Celebrate You- Celebrate Life!

Celebrate You- Celebrate Life! (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

When he was working on our post On  Holidays and Untraditions, Rho had a snippet of writing that he didn’t want to get rid of, so he started this post in case we wanted to make a Christmas post. When I opened it up today. I saw what he wrote. It struck me hard because the conversation I had at work was weighing on me. Here is what Rho had written:

“…and NEVER let this stranger know you have kids, because then you’re an asshole as a bonus! …Because you’re ‘denying the kids all the joy'”.

Before I go on, I want to say I am NOT bashing holidays at all. I believe in choice and I value and respect the choices of others. I think this post like my previous ones and possibly more that will follow really comes down to the rights we have as humans to make choices, and how judgmental we can be.

A short back story before I get to what happened yesterday:

“What will you be doing for Thanksgiving”? asked a fellow co-worker “Well we don’t really celebrate”, I said. This was a short conversation and turned into a long-winded one back on Thanksgiving with a co-worker of mine.

So yesterday, while working on Christmas Eve the same co-worker said to me “so do you guys celebrate Christmas?.. Me, “No we don’t”. The co-worker went on to say , “What no Tree for the kids, what about the kids”!?  I said, “no we just don’t get into all of that”. Before he walked off, he said to me in a joking yet serious way “there is something wrong with you, I have just not figured it out yet”. I said, “there is nothing wrong with me, nothing at all”.  Later he came back to talk some more.. I did what I always feel I need to do ( still trying to figure out why). I tried to explain why I/we don’t celebrate.

My explanation:

You see Rho and I come from very different backgrounds. He didn’t really celebrate when he was a kid and my family celebrated everything.  When he and I got together we made choices on how we wanted to live our life as a family unit. Part of those choices we made were that we would not celebrate holidays.

Part of the conversation:

Have you ever noticed how certain families/circles only get together on the holidays where on that ever so precious day “they love each other so much”? Only, to not speak the rest of the year or until the next holiday. What about those that can’t afford to pay for rent let-alone purchase  lots of gifts, yet feel so much pressure that they end making really bad choices. Like shoplifting, for example. Or not paying the rent and getting further behind all so the “kids can have Christmas”.

What I am really getting at here is that why not make every day a celebration? Sure, I get it that its nice to have those special days where it seems that the world stops and its time to reflect and celebrate.  I think that we all need that to some degree. If you chose to have those days on Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday that is perfectly OK. But, why isn’t it OK for us to not do it on those days?

I have never once tried to convince a person to NOT celebrate holidays. However, I can’t count the times people have tried to change my mind.

So, being where I am now I can see both sides of the coin so to speak. I don’t really miss holidays. I miss  some of the traditions, but that’s just the thing, who said traditions have to fall on holidays? So many of the things I miss happened only on the holidays,  my question is why did we do those wonderful things only one or two days a year?

Rho and I  have focused on building traditions with our family.  We want to build a happy, secure life for our children like I am sure most parents do. We just don’t think we have to celebrate holidays as a part of giving them that. I don’t feel like our children are missing out on some grand thing. We do things with our children, we love them and we are sure to tell them and show them everyday. It is frustrating for me that it is sometimes assumed that the kids are deprived because we don’t put up a tree and buy them tons of gifts. The kids don’t know any different this is the way we have always lived our life with them. If you ask them if they want to celebrate Christmas they may say yes or they may give you another answer depending on the day. But, what kid doesn’t want the excuse to eat tons of candy and gets lots of gifts? Right now, that’s all the kids may think they are missing out on. Holiday items are everywhere.  It’s hard to deny that holidays exist and the commercial industry is sure to keep on reminding us.

You know, this choice has not always been easy, especially for me. I was raised in a family that celebrates every holiday.  So,  I have had to explain and re-explain our choices.  I do not request that my family not share the holidays with our children. All  I have asked of them is to please refrain from teaching the kids of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other make-believe characters. I have also encouraged my parents and Rho’s as well to explain to the kids in simple terms why they do or do not celebrate. These reasons for our families are tied to religion and for my family there is a lot of tradition that goes along with it as well. I have asked that they do not tell the kids that celebrating is the right thing to do and that not celebrating is the right to do. Rho and I want our children to grow up and make choices about holidays, religion, family dynamic and so on, for themselves. We hope that we can guide them into a safe and happy direction. We know that the kids may grow up making choices much different from ours and we are OK with that. If our children grow up to be secure in themselves, honest, giving people I don’t think it will matter much one way or the other if they celebrate holidays or not.

I want our kids to know that there are so many things to celebrate,  and be thankful for in this life. I want them to know it is OK to be different and that it is also OK to be not so different as well. I hope that we can help them look at others with less judgement and to celebrate difference.

On this day when some many are giving and receiving gifts. I am glad to say that I have Choice, Family and Love some of the greatest gifts of all.