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The Best Day of the Year

I have never been one to celebrate holidays, whether it is Christmas, or Valentine's Day, or Easter, or Birthdays (including my own); to me, these days of the year are just that, another day of the year. I have been this way from an early age, just prior to hitting my teen years. There was no tragedy, religious experience or dramatic event that turned me off to these "special days", but rather a conscious decision on my own part.

The only holiday I have always enjoyed is Thanksgiving, as it is one of the few excuses my family has had to travel across the country, or down the road, and spend time with one another. And it is one of the few that has not, as of yet (knock on wood), been completely bastardized into a Hallmark buying frenzy. Even in that, I do not see myself as celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, but rather enjoying the reunion with family and friends. A distinction perhaps only to myself.

For me the holidays are generally a charade. A day or two a year that people celebrate the birth of a friend, the love for another, the joy of their religious beliefs, or any of a number of other things. I, we, should not have to be told to purchase a gift for a friend or a loved one simply because of the calendar date. We should not have to be reminded to remember our deity. For if these things only occur because they are marked upon a calendar, do they really matter?

To me, everyday should be a celebration of those things. Being a Christian (Pastafarian really), I try to enjoy the Christmas spirit year round, much to the annoyance of those who know me. Between January and November of each year, you will be hard pressed to find a day that I am not singing Christmas songs aloud and at random. Come December, in proper spirit, I switch to Easter songs. If I see a gift that someone I care about might like and I can afford, I buy it and give it as a gift. Now. Not when their birthday or another holiday rolls around. Perhaps I am just odd. Alright, I am just odd, but in this case I don't see my behavior as strange, only as doing what I see as right.

The major exception to all my bah-humbugness is my daughter. With her, and for her, I celebrate all of the holidays. Each and every year she is my valentine. On Christmas I try to provide a few gifts for her to unwrap and enjoy. The same for each holiday she has chosen to celebrate, but I still never lose sight of the everyday. Each day she has been and will be in my life is the most precious gift of all. And I cherish all of these days.

We might not get to spend the time together that we would if she lived with me, and we might not do all the things that others would expect of a weekend parent, but we do get the most out of our time; even if it is time spent apart from each other. She is my daughter and being a part of her life is the most important and wonderful thing I will ever do in my own life.

Despite the ups and downs, the gray hairs she has given me, and the many nights of worry; I have always been proud of the girl she has been and the woman she is growing up to be. And so I truly hope she enjoys this 17th birthday and 18th year of her life as much as I will continue to cherish each day that I have been blessed with her as a daughter.

Happy Birthday Phaide. You might be getting older, but you will always be my little girl.

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Alvin on :

> For me the holidays are generally a charade.

> everyday should be a celebration of those things.

How sad, Andrew. Although your intention is altruistic, you've chosen an unrealistic approach to express it.

First of all, holidays are only what one chooses to make of them. Personally, for example, I am enthusiastic about Valentine's Day, but I've told everyone I've ever gone out with that they shouldn't expect anything from me on Sweetest Day, a holiday I consider to be man-made, bogus, and commercially-motivated. I don't believe in it. But I wouldn't dis anyone else who believed it it. On the other hand I enjoy celebrating Talk Like A Pirate Day even though that too is man-man. Point is we each get to choose which holidays to celebrate. So to cart blanch say that "holidays are generally a charade" sounds terribly shallow and thoughtless.

Secondly there are not enough hours in the day, and sometimes it's more important to pay some bills, or earn the money to do so, instead of calling, visiting, or writing everyone you think is special and spending quality time with them. Hopefully one doesn't ignore their special friends or family members throughout the year, but making a special effort on their birthday to express one's feelings about them is just an extra special way of telling them what they mean to you. And in return one should be open to having friends and family do the same for you.

And although every day should be special because life is short, unfortunately it's pretty normal to get caught up in the necessary activities needed to maintain life and lose track of life's specialness. Holidays are symbolic of day to day life. It's like saying to friends and family, "If I could I would spend my days with you the way I'm spending today with you."

And it's sweet that your daughter gets all the attention and love you give her. But if you're celebrating holidays for her sake rather than for your own enrichment, you're giving her a Very Poor Example, and that's a shame. I think you should either be honest with her, tell her that holidays are a charade, and act accordingly, or reconsider your thinking and celebrate holidays for all the joy you're denying yourself now.

