Life: Holidays

Happy Fourth of July!  I hope everyone has fun and relaxing plans for their Fourth of July celebrations.  Those of you not in the U.S., I hope you’re having a wonderful day, regardless.

I am fortunate enough to have today off, which doesn’t always happen.  Most holidays involve some time at work.  Usually an abbreviated day, but not an entire day off.  Today, I get the wonderful luxury of doing whatever I want all day.

Now, ideally I would be spending the day doing all the relaxing and enjoyable things that I don’t usually get to do, but I’ve spent my morning so far doing work that I haven’t been able to attend to for the last week.  Part of the problem here is that I have been procrastinating and part of the problem is that there are simply not enough hours in the day most days.

Lately, I realize how important it is to actually celebrate holidays and take the time to reflect, relax, and connect with people that are important to us.  That’s what holidays were meant to be originally, but as we’ve gotten more wired and sped up the pace of life, we frequently neglect to celebrate or even acknowledge holidays.  I’m certainly guilty of this.

Growing up my family didn’t pay too much attention to most holidays, but we did have some things that we did every year for certain holidays.  As I grew older we lost more and more of the ritual things we did for those holidays.  Some were simple things like putting up the cardboard cutouts of goofy looking pumpkins in our windows for Halloween and others were a little more involved like dragging the fake tree out of the attic to decorate for Christmas.

As we slowly stopped doing those things, I didn’t notice the loss too much and I was more relieved that there was less thinking and effort involved.  I was glad that I didn’t need to stand outside with chattering teeth and freezing fingers helping my mom string up Christmas lights and decorate the front of the house.  I also told myself that I was being kinder to the planet by not wasting electricity on frivolous decorating.

These days though I miss those rituals as simple as they might be.  I miss being excited to find my favorite pumpkin cutout that had a fuzzy size that I liked to rub with my hand as I put it up in the window.  (I always put the fuzzy side on the size facing away from the window because I didn’t want that side to fade.)  It’s a small thing, but it helped mark the passage of time and the celebration of autumn and a funny holiday called Halloween.

As I start to have a little more control over my time, I’d like to go back to having rituals for holidays.  Maybe not every single holiday, but having some traditions feels grounding and is a good way to take a step back from the rush of life.

What do you think?  How do you celebrate holidays?  Do you have any traditions that you like?

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