Perspective – The Holidays

The holidays image

The Holidays are upon us!  Whether we like to admit it or not, they are coming.  Some greet this time of year with excitement and verve and some approach with apprehension and dread.

I’ve asked 7 women to share their thoughts on this topic (7 because I am #8!  I always want to play too.)  I polled one representative from each age decade to see how they weighed in. Are we more alike or are we polar opposites?  Come with me to find out.

spookley the square pumpkin

“I think holidays give you something to be excited for.  Like for example, especially when you’re a kid and you go to school, it’s AWESOME when school gets canceled because of the holiday.  But not just for that, also most holidays you get to spend time with your family and that means a lot to me.  Like you can have fun with your cousins, get to see your aunts, uncles, and grandparents and it’s just awesome.”  ~ Caroline 10’s

macys-thanksgiving-parade

“Whenever the holidays are mentioned, I feel what is most often shared are fond memories, traditions, or the rush to get everything done. While all of those things hold value for me – I have fond memories of time spent with family, I do love traditions new and old, and I, the true procrastinator, am that person rushing to wrap presents the minute before my husband opens them despite vowing to get ahead of the game each year.

What I actually love most about the Holidays is all of the anticipation and excitement leading up before. For me, the holidays are an entire season spanning from October until after Christmas/New Years. I love all of the preparation, decoration, and planning that comes with each holiday. From costume planning for Halloween, to table-setting and food preparation at Thanksgiving, to gift shopping for Christmas. I love it all.

I love the whole change of tone the holidays bring. Everyone seems happy and excited. The whole city looks and feels different and I love it. It’s a hard feeling to describe but I think one that everyone shares. It feels like magic. Like butterflies in my stomach. Like something so exciting is coming but you don’t know what. I think it’s the time of year that you can actually feel happiness in the air.  I think that’s the best way to describe it. While this feeling is probably due to a culmination of all of the reasons people love the holidays – the traditions, time with family, memories, the rush – it is this feeling I love the most. ”     ~ Cristina 20s (Blog: https://www.spatialdwelling.com/)

air supply christmas album

“Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the hustle and bustle leading up to it, the decorations, the sparkle, traditions, the anticipation. I’d go so far as to say that I love the time leading up to Christmas more than Christmas Day.

After losing my dad in 2014, Christmas lost a little bit of its sparkle. He loved Christmas as much as I do and I miss the traditions that we used to do together as a family.

I’m looking forward to experiencing Christmas as a parent this year. My son was born just 4 days before Christmas 2017 so I am looking forward to seeing the sparkle of Christmas through his eyes this year and for many years to come.”  ~ Jackie 30s

new year's eve 1978

“In preparation for this “assignment” over the past few days, I noticed that just thinking about the Christmas season makes me happy, and it’s not even here yet!  We were sitting in the movie theater and saw a preview of the new Grinch movie and it was an immediate warm and fuzzy feeling trigger for me.

I would definitely describe myself as Christmas-obsessed, in fact, I ordered another tree for our dining room just last week because, 1. my Christmas ornament collection is getting too much for the TWO trees we already have (one that is 9 feet tall!) and 2. I want us to be able to look at it during our Christmas dinner!

While I truly do love Thanksgiving, it is just a warm up to the season that immediately follows, and that is my very favorite time of year. (On a side note, one of the more non-traditional things we do as a family on Thanksgiving is have steak for dinner.  We realized years ago that we are not huge fans of turkey, so we, instead, have our own traditional Thanksgiving steak dinner which everyone loves.)  I love everything about Christmas; the decorations that take forever to put up but are so worth it when they are, the music – again, triggers my happy feelings (even in the commercials on TV!), and the gift buying – thinking of just the right gift for every person on my list and starting months before the big day, squirreling away gifts in the back of my closet.

I love the Holiday specials on TV, many of which we look forward to watching as a family. Every year I get another “family ornament” with our names on it along with a family photo ornament to hang on the tree.  We love looking at the ornaments as we decorate the tree, drinking hot cocoa and showing them to each other and saying, “Oh!  Remember this one!” as we take them out of the box. We make Christmas cookies in the days before Christmas and bake an apple pie, which is a family favorite.

