It’s common knowledge that Hallmark and other companies like it make a fortune on “holidays”- both the traditional and more manufactured celebration days.
The collective beef with these more commercial and manufactured holidays is basically the idea that “we don’t need another imperative to spend money on the people we love. We can tell them we love them every day.” Literally millions of dollars are spent on CHOCOLATE every year. I used to be right there swimming with the collective outcry against the vast consumer machine, but motherhood has slowed my roll about a lot of things and this happens to be one of them. (It might be the chocolate).
In our house, we celebrate every single one of the “made-up holidays” with devotion and joy. We budget for them and plan for them. And, here’s why:
Maybe you don’t need an extra day to say, “I love you”, but I do…
Every year that I am on Earth, time seems to move faster. It is a consistent fight to slow down my life and just “be” with the people I love amidst appointments, commitments, sports, jobs, and taking care of our “stuff”. These Hallmark holidays force me to sit down a few times a year and reflect on my individual family members and the blessings they are to me.
My kids need these days, too. My little girl insisted on writing her name herself on every card and pointing out which ones were for whom and which treat she wanted to include. And, my two-year-old did the same thing for his little friends. It was then that I realized that, in spite of all the criticism Valentine’s Day gets in our culture, it was having a truly positive effect on my children.
They were sincerely remembering and thanking God for their individual friends. It’s this kind of gratitude I am hoping to foster in my children as a natural practice, and “Hallmark holidays” help me do this.
Children are natural celebrators…
In our house, the news never gets turned on. In fact, we don’t even have cable. That’s an intentional move on our part. Everything you see on television seems to scream that this world is awful and scary and getting worse. But, I want my children to see that there is something to celebrate in humanity and that it’s worth it to look for those things.
Little holidays help us to get into a practice of looking for the ways people are worth celebrating. Children are just natural celebrators anyway. If they have practice finding the good now, it will be easier to look through the muck later.
Valentine’s Day is good for my marriage…
I actually FELT that eye roll. But for us, it really is true. The man I married is a wonderful guy. But in the heat of life and all the things that come with running a family with small children, I sometimes forget it.
This silly, made up holiday reminds me that this guy gives me everything from goosebumps to soul-deep joy, and it doesn’t hurt to look at him and tell him that once in a while. I also need him to look at me and tell ME those things once in a while. Valentine’s Day let’s me look at him and really see again all the ways he is my perfect match even when he drives me batty.
This perspective is a “take daily” medicine I need. So, this “fake holiday” is on our calendar for good.
Grandparent’s day matters…
My favorite “made up holiday” is this one. Growing up, I had limited contact with my grandparents. I always wished I had more. I saw my friends interacting with their grands and I knew I was missing something. Fast forward to now and I know on an even deeper level just how much my children need their grandparents.
Grandparents love our kids in a way that is impossible for us to do. I really don’t even know what I would do without my in-laws and my parents and their love for our littles. So taking a day to honor them is important to me. On that note, thank you to all the grandparents out there who love all your little ones in that special way that only you can. Our Hallmark hats are off to you!
The other appreciation days…
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher Appreciation…these three categories of humans make countless unseen and thankless sacrifices each day for the children in their lives. We need a day where we turn to each other and say, “I see you“.
When it comes down to it, every one of these holidays allows us to stop and really see the people around us. This is just basic relationship maintenance, so it’s fitting to give those relationships their own day to make sure we are taking care of the hearts of the people we love.
In our family, we are all-in for good on the big five “fake holidays” from Hallmark. Each one forces us to slow down and reflect on how much we love and are loved. Maybe I’m just a bleeding heart, or maybe I just love chocolate.