Holidays and birthdays
My birthday happens to be today, and when I started checking my email this morning, I was presented with 4 different birthday greetings, from 4 different forums. I'm aware that forums have been doing this for a long time, so what struck me is the forums I signed up for, but don't remember doing so :D (That's also a little security-scary1, but I know I'm signed up with many more that don't appear to be sending birthday greetings.)
I've been thinking about the worth of a good deal of holidays, especially when it comes to gifts. This year, we're going to spend little - hopefully nothing - on Christmas, and more on birthdays. We're doing this for a number of reasons.
First, Christmas time is a usually the worst time to be shopping, since it's so busy.
Second, after doing all of that shopping, there's no time to enjoy either the season or the gifts.
On the other hand, not every family can get together for every birthday - it's easier to get together for just one day, even if it is the busiest day.
Third, birthdays mean more. We're not a religious family - they believe in some God, and I'm a Schopenhauerian2 - so Christmas for us, and for a vast majority of the American people (no matter what faith they may say they believe in) is just another day we're off from work, and one that tradition says must be filled with good food and gifts - like Thanksgiving.
Back to the emails I received today, this was a great feature of the board's software. Not only do a get a generic birthday greeting, but more importantly, I get a reminder of my involvement in the board. Some of these four I'm not going to be checking up on, but at least 2 I will be, since my interest has grown in said areas (they are more techie boards). It's been a while, and I'd like to see just how they've grown.
What I checked into was a Wordpress plugin for this as well. However, Wordpress users don't currently enter a birthday. So, it would involve creating another field for the user, and then creating a notification if it's the user's birthday. It could be totally optional, but may just bring readers closer to a site, or at least give them a reminder on a good day to do so. After all, there are few days as personal as the day of one's birth (which, thereby, could be number four for the list above).
1: Security-scary simply because it's another way to find out personal information about me. Of course, these days Google will give you everything you need to know about a person - and I don't mind. I want people to be able to do a search for me and find out how to contact me. You never know ...
2: As in, I find Arthur Schopenhauer to have a good stand on life. Whether that requires a God is questionable indeed, since, in a way, the Will is a kind of standard god (lowercase intentional). I'm not sure whether Schopenhauerian is the correct term or not ...
Update: May 14, 2006 @ 9:32 am
One note that didn’t make it into this is that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day appear to be more Hallmark Days than anything, much like Secretary’s Day, and etcetera. These ‘Day’s are only necessary because we forget that these people should be thanked on a regular basis, not for doing their ‘job’, but also for just being who they are - someone close to us, or someone who provides some assistance to us.
Of course, as with Christmas, having a specific day helps draw attention, on a large/national scale. So, there’s some benefit to it, however, too much consumerism is a bad thing - is it better to show how much you appreciate the Secretary by buying her a gift, or do you thank her in other ways?
(Of course, now that the day exists, the Secretary, if smart, will want that material aspect to it, perhaps in the form of a bonus, or better in my opinion, a raise.)
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