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Holiday = Holy Day? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Holiday: a religious festival or holy day. This definition needs to be updated. According to our current society, a holiday is an excuse to 1) buy and receive lots of gifts or 2) spend a day off watching movie marathons.

How many people actually recognize the resurrection of Jesus as Easter? Instead, we replace Him with the Easter Bunny, a jolly fellow who brings us eggs and candy. St. Patrick's Day is just another chance to head over to the local pub or eat some green bagels. And Christmas, the Pamela Anderson of holidays, has completely lost its meaning and seems to bring people more frustration than joy.

When I accompanied my mom to the store to buy Halloween treats and decorations, I was bombarded with Christmas colors, Christmas sales and Christmas gifts. This one-day celebration honoring Christ's birth has evolved into a three-month hoopla where people race for the biggest, prettiest Christmas tree or the best jewelry sale. Baby Jesus' birthday has been replaced with neighborhood cocktail parties and store blowouts. Did you know that 44 percent of Americans feel they spend too much on Christmas gifts? In 1998, they spent between $160 and $200 billion - that's more than two-thirds of the defense budget!

Imagine the reaction of the general public if "Merry Christmas" signs and decorations were replaced with "Jesus is our savior." It's appalling how many use this extraordinary occasion to pull apart a true holiday and corrupt it forever with horrifying renditions of Christmas songs and blinding light displays on every house.

I'm not suggesting everyone wear a crucifix and attend daily church services, but c'mon, a little awareness - a little less gift-purchasing, and a little more appreciation for your family and friends - couldn't hurt. The occasional party, gift exchange and Christmas carolers are great and part of the holiday spirit. However, I find it rather disturbing when our family receives umpteen party invitations, atheist children get new computers and skateboards, or when Christmas carolers hand out business cards after their visit. That's right, business cards. Just another example of how commercialization and consumerism affects holiday spirit.

The whole world has not succumbed to this transformation of the real meaning of the holidays. Christmas church services do exist, selfless carolers and wholesome traditions do exist. The point isn't that they exist, but that people don't take advantage of them. The public would rather take advantage of the 75 percent off sale at Macy's than attend church and learn about why we've marked this date as important.

Many have forgotten the original meaning of holidays and how they even came to be. Take some time to appreciate the spiritual and non-materialistic aspects of our traditions. If an occasion is important enough for the whole country - or even world - to celebrate, it has to serve a deeper purpose than buying your cousin a shower radio.

The bottom line is that traditions have changed with the times, and not in a good way. Holidays were established for one reason only: to celebrate an occasion. People may say that all their carousing is in addition to the celebration, but I see it as over the top. Sometimes, the wave of change isn't a refreshing splash, but a drowning force.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Liozay123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

This is really good.  Nice job.

I agree with what you're saying, too.

 
BookWorm579 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 23, 2009 at 4:07 am
I disagree with you that people should be made more aware of holidays which are religious in origin. Not everyone who celebrates Christmas is Christian. However, national holidays like Presidents' Day need more recognition and their historical meaning should be brought closer to the forefront.
 
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