The Academy Awards, Emmys and Grammys honor achievements in movies, television and music, and about every other week a country music awards show of some type is held — but nothing recognizes the best holiday.
So I would hereby like to rectify a gross oversight by today announcing my contest for that, and to officially nominate Halloween as the best holiday of the year.
There are many great things to enjoy about it — the costumes, parties, etc. — but first let me make an important distinction between holidays.
We have the festive or celebratory type, which includes Halloween and others such as Christmas, and what I consider reverent holidays that are times of remembrance. Those include Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Easter (minus the eggs and candy), Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Thanksgiving.
The reason I make this distinction is that solemn times such as Memorial Day — when America honors its deceased military personnel — stand on their own merits and shouldn’t be lessened by any ratings or comparisons with others.
So what you have left with the festive variety are several others that wouldn’t come close to matching Halloween if I were giving out the awards.
• Let’s look at Christmas. Sure it’s a fun time to get together with family and so forth, although many often overlook the reason for that holiday in the first place: to celebrate the birth of Christ. Unfortunately, Christmas has been hijacked by the commercial interests and people feel pressured to buy a bunch of presents, lest they be labeled a Scrooge — which is part of the marketing ploy motivating people to engage in the so-called “holiday spirit.’
We often spend beyond our means to please children or other loved ones. But just like a carnival or circus pulls up stakes and leaves town with an empty lot behind, Christmas builds celebrants up to an emotional high and then drops them into a void. And when January rolls around, the credit card companies aren’t saying “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays, but “pay us!”
• The same sense of obligation surrounds what I affectionately call Hallmark Holidays. Valentine’s Day certainly fits this description, as it has come to mean the buying not only of sappy cards, but roses, boxes of candy and the biggest prize of all: expensive jewelry.
Sure, the romance, love and everything else Valentine’s Day represents are all great concepts. But the message behind its marketing barrage is that a guy will experience none of this unless he springs for a large diamond.
• Then we have July 4, which is supposed to be another festive occasion — as long as it’s not hot as blue blazes or monsoon-like summer rains are drenching this area as they have for at least two of the past three Fourths of July. If we are really lucky we get both.
Just what were our Founding Fathers thinking when they decided to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4? I mean, couldn’t they have waited until a more-sedate time of year? You can shoot fireworks, wave a flag and eat a hot dog in late September as well as you can in early July.
• And I can’t forget Labor Day in my scrutiny. Now, here’s a time meant to celebrate the American worker. Yet somehow, I have managed to “celebrate” that holiday for about the last three years in a row by, yes, you guessed it, working. Even if you’re off then, there are no parades (or even fireworks) and other formal activities to honor us working stiffs.
• Also among the celebratory holidays are New Year’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. But when you think about those times, a bunch of people getting drunk at a party or bar is what usually comes to mind. Here again, there is a commercial aspect, plus when you talk about ringing in the new year I usually nod off about 11 o’clock.
So without further adieu, let me announce the winner of my Best Holiday Award as Halloween.
A boring file clerk can be something different for a day, whether a pirate or a ghost, and can do so without expending much money, only a little creativity.
People can get together and enjoy each other’s costumes, and don’t have to buy anybody anything.
Also, I believe human beings have an innate desire to experience the darker side of the supernatural, and even to be scared to a certain degree. That explains why at any given time, the local movie theater will be showing several films with horror themes.
And as frightening as the prospects of Halloween might be, they are nothing compared to Tuesday’s municipal election, which I could have written about.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.