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holidays, traditions, rituals
Old 09-10-2007, 10:35 PM   #1
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holidays, traditions, rituals

Linking together the threads on early Christmas hype and displaying flags:

Over the years I have found myself participating less and less in various observances.

I just don't care. When I had an SO, I would participate in but not organize events/celebrations.

I noticed some here do/feel the same.

I don't even do solstice or birthday anymore.

It just seems like another job.

A coworker: "You don't do Christmas! Why not?"

Answer: "I don't have to."

Even as a child I just played along to keep my parents happy; they understood and didn't require more than minimal participation.

The day or so after a holiday IS a good time to hit the grocery store for leftovers/specials.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:46 PM   #2
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:09 AM   #3
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I don't do holidays either, partly because I would rather put the money into my ER nestegg than buy decorations, and partly because I just feel no need to decorate and cook when nobody even sees my house or eats there but me (and sometimes Frank).

I haven't done Christmas since I was married and in the "mommy" role. Now, Frank and I drive around and look at the Christmas lights. That's about it. We stop by to see his family for an hour or so on Christmas Day, and get out of there as fast as we can. We don't do birthdays, except to go to a restaurant - - but we eat out a lot, so that is a lot like just mentioning it at dinner, more than anything.

Maybe this is a result of living alone, enjoying my solitude, and not doing any entertaining the rest of the year either.

Or maybe this is because I have seen Christmas through the eyes of my daughter when she was little, and nothing can approach the wonder and glee of a little child on Christmas morning. Not being a child, there isn't much point to it for me.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:03 AM   #4
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Interesting. Since we moved out to the country, we quit doing our big New Years Eve party and started having one in February/March instead, when there isn't much going on. We quit putting up a Christmas tree about 2005, I guess, and it is really nice not to have to deal with it. Both our birthdays are in December, and we usually pick out something we both want and get it for a combo. We give books to the niece and nephews and money in their UTMAs.

We are always driving on Christmas, since DHs Mom lives in NC and makes a ridiculous fuss over the holiday, even though there are no kids in the family.

We do like seeing my bro and sis's kids in their excitement at my mom and dad's house for a few hours on Christmas Eve, then are very relieved to go home to the undecorated house!
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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A coworker: "You don't do Christmas! Why not?"

Answer: "I don't have to."
That's hilarious.

It's weird, my wife and I are seen as social miscreants by our families because we don't splurge for huge gifts on birthdays or Christmas. They just don't understand. On our anniversaries (we've only had two), we have a deal where we have to "make" something for the other one. I usually write a story for her and she'll make me a frame with a picture and a card. So, I guess we do celebrate the holidays, but we don't do the decorations and we do it on our terms. On Valentine's day we don't do Hallmark cards, chocolates and balloons. We have to make a card and we do surf and turf night at the house.

We definitely have traditions and I like that. I like it mostly because they are our traditions and no one else's, which means if we don't like it we don't do it.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:58 AM   #6
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We don't celebrate Christmas so we made our own family tradition of going to the movies on Christmas Day. The side of the family that does celebrate Christmas is 1500 miles away and the side of the family that is close is Jewish, so that solves that one.

When the kids were little we tried to do a some Hannukah, some Christmas and it was all too much. It felt like someone else's holidays, like we were doing it for other people, who weren't even here! Instead, we made our own tradition of trading gifts on Winter Solstice. No religion involved, it's just an excuse for gifts. And we go out for dinner. We keep within a very reasonable budget. As the boys got older the gifts changed to gift cards or cash or money to help them out with a purchase. A few years ago we went without any gifts at all and went on a vacation instead. We all liked that option a lot and may be doing it again this year.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:05 AM   #7
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When I moved from Europe to the US in the mid 80s I found the commercialization of the holidays overwhelming. I have never been "into" them in a big way and usually offer to work those days (because in healthcare somebody has to). It would be different if I had kids.

Speaking of holidays, Rosh Hashanah starts on Thursday. Happy Hoildays to all my Jewish friends!
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:05 AM   #8
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We don't celebrate Christmas so we made our own family tradition of going to the movies on Christmas Day. The side of the family that does celebrate Christmas is 1500 miles away and the side of the family that is close is Jewish, so that solves that one.

