Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Hallmark Holiday?

It's Mother's Day. I got breakfast, not exactly "in" bed, but at least while still in PJs. At 10.30am; as with many mothers, I'd been awake for hours, stomach growling, patiently awaiting some form of sustenance, happy to accept cold coffee and burnt toast, had it been offered. But at least with the (eventual) Mother's Day Breakfast came a particularly rare treat, a verbal exchange with the teenage children.

I wouldn't go as far to call it a "conversation" as that would imply an "equal time" situation. But neither was it grossly unpleasant, nor did it have the ultimate outcome of me handing over money (the usual outcome of any verbal exchange not involving grunts and shrugs). But most interestingly was a short insight into the current gestalt on the concept of "Mother's Day".

I hadn't heard the term "Hallmark Holiday" prior to this morning. Apparently it refers to any celebration that is intended only to benefit the retail industry through artificially creating an occasion for the spending of yet more money.

According to Wikipedia, Anna Javis trademarked the phrase in 1912 (I wonder if her estate is still collecting royalties?) and nominated the second Sunday in May. U.S. House Joint Resolution 263 was signed by President Wilson in 1914. President F.D. Roosevelt made Proclamation 2083 in 1936.

So read this and weep, all you cheapskate kids who didn't get your mom (or mum) even a small box of chocolates on the basis that it's only a "Hallmark Holiday"! It's not. It's the law.

Interestingly, this very short but pertinent piece of domestic research raises another issue. It would seem that no one in Australia is aware that Proclamation 2083 also states that the United States flag be flown on all public buildings on this particular day. Hopefully this disclosure won't effect international relations or anything. But remember that if this does occur, it was flagged here first. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)

But here's an interesting thought ... why is Mother's Day on a Sunday? If folk were really serious about making mothers feel particularly special, and genuinely celebrating the whole concept of motherhood, would it not have made more sense to give them a weekday of 'work release'; or perhaps a whole month or something? After all, Part (c) of Proclamation 2083 refers to the "necessities" for mothers, which surely includes the obvious imperative to hang around in P.J.s all day, reading and eating chocolate ...

Just a thought.