Things That Don’t Belong on Pedestals: Holidays

(This is the second post about Things That Don’t Belong on Pedestals. The first, on relationships, can be found here.)

A few weeks ago we celebrated Thanksgiving, and in a couple weeks we will celebrate Christmas. Soon after there will be New Year’s, then spring brings Easter, summer the Fourth of July, and a few other smaller holidays sprinkled in there as well.

I really like holidays. I look forward to them, anticipate them, even check websites that countdown to them. And in the process, I sometimes expect too much out of them, and end up putting holidays on a pedestal.

My family's Christmas tree from last year

My family’s Christmas tree from last year

Traditionally, the day after Christmas is one of my least favorite days of the year. As a kid it wasn’t so bad; it was a great day to play with all the new toys, and if we were lucky, Mom and Dad were both home from work. Yet as I got older and looked forward to Christmas more, the letdown of the day after became all the more pointed. For weeks, even months, I had looked forward to Christmas day, and all of a sudden, in a flurry of family and food and wrapping paper, it was over.

Now, I’m even more aware of how quickly the actual holiday goes by. As I’m trying to value the true meaning of Christmas, and be intentional about experiencing Advent as a season of waiting, I have to realize that the 24 hours that are labeled “Christmas” are…just that. 24 hours. No more, no less, than any other day. The same goes for all the other holidays we celebrate throughout the year–we give them a label of holiday and expect them to be perfect, when in reality, they won’t.

One year I had the stomach flu on Christmas. Not how I wanted to spend my day, but it was one of the only times as a child I got to watch the Santa Claus parade on TV. For years I seemed to get a cold on every major holiday, and that came true again a few weeks ago on Thanksgiving. Because although I put so much weight on holidays, expecting them to be perfect and live up to my every perfect wish…they are a day. Things may go wrong, things may go right, but the clock will still move at the same pace it does every other day of the year.

Not that there’s anything wrong with celebrating holidays; I’m still very much looking forward to Christmas. But for me to expect them to be perfect, idyllic, postcard-worthy scenes–that’s not accurate, nor does it help me enjoy them. A better way to look at them might be to appreciate holidays for what they are, but accept that all will not go as planned, and embrace the chaos as it does or doesn’t come.

Because holidays don’t belong on pedestals.

Til next time…


p.s. Do you ever expect too much out of holidays? How does that affect the way you do or do not enjoy them?

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