Have holidays lost their meaning?
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
People view holidays differently. Some see them as vacation-time, others, as an opportunity to demonstrate their respect for outstanding political, cultural, or national events. Christmas and Thanksgiving, however, are heavily charged with emotion. They encourage loving family members, relatives, and cherished friends to gather together and share the love and exaltation holidays are intended to commemorate. Holidays that tug at our heartstrings and bring tears to our eyes are the ones that give our lives special meaning.
Unfortunately, our holidays have become so commercialized that their original purpose has been seriously compromised. The most seriously affected is Christmas. People spend thousands of their hard-earned dollars buying unneeded presents encouraged by the media's vigorous seasonal advertising. It has been estimated that Americans send over 1.5 billion cards.
If all the holidays we celebrate were to suddenly disappear, the world would be a very dull place. Holidays reconnect people who have drifted apart, especially between those whose ill-health forced them to lead a more lonely life. It has been said that “To suffer alone, is to suffer twice.”
A failure to celebrate an auspicious occasion is unforgivable. As the years fly by, all we have left are memories. Shared memories are especially precious. They provide us with an opportunity to vicariously relive them.
The essence of any celebration is captured by the axiom: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it - the present.” Holidays are the footprints we leave behind so that future generations will know the kind of people we were.
- Professor Eisenberg was born in New York City and now lives in Belleair Bluffs. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. His career consisted of teaching interpersonal/intercultural communication, public speaking, organizational communication, nonverbal communication, group dynamics, and persuasion at four major universities including Pace University and Manhattanville College in New York. His publications include fifteen textbooks on various aspects of communication. Send comments to: email@example.com.