Friday, November 29, 2013

The Changing Meaning Of Holidays

I was waxing nostalgic as we cleaned up the kitchen after our Thanksgiving dinner.  We worked together, Hub and I, and were laughing about our  long tradition of swapping the planning and cooking of our major holiday meals.  This year Thanksgiving was my turn - Christmas will be his.

Then, perhaps, we'll write off the tradition to our memories.  It's getting to be  more chore than fun as we get older.  We can't eat nor drink as much as we used to, we're exhausted by days end.

It got me to thinking how all the holidays have changed over the years and how to me they've lost their meaning.  At least the meaning I grew up with.  Halloween for instance.  Hardly anyone goes trick or treating any more.  Too many crimes against the kids and too many interlopers into neighborhoods where they weren't known nor welcome.  Heck, part of the fun for the tykes, at least when I was one, was having the neighbors pretend to have to guess who you were and, too, you could eat the treats without parental scrutiny when you got home.

Now it's chintzy store bought costumes and private parties held mostly by churches unless they  happen to be one that thinks Halloween is anti-Christian and should' be celebrated at all. Cops and nurses, indeed.  To keep order where order shouldn't be needed to be kept.

Thanksgiving has lost out to Black Friday and now even Black Thanksgiving day.  The headlines this morning, as usual, are filled with reports of tramplings and shootings and robbery and violent mayhem in general.  What is it we're thankful for?  That the stores are now opening even earlier than before?  That we're spending big bucks on gifts for ourselves rather than others?  It used to be a time of reflection and thanks for the blessings we've received mostly for carrying out our part of having been a good, compassionate citizen of a great country.  What happened to that?

Christmas is just around the corner though actually it's been around for a good part of late summer as well. While a celebration of Christ's birth, it's also a  reminiscence of traditions from a multitude of cultures and religions - including paganism.  Yet there are those who take offense at what used to be the most festive time of the year by trying to ban the very words, Merry Christmas.  It's hard to find cards with that sentiment any more.  Manger scenes in public parks are forbidden.  Trees aren't allowed in airports.  Come on!  If the box stores can begin selling decorations in July why can't we enjoy carolling around the manger in the park?  Isn't it commercial enough?

Of course we know that isn't the reason.  We've just become a very angry, selfish, self serving society.
Why else do feel good stories about the good people do become the last segment once a week on a "news" show where the rarity of such events is  heralded as wonderful exceptionalism rather than the norm?

Why is it necessary to be subjected to 24/7 diatribes on the failure of the ACA roll out and all the finger pointing that goes with it yet the story about the death of the boy with cancer who wanted one more Christmas, the one where an entire town created just that outside his bedroom window so he could have that one final wish, the experiencing of Christmas, was buried at the bottom of an obscure inside page of the paper and never at all heard on live media?

Times have changed.  Priorities have changed.  Negativity, anger and bitterness have trumped anticipation, ambition, triumph and joy.

" 'Tis the season" keeps running through my head.  But 'tis the season for what?

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

The entire problem is greed. Capitalism is greed driven, Mari.