Feelings and commercialisation.

Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the day in which the internet abounds with cheesy rhymes and outpouring of mostly romantic feelings.

roses are red
violets are blue
this is a poem
I think.

The holiday can be difficult for a lot of people, for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you’re asexual or aromantic or maybe you’re just not involved in a romantic relationship right now. Maybe you’re still getting over a break-up. Maybe the relationship that you’re in is abusive and you’re trying to get out of it. There are so many maybes here, but I think that is enough to start with.

And then on top of all of this along comes this holiday all over the television and radio that encourages people to show their significant other how much they love them! But wait, how are we supposed to show them?

Since you asked… the media would have you believe that love is expressed by spending money. We are spurred to buy cards, to buy jewelry, to show him or her just how much you care. And the clear subtext is that if you are not able to make this monetary effort, or if you do not make this monetary effort for any reason, you clearly don’t care enough. It’s plain wrong and distinctly untrue, but the subtext is there nonetheless and pervasive enough that it is yet another one of the pressures on people who live with financial stress.

So I’m going to divert from the narrative here and reiterate that it is entirely acceptable and okay to not be able to spend money on someone else just because a Hallmark holiday says that you should. It doesn’t mean you love them or care about them any less. And there are a lot of expressions of care that do not require extra expenditures, like a nice night watching movies at home with a nice dinner, or if you cohabitate, offering to do a chore that the other person dislikes doing but does anyway. There are so many things that do not involve spending money that is allocated to something else in the budget.

If you do care about someone, the best thing to do is to just tell them (in which I am a gigantic hypocrite but that’s probably material for another post once I have all these pesky feelings figured out). Don’t just tell them on Valentine’s Day, though, or when you feel obligated to tell them. Tell them every day, or every week, or when you go to bed, or when you wake up— but maybe not all of those.

Or maybe yes all of those. Whatever works for you.

Feelings and commercialisation.

On ‘happy holidays’.

It’s that time of year again, the end of fall and beginning of winter, and the time of year where there’s Christmas music on in the stores that was on before Halloween let alone before Thanksgiving. The time of year where people make a fuss about the design on Starbucks holiday cups, since that seems to be becoming a pattern too.

Out of all the things in this time of year that piss me off, it’s when people get their panties in a knot over the phrase “Happy Holidays”, insisting that people say “Merry Christmas”.

There are a lot of holidays in December, and Christmas is only one of them. By and large: there is no way to know by looking at a person what holidays they celebrate.

“But what if they’re wearing a cross necklace?”

“But I don’t want to say Merry Christmas, I don’t even celebrate it!”

Sure, there’s a good enough chance of figuring out what holiday someone might celebrate if they are wearing a symbol of their faith. However, it’s still not a good idea to jump to conclusions about people, and any particular symbol can have more than one meaning. “Happy Holidays” is a nice middle ground of a holiday greeting, because it also works even if you don’t happen to celebrate the holiday the other person does. Basically, not everyone celebrates Christmas.

I see a lot of people just throwing around numbers and saying there are this many or that many holidays in December without any citations or references, which got me thinking and falling into the rabbit hole that is internet research.

Within a few hours of research, I was able to find twenty twenty-one! (thank you Kate) holidays in December, across numerous different religions and observances. It is by no means a full/complete/perfect list, and I’m aware of that. The point is that just a little bit of time is all that it takes in order to broaden one’s perspective and acknowledge cultural differences.

So, without further delay, in order of the calendar:

As I said, I’m aware this list isn’t perfect. If I’ve missed something and feel like I should include it, just leave me a comment.

And happy holidays!

*Chanukah is a holiday on the Jewish (lunisolar) calendar, and therefore it falls on different dates in the modern Gregorian calendar each year. The dates that I have given in this post are for the year 2016, however Chanukah does generally fall within the month of December.

On ‘happy holidays’.