Take Two #107: Proper is Overrated

By Kyra-lin Hom

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas – if that’s your thing. If not, hopefully you had a wonderful Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and the like. Some of my friends have celebrated Aslan Day (Aslan, the lion from the Narnia series) for years instead of Christmas. Whatever floats your boat, ‘tis the season.

Cynics beware, I am one of those irritating individuals who really just loves the holiday season. I love what it stands for: family, friends, love, charity, and all of those other sickeningly feel good things. I stand stalwart by Thanksgiving, not allowing a single Christmas decoration up in my home until after politically-incorrect-turkey-day, but then I’ll leave the tree and ornaments up until Easter. (Heck, if they make it until the June halfway point, just leave them up all year.) Yet one thing I have never done is told someone how to celebrate their holiday.

By now, the royal we have fully developed a tried and true ‘proper’ way of celebrating the season. This usually involves lots of travel, spending money, serial socializing with individuals who don’t always belong in the same state let alone the same house, and careful social maneuvering to avoid bruised feelings. Quite frankly, it can be ridiculous, exhausting and a great way to get the cortisol train rolling (that’s the bad stress).

There is the cleaning, and the planning, and the meals, and the gifting. Who do you invite vs. who don’t you invite. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I bow down to you. Either you are a holiday Zen master or you have convinced everyone else to take care of those things for you. (Or you’re under 12…)

Every year movies new and old rehash the same theme of a potentially disastrous holiday being salvaged by the characters’ sudden discovery of the ‘true meaning of Christmas.’ We idolize this simple image of love and comraderie. Yet when it comes time to planning our own Christmas, we revert right back to our ‘proper’ ways come hell or high water. Or at least we feel the pressure to get as close as we can. Seems unneccessary, doesn’t it?

I had a rather strange Christmas this year. Not bad but definitely different. Traditions were tossed, dirty laundry was aired, and a shuffling of people put new faces in old chairs. Though compared to that of a few others I’m close to, my Christmas was downright sparkling. That pressure to conform to the proper holiday I mentioned earlier can leave a hollow feeling behind, the concern that reality just didn’t or doesn’t live up.

For all and any of you who are feeling this way, tell ‘proper’ just where it can shove itself. There is no right way to celebrate selfless love, friends, family, charity, generosity, etc., etc. The very idea that one method is superior to another flies in the face of, well, selfless love, friends, family, charity and generosity. These are the backbone of the holidays no matter what you celebrate, how you celebrate, or whom you celebrate with. No one gets to dictate your ‘proper’ holiday. With this brand New Year ahead of us, I just ask that you remember why you celebrate. And let that drive your actions. Have a wonderful New Year.

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