Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Your Friday Yes, Sort Of: Make Your Own Holiday

I still haven't gotten my shit together well enough to make an actual video, but I really wanted to talk about this idea before Christmas. So here's a text version of Your Friday Yes. Um, on Wednesday.

This week, say yes to........MAKING YOUR OWN HOLIDAY! 

My life experiences have not lent themselves well to enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes I can muster up the spirit of the occasion(s), but usually not. Usually I'm Grinching and Humbugging like crazy.

I hate flying, because it gives me migraines; I can't stand forced fun; I don't especially love turkey. I don't have a very large family, and I remember spending very few holidays with a crowd of loved ones around a big, warm table. Nothing about the holidays is particularly special to me.

I married into a crowd of loved ones around a big, warm table, a crowd that cooks well and travels better, a crowd that talks enthusiastically about their high-achieving lives and loves holidays and adores spending time together.

I was totally confused for my first few years with this family.

Later, I got more accustomed to them and their way of doing the holidays, but the truth is, my enjoyment of The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year has remained limited. For me the holidays are always wrapped in mummy layers of misery-making travel, uncomfortable clothes, feeling transcendentally stuck, money issues, problematic get the idea. And the thing that I always tell people (who kind of raise their eyebrows at me in reply) is that when I'm out in the world during November and December I can feel the tension in the air, the thick soup of everyone else's holiday stress pressing against my corneas and eardrums and tongue, and it makes me ill.

The desire is always just to opt out. Not to buy presents for people, but to give them calls and emails and cards instead. Not to sit through large, interminable family dinners in pantyhose, but to invite over a pair or a quartet of beloveds and chill out in our pajamas and eat waffles and read books instead. Not to wax politic about Jesus and/or Santa and/or [fill in the blank], not to listen to "The Little Drummer Boy" every damn year, not to drink too much and sit in the corner with an overlarge slice of pie. No. To, instead, make my own holiday.

And this year, I did.

Or, rather, we did. Because we have flown to the east coast an average of twice a year in the three years since we moved west, and that is too much flying for my oversensitive self, Matt and I decided that in 2015 we were taking a break from coast-to-coast flying. That meant that we were probably going to spend the holidays alone. Which was sad, because we love our families very much.

But I was secretly hoping it was going to be sort of great. I didn't really want to miss a week of work, arrange for someone to check in on the apartment, or (perhaps most crucially) put on pantyhose.

I wanted to sit at home in my underwear and read books and not go out into the shrieking maw of Christmas shoppers.

And that is exactly what we did for Thanksgiving, and exactly what we plan to do for Christmas. No presents. No turkey. Our heater broke, but we bought a Vornado so we didn't have to put on sweaters and could maintain the underwear status quo.

If you are a holidays-lover, I commend you, and clasp you in my heart. Truly. I am so happy that there are people like you out there, and I'm happy for your joy. But if you, like me, kind of can't stand the holidays and wish that you could spend the 60 days from Halloween to New Year's in a medically induced coma, rather than being conscious and therefore forced to participate in HOLIDAY CHEER, GODDAMMIT, try opting out.

It might sound like it's impossible, because other people want you to do stuff, and society expects you to do stuff, and you may encounter some raised eyebrows. But so what? Society's expectations just don't matter. Your family's (or your chosen family's) love is what matters, and if that love is dependent on you stuffing yourself into pantyhose and drinking too much in a corner, it is not love that deserves reciprocation.

I feel bad that I didn't buy presents for anyone this year, but I don't think anyone feels less loved or remembered by me. (If you do, see above. It's not you, it's me.) I think people who love you want you to be happy. If you think they don't feel that way, ask them and see. Just...see what happens! Make your own holiday and see what happens. Seasonal and American pressures to conform are rarely stronger than in December, but I am here to tell you, it's possible to walk away from that. It is. If you want to make your own holiday, do it, and if you do it, tell me about it so I can cheer for you.

Take THAT, Claus

Happy Friday (sort of)! Thanks for watching (sort of)! Byyyyyyye!

1 comment:

kiivibo said...

Love love LOVE this entry. It serves as such a powerful reminder to live your life the way you want it. And holidays are definitely the hardest time to do that. Kudos to you, Katharine!