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Celebration Station: Making Time for Intentional Festivity

Celebration Station: Making Time for Intentional Festivity

I’ve been grappling with my stance on celebrating holidays for some time now. I tend to engage in the “big ones” that my family gathers for such as Christmas and the Fourth of July, but I find myself hesitant as most others roll around. I once thoughtfully planned a Valentine’s Day gift for a significant other of yore only to be met with a playful eye-roll and a “you really want to celebrate a holiday created by Hallmark?” comment. I remember in that moment decrying that to truly acknowledge a seemingly insignificant calendared celebration is to become a lifeless robot: another cog in another machine, which in my angsty adolescence equated to death.

As a child, celebrations of all sorts are frequently revered. Everything from Halloween to Valentine’s Day to the 100th Day of School is often marked, whether in school or out (coming from my very middle class American WASP-y existence). Birthday celebrations are abundant. Each year, each season, brings a new opportunity to celebrate something with the promise of getting to do it all over again next year. There is anticipation wrapped up in in otherwise ordinary days. Once you leave childhood, the land of classroom parties and seemingly monthly milestones, celebrations become reserved for particularly “significant” occasions, such as weddings and birthdays that mark a new decade. Celebrating as an adult often starts to feel like doing “too much”. With enough exposure, you become “over it” and start to see most holidays as indulging in thoughtless consumerism. I’ve even felt strange guilt acknowledging my birthday over recent years, choosing to take a quiet and “humble” position instead of embracing a birthday for what it is: recognizing another eventful trip around the sun. 

With the omnipresence of social media comes the random nods to holidays that aren’t pre-marked on the calendars we open: everything from National Coffee Day to National Siblings Day to National Dog Day. Seeing these holidays acknowledged has often poked at that Scrooge-ish reflex I long ago developed, probing an eye-roll and perhaps a snarky comment. There is also, however, a longing to participate that I cannot deny, to take a moment to acknowledge what is being celebrated and bring some joy to my day. Years often feel shorter than they do long, and while they are nearly bursting with the whirlwind of activity, of all the places we have to be and the things we have to do, I’m perpetually interested in how to find ways to plug intentional causes for joy into them.

It is for this reason, for this longing to shed the grim reality of celebrating as an adult and recreate the playfulness of childhood, that my husband and I have started to sit down at the beginning of each month and mark the holidays we want to acknowledge. We have been acquiring our holidays from the National Day Calendar website, where you can apparently write in and propose any holiday of your choosing. While I would have once scoffed at this notion, I now celebrate it with youthful exuberance.

Aside from Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, a few of the holidays we will be observing (in some form or another) this month include:

Nov. 1st: National Authors’ Day/National Family Literacy Day

Nov. 4th: National Stress Awareness Day

Nov. 5th: National Doughnut Day

Nov. 6th: National Nachos Day (YAS)

Nov. 17th: National Take a Hike Day

Nov. 29th: National Day of Giving

It is with great pleasure that I kick off this Celebration Station series today because it is National Authors’ Day and National Family Literacy Day: a day that is close to my heart as an avid reader, writer, conflicted English major, and former literacy teacher.

I plan to celebrate by feasting my eyes on my color-coordinated home library, scanning spines for authors whose work has spoken to my soul and reading aloud some Shel Silverstein with my boo. 

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