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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.


  1. Perri Collins says:

    Wait a sec, back the truck up. Did you just say you we’re an introvert? Coulda fooled me! 🙂

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Yes. A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of performers/theatre geeks are introverts. We have a need to get out there and do our thing, and we have a lot of energy when we do it, but it’s exhausting.

      Me = Big Introvert

  2. Adam Wilson says:

    Interesting take on this, thanks Ruth!

    I will say, as a non-christian growing up in a christian country and now living in an even more vehemently christian one, I have become used to the holidays we celebrate. For me it’s not about the holy aspects of it, but more about taking stock, spending time with family and friends and simply logging off for a few days (or hours more likely). I can see that trying to do that without alcohol would make it a little challenging though as much of the “grease” that makes the events fun is liquid-activated.

    What’s even more important for me, is that these events are a small sign of community that we’ve lost in so many ways. We’re so intent on proving how individual we all are that we forget the common bonds that link us all.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      That’s a really interesting insight – we’ve become so focused on being individuals that we’ve lost our sense of community. I can see that. I enjoy celebrations and community when it means something to me or I like the people I’m with but I can’t make myself celebrate something just because my calendar says it’s a holiday.