New Old Holiday Traditions

If there is anything for which I am well-known, it’s that I’m not a huge fan of the holidays and holiday traditions.

Wait, it’s that I have a Type A personality.

Wait, it’s that I love tea.

Wait, it’s that I’m a very cheerful, optimistic person.

Wait, let’s go back to that holiday thing.

I’ve explained it many times before; it’s not that I don’t like the holidays in general. It’s more about not fully enjoying the pomp and circumstance that comes with the holidays: the decorations, the fuss, the clutter, the stress, the “we have to do THIS and THIS”…I’m a creature of habit and it all gives me a stomach ache. I’d much rather have togetherness and special activities on a random day that doesn’t “require” togetherness and special activities, which makes me a little unusual. It’s okay. I own it.

“I Don’t Do Holidays Well” Example One:
My sad, sad, sad Halloween decorations, which were the subject of my fourth Suburban Scrawl post back in October 2007. They were pitiful, they are pitiful, and they didn’t even get displayed this year.

“I Don’t Do Holidays Well” Example Two: The fact that I’m sitting here on my couch leisurely writing a blog post while 95% of the rest of Americans who are currently at home are cooking, cleaning, or entertaining relatives. And possibly pulling their hair out and/or sweating.

Our Thanksgiving this year will take place at one of our favorite restaurants, a Brazilian steakhouse. Meatsgiving, as we call it, is what we celebrate when my parents drive up from Tennessee for the holiday. (When we head down to Tennessee, Thanksgiving is traditional. And not in my house, of course.)

If you were to ask me when Hanukkah begins this year, I wouldn’t be able to tell you without Googling it.

Suggest that I might want to pull out and use one or more of the many holiday-themed serving items that my relatives have generously given to me and I might scowl.

I have felt terrible about my holiday shortcomings for years, until recently. A couple of months ago I had a conversation with D in which I apologized for being a terrible holiday mom and I felt terrible for his future spouse and the future spouse of his brother, because they were going to likely have two “meh” husbands when it comes to holidays. When he looked at me and said, “It doesn’t bother me a bit. You know, we just do things differently. You just have to ‘do you’,” I thought “OH MY GOSH, WHO RAISED THIS AMAZING YOUNG MAN??” (Hint: It was me! And his dad!)

He’s right. We DO do things differently. Meatsgiving may not be what one thinks of when it comes to a traditional Thanksgiving, but for us it IS a holiday tradition.

It’s a holiday tradition that each year we set the menorahs out a little closer to Hanukkah because we forgot to do it earlier.

It’s a holiday tradition that I complain about holiday traditions.

We may not celebrate any of the holidays like everyone else (okay, we DON’T), but that’s okay. Being ourselves and finding our own way to celebrate—or not celebrate—has become the holiday tradition around here, and I’m fine with it.

Thanksgiving flowers
D brought these home because he thought “it was a good idea”, and that’s a holiday tradition I can get behind.


  • Tracey Becker

    You do everything else SO PERFECTLY that it’s refreshing to know that being uber festive for holidays is not one of them. It makes you a human. Not that you wouldn’t be a human if you started decorating and cooking 12 course meals, but it would definitely make you Cray Cray, and that is not the goal of this ramble. I can only handle the cray cray you currently exhibit, because I am WAY MORE cray cray than you are, and I need someone who is sane to balance my yin and yang and shit.

  • Heidi

    It is funny how we have this long list of do’s and don’t’s in our heads when it comes to the holidays and traditions. What we think of its tradition and “how it is done” turns out to be localized by culture, economics and ethnicity. When I changed our “traditional” thanksgiving menu from a turkey and carbohydrates overload to a fresh cracked crabs extravaganza my immediate famo was thrilled but not done of my husband’s local extended family. In fact it has caused all sorts of drama out here in northern California. But it turns out that eating fresh crab is a long time CA tradition! So in some ways I’m being way more traditional than the rest of the gang! I wrote a bit about it this week on my blog