Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holy days

I keep hearing all of this chatter about the holy days…groans of how they’re almost here, how hard they are, and mutters of family time accompanied by shudders.  What is it about these holy days that gets everyone in a tizzy? Does it depend on what religion you are? Because in our house, there’s no muttering or groaning, but there’s also no decorations or party invitations covering the fridge.  There’s no extra obligations or family events, no long lists of gifts to buy or requisite cards to send out.  

So maybe we’re missing something, but it seems like the country is taking a collective whining session and I’m not clear what the problem is. 

They are holy days…and by definition they should be exempt from complaining and stress.  Perhaps that’s the problem. There’s so much pressure to have an amazing time that it ends up backfiring.  Kind of like my birthday when it’s my one extra-special day all about me (as if that’s so different from my daily life – yeah right!) and I’m supposed to have a fabulous, perfect, wonderful day.  Well that’s a lot of pressure and usually it’s just a normal day with some gifts and cards thrown in and maybe an extra trip to the park.  

It’s all about expectations.  When I don’t know it’s my birthday, lacking my own iphone or calendar, my birthday is great because I don’t even know when it is! But once it’s all built up and the specialness factor is in play, then expectations soar and we’re in trouble. 

I think it’s the same with the holy days.  Maybe if no one knew it was December, and the 25th, new years, and those roving Hanukkah days rolled around without anyone’s knowledge, they would just be sweetly ordinary and everyone would relax.  Maybe if there weren’t expectations about the ideal family sitting down to the perfectly cooked meal and everyone being blissfully happy, the stress factor would plummet.  Maybe if new years were a time to self-reflect and cuddle with loved ones minus the flashy parties and fancy gowns, everyone would be happier.  I don’t know – I’m just a dog so consider the source.  But somewhere during the season of holidays, the holy seems to have gotten misplaced. 
Don’t worry – I’m on the job.  As long as its been rolled in some nutmeg or latkes, I’ll sniff out the holy. 

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