Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrations and Holidays

Two nights ago a blog post by Rage Against the Minivan popped up in my Facebook news feed.  The author, Kristen, implored, "Let's bring the holidays down a notch."  As the night grew on, more and more of my friends were sharing this post, usually preceded with "let's stop celebrating everything" or "Amen."  As for myself, I tend to go all out when it comes to celebrations. 

I love holidays, parties, and just about any celebration.  I am hooked on Pinterest.  Plus, I am guilty of taking hundreds of food pictures which I then upload to Instagram and post to Facebook and Pinterest!  I send goodie bags to school sometimes too, but I swear I didn't invent those darn colorful cellophane bags filled with candy, and stickers and other assorted knick knacks.

There are a few things I refuse to do.  I will never have an Elf on the Shelf.  I have been using the threat of invisible elves since my oldest was little - and it works.  I don't need to worry about crafting the escapades of a little plastic elf every night.  Some people even create funny, more adult situations and post the pictures on Facebook.  Sometimes, I think the elf is more for the parents then the kids.

My kids roped guilted me into celebrating St. Nicholas Day when they went to preschool with the nuns.  They were told to leave their shoes out and they would receive coins and chocolates (which they interpreted as chocolate coins) in their shoes.  Do you know how hard it is to find chocolate coins in the middle of the night?  It would have helped if the kids had given me fair warning and not just put their shoes out before bed expecting St. Nicholas to come.  I spent a small fortune on those little mesh bags filled with chocolate coins.  When they came asking me for hay, I knew I was in trouble, but there I was sending my husband out to Walmart in the middle of a snow storm because the three kings were coming that night.  I was young and foolish then.  Guess whose kids do not celebrate either of these holiday anymore?  

This year was the first year I didn't spend hours gluing masks and capes on lollypops or melting crayons into little mottled hearts.  My kids wanted Fun Dip - little pouches of green and red sugar that dyed their classmates mouths rainbow colors for hours.  Josie had cute handmade Valentines, with a lollypop, of course.  A plethora of goodie bags as well as a cool clear cylindrical tube filled with gumballs all made their way to my house.  I like handmade Valentines the best.  Who doesn't love a construction paper heart glued to a doily?  I was told by my kids that every Valentine needs to have a piece of candy attached.  I teased them and told them I was going to buy pretzels instead.  Yes, I have been THAT house on Halloween.

I celebrate Pi day with my nerd husband and math loving kids.  They love math.  I enjoy pie.  It works for all of us.  Who doesn't need an excuse to eat pie?  Last year, we celebrated Platypus day, complete with Platypus cakes.  Opening ceremonies for the Olympics were celebrated with finger foods and Olympic torches.  It is an excuse to have fun and make memories.  Someday, my kids will think back and remember the afternoon I sent them out to play while I iced Twinkies with green frosting and added cookie tails and candy eyes.  I will always remember the excitement gleaming in their eyes.

St. Patrick's Day is about wearing green (if we have something green AND if it's clean.)  My son takes this to extremes.  He has this one pair of green pants that must be magical, because they have fit him for years, which he pairs with a green shirt and a green baseball cap.  One year I found him stringing green beads on a cord so he could have a green necklace too.  The Shamrock cupcakes I had hoped on baking last weekend never happened.  Maybe, next year.  No Leprechaun has ever set foot in our house and the kids have never looked for him.  Two days later, on St. Joseph's Day, we eat pastries.  I am an Italian girl.

The Easter Bunny visits and leaves a basket of chocolate goodness (which I do enjoy sampling).  Sometimes he throws in a stuffed animal or bubbles, or chalk.  Eight colorful Easter baskets look great lined up on the mantle.  I found a few ideas on Pinterest that I hope on trying this year. I like cutting out shapes and creating fun banners to hang on the fireplace.  I used to have an Easter tree, until all my ornaments met an untimely death. We have a lot of fun using food dye, rubber bands, crayons, and six to eight dozen hard boiled eggs.  If we are dying that many eggs, we need to make it fun.  I think I may need to research a few new ways to serve hard boiled eggs this year.

I understand where Kristen's exasperation is coming from.  I was overwhelmed all those years ago as I dug through the snow to find some grass underneath to leave for the three kings and their camels.  Kristen's essay spread like wildfire - people either agreed wholeheartedly or were offended.  I simply saw this post as a mom's plea for support, not a demand to stop celebrating.


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