By Jesse Stilwell, November 7 2017 —
Holiday celebrations and promotions should not begin until after Remembrance Day. Businesses and people who “get into the holiday spirit” before our sombre day of honouring veterans disrespect the importance of Nov. 11.
Remembrance Day is incredibly valuable. It should not be ignored like Family Day and Valentine’s Day often are. Remembrance Day honours the thousands of civilians who gave everything so we can walk freely and have our rights protected. The least we can do as a society is hold off on celebrating our end-of-year celebrations. Partake in a moment of silence. Wear a poppy. Go to a service. Just don’t celebrate something else before this day or instead of it.
Businesses that offer holiday discounts and blast Christmas music into crowded malls immediately after Halloween incentivize people to treat the statutory holiday of Remembrance Day as a time to indulge in materialistic aspects of the holidays too early. This is incredibly distasteful. It’s ridiculous to imagine that it’s appropriate to spend this day thinking about any other holiday. Holiday shopping can wait — the malls will still be open on Nov. 12.
It’s also inappropriate to say you can somehow celebrate both of these holidays at the same time. There’s no balance to be struck. It doesn’t matter how much someone “loves Christmas” or that they think celebrating their preferred holiday must start two months early. Remembrance Day is a federally recognized holiday for a reason. It means a lot to veterans to know that their sacrifice mattered and that people will not forget them or the other soldiers who died on the battlefield. We must respect them and the sacrifices they made.
I’m not calling for policies or laws to be created to coerce people into sitting at home all day on Nov. 11. It’s simply disrespectful and distasteful for anyone to start celebrating another holiday before this very important one has its chance to be at the forefront. It shouldn’t be socially acceptable to go straight from Halloween excitement to the next celebration when Remembrance Day is only two weeks after Oct. 31. We should make the conscious choice to curb our enthusiasm and save our holiday cheer until at least Nov. 12.
If it weren’t for our veterans, life would be very different. Some people wouldn’t have the freedom to celebrate their holidays at all. Holiday celebrations are fun and make people happy but they are not a reason to forego honouring the people who died so we can decorate our homes and play cheesy music two months before the actual holiday. For now, do things like donate to a veteran’s food drive, call your relative who served in a war or put an extra loonie in a poppy collection bin. Do anything but celebrate a different holiday.