When the kids were little we tried to do a some Hannukah, some Christmas and it was all too much. It felt like someone else's holidays, like we were doing it for other people, who weren't even here! Instead, we made our own tradition of trading gifts on Winter Solstice. No religion involved, it's just an excuse for gifts. And we go out for dinner. We keep within a very reasonable budget. As the boys got older the gifts changed to gift cards or cash or money to help them out with a purchase. A few years ago we went without any gifts at all and went on a vacation instead. We all liked that option a lot and may be doing it again this year.
Similar situation, though we are not as far along in developing alternatives as you are. My family (Jewish) is horrified that we do not practice. My DH's family is here in FL, but we have little contact. My DH can't decide what he wants. We tried doing both, then tried no Christmas to let us do Hannukah, but we really didn't do that either and he felt like he was "missing something". Last year he was struggling, so I "decorated" one of our silk ficus trees for him on Christmas eve.

We do a small amount of gifts on or about these dates. The timing is good, since the kids' birthday is in the summer. By Dec, they generally have outgrown bikes or developed a new hobby or something.

I like the idea of a small vacation, maybe I'll bring up that suggestion this year. It would fit with our non-traditional approach, since we tent camp at the beach for Thanksgiving each year.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:10 PM   #9
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OK, I’ll risk expressing my warm and fuzzy side here: I have dear dear friends who are now 92 and 82. Considering I’m an atheist, I particularly look forward to their annual card and even the god-awful tract that falls out of it, reminding me to remember the true meaning of Christmas (which BTY does not contradict the meaning of atheism). These are the same dear ones who insulted the memory of my mom by claiming that she could not have died in peace. I miss cards from many many friends and relatives who are already gone. I bought something the other day that will go up on my door the week before X-mas; its sort of home decorating and a way to share with neighbors.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:36 PM   #10
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I admit I am too lazy to do much Christmas decorating, though I respect those who do. I free ride on the efforts and spending of people in my neighborhood who go all out.

Also, I rode on my ex's energy around Christmas to make really nice things for the kids. Like many, I suppose I got Grinched out because of early negative experiences, but if given some direction I was good at getting in the spirit. Much more a brave than a chief..

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Old 09-11-2007, 01:49 PM   #11
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I enjoy the festivities of all the various holidays (baking, cooking, decorating - nothing grand or overboard by any stretch, party planning, etc) No holiday rates going over my budget! It is nice to develop personal traditions as time goes on.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:21 PM   #12
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If the Grinch gives the toys back to the Who's again this Christmas, I am never going to watch that show again.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:04 PM   #13
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If the Grinch gives the toys back to the Who's again this Christmas, I am never going to watch that show again.
I'm hoping that I can score a boxed DVD set of the "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" video series, complete with director's-cut endings, hilarious outtakes, and the Ken Burns documentary on the making of the series...

We celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas but it's for our kid. When she was younger she'd spend hours on the hoopla but as a cool sophisticated teenager she barely has time to pull the tree out of the box and plug it in, let alone put up the decorations. So we do it as much as she wants to. Our only issues are the gift-exchange angst among her friends and the thank-you notes.

I really enjoy reading people's holiday letters, although not necessarily for the reasons they wrote them, but it's hard to get around to writing our own. Our holiday responses are more like Valentine's or St. Patrick's Day letters.

She's been maudlin that Grandma won't visit to supply the holiday dinner marshmallow-yam side dish. So we'll teach her how to make it for herself...

Don't care much about other holidays.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:32 PM   #14
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Wow. This is a crusty bunch.

My family never did a great deal at Christmas, tree & presents was about it. But DW is INTO IT! Presents for everyone, young and old. The new house has a 9-foot ceiling, so-o-o now we have a 9-foot tree. I'll admit that it sparks up the season. Since I sing in the choir at church, music defines it for me as we prepare and present an annual Christmas Cantata. This is new to me, but I enjoy being involved. Also we get together with various relatives on different dates during the holiday period. Always good to see family, even those I'm not that fond of somehow. And it seems that there are more parties than we can get to for a few weeks.

