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Spend & Save

Alice-Azania Jarvis: I steer well clear of 'occasions' that are little more than cash cows

In The Red

So, not for the first time, I've had some complaints – not, however, so much about what I've written, as about what I haven't. Specifically, to the apparent annoyance of at least three of you, I forgot to mention Father's Day. I know, I know: how could I, right? Especially after chronicling the various personal crises brought on by every other minor celebration, be it Valentine's, Easter, Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day... you name it, I've had a problem with it.

But not Father's Day. The thing is, it's never been something the Jarvis family celebrates – not because of any particular failings on my Dad's part, so much as the fact that my mother wouldn't let us.

Father's Day, she has always maintained, is a classic example of that famous conspiracy between card manufacturers and husbands, a blatant attempt between the two to find an excuse to boost their own popular credentials, worthy – in my Mum's opinion, at any rate – of little more than scorn: new-fangled, phoney, an affront to the far more noble institution of Mother'sDay.

On reflection, this seems a little unfair – and possibly a regime made feasible only by my father's absolute indifference to such things (and when I say "indifference", I don't mean that sort of faux-modest "oh-you-don't-need-to-get-me-a-card" routine, I mean a complete and utter absence of interest, to the point of being entirely oblivious to such frivolities' existence, despite extended TV and radio advertising campaigns, supermarket placards and magazine spreads on the subject).

But if it's a more rational explanation you're after, I point you in the direction of my previously-discussed Occasion Classification System. Father's Day is without doubt a "borderline occasion", which is to say, not a holiday of the first order (c/f Christmas), or even the next best thing (Easter, Mother's Day, familial birthdays).

The thing is, where every other holiday has at least a vaguely plausible origin story, we all know that Father's Day only came about because some guy in a boardroom thought, "Hey, we earn some money on Mother's Day, why not have a Father's Day so we can earn a lot more?"

This, surely, is sufficient reason to boycott it entirely. When an occasion is dreamed up purely for the sake of money-spinning, the only prudent thing to do is avoid it at all costs.

As it happens I did, at least, stop by my parents; and wish Dad well. "Happy Father's Day!" I called as I arrived. "What?" said Dad. "Um... nothing." Some things, as they say, are best left unsaid.