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Dealing with The Holidays

12/08/2013

*This post was edited for clarity.*

dun Dun daaaaaa DUN!!!!

(in my head, there is theme music to this post.)

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I discovered through a FB post that some stores were planning on opening Thanksgiving Eve or being open all day on Thanksgiving.  When I learned about this, I had several thoughts immediately…and then as a cooked this bit of information I had a bunch of more thoughts.

When I first learned about the shops being open on Thanksgiving, my first thought was – Great! Now the people who don’t celebrate the holiday won’t be lost, wondering what they will do all day long.  They could work, or get some errands done that they can’t get done because of school or other commitments.  My first reaction was globally minded.  I thought that the shops were opening so they could follow a more global approach to their business.  Not everyone celebrates this, so why should we close?  I tried to bring this up in conversation on the FB post, but the respondents were very emotionally invested in their anger and not feeling the open dialogue I wanted to have.  So, I left.  And went and had a conversation with Magda, from AskMoxie.

I love it when we can talk things through like this.  I have issues with places being closed for some civic holidays and not others.  I also have issues with places being closed for Christian holidays and not closed for other religious holidays (whether it be Muslim, Jewish…etc)  I hate that I have to weigh the pros and cons of pulling my child out of school for a religious holiday that isn’t on the official school calander.  My husband has to weighs the pros and cons of taking time off of work for his religious holiday.  Business don’t close for EID.  Schools don’t close for EID.  Banks are not closed on EID.  The mail still is delivered on EID.  Life goes on for the rest of society on EID.  Why shouldn’t it be the same for Thanksgiving? or Easter?

I have no grand solution.  I was just feeling frustrated and I needed to be heard.  I needed to say stuff and Magda was there to listen and argue my points back at me about how having every single holiday off wasn’t possible because we’d never get anything done.  Thats true.  But the way holidays are dealt with should be more fair.  More even.

I remember back in the stone ages when I was a wee one that the entire city shut down on EVERY holiday. Every One.  Veterans Day. Memorial Day. Good Friday. New Years Day. 4th of July. Easter. Christmas. Thanksgiving. (and the few I forgot to mention.) I remembered loving how quiet the city got because everyone was inside, spending time with their families.  Then I got older and my cousins routinely had to work on Christmas Day.  Then there was that one year I worked Easter.  We had exactly 1 customer all day, but I worked.  

Then I remember being aggravated that the University didn’t shut down when I thought it should.

Then I got used to going to school and working when a lot of people were spending time with their families.

I was working on the last Christmas Eve my Grandmother was alive.  I missed that time with her.

The first 5 or so years of Mr. Fox’s life, Khaled didn’t take off time for Eid.  It was a regular day for him after he attended the Eid prayer by himself.

On Eid, we don’t have family** to spend time with and celebrate the holiday.  I wish there was a way to get that quietness in the city for everyone’s holidays.  So everyone would feel like their celebration is just as important.

That same day, Magda published a workbook about Getting the Christmas that works for You and Your Family.

As you know, I struggle with finding balance in all of the holidays we celebrate.  I didn’t grow up celebrating Eid, so every year it is a work in progress.  I’ve switched up how we celebrate Easter and Christmas, taking away the strong religious emphasis and putting more value on spending time together, and the fantasy aspects of the celebrations.  For me, there is still a very heavy emphasis on Christmas because it was my grandmother’s favorite holiday, and for many years it was my mothers.  It was the biggest deal, and the one with the most traditions.

I have had the hardest time scaling Christmas back.  So much of what I do during this holiday season is tied with my love and memories of the two most influential women in my life.  Negating any part of this holiday is like erasing a tie to them.

I bought Getting the Christmas workbook because I needed to find a way to scale back Christmas in a way that still honors the important traditions that hold the most memories for me, while removing the stuff that we really don’t need to be doing.  While working through the questions, I dug in and reflected…I was brutally honest…and I cried.  At one point I had to stop because I was scared of taking the next step.

Then I had some clear cut ways of making Christmas more like the ways we celebrate Eid.  I took those ideas to Khaled, and we are going to try them out.  So far, I’m really comfortable with what we’ve decided to do for The Holidays this year.  I’ll most likely be talking about it all here, so I thought you might like to know how I got there.

You can get the Christmas Workbook over on Christmased.com.  I’m probably going to re-do this workbook for every holiday now so I can make the Memorial Day celebration that Works for Me and My Family.  Instead of what we currently do – nothing.

Take a look, let me know what you think.  Share this with anyone you can think of who would benefit.  Be gentle with yourself.

Happy Thursday!

**Muslim family. We have Christian family to celebrate with, but we’ve not been celebrating Eid with them.

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