Holidays. Because we can’t be trusted to make our own.

December 7, 2008

I am not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. I am uncomfortable with the concept of annually celebrating the “discovery” of land already inhabited by others, the sharing of smallpox, and the overlying sense of imperiousness. I do, however, believe strongly in tradition and look forward to having a meal with my extended family. Though everyone in my family (sans me) lives in Illinois, family dinners and get-togethers are rare. Without the label of “Thanksgiving” we wouldn’t normally all convene on the fourth Thursday of November. We need the label to sustain the tradition, and I suspect many other families are the same.

There are aspects of Christmas I like, certainly the childish greed I still harbor and the gift receiving is a list topper, as is the candlelight Christmas Eve service at my parent’s church, and again the family meals. From watching my dog romp in the snow to sitting in the living room with only the tree lights on in the room, I thoroughly enjoy (most) aspects of Christmas. Many people say the “true” meaning of the holiday is gone, but I don’t think it disappeared so much as evolved. Yes, the religious meaning has lessened, but I think it morphed into something more personal. It became a day that families gather, some, like me for one of the two times a year I even see my family. Without the holiday excuse we’d all be working on the 25th, ensconced in our daily lives and treating one less day a year as special.

A lot of people consider holidays to be “greeting card” fabricated, and I don’t deny that consumerism (at least in better economies) runs rampant. For me, especially as a single woman with no attachments, holidays give me something to look forward to. Maybe I’m looking toward a big family meal, or just a random Monday off work, but it’s a diversion from the repetition of daily life, and I welcome those, no matter what the reason.

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