7 Fake, Annoying Holidays Brought to You by Consumerism

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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

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).

5. Administrative Professionals' Day

Have we gone too far, declaring this holiday as fake and annoying? Formerly Secretary's Day, but changed to be more politically correct, this is the Wednesday of the last full week in April. It was organized by the National Secretaries Association in 1952, now called the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

6. Boss's Day

Oct. 16. Not to be confused with the much-less-important Administrative Professionals' Day, Boss's Day is for the people who keep the trains running on time. According to Wikipedia, "Hallmark did not offer a Boss's Day card for sale until 1979. It increased the size of its National Boss Day line by 90 percent in 2007." Alas, a card on this day is not guaranteed to get you a raise.

7. National Mustard Day

Let's consider this one a catch-all for other holidays that are too much about money and consumption. A list of commercial holidays at ibiblio.org includes National Mustard Day, on the first Saturday in August, and Earth Day, on April 22, but not Valentine's Day. Does Earth Day belong on this list? Has it become too corporate and capitalizing? Just another condiment for card stores to spread?