This post was inspired by The 12 Daze of Christmas. Go see, I'll wait.
It's almost a cliche, this hustle-bustle of the holidays. I look around at the mad-dash of people securing STUFF. Ex-XM Radio Guy has always said that he doesn't like the mandate of gift giving. His family got rid of it years ago. Nobody needs anything, and if they do, they can buy it themselves. We just get together and eat. I always liked Thanksgiving, not just for the yummy yams, but because it was a fun family gathering without the gift pressure. Every family has traditions and rules. Here are some rules I've observed for the Holidaze:
1. Matriarchs who insist her entire set of children, grandchildren, etc. MUST be at their homes ON Christmas Day. Followed by:
2. Nothing starts until the entire family is there. Just eat the chips on the side board & watch TV for 3 hours until Sister-brother-so-and-so can get there.
3. Mandatory Gift Giving for everyone in the family.
4. Assigned seating for gift-opening. (I am not making this up).
5. Opening one gift at a time with 50 people wedged into a room. Sweater in the wrong size & colour that I won't wear? Returnable. 3 hours of my life: priceless.
6. Co-workers who insist you eat the shortening-icing store bought cake because "it's Christmas." [side note here: for some hilarious cake mistakes, check out Cakewrecks]
7. Anyone who uses the excuse Because it's Christmas.
8. More stuff = more love
9. Expensive gift = more love
In my family, Christmas has evolved. These days we keep it pretty simple. We all do something homemade. We go for funny or smart or delicious. We have Christmas the weekend before or after Christmas. That way all the nieces and nephews can spend Christmas morning in their own home in their jammies. When my stepsons were growing up, we had the 3 Gifts Rule. That's how many Jesus got, so that's how many they got. They still got lots of other stuff from all the rellies.
Here's the beauty of being an adult: we get to choose how we want to celebrate. Just because "that's the way we've always done it" doesn't mean you have to continue that way. You can turn the holidaze back into happy holidays. Or in the case of our family, from Hollidaze to Hollidays.