Friday, November 12, 2010

Holidays, Remembrances, Celebrations, and Traditions

Thursday was Veterans' Day here in the U.S. and Remembrance Day (or Armistice Day) elsewhere.

There were ceremonies, parades, parachuters, flags, and patriotic Facebook posts. Some people visited graves of veterans or helped the living vets with visits to VA hospitals or other groups.

Like so many holidays, I wish we could all be like this year-round. When Valentine's Day comes, we are reminded to make sure our loved ones know our feelings. When Thanksgiving comes later this month, we will be told to show our thankfulness for what we have. When Memorial Day comes around, we honor our dead.

These are all good things, but do we, as a society, need one day a year to be reminded to do these things? Why does it feel like so many people only do these things once a year, and not all year long? Why are the charities overwhelmed with gifts, toys, and money in December but lacking in help the rest of the year?

I think these holidays are good things. I see nothing wrong with all of us taking the time to be part of a larger celebration; I just wish that it seemed like more of these good deeds and thoughts were going around on the non-holidays.

It shouldn't take a holiday designed by Hallmark to treat your loved one to a good night out and a reminder that you love her. Do we only love our parents on the respective holiday assigned them? Do you celebrate Grandparent's day--yes, there is one--or do you try to express your love for your grandma all year?

When a holiday takes hold, people feel good about participating and then excuse themselves from doing similar actions later. That's a problem. Our society needs to encourage these actions all year round and reward it--not just on an annual basis.

As we near the end of the year and more holidays come upon us, ask yourself, isn't this something we should do more often than just once a year? Would our society be better off if we didn't wait for the one holiday but gave to charity or expressed our feelings or volunteered our time, or whatever it is which you do on these holidays, more often? If the answer is yes, do it more often. Don't wait.

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