I love looking forward to the Christmas break from school, when everyone is home and can relax and just be together. We go to church on Christmas Eve and then out to dinner, which has become a recent tradition. I love making our home and the holidays special for my family, having created the traditions that we now have and enjoy every year.  I hope my kids look back on these as special memories that they will always have in their hearts. To me, holidays mean family and there is nothing that gives me the warm and fuzzy feelings more than my family!” ~Jen 40s

the great pumpkin

“To me, “the Holidays” begin with Halloween.  We go all out in our household (at least on the inside of the house.)  I love creating a festive atmosphere for my family from the decorations and treats, down to the candles that I burn for each season, and the holiday themed shows and movies.  It kicks off my favorite time of the year where the emphasis is on giving to others and thinking of others.  I love the giant spark of creativity generated for Halloween in concocting fun costumes and decorations.

Thanksgiving.  Poor Thanksgiving.  It may as well be called First Christmas.  I mean, the commercials for Christmas start before Halloween.  And I for one, start my Christmas shopping in October for sure (Goal: Done by December One!).  I do enjoy Thanksgiving for it’s intent.  A time for everyone to take a whole day of gratitude.  To be thankful for all of the many gifts we have been given.  I find it remarkable that we live in a country that places value on that…well, at least once a year.  But is that how we actually celebrate it? I’m not quite sure.  The host jumps through hoops to create an extravagant meal that would actually feed the entire neighborhood, resulting in tons of leftovers or waste and loads of dirty dishes and clean up.  I find that there’s less focus on gratitude and more attention to football.  It definitely is lovely to spend the day with family and friends, but I’m just not sure I get it, even after all of these years.

The Mac Daddy for me is Christmas.  I loooooovvve the preparation for Christmas.  I love the shopping, the decorations, the music, the food, the sparkle, and the kindness that people tend to extend this time of year.  I love when people wish other “Merry Christmas”.  I love the anticipation of it all which, at church, we refer to as Advent.  It’s just a cozy time of the year and despite the frigid temperatures outside, the season warms me.  However, I really don’t like Christmas day that much.  All of the fanfare is over and we are left with a pile of scraps of wrapping paper, crushed up boxes, and big black trash bags.  The once festive house now resembles that cruddy black snow that we get the day after a beautiful snowfall.  And in my home, we have several family members that once they open their gifts, never touch them again.  It seems….sad.  But all good things must come to an end.  We need to spend the next 365 days gearing up for next year!

Lastly there is New Year’s Eve.  I have never been a fan.  I find it overwhelming to try to have the night of your life and the resolutions are always a disappointment.  I used to have an actual fear of the new year.  After my first child was born with a heart issue, and my father’s health, and my brother inlaw’s health began to decline, I began wanting to desperately hang on to the year we were in because we were all still together.  My father and my brother inlaw have since passed on, which forced me to face my fear of the new year.  January 1st is just another day.  No need for dread and it is quite nice to celebrate things, so I try to face the unknown year with a little less fear and a little more curiosity.

Overall, I adore the holidays.  My wish is for you to find joy in each holiday.  To have fun and make time to spend with those that mean the most to you.”~Jennifer 50’s ish (I’ll be 50 in January 🙂 )

a-charlie-brown-thanksgiving-ebook_51709-96914_1

Holidays! Hallmark anyone? I just finished watching the first of many Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. It’s October 26th!!

I am a holiday junky!  The time from Halloween to Christmas is my favorite time of year. Living in Florida, holidays help mark the seasons.  My memories of these holidays are precious. Each of these holidays, back in my day, you had to wait for.

The childhood freedom on Halloween! Trick-or-treating with pillowcases and blocks of houses; parent free. Thanksgiving! Just family, and gratefulness, and Macy’s parade. You didn’t start decorating, or thinking of Christmas, until Santa came down that New York Street.

Traditions and my faith filled my childhood with happy memories (back then we could even sing Christmas carols in public schools).  Traditions and my faith bound our family together.  I have had to learn not to hold on too tightly to traditions. In the 1980s, I got married and added my husband’s traditions to my own. When my daughter was born in 1989, the 90’s brought our own rituals and expectations. And once my daughter got married, and had her own daughter, once again we found ourselves adding new and lovely memories and traditions to experience.

