"Hallmark Holidays" Are Pointless, Inane and Ineffective
by Jessica Sides | published Feb. 19th, 2020
The number of “Hallmark Holidays" rises with each passing year, and with that comes the obligation to celebrate more and more pointless holidays. Holidays such as Boss’s Day, Sweetest Day, Teacher Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day take away from the true, underlying reasons for celebration.
Why We Celebrate
First, let’s break down why we actually celebrate these holidays. These holidays were created to celebrate certain individuals — teachers, secretaries, bosses, moms, dads, grandparents, lovers and more all get their own special day to feel appreciated. They get one day per year. One.
The expectation on these holidays is that you buy a card and/or get a gift for the individual(s) the holiday celebrates. For Mother's Day, you get some cheesy card from the grocery store before you take her to dinner. For Grandparents Day, if you remember it at all, yet another storebought card to show how much you care. For Secretaries' Day ... well you better be thankful for them for keeping the office organized and running when you're too lazy to try.
The cards you purchase the individual(s), usually purchased from Hallmark (hence the name), is supposed to signify your love and appreciation for them. The problem with these holidays arises with the feeling of obligation.
I remember that when I was in grade school, we were expected to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day. This was incredibly frustrating for me, especially with the growing number of teachers I had.
I understand that being a teacher is often a thankless job, and for the amount of work they do they are well underpaid. That being said, you shouldn’t be forced to appreciate a teacher that has treated you harshly, or one you generally don’t like or get along with.
Lauren Avilla, a third year Game Design and Development major, also dislikes Teacher Appreciation Day.
“Being forced to appreciate someone you don’t like is sucky,” she said. “I don’t want to feel obligated to give them a gift that day because the day constitutes it.”
“I don’t want to feel obligated to give them a gift that day because the day constitutes it."
Aside from Teacher Appreciation Day, there are other “Hallmark Holidays" that may leave a sour taste. If you have been mistreated, you shouldn’t feel obligated to celebrate certain holidays. Without being too specific, one of my members has been incredibly neglectful and often abusive over the years. I shouldn’t feel the need to buy them gifts and make a valiant effort to help them feel loved when all they’ve provided me is anxiety.
There are many people out there who experience similar feelings toward family, and these holidays can cause unwanted stress and a mix of emotions. You don’t want to reinforce the horrible wrongdoings, but you don’t want the backlash from ignoring the holidays as a whole either.
You absolutely should not feel obligated to get cards and gifts for someone who has not lived up to who they’re supposed to be. If your mom hasn’t been a mom, do not celebrate Mother’s Day. If your dad is never around and never calls, why celebrate Father’s Day? Do not celebrate a boss who abuses their position and power. These should be no brainers, but the capitalization of these holidays almost always leaves conflicted emotions regarding the choice.
Another issue is that some of these holidays are seriously redundant. We are expected to celebrate our lovers both on Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day. Why do we need two holidays that celebrate practically the same thing? Certainly the argument can be made that Valentine’s Day is about all types of love; but romantic lovers are the dominant focus of the holiday, so there is no reason Sweetest Day should even exist.
Also consider that grandparents are mothers and fathers as well. More often than not, grandparents are roped into Mother’s and Father’s Day. So why do we have a Grandparents Day at all? Why not just have one holiday to celebrate both? The answer is simple: money. As long as Hallmark and other companies can make a profit, occasions will be capitalized upon. More holidays will pop up as the years continue, and we will all feel obligated to celebrate them. The truth of the matter is that these holidays shouldn’t exist. They are completely pointless. The feeling of obligation ruins the meaning of the holidays, and their overall existence is genuinely unsettling.
If you care for these individuals, you should be appreciating them all year round. For occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparents Day, a holiday shouldn't be needed to appreciate those people if they truly matter to you.
Appreciation can look like offering to cook your mom dinner one night if she’s tired. You can hug your dad and tell him you love him. You can send your grandma or grandpa a card just to tell them you’re thinking of them. You can even buy your lover flowers, or surprise them with tickets to the movies. Surprising someone with a thoughtful action once in awhile throughout the year is much more meaningful than getting them a generic card to celebrate a holiday you feel forced to celebrate.
“Obligation doesn’t equal appreciation,” Avilla said. “You should be [appreciating them] every day, just not as extravagant as marketing proposing it to be.”
“Obligation doesn’t equal appreciation.”
We shouldn’t need a commercial excuse to show our love and appreciation for others. What these “Hallmark Holidays" really do is capitalize on people’s emotions and insecurities. These holidays often make people feel forced to purchase gifts and celebrate. If you don’t take your mom to dinner on Mother’s Day, for example, then your mom can feel neglected, or that you just don’t care for her.
That seems to be a general theme as well. If boyfriends forget Valentine’s Day, or just don’t care to celebrate it, some girlfriends lose their minds. The opposite can be true too. I had a boyfriend once who was livid when I said I disliked Valentine’s Day and didn’t want to do anything special. Moms often flip if you don’t do anything special on Mother’s Day. I know some of my teachers from grade school made us feel bad if none of us did something on Teacher Appreciation Day.