I often compare the various holidays to a dysfunctional brood of family members sitting around the dinner table, each with their own characteristics. Everyone has their own distinct personalities and opinions. They possess a particular Je ne sais quoi… if you will.
Let’s start with Christopher Columbus Day, I juxtapose this holiday to the racist cousin that visits once a year. The cousin no one wants to know or keep in contact with. We all remember the old song we had to learn in elementary school:”In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. Forced to memorize the names of his three ships: The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria. We had parades and a day off from school. As time went on and we began to see what exactly our distant cousin stood for we became less inclined to partake in any event that celebrates him. Columbus Day is like the interbred weird cousin that the family is ashamed of. He is seated at a folding chair, because he wasn’t invited to the family dinner, he just kind of showed up. Columbus Day is definitely the relative no one invites over…
Next, take Halloween. For example, seated at the dinner table, it could be described as the Goth Teen Black Sheep of the family. The non-conformist kid that you either REALLY like or REALLY wonder how you are related to someone so unique and unusual. You question their fashion choice, their dark side, their need to wear a disguise. The yearning to go to complete strangers homes like a party trick and beg for candy carrying a plastic pumpkin or without shame, show up on a doorstep with an ENORMOUS pillowcase intending to stuff to the brim with candy! The choice to take a chance with their life by ringing some random strangers’ doorbell in the hopes of not being murdered but receiving a treat.
Halloween is even so audacious enough to attach itself to the most DISGUSTING two candies EVER to exist:Candy Corn, and Circus Peanuts! The manner in which Halloween so brazenly forces those two candies in our face is a huge slap! Halloween beats to the sound of a different drum, it can be moody and dark, yet playful and fun. Like a teen, a mixture of hormones changing moods at a whim, depending on which way the wind blows.
Obviously, Halloween was quite different this year. While we once found it exciting wearing masks every Halloween, it has now become a normal part of everyday life. Let’s just say, and I feel confident speaking for most of us that the novelty of wearing a mask has worn off. Yet Halloween will still choose to wear one. Yes, Halloween is truly the rebel, outcast of the Holiday family….
Then there is Thanksgiving. The over hosting, stuffing until you pop, kind, chubby Aunt who winds up drinking too much only to pass out, regret, as well as forget, the insults along with dinner rolls that were hurled across the table kind of holiday. She is passive aggressive with her offerings of seconds on the mashed potatoes and simultaneously commenting in an underneath her breath, under handed way about your elastic waistband pants. Like a plump Aunt she smiles, yet judges at the same time. Unfortunately, you are too stuffed and on the verge of a food coma to put up a fight, waiting for the gravy to harden around your arteries. Pondering if this is the way you are going out on a stretcher in elastic waistband pants. So year after year like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome you return to your chubby Thanksgiving Aunt for another helping of insults.
Because your Aunt feeds you well, you may over look some of the conversations. You side step the rehashing of what the Colonists did to the Native Americans, by holding out your plate like Oliver Twist and saying:”More please!” Aunty Thanksgiving brings up the most TABOO topic of all POLITICS! but you and your elastic waistband pants are on a mission and you really want dessert. Then somehow politics are segued into football which you REALLY could care less about, you just want pie.
Yes, Thanksgiving is the complicated elderly Aunt that you have a love hate relationship with…
The succeeding seat at the table is the kind, emotional, story teller Uncle, aka Hanukkah. Never one to rush things, Uncle Hanukkah takes a good eight days to tell his stories. The word Hanukkah means dedication, and celebrating eight days you have to truly be dedicated. Now Uncle Hanukkah used to only give out Gelt(money) but as time went on gifts were incorporated. Most of the food is fried in oil for Hanukkah as a symbol for the miracle oil that burned for eight nights straight. Albeit Uncle Hanukkah may force you to get out those waistband pants that you put away after the Thanksgiving debacle. Fun fact! There are over 17.5 million jelly donuts consumed in Israel over Hanukkah and it makes me ponder opening up a Dunkin’ Donuts in Jerusalem.