Other holidays, not so much. Flag goes up on the 4th of July. Used to play in the community band, but I gave that up when I got too busy.

Easter is more music at church with full instrumentation et al. and big dinner afterward.

Thanksgiving is a cook-for-days and eat-til-you pop affair. Since I love to eat, this one is good. Although, only one parent is living now, so I don't know how this will age down the road.

A LBYM budget would take quite a hit due to all this. But since DW lives for the social interaction and festivities, I just put it in the budget. Most likely always will. For someone like me who grew up with far less passion for the holidays, I find the excitement contagious.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:54 PM   #15
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I hate putting up Christmas decorations simply because I hate taking them down. So, for the last couple of years I hardly put out anything except plunking down a couple of Santa figurines on a couple of tables. I don't have any surviving close relatives other than my husband's family. We have always gathered at my husband's parent's house along with his brothers and their families on Christmas Eve. Now, that my husband has died, my daughter and I still were included last Christmas Eve...same as always. I figure that as long as my mother-in-law is still able/living, I will be included. I'm not very close to my husband's brothers and their families, so, some day, I probably will just spend the holidays by myself or with my daughter.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:52 PM   #16
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Our kid gets a full plate of both Japanese and American holidays/events: Oshogatsu, Setsubun, Valentine's Day, Hina Matsuri, White Day, Tanabata,
Obon, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and back to Oshogatsu. Plus the occasional visit from the Tooth Fairy, one-offs like Shichi-Go-San, and probably others I'm forgetting right now. Life'll get dull when the reason for most of these things grows up and moves out, though maybe we'll appreciate the chance to rest by then.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:16 PM   #17
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For Christmas we decorate inside and out! Not overboard....but tastefully (IMHO). We put up a tree and decorate it, and hang up a few other decorations throughout the house. And I put up a spiral 'tube light' tree in the back garden, and an illuminated snowman on the front porch along with a couple of wreaths on the porch railings. We usually go to church for the Christmas Eve candle-light service. Mom and I exchange a couple of gifts with each other, and then just watch TV. (Last Christmas I gave Mom a new color printer, and she gave me a wide-screen LCD TV.) Then we go to the Masonic Temple for their free community roast beast beef dinner!!

We also take a Christmas vacation to Branson, Nashville, or San Antonio, to see shows and enjoy festivities....and good food!!!

Other holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Halloween) we put up a few (very few) decorations....but not much. And on Thanksgiving we do the full blown T-giving turkey dinner at home! YUM!!! On Easter we go to the local Knights of Columbus hall for a free community ham dinner....along with a few hundred others!!!

Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veterans Day we go to the park downtown for the ceremonies performed by the local veteran's organizations, civic groups, and school kids.

For birthdays we go out for dinner and give each other a B-day card....we keep it pretty simple. Usually no gifts.

We also send out Christmas cards, and a few birthday cards.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:23 PM   #18
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When I was a kid, Christmas was my favorite holiday followed by Halloween and Easter. We lived in a small town, family members lived close by and there were plenty of cousins to play with. My grandparents lived there so on Christmas and Thanksgiving, we would all gather for the big meal. In my memory, those were some fine times.

Now, the older folks have passed on and the rest are scattered around the US. We visit our parents on Thanksgiving but stay home at Christmas because of nasty weather conditions.

As each year goes by, we do less and less on those special days. I try to convince myself that this is just the way we want it. No muss, no fuss.

I'm still trying to convince myself of that.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:15 AM   #19
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Our kid gets a full plate of both Japanese and American holidays/events: Oshogatsu, Setsubun, Valentine's Day, Hina Matsuri, White Day, Tanabata,
Obon, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and back to Oshogatsu. Plus the occasional visit from the Tooth Fairy, one-offs like Shichi-Go-San, and probably others I'm forgetting right now. Life'll get dull when the reason for most of these things grows up and moves out, though maybe we'll appreciate the chance to rest by then.
Need a holiday from holidays?
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:33 AM   #20
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Walked into the lobby of the building I w*rk in this morning - Our security staff has placed a few halloween-y and fall decorations up (scarecrows, etc)...nothing overboard Made me smile Fall is here!!
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