Everybody knows somebody who absolutely hates the holidays.
“Oh, I don’t celebrate (insert holiday here). It’s just made-up, anyway.”
“Everything’s just gotten so commercial!”
“It’s just an excuse for a bunch of drunk crazies to go out and cause mayhem.”
No doubt you’ve heard a similar statement from one of your friends or associates about a holiday they hate.
What probably pisses you off more than having to hear that person go on and on about why they hate said holiday, is the fact that they’re usually kinda right.
Most holidays are either:
- such a mishmash of different religions, cultural traditions, hearsay, and poor recordkeeping, that they bear little resemblance to the actual event being celebrated,
(see also: How December 25 became Jesus’ birthday)
- a reason for retail establishments to whip you into a frenzy so you feel compelled to spend more,
- or, an excuse for a bunch of drunk crazies to go out and cause mayhem.
So, I’ve decided that the only true holiday, the only one that you can pretty much guarantee is accurate and as commercial-free as you want it to be, is… your birthday. Actually, your birthday is the only holiday that matters, since without it, those other ones wouldn’t really mean much to you, now would they?
Plus, birthdays have one major advantage over other holidays. You call the shots. There are no trite traditions you absolutely have to follow, no obligatory rituals, no excessive spending required. Of course, if you’re into those things, that’s ok too. It’s your birthday.
As I wrap up my personal holiday season, I thought I’d share some of my favorite birthday traditions:
Walking Down Memory Lane
Most of my pictures and mementos spend their lives thrown in a box tucked way back in the closet. Birthdays are a good excuse to get them out, whether just to reminisce or to use as party decor like this:
A Day Off
It should be considered a sin to work on your birthday. I can only remember one birthday that I spent at work, and I’ll never do it again. It’s nice to have my entire birthday to spend exactly as I see fit, even if it’s just sitting at home and watching some of my favorite movies.
Travel – especially to some place you’ve never been before – keeps you young. I like to go to a new place every year. When I step off of the plane into a location I’ve never visited, I see the world with fresh eyes. I have to get my bearings and learn the language. I taste foods I’ve never had before and make new friends. All it takes is a birthday trip for me to be a baby all over again. Some of my favorite birthday trips:
A House Party
I have many different circles of friends that would probably never intersect on their own. A house party is the perfect excuse to bring them all together in one place (with some music and adult beverages) and watch what happens.
Nothing beats a good birthday game. Once you’ve got those different circles of friends at your house with a couple of drinks in them, why not do something with them? Some of may favorite birthday games have been: Birthday Girl Trivia, Battle of the Sexes, and Finish that Line (the hip-hop edition).
Receiving gifts is always nice, but giving a gift feels just as good, if not better. I’m all for selfish selflessness, so when a friend shared his tradition of giving a gift to someone else on your birthday, I thought it was a tradition worth adopting.
How do you celebrate your personal holiday? Do you have any favorite birthday traditions?