Uncle Hanukkah also spells his name several different ways that is how cool, calm, mellow and sure of himself he is. Hanukkah is the neutral relative that everyone gets along with, accompanied by great stories…
Christmas I consider, as being the cheery Grandpa who comes bearing gifts and merriment with song. There are expectations, yet they are already mapped out. Eat, drink, and be merry! Gone are the visions from the nightmare of Thanksgiving, you are almost fully recovered, only a few PTSD Thanksgiving episodes have occurred. Now visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads are there. Carols are sung, stockings hung, and the anticipated arrival of Santa. Christmas makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now it could be the egg nog laced with copious amounts of rum that you have sucked down, which makes you feel sentimental and calm. But we know the truth, it is because you are receiving gifts, and most of us already know what those gifts are. You have picked them out, or asked for them. But Christmas like Grandpa has rules. You either open presents the night before, or on Christmas morning. Additionally, you attend Midnight Mass or some kind of church service.
Christmas namely Grandpa doesn’t let you get out scot free. You are maybe forced to attend a Live Nativity scene or some sort of play. If you want those presents, Christmas will make you work for them. Towards the end of Christmas day when all of the merriment and good tidings have worn off, you are ready for Grandpa aka Christmas to leave, head back to the North Pole. Looking around at all of the rumpled wrapping paper and oodles of decorations that you will need to take down and box away somehow makes Christmas look less inviting. You are sick of all the people in your home and if you hear one more Christmas carol your head will explode. You now for some reason have no empathy for Tiny Tim and your personality becomes more like Scrooge as the day progresses. Yup, time for Grandpa to return to the old age home. Once a year is PLENTY!
Yes, you are thrilled that Grandpa aka Christmas only visits once a year, and you thoroughly understand the phrase”Bah Humbug!”
In blows New Year’s Eve. She is not always kind, and I reckon she is somehow a lost twin of Valentines Day. Perhaps a distant cousin through marriage, none the less, she shows up every year to remind you how you are alone, and your entire year sucked. She proves to you as you sit eating Chinese food solo and watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square, what a pathetic loser you truly are. You are like the voyeur watching all of these fabulous New Year’s Eve parties that you were not invited to.
Just when you have licked your wounds from New Year’s, and gotten out of the fetal position, here comes Valentine’s Day. She starts out like the sexy aloof distant cousin through marriage that no one is quite sure what to do with. But Valentine’s Day quickly turns into the weird spinster relative. Valentine’s Day is supposed to represent love and chocolate, but the spinster relative creeps in and it becomes about; disappointment, breakups, and loneliness.
It is as though the Spinster has given you a box of chocolates with only one edible chocolate in the entire box. Like her unwanted advice, you bite into each piece, sampling her unwelcome suggestions on how maybe next year Valentine’s Day can be different for you. She is no longer the mysterious relative you have been excited to see. Upon closer inspection, she is a frizzy haired, wrinkly, spinster that has sucked the life out of you, and you are pretty sure that she is no longer married to your relative. For sure, Valentine’s Day is that one family member that you can’t seem to escape from…
St. Patrick’s day is like the cousin of holidays no one wants to acknowledge.All we know about him is that he likes green and may look like a leprechaun. So let’s drink and throw him a parade! He is the drunk cousin that keeps popping up after he escapes rehab. His connection within the family is questionable. He is either the bastard son of a disinherited uncle or the half brother of a second cousin. no one knows for sure, but like a bad rash he keeps turning up expecting a parade.
Then we have Ramadan which is like the anorexic relative that we don’t eat in front of, we wait until the sun goes down and then gorge away, when they’re not looking. It’s our time of reflection yet we are too hungry to reflect. We know we are being selfless in fasting, but perhaps we just don’t have it in us.
Try to explain the family member of Easter. The relative who has an identity crisis that no one is allowed to speak of. You try to figure out what colored eggs, candy, baskets, bunnies, bonnets, and chicks have to do with Jesus and the resurrection? It’s just a cornucopia of chaos and nobody knows what the hell is going on. So you just go with the flow. There are whispers that perhaps Easter is actually related through marriage, making the other Holiday family members feel better that they are not related to a complete stew of nonsense that no one can seem to explain.
You partake in Easter egg hunts because thats what you are supposed to do. You smile at the giant Easter Bunny that is hopping around the garden and ponder could this be Christopher Columbus crashing the family get together…
Fourth of July is like the old, decrepit relative that we keep having HUGE birthday celebrations for. Every year it’s the same theme, because chances are they can’t remember last year’s party. There are picnics, parades, fireworks, and I guarantee most attending don’t know the age of the guest of honor…
Yes. Like one huge dysfunctional family.