Got plans for Sweetest Day this year, or Grandparents Day, or one of those other random holidays that you only hear about while walking past the greeting card aisle at your local department store? Maybe just getting your wife/girlfriend/relative a piece of paper, putting it an envelope, and shipping it around the world, all the while paying too much money for some carbon-heavy manufactured hello?
Are we being too cynical? A little. Yet arguably there are just too many "holidays" out there vying for our dollars, consuming resources, and filling landfills. Yep, despite the reason to drink green beer, even St. Patrick's Day is only green in color...
1. Sweetest Day
Photo Superrine via Flickr
Happy Third Saturday in October. You'd better buy your loved one a card, candy or flowers, or they'll be hurt. Thanks, Mr. Capitalist. We'll settle for a hug. Sweetest Day is not a made-up holiday, according to our friends at American Greetings. Uh huh. The holiday's origins date back to a 1921 promotion by candy companies in Cleveland, Ohio, according to the Plain Dealer.
2. St. Patrick's Day
Everyone loves to pretend they're Irish on St. Patrick's Day. This is a fun one: Wearing green to work, drinking green beer, making yourself a big ol' corned beef sandwich...celebrating Irish heritage (who care's if you aren't Irish).
Then there's the downside—all those green party cups and decorations, most of which go straight into the garbage. When it comes to waste, Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Easter (think tiny chocolate egg in gigantic plastic, confetti-filled basket) can fall into the serious over-consumption category.
From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent, according to federal statistics. In the United States, annual trash from gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons.
3. Grandparents Day
Aww. How could you not love your grandma and grandpa? Of course you do, especially if they're still around. But you don't need to tell them with a store-bought card. Visit them once in a while. Bring the grandkids over. Grandparents Day is celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day, and is credited to a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia, who wanted to bring joy to lonely elderly people in nursing homes.
According to Hallmark (a slightly biased source), research has shown that "many grandparents expressed disappointment that Grandparents Day was not 'a big event,' and the majority expressed regret that they didn't receive a card, call or gift." Your money or your guilt.
4. Mother's Day and Father's Day
What? Don't take away these days, please. We love relaxing while our significant other dotes on us. But Mother's Day and Father's Day are both referred to as "Hallmark Holidays" in popular culture (and Wikipedia).