There was a time …
… When Halloween was dark and scary and you actually put on a costume, went out at night, knocked on doors and yelled “trick or treat.” At the end of the night you wound up with a bag of candy, apples, chocolates and other assorted goodies.
… When Thanksgiving was about visiting family, watching football and feeling stuffed. We gathered, said grace, ate, watched TV, ate again, then spent the next week eating leftovers.
… When Christmas was about hope, peace, gifts, family and snow, and you actually woke up and opened presents in your pajamas. Christmas cheer meant just that. We eagerly awaited Santa, but church was the place to be, because it was Jesus’ birthday.
But now we’ve taken the fright out of Halloween, the family out of Thanksgiving and Christ out of Christmas. It’s the perfect trifecta of gutting the holidays by taking the real meanings out of them.
Even Veterans Day has been affected. We sure know how to line up for a parade, but while we “honor” veterans, our government seems incapable of caring for the enormous number of those wounded and injured in war. Private organizations and churches must pick up the slack, and the average person is pressed to become a donor.
How did we as a society and a nation get to this? Though the process has been long in developing, it’s clear that the reasons lie in the breakdown of families, our overcompensation and reliance on things (including technology), and declining belief in faith, humanity and personal responsibility. Too many of us have gotten greedy, selfish and less tolerant. But the bottom line is — we just don’t care anymore!
Television also has played a role, turning the holidays into spectator events, capitalizing on Halloween with horror flicks, Thanksgiving with everything turkey-related, and Christmas with free shipping, must-have gifts and shows featuring the best and worst of Santa.
I’ve even seen this trend in my own family. Growing up, there were family and dinner times, reunions and such. Now we rarely see or spend any quality time with each other.
Holidays are there to remind us of the best in ourselves, our heroes and our traditions. We only honor them by celebrating their true meanings.