Sunday, November 11, 2012

Death of a Holiday

Miriam-Webster defines "holiday" as:
a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event
We seem to have forgotten the meaning of the word. We also seem to have forgotten its derivation (holy day).
 
The national news carried a story this past week telling us that Walmart will be opening at 8 PM on Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season. This is two hours earlier than last year. "Holiday" in this case referring to Christmas shopping, but that wouldn't be politically correct. And Thanksgiving is a day that was set aside to thank God for our blessings. In one announcement, Walmart disregarded two holidays and the fact that these two days have anything to do with God.

It wasn't that long ago that malls started opening on New Year's Day so that football widows could spend a day shopping while their spouses were huddled around the television watching the endless games.

I remember when stores were closed on holidays. And, believe it or not, stores used to be closed on Sunday. You had to plan ahead to do your shopping. There was no running out to the store if you forgot to buy cranberry sauce or potato chips or beer, no picking up a blouse on sale or a bargain on a Blueray player at Best Buy.

I think we've lost something. All days are becoming alike. There's no difference between Sunday and Friday, no difference between December 15 and December 25. As I pointed out in another blog post, traditions and rituals exist for a reason. The enable us to be closer to "the other." We've become so secular that we're missing opportunities to connect with something greater than ourselves.

And I feel bad for those who are forced to work on what used to be holidays. On days that were set aside for family and friends they have to go to work and ring up sales. Even if they would prefer to spend the day with their families, they often have no choice.

I will admit to stopping at the grocery store or Office Max on my way home from church on Sunday on occasion. Sometimes the convenience is too tempting. But I refuse to shop on a holiday. I keep hoping that if no one shows up at Walmart on Thanksgiving, they'll stop opening the stores. My effort is probably futile, but it's one statement I can make.


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