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The meaning of the holidays…

Good morning, Netizens...

In the dead calm of pre-dawn darkness I sit contemplating the advent of the holiday shopping season which, this year, appears to be arriving much sooner than the day after Thanksgiving. That bastion of consumer enlightenment, Santa Claus, normally arrives the Day after Thanksgiving, what is termed “Black Friday”, complete with his visits to the malls, lots of tiny reindeer both real and not-so-real, and of course, the pronouncements of Christmas sales. This insanity continues unabated from Black Friday until finally, exhausted and broke, the intrepid Christmas shoppers finally reel home and fall down. Somewhere in there we pause unctuously to observe Thanksgiving Day and sometimes Christmas.

Not only do I have a serious problem with huge, sweaty crowds jamming against one another looking for that perfect Christmas bargain, but I also deeply loathe the commercialization of two such very important holidays. I've muttered deeply to myself about this manifestation of so-called holiday spirit in the past, even predicted a time or two that eventually we would hear Christmas Carols rumbling forth from the airwaves by (gasp!) the Fourth of July which is already happening, yet another holiday that has been marginalized by commercial advertising.

For a nation so deeply-steeped in patriotism, which is what we purport to be, it strikes me as nauseating that we get all warm and fuzzy about our Veterans of War whenever it is convenient, a diuretic to our broken moral values or simply because it is a federal holiday. The rest of the year we forget the wounded and dead scattered over several foreign countries, which is about how I would term the nearest Veterans Administration Hospital where some of the less-fortunate veterans end up. For the most part, the VA is nothing more than an extension of wars and rumors of wars, bereft of the clinical doctors and nurses who perhaps lovingly tend the ill and wounded. Yeah, sure, as my friends might say.

Has it ever dawned on anyone that holidays aren't what they used to be? We can rearrange them on the calendar whenever we want them, and we haven't even begun to tap dance on the implications and realities of materialism yet.

Why bother?

Why don't we just have half a dozen or so shopping holidays each year for the hell of it. Close all public business and declare federal shopping holidays; stop fooling ourselves with all this piety and garbage about doing our part for the national economy? We could spread the economic wealth around that way, don't you know? The merchants would love it, and those of us who still observe and revere the holidays for what they really are could sit quietly in the corners of society, nodding our heads to no one in particular, and muttering about how it once was.

I remember standing in frigid wind watching veterans solemnly marching down the street, I remember the big harvests that always preceded Thanksgiving Day but most of all, I remember the Star in the East that used to rise above the mountains on Christmas Eve. A long, long time ago, I remember two giant work horses with sleigh bells on their harnesses plodding their way across the snow-covered fields.

But I don't remember what I bought my wife last Christmas.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.