Everyone likes a day off, right? I know I do, especially a paid one. Anyway, some holidays are near and dear to my heart, for all the right reasons. Others, though, have just stolen my joy. Why does everything have to be about money? Most holidays have turned into money-making-for-merchants days instead of days of remembrance or celebration with family and friends. See if you agree with my favorites and forget-its.

TOTAL FAVES

Easter – Yes, this is a religious holiday, but it lands in my favorites category because of the season (spring means summer is coming!) and the symbols of renewal and growth are meaningful to me. I love to garden. I love to get my hands in the soil and watch the seeds I’ve sown turn into something wonderful. Easter is the time of year I can buy all my seeds and start an indoor garden for color into the fall!

Mother’s and Father’s Days – I don’t go all out with gifts for either of my parents. We never really do that as a family anyway. What we do is relax. We spend time together. Sometimes we eat out and other years we just share a meal.Taking the time to thank my parents for all they do for me and all they have taught me is an important lesson I want to pass on to my kids, for obvious reasons.

Fourth of July – Our town has one of the oldest and most fun parades. Everyone in town shows up to watch and many enter floats, fancy up their bikes and cars for the ride down Main Street. Several families are known for putting together hysterical scenes with a political satire second only to late-night television. I just love my country, my hometown and the parties and cook outs to follow!

Thanksgiving – Food! Comfort food and family! Spend it however you like, but spend it with those you love, be grateful for being on this great big journey together. Of course, spend it with someone who can cook! Some people starve themselves all day so they can fill up at the meal, but I believe a better method is to eat slowly for the entire day and into the evening, at two-hour intervals. This way, you can taste some of everything and still go back for seconds on the foods you love, like apple crisp or pumpkin pie, or both!

IN-BETWEEN

Halloween – Okay, so maybe it is a little overblown, but my brother’s birthday is on Halloween. As kids, we always had parties and really got into the spirit, plus our mom was awesome to drive us all over town and back to collect candy (we lived in the boonies). The kids don’t really need all that candy, but I am of the mind to let them pig out and have it all as quick as they can eat it. I make them brush and floss and I eat all the stuff I like too! We still live in the boonies, so nobody dares come up our long, dark drive on Halloween night, which saves me a mint (besides, we’re not home to give it out).

TOTALLY OVERBLOWN

Valentine’s Day – Love does make the world go round, but this holiday has gotten a bit ridiculous. Who needs to spend an arm and a leg on roses that will be dead in days or a big box of chocolates? I am also not a fan of the idea that everyone has to have a sweetheart. Why? This holiday (which isn’t really a holiday if you don’t get the day off work) leaves some feeling totally alone, unloved and disappointed while a others celebrate with what I consider sort-of useless gifts. To show real love, people should simply treat each other with love and courtesy, appreciate each other and our differences every single day instead of celebrate some fake love once a year.

Christmas – The reason for the season is good and right, but what society and has turned it into is just terrible. Like Valentine’s Day, the message of this holiday is love, but somehow it has become a materialistic nightmare. Kids expect a dozen or more gifts, parents rack up credit cards and spend money on more junk than they need. Again, people should demonstrate love during the season by donating time or money to a needy cause, like a local food bank or just visiting an elderly neighbor.

New Year’s Eve – I love new beginnings just as much as the next guy or gal, but this holiday has turned into just another reason to stay up all night and drink (or stay home). People make resolutions they will never keep just because we are turning the calendar. In my experience, people make life changes when they have to or when they choose to, not usually based on a New Year’s resolution. The only redeeming idea of New Year’s Eve is reflecting on the past year, calling to mind good times and bad, with hope for health and happiness in the coming year.

Soon, we will be in the midst of the holiday season, a time of busy days and nights, of fantastic sights and smells. Take it easy on yourself and teach your kids to celebrate in moderation. Be a role model and teach them real ways to show love and appreciation, not with material objects but with actions. Don’t overplan. Relax and take each new season and celebration for what it is, a day to reflect and be grateful we live in such a great country that offers such diversity and bounty. As for right now, what are your plans for Columbus Day weekend? Fall favorites (yes, apples and pumpkins) are ripe for the pickin’.

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