Is This Any Way To Observe Presidents Day?

We better hope that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have a sense of humor, because one of the ways in which we honor them on Presidents Day is by invoking their memory to sell us stuff.

Thumbing through the Washington Post this morning, I was struck by the number of advertisements using Presidents Day as a sales gimmick.

"PRESIDENTS DAY BLOWOUT!" screams one ad promising 30 percent off gas logs and fireplaces.

Another ad for replacement windows pays tribute to the father of our country by proclaiming "We cannot tell a lie. The savings are amazing!"

One local store dealing in rugs offered "Free padding, free delivery and free appraisals" because of Presidents Day.

Using a picture of Mt. Rushmore and the four U.S. presidents immortalized in stone, Stein Mart offered "Extra Savings Today Only." They're marking Presidents Day with a "Red Dot Sale" promising 50-75 percent off designated merchandise.

I saw ads for fur sales, mattress sales and a plethora of furniture sales – all pegged to Presidents Day.

One store dealing in musical instruments put pianos on sale and advertised it with a caricature of George Washington in black-tie-and-tails seated at a baby grand.

The only ad I saw that seemed an appropriate use of George Washington's image was one for courses at a local school of business. What made it appropriate is that the school is part of George Washington University.

Happily, a number of businesses decided to advertise their wares without the help of any former U.S. president. An ad for the Boston Medical Group made no references to any our founding fathers in trumpeting its treatments for erectile dysfunction.

Nor did an outfit called Maid Brigade mention President Washington or President Lincoln it its ad for housekeeping services – though it is still offering $50 off as its Valentine's Day special. (We'll deal with advertising abuse of Cupid next year.)

And though we all call this Presidents Day or President's Day or Presidents' Day, under federal law it remains George Washington's Birthday. (If you don't believe me, check Sec 6103(a) of Title V of the U.S. Code.)

No matter what you call it, happy shopping day – and thank your U.S. presidents for the savings.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.