Holidays: An Excuse to Make the Habitual Something Heartfelt

When I picked the theme for this year of Holidays, I did it out of a need for a little more joy and fun after how rough 2020 was. It is funny, this has been a weird year so far in which I am also feeling deeply the need to simplify some of the bigger holidays. After trying SO hard and putting so much pressure on myself to make everything EXTRA SPECIAL for the kids last year to make up for how many things were cancelled and how many people we were missing (plus, all the normal pressures of all the “baby’s first…” events). I didn’t even cook anything Green on St. Patrick’s day, and we let the easter baskets from the grandparents be enough for the kids this year while we just supplemented with a few candy and sticker filled eggs for a hunt in the backyard. Getting to see extended family again is enough to make it special right now.

But then, on the other hand, we have had fun making a BIG deal out of these random day to day holidays. They are silly, but they are turning out to be these incredible reminders to celebrate everyday things and elevate them to a special position for the day- like spinach! or waffles! or chili!

It is so funny, we have pizza at least once a month, but when we celebrated “National Pizza Day” the kids couldn’t wait to tell their teachers about it the next day. And it is also funny that when the day was about something one of the kids already love, they felt like the holidays was about and for them. So when we got to national chili day, my daughter paraded around singing about how she was the little chili baby and it was her day. A totally ordinary bowl of chili became a highlight of the week, just because we were intentional about it. I think that’s the lesson I’m taking away from this theme so far- What you focus on and are intentional about is what you will see, what you will remember.

Admittedly, my kids are still at that magical age where it only takes a favorite meal to make them say “THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!” and they still think we are superheroes just for participating in national popcorn day or giving them a chance to have a tea party or a hot cocoa taste test. These are things that take less than half an hour and less than $5-$10 and leaves them talking about it for WEEKS. Some of the funniest holidays were even completely free- there is one where you just step out your door and scream “HOODIE HOO!” These are the memories I want to make with my children.

Pie from Pi Day… from a place I’ve been wanting to try for YEARS and finally had an excuse to stop putting it off!

These random holidays also give me an excuse to use the stuff I tend to hoard or save for a “special occasion” or when it feels “just right” which all to often means the thing gets lost or broken or goes bad (see THIS POST for more on this habit of mine…) or I’ll feel like even $10 is too extravagant a splurge or maybe I should save that gift card just in case… but the whole point of stuff is to use it an enjoy it, not hoard it! Observing these seemingly ridiculous holidays is giving me a reminder about how to liven the moment and delight in the simple things.

When we pay attention to these daily, maybe even trivial things, we have a chance to turn something habitual into something heartfelt. That seems to be its own kind of holiness- a sort of gratitude practice that helps me pause all the stress from the really overwhelming big picture and just take a small break to enjoy THIS MINUTE with THIS silly thing we are celebrating- and right now that makes me feel more like a saint and a poet than most of the big holiday traditions we have.

It has made me SO HAPPY to hear of other people jumping on the silly holidays train or sharing their favorite random holidays they celebrate each year. If you want to follow along with some of the random holidays we’ve been celebrating this year, you can check out my holidays highlight over on my @alphabetresolutions instagram

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