Oct 122011
Authors: Lydia Jorden

It’s only Thursday, and I can already smell the chocolate, flowers and romantic cards from Hallmark.

“Sweetest Day” arrives yearly on the third Saturday in October, giving individuals the opportunity to appreciate their significant other; an idea that should not, for obvious reasons, be reserved for a specific holiday.

Did you get that? You have a week and two days to buy your significant other gifts to show you care — that is, if you choose to participate in such celebratory nonsense.

Sweetest Day originated when a candy company employee, Herbert Kingston, distributed candy to poor, oppressed and neglected individuals, such as orphans and the homeless.

However, over time, the holiday has turned from participating in a sweet gesture to a profit-maximizing “holiday” that society contributes to.

For $5.99 you can buy your girlfriend or boyfriend a card boasting some generic pre-written message. My favorite Sweetest Day card signals love with this sweet message dancing across it: “Even when it’s one of those days, it’s easy for me to smile. All I have to do is think of you. Happy Sweetest Day.”

But we can’t forget the other holidays –– some are just around the corner. Mark your calendars for National Boss Day (10/16), April Fool’s Day (4/1), Admin. Prof. Day (4/25) and Friendship Day (8/5).

Of course, Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day gain lots of attention, as well.

People blame corporate greed for the out-of-control consumer spending on holidays such as the ones listed above, while they mock what they call “Hallmark Holidays.” 1-800-FLOWERS has released advertisements catering to mothers in anticipation of gifts bought for Mothers’ Day, while Sears releases similar ads marketing menswear in anticipation of Fathers’ Day. Still, corporations are not to blame for the epidemic of consumer spending during minuscule holidays.

It is the consumer who feels the need to contribute to spend on such things that lure the businesses to only meet the demand of society.

We should constantly be recognizing people and important events in our lives, and it is thoughtless to participate in a holiday acknowledging the presence of things that are important to us and should always be on our mind.

Instead of contributing to a company’s bottom line as they collect our $5.99 per card sent, or a flower purchase, pick up the phone or write a letter to show you care. Since producers will, rightfully so, not stop producing that Sweetest Day teddy bear until the cost of producing outweighs the costs of profits, society should demonstrate some self-control and give gifts when they want to — not just when Sweetest Day rolls around.

We acknowledge our bosses when we make them look good; we acknowledge foolishness when we make mistakes; we acknowledge our professors when we bond with our colleagues over how confusing class is; we acknowledge our parents in different ways to show we care and we acknowledge our friends on a daily basis.

The problem with publicized holidays like these are that we forget to be a friend, employee, mother or father, son or daughter every day, instead of just one day per year.

These infamous holidays put pressure on maintaining relationships in a completely unnatural way. Sending a card is great — I am a strong believer in cards. However, what I am not a strong believer in is only sending cards on days when expectations of them are high.

I am no relationship expert, but perhaps this is why so many fail. Expectations for each other are high on these sorts of occasions. One partner expects flowers or a Sweetest Day card on Saturday, while the other partner has absolutely no idea the “holiday” exists. One person is left with their feelings hurt while the other has no idea how to live up to the expectations of the other.

Put the wallet down, get the pen out on a random day and tell others how you feel about them.

Hearing people complain about corporate greed and the infamous “Hallmark Holidays” are something we, as a society, can control. Let’s stop being dependent on companies to tell our friends how we feel and start being creative and excited to tell them ourselves.

But who am I to judge if you prefer the generic message? I’m sure your lover will be fond of the insincerity of, “It is the familiar voice, the easy silence that speaks all my heart needs to hear. Your love lessens every worry and increases every joy. No wonder my love of you continues to deepen in so many ways.”

Lydia Jorden is a junior business major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm

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