Holidays are really fun for a lot a people, for a lot of different reasons. Some people celebrate with religious intent, some people just use it as an excuse to celebrate. There can be parties and games and gifts involved. There’s usually something to eat and drink, and maybe some drama on the side. Holidays are a reason to get out of work, take a vacation, buy others (or yourself) a gift (or two, or three), take a break, relax, indulge in desserts and maybe a cocktail (or two, or three).
Some holidays mean more to us than others. For example, I don’t personally know anyone who celebrates Flag Day, but when I worked at a bank, I certainly enjoyed the time off. Some holidays are kind of made up, like Black Friday or the Superbowl – not really holidays, but many people are very serious about these days and others like them.
There are the biggies, the federally recognized holidays, the holidays that retailers will set up for months in advance (Christmas decorations at Halloween anyone?) There are the less celebrated, like Arbor Day, or President’s Day. In fact, there were a lot of holidays I didn’t even know existed before I looked up holidays in order to write this blog post. For example, there’s a National Library Workers’ Day, the birthday for several different armed services like the Army, the Coastguard, the Marines, etc., Senior Citizens Day, Day After Christmas Day (an actual holiday observed in four different states) and, of course, the National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day, which sounds really important, but I am also a little nervous to learn more about it.
Side note: If you get a chance to look up all of the holidays recognized/observed/celebrated in America in 2018 it is pretty interesting to see what’s all in there. https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/
I personally do not decorate for any of the holidays, or seasons, or parties, none of the things. I am admittedly a Scrooge. I do not decorate for a couple of different reasons, however, without reliving my childhood trauma in this blog post, the main reason I do not decorate is simply because I have enough to do already. And I’m guessing you do too.
I saw a meme online the other day that said, “Women are expected to work like we’re not raising children; and raise children like we don’t work.” Mind. Blown. I could not get over it. There it was, exactly how I feel about pretty much everything in my life, all the time. But until then I had never seen it put so succinctly, so concisely, so matter of fact. And the truth is, well, that’s the whole truth! As parents we are expected to work as though we don’t have children to raise, and raise our children as though we don’t work. What?! Where do these expectations come from?
Both of my parents worked when I was growing up. And I’m willing to bet yours did too. It is an unfortunate reality in our society and culture that both parents should be able to “do it all.” It’s not just the cost of living, paying bills, putting food on the table, providing insurance for you and your family members, saving for retirement, etc., but it’s also engaging with your children, teaching them to be productive members of society, involving them in extra curriculars, clubs, sports, groups. Not to mention giving back to your community, being a volunteer, teaching your child about conservation and respect for the environment. You also have to make sure they’re doing well in school, or, if you’re choosing to educate your child at home, you have to do all the school things to do too! So, with all of that, on top of working 20-40 hours a week, and all of the other day to day tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning your living space, caring for pets (if you choose to have them), etc. it’s no wonder so many of us are overwhelmed and burned out. And now you’re expected to decorate your house several times throughout the year for various holidays, or at the very least seasonally…. Enough is enough.
I personally have no interest in the Pinterest birthday parties with the made from scratch allergen free birthday cake that’s decorated to reflect your child’s favorite Pixar movie. I mean, I enjoy attending them, but have never felt the desire to host one. Half of the time I’m running around with my head barely attached trying to scramble gifts together and send half-hearted text invites because I honestly lost track of what day it was and forgot my kid’s birthday is next week.
This past year I attempted to decorate for Spring or Easter or whatever but re-considered because my cat ended up eating the window clings that were my half-assed attempt at decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. And by the time I “get around to it” it will most likely be time to bust out the Fall decorations anyway.
I flat out refuse to decorate for Christmas because that will require moving furniture to accommodate a tree that I probably don’t have room for in the first place, and that will also make a delightful indoor gym for the window cling eating cat. And if the cat is climbing the tree then the dog will want to get in on that action as well. We would have to keep all the presents and ornaments out of reach of the toddler, because, well, toddler. And I can already imagine the disco light show my other two kiddos would end up putting on as they argue over who gets to turn the Christmas tree lights on or off that day. Just thinking about how I could possibly do it without having to kid and pet proof it all exhausts me so much that the thought of actually executing it all is beyond my comprehension.
Maybe I’m the only one here who doesn’t decorate. Maybe I’m just the parent with a bad attitude who could probably suck it up to see the look on my kids’ faces as we unpack each box of seasonal decorations and spend a day placing them around our house. Maybe I could get into the spirit of things a little bit more and enjoy the change of scenery that decorations bring every month or so. Maybe decorating would give our family an opportunity to work together as a team and take pride in the finished product. Maybe I could revisit my priorities and add decorating a little bit higher on that list.
Or, maybe I’m just a tired mom who doesn’t need one more thing to do. I used to feel guilty about not decorating. And mostly for the reasons I just mentioned. It would give us family time, and I know my kids would probably enjoy it. It would be nice to look at some festive colors or seasonal foliage.
But I’m tired. And I’m guessing you are too.
And, if you choose to not decorate at all, or maybe you’re just taking the year off to get used to your new normal, you don’t have to feel guilty about it either. I don’t think we’re supposed to be able to do it all, we’re not meant to. But we can keep trying. Your best might include handmade valentines for your neighbors or elaborately decorated cookies in the shape of rocket ships for your child’s space themed birthday party. My best includes a two-leafed Shamrock window cling because my cat felt a touch peckish.
But at the end of the day, we’re both doing our best, and that’s what counts.