Andrew Maxim on :

Thank you for the feedback Alvin. You are correct in some regards, but in my opinion off base in others. Because the intention of my entry was, in effect, a fond birthday wish for my daughter, I did not go into a ton of details on my dislike of most holidays, or rather the modern stance on holidays.

First let me say that you get bonus points for recognizing Talk Like a Pirate day. Given that in Pastafarianism Pirates are the chosen ones, it is a good day. Plus any day that Solarbotics provides discounts on robot parts just for placing your order over the phone while talking like a pirate is just a good day in my book.

In a nutshell, I see Holidays as a crutch. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t make it a good thing either. As an example I recently gave to a friend, visit a Catholic church on any given Sunday and note the attendance. Now go back on Easter Sunday. Major difference. Obviously to those people who only attend on Easter and other Catholic holidays, attending church holds some importance or they would not bother to attend at all. Yet, is it not important enough for them to attend every Sunday? I would think that for most of them it is, and their intentions would be to attend church more regularly, but life gets in the way.

The same is for other holidays. As you stated, celebrating a persons birthday is a way of showing your love for that person, and thanks for them being a part of your life; even if it is something you can not do everyday. But it is something that we all could do more often.

Yes, life gets in the way and we mean to call, or write, or visit, or pick up some flowers on the way home from work; but we don’t. I am just as guilty of this as many others, far too often for my own liking. And I feel guilty for it, and we all should. If we took an honest look at the time spent during our own day it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for each of us to not find a few free minutes that we could be doing something else, something like picking up the phone just to say “Hi Mom, I was thinking of you.”

Think on how many hours per year the average American spends watching television. It is a stress reliever, a way of unwinding in mindlessness, and something we have probably earned. But think of how good you feel when you reach out to a loved one to just say “I missed you.” A much better stress reliever if you ask me.

Instead we wait for the holidays, because we make up excuses and reasons for not doing those things. Of course, if it takes a holiday to make the time, then that is a good use of a holiday in my book. That is what Thanksgiving is for my family, the excuse to see one another. It is a crutch for us, just as most holidays are for everyone else. The “helping hand (foot)” needed to kick us in the rear and buy flowers for our sweetheart, or send us back into church to praise our deities, or send a card to mom.

That is the charade. If you saw a person walking down the street using crutches who you knew was not infirmed wouldn’t you say, at least to yourself, that it was a charade? “Hey, that guy can walk! There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s faking it!” Well, when it comes to all the things we wait for holidays to do or say, we are generally faking the need for the crutch. We can all find a little time in a week or a month to do some of those things, we don’t need to wait for Christmas or a birthday or, even, Talk Like a Pirate day. But one day a year is still better than none.

On a last note, my daughter has been well aware of my belief in regards to holidays for quite some time. Even if she were not, she is, after all, seventeen now and perfectly capable of reading my beliefs on the World Wide Web. That being said, I do those things with her, help her celebrate her holidays because of the enjoyment it brings me to help bring happiness to her. I can not see a thing I am denying to myself in that regard. And if doing something only for the sake of giving joy to another person sets a very poor example, I will have to try much harder to set even worse examples. Arrr Matey.

Alvin on :

I would love to comment now, Andrew, but I must run. I'll respond later next week.

Alvin on :

Arrr Matey. Only three shopping days left until the annual celebration.

Okay--two and a half months is not next week. Sorry, Andrew.

> visit a Catholic church on any given Sunday and note the attendance. Now go
> back on Easter Sunday. Major difference.

Well, that's probably not limited to Catholics, although Catholics have a particular reason why they would go to mass at Easter even if they don't go the other 51 Sundays of the year. In fact as I've reflected on this over the years it strikes me as strange that most people who call themselves Christians give more time and effort to Christmas than they do to Easter.

But pointing out the hypocrisy of some people (and we can all be accused of hypocrisy to some extent) doesn't make holidays wrong, nor is celebrating or not celebrating a holiday a sign of hypocrisy. In philosophy there's a word for that kind of argument, but I'm not a good enough philosopher to tell you what kind.

And if you're celebrating Christmas all year except at Christmas when you're celebrating Easter, I'd call you an artist, and as such you should be proud that your actions shake up some of your friends up; that's what an artist is suppose to do.

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