Solving the Problem of Holiday Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

That way, families could coordinate their schedules and plan family get-togethers just as they do now, except that they would be able to travel without worrying about traffic and airport congestion that makes holiday travel such a nightmare when everybody travels at the same time.

If anything, that approach to holidays would increase their meaning in several ways rather than reducing their meaning. Today, Christmas, Father's Day and Mother's Day in particular have become so commercialized that they have lost most of their underlying meaning. For example, every Christmas season, millions of Americans endure miserable conditions shopping to complete their Christmas lists. Meanwhile, everybody on their lists goes through the exact same thing reciprocally. Instead of giving meaningful gifts to one another, this process has become a ritualized obligatory exchange of gifts of approximately equal value that often completely detracts from any real warmth or meaningfulness of the gifts. In essence, it would make more sense for people to buy their own gifts for themselves every Christmas season; at least that would decrease the dissatisfaction and the need to return unwanted gifts for a refund or store credit.

If families celebrated their own private "Christmas" or "Thanksgiving" at random times chosen by family consensus, the exchange of gifts would have much greater meaning because only people relatively close to one another (outside of their families) would ever be aware when other people celebrated their holidays. Nobody would have to worry about offending mere acquaintances or work associates by ignoring them during the holidays because holidays and the exchange of gifts associated with some of them would be a much more private matter that had meaning behind it instead of an automatic, blind social ritual of conformity.


The advantages of divorcing holidays from their place on the calendar would include tremendous reduction in psychological stress associated with holidays; it would eliminate the congestion at travel hubs that cripple air traffic flow; and it would probably save the lives of hundreds of Americans every year who are killed in vehicular accidents during the holidays. It would allow healthy happy families to maximize their enjoyment of holiday get-togethers without the pressure on less happy or healthy families to do the same just to conform to social expectations. Ultimately, it would probably increase the benefit of holidays in general.

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