A Theory of Sprawling Holidays - by Anne Helen Petersen:
I’m not against holidays, or costumes, or Candy Corn, or traditions, or anything that you do in your family that actually feels meaningful, like you’re choosing your damn holiday choice, every year. But the sprawling, expensive, and exhausting holiday impulse — it is so rarely the celebration we crave. No one person, no one parent, no one spectacle can prop up the failing American ideal, or make us feel like we’ve got our shit on lock when so many forces outside of our control are ensuring that it our shit is very, very much not on lock: the rent’s too high, the childcare’s too tenuous, the future feels fucked. We could grapple with that, and decide on a different way forward.
Here at Exploding Comma global headquarters, we may have gone a bit overboard with the Halloween and Christmas decorations the last few years, but for us, it was one hundred percent a pandemic thing. With nothing else to do and nowhere to go, putting up a bunch of decorations was a way to stay sane. Now it’s a thing, and we have kept at it, because we’ve got all the lights and decorations and whatnot and it’s fun, so why not?
I do take her point broader point about how this kind of stuff has sprawled out of control and taken over every holiday. My guess is there are a lot of different reasons for that: commercialization, social media competition/pressure, and a general ratcheting effect on expectations.
Also, I feel like I am the one person left on earth who still likes candy corn.