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I just read a fantastic post about celebrating something when you want to – not when the calendar says you HAVE to. (http://www.momdadandcuppakids.com/moveable-feast/)

I really and totally feel like I can do this now without feeling guilty. Thank you Jennifer you have made a difference in my life. 

My husband and I have rescheduled celebrations in the past because we haven’t had a choice and always felt it was a let down to people. Not to mention the resentment it has generated. But, as this blogger points out, the purpose of the celebrations, or special meals, is to celebrate THE PEOPLE. 

I’m a flexible person and I don’t care when these things happen. As a matter of fact, I feel very strongly, perhaps ridiculously and rebelliously so, that it is my purpose in life to reduce the pressure of those around me by NOT doing things when I am ‘suppose to.’ So much of it is about commercialism anyway. The ‘Marketing people’ seem to be the ones calling the shots and capitalizing on them these days. Am I getting more cynical as I get older? 

Here are some of the reasons I believe events can be rescheduled pain free:

  • Christmas is a pressure filled time with everyone panicking to get everything done by December 25th. When my old employer Rogers changed their Christmas party event to mid-way through January, people were appalled. Then the convenience of it dawned on us. Plus it’s a clever way to deal with the January blahs. It became something to look forward to.
  • My husband works two jobs ALL THE TIME these days. Since being laid off of his very serious office job a few years ago, he is now a relief youth worker at a group home. This means we hear about available shifts sometimes moments before they want him to start. This is especially true on stat holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, Labour Day etc. The first few times we were pretty bummed out but now we have come to accept that this is how it will be until he gets back to the type of job he used to have. We just warn everyone we have to be flexible. It’s a bit of a downer sometimes I have to admit but the kids are older now and getting used to it. Plus he does get that bonus time and a half rate. 
  • My birthday is on a National day of Remembrance – November 11th. When I was kid we got the day off. Not anymore in my province. Plus it is always sad for me on this day due to the whole grief thing. I especially feel affected by the ceremonies, stories, poems and I try to get to the local cenotaph every year. It annoys me to no end that so few people attend these ceremonies. Inevitably I walk away after they are done and someone asks me “what is happening down there?” OH boy – that gets me going. Talk about missing the entire POINT of the day. Not to mention the bustle all around during the two minutes of silence. Maybe these people are going to have their moment later on or have had it already. I will try to be charitable with this thought from now on. I like to celebrate my birthday before Remembrance Day.
  • Both my brothers were born on Easter two years apart. Different years, different dates. Would you want your chocolate eggs as a birthday present? Case made. It’s like the Christmas babies. I sympathize. Thing 2’s birthday falls at the beginning of February. For many birthday parties we had hearts, pink table cloths, love etc. as the themes of these parties. She finally told me she hated sharing Valentine’s day with her birthday. Oops. Glad we know. Thing 1 has his near the end of July which conflicts with the August long weekend when all the friends are away. Not to mention it’s summer. We started celebrating his bday a month before when school was in so his ‘besties’ could be there. 

When I was a teen my BF and I would have pizza on Thanksgiving to be truly rebellious. I think that came from working in retail during the ‘holiday’ seasons. Yuck. 

It’s important to make your own traditions and be compassionate about other people’s limited abilities to understand what matters to you. We used to ‘take turns’ between my parents and the in-laws each year for the ‘official’ celebratory meals. Boy oh boy that was a powder keg. In our families, this was a very serious contest. It sure didn’t help that we had four sets of parents, aunts, and actual friends! Now, the older generation is either in Florida, no longer with us, or has moved too far way for it to be relevant.

As for our siblings, my side is very laid back about ‘flexing’ these things and his side understands the whole ‘need to work if we can’ thing these days. (Especially now that they are all working, have kids and have in-laws of their own.)

Life changes. Next year when Thing 1 goes off to university, away from home, (Gahhh!) we’ll need to figure out some more new tricks for making it happen. I think the most important rule to remember is not to make someone feel bad because they can’t join you. So what? Have two turkeys if that’s such a big deal to you – or better yet – pizza. If I could have my dad back from heaven I sure as heck wouldn’t care if he made it in time for Thanksgiving dinner. I know what my priorities are.

Do what you need to do all year round and don’t put so much pressure on yourself! There are more non-holiday days than holidays to really enjoy your people.

Be happy damn it!

Merry Christmas or Whatever – Whenever!

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