The origin of "holiday" is a melding of "Holy" and "day"; a day set aside for special or particular religious observations or rites. Now there are many holidays, some religious or with religious ties, some completely secular. For many these are simply socially acceptable opportunities to temporarily free themselves from economic slavery. This fact alone should cause one to seriously think about the way things are. But this blog is about holidays, specifically the period toward the end of the year in the northern hemisphere that so many call "the holiday season". In America this includes three major holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Of these, the first is both Christian (All Saints Day) and Pagan (Samhain), but now mostly secular... but not just secular... corporate. A time when capitalism and society pressure you to conform, to spend money, to do and buy things that you probably neither need nor want. Not only consume huge amounts of candy and sweets of all kinds, but remember to get into silly costumes and actually go begging such things from other people, despite having no real need of them, and being perfectly capable of meeting your own needs if you have them.
The second, at least in the US, is a combination of Pagan or secular celebrations of the bounty of nature, with the insulting Christian imposition programming us to "thank" an imaginary entity, rather than the many thousands of people who make whatever bounty we have possible. It is also corporate, another time when tradition, capitalism and society conspire to pressure us into doing things and buying things we neither need nor want. A time when Americans are told to eat prodigious quantities of two animals, pigs and especially, turkeys. These two are also times to send each other cards and buy plastic and gaudy colorful items of no practical use whatever. Perhaps to assuage a bit of collective guilt, perhaps to say to our society, "Look how wonderful a person I am; I give of my time, energy and money to provide a special meal to 'the less fortunate' today." Even though, statistically speaking, we probably pass by those same people lying in doorways and public parks, acknowledging them, if acknowledged at all, with a snort of disgust.
Inserted immediately after this, is a totally corporate day, even with it's own name: Black Friday. It is Orwellian in nature also, as it's name, Black Friday, is meant to suggest we are "in the black" in a time of plenty, but the actual intent is push you further into the red financially. It has come to be known here as the official start of the "shopping season"; for a "holiday" which was not content to remain merely a day, but must become an entire "season"; many more days included for the purpose of... shopping and buying things not only that you may neither want nor need, but for numerous other people who may neither want nor need the stuff you buy. And you buy, not because you need things, and not because your friends and family need things, but because you are EXPECTED to do so. It is your duty. You will face social and familial derision and ostracism if you do not follow the program. Further, it is your duty to associate yourself with your family, specifically at this time of year, even if you loathe your family, or even if you have no family. You must make nice for the holidays or, if you have no family, then temporarily "adopt" a family of your friends or coworkers or of total strangers because, you MUST "celebrate the holiday season" and, of course, buy stuff.
My holiday wishes...? To the extent that you are able, give a gift, first to yourself, and then to society... help stop the madness, the mindless programming of corporate America. Give a gift to yourself. Do not waste your money. Please, CERTAINLY do not put yourself further into any debt. Of course, buy what you really need for yourself and family and friends, as you should any other time of year. But no more. If you have surplus, more than you need, please remember those in your own neighborhood and community who don't have enough food or clothing or shelter. If you are Christian you are commanded by your God to do this. If you are just a moral person, Christian or not, you are commanded to do this by your very nature.
The winter is obviously a worse time to be without the basic necessities of life than in more temperate periods. It's bad to be hungry. It's worse to be hungry and freezing. In the richest country on the planet, how is it even possible that so many tens of thousands of men, women and children do not have adequate food, clothing and shelter? How is it possible? Greed. Religious and social programming. Stop.
It is seldom easy to do the right thing. The majority of us know what the right thing is. Too many of us allow fear to control us.... fear of rejection, fear of being "different". Too many of us so easily slide into our "let's pretend" place in our minds, because of our fear and because we cannot feed, clothe and house everyone who needs it... we pretend it ain't there. Oh joy! Celebrate the birth of Jesus (or Mithras or Osiris or Dionysus, etc.) on Christmas day! The day is supposed to be the 21st, the Winter Solstice. That's why the Mayans and others "allegedly" say the world will end, not on Christmas day, but the 21st, the Solstice. They knew their seasons. Never mind that you can't save the world. Just help whomever you can help. Every day. It's the right thing to do. And join Billy's church.