“Come One, Come All!” trumpets the headline.
I’m skimming the special calendar section of our local paper and find myself drawn into a description of a holiday spectacular and crafts fair, featuring actors as classic Dickens characters and carolers strolling in Victorian dress as they sing in the season. I am so there!
But then I read the small print: “Revelers (that’s me!), particularly families (uh, wait), are invited to enjoy the festivities.” It’s possible I’m being over-sensitive, but I am so sick and tired of slights like this, and it seems to strike an especially painful chord with me as we approach the holiday season. The “Family Sing-Along” at church. The “Family Pot-Luck” intended to bring coworkers closer together. The “Family Movie Night,” where multiple generations come together to enjoy a touching holiday-themed film. I love love love all of these fun activities, and will participate even though I’m not a 5-year-old, even though I am not part of a “family.” It’s sad to me, though, that my revelry is diminished by the sting of not feeling legitimately part of the event, all because of a marketing choice.
While I don’t want to get PC (politically correct) to the point of ridiculousness, I’d like to suggest to the world that there are other ways to welcome everyone without making single and/or childfree people feel…well…unwelcome. “Fun for all ages!” “Something for everyone!” The marketers for the fair had me at “Come One, Come All!” I wish they’d left it at that.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. “Mele Kalikimaka” might be her favorite Christmas carol.
I’ve wondered about this too. In our local community during the summer months they have a street festival every Wednesday night and it is called the Family Festival. I have never attended. Yes, I know, some may say that I am being ‘petty about the title’ I mean, what’s in a name – but the truth of the matter is as some one who doesn’t have a ‘family’ I feel like I am not included. Who ever markets this event is missing out on us DINKS – double income without kids – and our disposable income.
This is a pet peeve of mine too, & not just in relation to the holidays (although it certainly seems more prevalent at this time of year). Advertising is very much geared to families, & to moms — even though, as Kemish says above, those of us without kids probably have even more disposable income to spread around. ; )
Plus, I’m not sure that every occasion needs to be turned into a “family” event. I am seeing more & more of that these days — parents taking their kids to places & events that were once reserved for adults. It’s nice to be inclusive, but I think even parents sometimes appreciate being able to get away from their kids & spend some time in the company of other adults. — Well, some of them, maybe. I have heard of some parents who absolutely will not leave their children with anyone else under any circumstances — not even relatives, let alone (heaven forbid) a teenaged babysitter. But that’s probably another post entirely…!