Monday, May 9, 2016

Can We Bring the Holidays Down a Notch? NO!

Shortly after St. Patrick's day a friend posted a link on facebook to a Huffington Post article. I read the article and my emotions went through the roof. I couldn't disagree more with the writer. I refrained from commenting on my friend's link because clearly she did agree with the article and there was no use in my disagreeing with her in type. Then I saw a few other posts on facebook with very similar messages. I've thought long and hard about this topic: Can We Bring the Holidays Down a Notch? and I still completely disagree with the article.
The article begins: This past Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday I had completely forgotten about until my oldest stumbled out of bed and into the living room at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night while we were watching SNL.  “Can I help you guys hide the gold coins?” he asked. The WHAT?  “The gold coins. I know the leprechauns aren’t real. I know it’s you, like Santa. So I want to help you. I can make the leprechaun trap, too.” 
We told him to go to bed and then looked at each other with exasperation. Gold coins? A leprechaun trap? Is he serious?  When I was a kid we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing something green. THE END. I had noticed that over the past few years, our kids were getting some grander ideas from school. But I didn’t think that we needed to replicate these experiences at home. 
Apparently, the children believed that we did.

Even though I really like St. Patrick's Day I see what she's saying but she continues by complaining about Christmas, and valentines day, and the list goes on. It seems that one of her main complaints is that "someone decided... that you have to..." But that's where you've got it wrong tired momma. Clearly she is exhausted. Most of us are. It sounds like she does not enjoy Elf on the Shelf, Advent calendars, and elaborate Valentine's gifts. I get it. Those things aren't fun for her. But then why is she doing them? And why do her children think that her family "needs" to do what all the other families are supposedly doing?

If nothing else holiday's should be about tradition and making memories. We never had much money growing up. The first Christmas after my parent's divorced we were one of "those" families, you know the ones that people sponsor. Strangers came to our house with all kinds of food and really strange gifts because... well I'm not sure why. I don't think my mom signed us up somewhere. She is a very proud woman. If she did sign us up that just goes to show how much it meant to her that holiday's were special for us.

Every Christmas we got to open our stocking from Santa (even though my mom raised us not believing in Santa but just saying it was a fun story) first thing when we woke up. The other gifts had to wait until everyone in the house was awake but the stockings first thing in the morning were an awesome tradition for us. For our birthday's my mom always had balloons waiting at the chair at the head of the table when we woke up and she always baked us a homemade cake. Valentines day usually greeted us with a few chocolates at the table in each of our places (except the year when our dog ate all our treats while we were all sleeping). And at Easter my mom always did a scavenger hunt for our baskets. Those scavenger hunts have left lasting memories that my siblings and I deeply cherish.

My mom didn't spent much on our holiday traditions but she made every holiday really special. The same goes here. I really try to bring holiday's up a notch (as opposed to the article's title) and I do not spend much in doing so. Children grow up SO fast. Traditions, memory making, and special days of childhood will soon be in the past. I think if I were just trying my hardest to keep up with everyone else's traditions then I'd be cranky too but holiday's shouldn't be about that.

The biggest problem I have with the article is the way it implies that she feels there are all these requirements of holidays. Holiday traditions are special because they are so unique between families and cultures. I don't like the idea of children (or adults) thinking that they need to do what everyone else is doing. I like to believe that if you have your own special traditions and you've raised your kids with such they wouldn't be throwing a fit about not waking up to gold coins on St. Patrick's Day. If they feel otherwise then sit them down and tell them right now, "that's now how we celebrate this holiday," or even "we don't celebrate this holiday." Don't tell me to celebrate less emphatically because you can't keep up. You're the mom to your kids and I'm going to be the mom to mine.

I don't do Elf on the Shelf and never will. We won't ever make bunny tracks in the front lawn for Easter. We don't celebrate Halloween at our house. We have a Thanksgiving tree (I don't know anyone else that does that) but I can't imagine writing an article that says, stop celebrating your way because it makes my kids want more. Come on! There are just so many things wrong with that... okay, I've gotten that off my chest.

Instead of trying to bring the holidays down a notch can we please stop comparing ourselves to everyone else, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, stand firm in our own traditions, and make every day just a little bit special somehow for our children whose childhood's are flashing before our very eyes? I know you're tired. I am too.


  1. I will agree with the article if the writer is talking about the crass commercialization of holidays, but the celebrating? I am all in favor or celebrating however each and every one of celebrates. If for one person it is a small calm celebration that is great. Equally great are the over the top celebrations. (I fall somewhere in the middle and that is great too!)

    1. Yeah, the over commercialization can stop. Totally agree! But I didn't get any of that out of the article.

      She ended with this: "Fellow parents... teachers... sunday school workers... I beseech you. BRING IT DOWN A NOTCH. Ya’ll are setting up expectations that I just can’t maintain. Wouldn’t we all be just a little happier if we returned to the slacker days of store-bought valentines and kit-dyed eggs and JUST WEARING A GREEN SHIRT AND CALLING IT A DAY?"

      That's not a call for less commercialization. She just wants a break from "having" to keep up with everyone else.

  2. I'm comfortable with everyone doing what works for them. In our case, St. Patrick's Day is Nick's birthday, so we celebrate "him", and all wear green. ;-) For the other days, we have some traditions. Valentine's Day we always spend with family, because it always falls on a long weekend before Sam's birthday & we travel together. That may change this year. But, I have Valentine's plates that I use for the meals, and I buy M a card. He sometimes gets me chocolates. That's pretty much it.

    We do celebrate the 4th of July (small town 4th of July parade. And margaritas & a family barbecue). We don't celebrate Memorial Day. yes to Easter with something small & fun (this year, we had a few gifts in the yard). Thanksgiving? Eh? It's about us all being together. We'll be in Hawaii this year.

    As you can see, we're flexible. I love family time, and love holidays, because it typically means we're spending time together. I could care less what others do, and we will continue to do what works best for us.