Today is Cyber Monday — the online version of Black Friday — leading us to wonder if there's any day in November or December without some bullshit holiday benchmark attached to it. After the jump, eight more offenders.
Halloween: All Bullshit's Eve
The last trick-or-treating doorbell is also the starting pistol for news stories about how early "the holidays" are beginning these days. Said stories correspond with advertisers' exhortations to get your shopping done early, and to decorate your home with things like cardboard maple leaves and shellacked ears of inedible corn.
Nov. 20: The Feast of the Weight-Loss Tips
This "feast" is actually celebrated throughout the year, but kicks into high gear a few days before Thanksgiving with advice on keeping off "those holiday pounds." Women's magazines run articles on how to replace something good with something less good (want marshmallows? try something that's not marshmallows!), while every other media outlet stuffs the eyes and ears with food porn. Celebrate this holiday with a traditional snack of rice cakes layered with pure suet.
Day After Thanksgiving: Black Friday
This day is most enthusiastically celebrated in the direct-marketing community. Members of this vibrant culture learn from their mothers and grandmothers how to mix up a delicious batch of junk mail, spiced with exclamation points and sweetened with love. These simple folk delight in sharing their sales, deals, and specials with you — like an iPhone app that tells "recessionistas" where to buy stuff. Today's direct marketers have improved on their ancient customs: holiday shopping isn't just about buying stuff anymore, it's about buying stuff that helps you buy more stuff.
Monday After Thanksgiving: Cyber Monday
Sadly, Cyber Monday is not the day for "cyber sex with a guy named eric" (except insofar as every day is). Rather, this celebration was launched in 2005 to commemorate the noble tradition of spending money without interacting with other people. The term Cyber Monday was coined by the National Retail Foundation, whose website CyberMonday.com advertises can't-miss deals like a "Free signature iPhone case with $250 Marc by Marc Jacobs purchase at Saks.com!" Apparently "It has been postulated that through mainstream media adoption of the term, combined with retailers hoping to drive more traffic to their sites, that the "Gimmick" of Cyber Monday could become a "Real Trend"." The foregoing is one of the most depressing sentences I have ever read on Wikipedia, and possibly anywhere.
Day After Cyber Monday: Downer Tuesday
This is the day when news outlets report the decline in holiday retail sales since the glory days of the debt bubble, and consumers feel bad for how little they bought. This holiday is a lot like Mardi Gras, and should be celebrated similarly — with unbridled consumption. Go buy a Zhu Zhu hamster — hell, buy ten. Hamsters eat their young, so you might need a couple extra.
Sometime Around December 5: St. Abstemius's Day
St. Abstemius was the patron saint of toothless cultural criticism, and his feast day is the time when newspaper commentators bemoan the overcommercialization of the holiday season. Traditionally, the oldest girl in the household spends this day making gifts for everyone else out of old wrapping paper, bottle caps, and her own hair. Then she sprinkles the family's shoes with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and bile. Then everyone goes out and buys more stuff.
December 20: Panic Day
Those who celebrate Hanukkah will be all done as of this day (at least in 2009), but the fun is just beginning for Christians and other worshippers at the Church of Christmas Shit-Buying. Panic Day is marked by increasingly obtrusive warnings about the amount of time before Christmas, and by a corresponding decrease in the availability of anything anyone would actually want to buy. Celebrate this day by purchasing a talking bottle opener for someone you mildly dislike.
December 25: The Climax of Consumption
Americans open their gifts and, just as the prophets of advertising promised, they are completely, ecstatically happy.
December 26: Boxing Day
Cyber Monday [Wikipedia]