The other day The Dancing Professor wrote about her ongoing concerns, perhaps issues is a better word, regarding holiday commitments with her husbands family. She asked her readers to weigh in on their own woes, or joys, centered on family and holiday time spent together.
I mentioned that my own days of up and down decisions with this topic might just warrant my own post as my answer to her could inevitably become rather drawn out.
While TDP has very legitimate concerns, I believe, regarding spending time with folks that she has a fundamental difference of viewpoint on surrounding topics like women, and race, and religion, and politics, and society, my own desire to avoid all things holiday comes mostly in the fact that I just don’t get jazzed about all the extraneous stuff and nonsense surrounding this time. I have however, compiled a list of some of the reasons why ‘the holidays’ are quickly becoming a thing I just don’t do.
- Commercialization. I cannot and will not abide the commercialism that has turned four separate days into an endless parade of glitter and glitz and overpriced crap from late August through the middle of January.
- Due to some sort of ongoing banishment by some extended family members towards other extended family members, our immediate family has forgone any real, large celebrations for years. This is, by far, okay on so many levels. It also avoids much of what TDP is concerned about.
- We eat very differently and while it can be done, I suspect that no one is especially glad to anticipate making the carnivores, the gluten and dairy free folk, the vegetarians, and the multi-level alcohol consumers happy every year.
- The level of commitment to other celebrations. I swore that I would never make any of my children/their families feel obliged to participate in an annual get-together around any holiday. Lest it be forgotten, spouses have families of their own and perhaps would not find it amusing to have a specific date set in stone that must never be changed or questioned or denied. I see my family often. I do not find a need to monopolize a specific day. When it works, we get together rather that comes with a holiday associated or not.
- We have no formal, spiritual ties to these celebratory days. We long ago gave up any ties to Wicca or dancing naked in the forest to celebrate changing seasons. Let it be said- we could easily read any number of conflicting, and negative social incursions into the celebration of Thanksgiving. Besides, I just spent the entire month of October on gratitude. Views on religion and belief, or lack-there-of, allow most of us to disregard what many believe to be the true meaning of Christmas. Also, see #1. New Years…I can’t drink enough to make it worthwhile to bar hop, nor can I stay awake past 9 PM, so who cares that when I wake up our world will be another year older.
- The desire to see my children and their families make their own traditions. There are young children, new marriages, and a single woman who would rather celebrate Festivus if forced to celebrate anything during this time. These individuals all need to have the opportunity to find their own way and create their own memories. I have had my turn.
- A strong desire to simply be quiet, and alone, and reflect on whatever I may want to reflect upon without being told that I must reflect at all.
So, this year is a landmark. We are taking the necessary steps to simply not plan anything. We can be where we want to be, with who we want to be with. We can be alone if we choose. We can visit or ignore. We will come or go or stay. We will see who we see and be happy, but we will not be sad or mad if we see no one because we know they will be happy in what they have chosen to do and who they have chosen to be with. We will eat what we want or nothing at all if that seems correct.
I, for one, am already anticipating quite a nice end to this holiday season with this new found, non-obligatory observance.