Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Show Your Parents You Love Them --- By Not Buying Them Gifts.

by Katherine Tobin

Traditionally, in our family, we don’t buy gifts for Mother’s and Father’s Day. This is obviously not because I feel any less thankful for them, or love them any less, but just because the sentiment of a card is enough to show thanks to one another. However, for many people, Father’s and Mother’s Days are days to spoil and treat their parents to chocolates, toys and multiple gifts. I am not saying this is wrong, but it is a subject that interests me.
 For, in this day and age, it seems to me that days such as these have been exposed to over-commercialisation, leading to what can only be seen as a pressure to conform to these modern standards. It is, of course, not wrong to show appreciation towards someone, but I get the feeling every year that many people feel obliged, rather than eager, to buy people gifts to celebrate. We seem to feel the need to do the accepted thing and celebrate just one day a year, rather than the whole year round, as we know we should. A certain weight hangs over your head because you realise its Mother’s or Father’s Day tomorrow, and you haven’t bought them a month’s supply of chocolate or an inconsiderately sized teddy bear, when they’d probably rather receive a hug and a home cooked meal every now and then instead.

I’d imagine it is a bit of a disappointment to be a parent and to be praised for one day every year, rather than every day. For me, it is this problem that puts a downer on the whole event – the lack of spontaneity. It is as if, every year, the day is forced upon the general public, and in return you are forced to conform. The shelves of shops begin to fill and the thought looms in the back of your head, until the night before when you (out of sheer desperation) give in and buy one of the over-priced, over-sold gifts that the nearest corner store has to offer. But why? Is it social pressure, or do we feel the need to tell our parents we love them only once a year?
Another of these situations arises on the 14th February (Valentine’s Day, of course). This day is widely known for its commercialisation, the build-up in stocks beginning soon after the New Year is over and done. And, of course, it’s a great way to tell someone important to you that you love them. But it seems almost tacky nowadays to say ‘I love you’ on Valentine's purely for this reason. Why is it so important that it is this day, despite there being another 364 days out there, that we take our partner, spouse etc out for a meal or shower them with compliments and gifts? It seems almost that people nowadays feel the need to be forced down that road, rather than it being a spontaneous, enjoyable experience. Again, the weight of a judging society bears down on the shoulders of many, and, ultimately, the whole message is taken out of the day.
Although I am not overly pessimistic on the issue, it is a little worrying to see people so gladly subscribe to this kind of event, and how quickly the popularity for it has increased. Social agenda dictates that these events are made to be celebrated, and I think that these days should be appreciated, but, rather than bowing so much to social pressure, you should enjoy the day for the people, not for what gift you can give them.

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