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January 8th, 2013:

A Year Without Holidays

When I was looking back at 2012, I noticed I didn’t celebrate many holidays last year. It made me realize that holidays serve as anchors and when you don’t celebrate them, it’s harder to notice the passage of time. Instead, the weeks just blend together.

In school, our lives were filled with anchors – the start of the semester, due dates for papers, exams, mid-semester break, between semester breaks, internships, and the holidays acknowledged by the school (Martin Luther King Day, Labor Day,  Thanksgiving, etc.). These somewhat continue to influence your life when you have kids. When you work for a traditional company where you work in an office, the days the company is closed for holidays are the anchors (Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s).

I work for myself so I declare the holidays the company celebrates with a day off. In my first year of business, the main weekday I didn’t work was my birthday. That is a tradition I intend to continue. When I did a summer internship with the Army JAG, the commanding officer in the office required his people to take off their birthday if they were single or their anniversary if they were married. I thought that was a great rule.

Captain Kirk Birth StoneI recently realized that most holidays aren’t important to me, and thus, I don’t celebrate them. I don’t drink, so the traditional drinking holidays do nothing for me (New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo). I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because I don’t need Hallmark to tell me when to tell someone I love them. I’m not religious so celebrating Easter seems sacrilegious. I enjoy my friends and family so I’ll use Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day to hang out with them – but even then I prefer low-key celebrations. I do send Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards to my parents and call them on these Hallmark holidays. I’ve never been into Halloween so I tend to ignore it unless I’m attending a costume-required event. My family Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are awesome, but even then I like that they’re mellow occasions. If I’m surrounded by too much fanfare, that’s not really fun for me.

I like my smaller dorky celebrations – like visiting an outer space themed restaurant on the Future Birthdate of Captain Kirk and getting together with people to eat pie on Pi Day. The other big events on my calendar are things like Ignite Phoenix and flash mobs with Improv AZ. These aren’t really anchors because their dates aren’t fixed, but those are probably the closest things to anchors I have.

Sometimes I wonder if not celebrating holidays makes me a scrooge, but I think it makes me an introvert who doesn’t need Hallmark, calendars, or societal pressure to know what days are important to me. I don’t mind if you celebrate holidays; they’re just not for me.