I still embrace the holidays through the eyes of children. Being a primary teacher for 31 years helped me to keep a youthful heart. I love the expectations of each holiday and try to keep it simple and people focused. So, as I watch The Great Pumpkin to A Christmas Carol, sappy but loving Hallmark movies, and listen to Christmas music, I am grateful for my memories, my family get together‘s, and the anticipation of new memories and new traditions to come into my blessed life.” ~ Barbara 60s

its a wonderful life movie poster

“I am looking back at my favorite holidays with my husband and our four children. Starting with Easter; dying hard boiled eggs and hiding them the night before Easter. Making Russian Easter Bread called Buska. On Easter morning the kids would look for their Easter Baskets. The most important part was going to mass and thanking Jesus for dying on the cross.

The 4th of July: Celebrating the freedom we have in this great country. Honoring the people who died for this country. Going to North Dakota to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Going to the 4th of July parade and watching fireworks.

Halloween. The kids getting all excited about going trick or treating. When we lived in St. Louis, the kids had to tell a joke and the person handing out candy tried to come up with the answer to the joke. My husband would go out with the kids and I would give out candy at our house. Halloween reminding us of All Saints Day on Nov. 1st and All Souls Day on Nov. 2nd.

Thanksgiving. Reminding us to thank God and the colonists who started this holiday. Getting the turkey and stuffing ready, and all the good side dishes, and of course pumpkin and pecan pies. We always had a relish tray and that was our appetizer. Playing cards and other games with the kids and watching football on TV. Needless to say we were  all stuffed at day’s end.

Christmas, the best holiday of all. Decorating the house, Getting a live tree and trimming it. Making Christmas cookies. Wrapping gifts and putting them under the tree. When we were at a Christmas party the kids decided to unwrap and rewrap their gifts. (Found that out years later.) We went to mass on Christmas Eve. The kids set the table for breakfast before they went to sleep. We opened our gifts early in the morning and the kids had fun with their new toys. Such good memories.”  ~Peggy 70’s

new years eve 1936

“When thinking about the holidays so much comes to mind…Holidays of the past, present and those that are almost forgotten. I won’t even tackle the new holidays I don’t understand.

My past holidays bring to focus the big four, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Easter. As years go by the most popular, according to retail, go back and forth between Halloween and Christmas. Thanksgiving has always been smothered between the big H and the big C.

Some less important holidays are Valentines Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, May Day, and all the prominent presidents and civic and religious leaders. Each one is popular as it usually gives most people a day off from work. My favorite as a child and the mother of my young family has always been Christmas with all its many traditions. I’ve even been guilty of making up a few new ones. I’m sorry about that.

For me, marching in the Memorial Day parade with my classmates, the Macy’s parade, and the rival football games at Thanksgiving are memorable from my youth.

Today, all of that has changed.  The death of my husband and having children scattered all over with their own traditions have created mixed emotions for me. Many people feel extremely sad with the holidays because of past experiences or a loss.  Hallmark fills an empty space in my soul and brings back, in a corny way, all of the traditions I hold dear.

I will always find great solitude in celebrating the true meaning of each one of the holidays I have celebrated throughout my life with those I love.”  ~Temple 80s

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In reading the responses from each participant, it is abundantly clear that the holidays bring about warm feelings for, and the desire to spend them with family.  If you are paying attention to the ages of each of the above participants, it is interesting to note the shift of the here and now, to the focus on the past and fond memories.  And it also seemed apparent that as the years advanced, there was also more focus on faith.

Although many agreed that the concentration of “The Holidays” is between Halloween and New Years, it is abundantly clear that Christmas is the the clear favorite.  I found it interesting that most loved the lead up to each holiday as opposed the actual holiday and was delighted that not one single person mentioned the receipt of gifts at all.  But the loss of loved ones seems to universally impact our impressions of the holidays.

The Holidays can truly be a magical time of year if you allow yourself to get caught up in the current of warmth, love, and happiness.  I wish this for all of you.  May you all find something to warm your heart this holiday season.

cheers