When I was a kid, especially growing up the eldest of seven siblings, holidays were the stepping stones of happiness through each year. As soon as one was celebrated, we immediately looked forward to the next one. My grandparents held huge family 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties and dinners every year, and I attended all of them until I was 17.
When I had my own kids, two of which were born on Halloween (three years apart), I continued the tradition of celebrating as often as holidays came upon us. It was especially nice when they were a national holiday, meaning I could get an extra day off to stay with my family. Yes, Halloweens were extra-special in our house, with us usually have a double birthday party with lots of their friends.
As my kids grew up and I remarried, and with great distance between me and my kids and relatives, holidays became more of a meaningless chore than a reason to celebrate. It stopped making sense for Nadyne and I to give each other presents for birthdays or Christmas, since we usually bought whatever we wanted that made sense without waiting for a holiday excuse to do it. Besides, she was spending our money on me and I was spending our money on her. Holidays, other than getting time off work, stopped having the importance they had when there were children around.
Now that we are retired and not working, holidays are back to being happy stepping stones through the years, though without the excitement they once evoked. Being on the road, we love to visit all of our family members, wherever they are, but don't necessarily wait for holidays to do so. It's more about the geographical timing of our schedule. Independence Day fireworks at a son's house or birthday dinner with a daughter are always something to look forward to.
As a young adult, I enjoyed watching classic movies. "Holiday Inn" (1942, with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds and music by Irving Berlin) became one of my favorites. This is about a quaint Connecticut inn that some popular show business stars buy and hold holiday performances in. This is the first venue in which Bing Crosby sang "White Christmas," and it was so popular that it spawned his movie of the same name. I never miss Holiday Inn when this movie is on at Christmas time.
One thing about not getting caught up in the commercialism of each holiday is that we can enjoy the holiday itself. Also, we are happy to take advantage of seasonal sales for our own purposes. Why buy electronics in August when the Christmas season is around the corner?
One great thing about being in campgrounds during holidays is that campers are in a festive mood and are wanting to share good times with strangers. Many strangers become friends and we love to catch up with them as our itineraries cross. Thanksgiving in an RV resort can be wonderful!
Just as a sunrise can fill someone with hope and determination for the coming day, so can New Years Day be a day of resolution to be better, wishes for dreams and ambitions, and hope for humanity. After all, it's called "New Year's Day," not "Old Year's Passing Day."
I think there has been a bit of Internet fatigue in this election season, so I'm not surprised that I had fewer comments this past week. The ones I received were great and I've included some of them here. As always, they may be paraphrased or edited.
BLSMSS- Holidays make me happy as they are celebrations -- days that most of us try and enjoy as other things in our lives may not be joyful. As my children and grandchildren have grown, holidays have changed yet my children try and celebrate them as we did when they were little. Holidays gets us together in some way to reminisce and come up with new ideas for the next. My favorite holiday has been and will always be Christmas. It makes my heart so full to see the grandkids open up presents, the beauty of putting up my villages, tree and lights and the real meaning of Christmas.
Richard, Deb and Wally- Used to be getting together with all the family, grandparents was my favorite thing about holidays -- laughing, conversation, catching back up with everyone. Then there's the FOOD! I loved the holiday food, making cookies at Christmas with Mom and grandma, fruitcake that only few liked, bowl of nuts you had to use cracker and picks to get the nut out. Hard candy, seeing Santa, playing in the MN snow -- nothing like it.
Warren and Terry of NE PA- When we had our sticks-and-bricks house out in the country we would have 4th of July at our house with fireworks. We would have family and friends over with a big cookout. Thanksgiving is at our oldest daughter's house with family in Ohio. Then Christmas would be either at our youngest daughter's house or our son's house in Pennsylvania. We still do Thanksgiving and Christmas the same but not the 4th of July.
Steve R.- Holidays are every day, but more special when we get see our nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with one more on the way. I think I have the right count...
Nadyne H.- Holidays now, in our retirement AND living full-time in our RV, are much different today! There were the holidays when the kids were still living at home, then the holidays when the kids were gone and we had young grandkids, that was still fun and exciting! Then the grandkids grew up and we started getting great grandkids! I used to look forward to any holiday just to be off work, sort of a mini-vacay! Nowadays, we are off everyday, there are no children, grandchildren or great grandkids around so we usually enjoy the hoopla around us at whatever RV resort we are in! We’ve had Thanksgiving dinner with 100 other strangers and met new friends. We have spent Christmas Eve going to dinner with people we’ve never met and really enjoyed ourselves. There are no “strangers” when you holiday in an RV, just friends you have not yet met!
I'll finish up with a quote from Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, who said, "I had a lovely childhood. For family holidays, we went as far as the car could take us - we would drive to Florida, even though it would take three days. I didn't know we didn't have a lot of money because there was always food on the table. I didn't have a lot of stuff, but I did figure skating for a long time, and I always had my skates."
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.