We rarely celebrate holidays.
There, I said it. It’s Christmas day and our plans consist of going to a local park, hanging out, maybe hit the hot tub later. Have a glass or two of wine.
In short, today is no different than any other day.
We weren’t always holiday non-celebrators. Early in our relationship, Shelly and I enthusiastically celebrated holidays. We put up the Christmas tree, exchanged presents, and attended Christmas parties. We did the same for Easter, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving.
Eventually things began to change, though. On the surface, it would seem we lost our “holiday spirit.” In reality, the opposite occurred. We started questioning the logic of changing our behaviors a few days each year.
Why should we only eat turkey and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? Why should we only feel compelled to give during the holiday season? Why should we only dress up in goofy (or slutty) costumes on Hallow’s Eve? Why should we reserve overt affection and romantic gestures for Vantentine’s Day?
That thought process slowly eroded our desire to participate in holiday celebrations. Eventually we generalized this idea to every aspect of our lives. Why reserve travel and adventure to a finite two week vacation period? That’s the idea that led us to quit our jobs and take the path we’re on right now.
Gift-giving underwent a similar erosion. Historically, humans gave gifts to each other for a variety of reasons. Reciprocity builds society, after all. However, two points made gift-giving undesirable.
First, gifts just add to the material crap we worked hard to eliminate. We don’t need another toaster, flat screen TV, or Clapper. Adding more crap isn’t going to improve our lives in a meaningful way.
Second, gift-giving is often attached to deeper feelings. People often give gifts as a means of showing affection. That’s not a bad thing. However, that idea gets severely warped. The actual gift is usually used as an indicator of the level of love or friendship of the relationship.
Our solution- we rarely give each other gifts. Or greeting cards.
It’s common for people to ask “What did you do for [insert holiday here]?” The answer is tough because the real answer is usually “Nothing out of the ordinary.”
That answer then requires an explanation of the philosophy behind our non-celebration. I haven’t found a diplomatic way of describing the non-celebration without making it offensive to those that DO celebrate any particular holiday. Others typically don’t believe that I really don’t care if they celebrate a holiday or not… I’m not silently judging their decisions. Our decisions don’t make us somehow superior, just different. Just because it works for us doesn’t mean it would work for all.
Anyway, I’m curious about other people’s take on any holiday. Are there others that don’t celebrate holidays? I’m sure all of us have some holidays we don’t celebrate. I don’t recall seeing too many people buying Arbor Day decorations. I’m more curious about the big holidays.