Day Monday, it struck me as funny that even as far back as the 1930s, the cry was going out that holidays were just about Big Business. It was seen as just another method to pressure people into buying greeting cards, gifts, and expensive meals out. Charlie Brown wasn’t the first to say it. It had already been a complaint for decades. However, it does seem to be getting worse every year, as is evident in my essay Blacker Thursday as we looked at how the traditional Black Friday began at 9PM Thanksgiving Day. It’s all about the big bucks and trying to make bigger profits than the year before.
Holidays, to me, are special days. They are meant to slow us down and reflect on family, friends, and history. They should be celebrations, not simply another day, business as usual. Actually, they shouldn’t be about business at all.
As a people, we chase after money way too much. It started out with just a couple of businesses believing they can get the jump on the others by opening when everyone else was off on a picnic. The sad thing is they were right. People love spending money as much as they love making it. Shopping is the national pastime and people can’t avoid going into a store even for one day. The rest of Big Business quickly followed suit and now there is not a day, even Christmas, when someone isn’t open somewhere.
The federal government will give certain days off to their employees. Of course, if you’re a politician these days quadruple. However, banks and government offices are closed on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and even Columbus Day. They just shut down. I’m actually glad the banks close as I’m allowed to hold on to my money a day longer. Still, I think everyone should be allowed to take the day off. Will the economy collapse if the world takes a real holiday here and there? Wouldn’t it be better for our emotional and mental health?
Several years ago, I made that very decision for myself. I don’t work holidays. They could schedule me, but they knew I wasn’t going to be there. Furthermore, so as not to be a hypocrite, I don’t go anywhere where other people had to work. We don’t go shopping. We don’t go to the movies. We enjoy family and friends and if we forgot something that we needed, we do without. There are no last minute, I forgot purchases. I will not be the reason someone else has to work and miss time with their loved ones. People need time with their families more than they need whatever is on sale in the department stores.
I think it’s hilarious that those who are given Labor Day off are the ones who work the least. Life needs more celebrations and less drudgery. We only make it through once and I don’t plan on dying on the job. There is nothing wrong with working. I firmly believe that if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat. I am not a fan of our current welfare programs that keep lazy moochers at home and poor politicians in office. However, life is not about work; it’s about living. I suggest we take the time off while we can before time runs out. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
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