As a society, we are constantly facing this fast-paced, day-to-day, ever-evolving need to be politically correct and follow this unspoken (and unsigned) social contract.
Especially during the Holidays.
There’s: Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Secret Santa, White Elephant Gift Exchanges, Office Parties, Neighborhood Block Parties/Friends’ Holiday Parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. (I know I’ve left a bunch out. But…you get the idea.)
And you have to participate in one, or all of these Holiday Rituals… Otherwise, you’re a Heathen.
You have to:
Bring a Pinterest-Inspired Dish That’s Under/Overcooked to Friendsgiving – You’ve been involved in a group text for 3 weeks that you just can’t get out of. And you can’t believe that you’re friends with these people who can’t figure out who should bring plates.
Bring a Dish (and spend time with family) for Thanksgiving – You’ve been praying for a natural disaster, or a plague to befall you…No such luck. Sorry, Champ. Get in there…tell your Aunt who lives in rural Illinois that you still don’t know when you’ll be getting married, and you’ve never heard of… how do you say it? Politics?
Wake Up Earlier Than Sin to go Get a Bunch of Crap For Yourself That You’ll Forget About Until the Next Time You Move – You’re running on 45 minutes of sleep, Starbucks, and the thirst for really great Black Friday deals that really only get you a couple of nostalgic movies that you didn’t really like for $5. No matter. You’re a champion, and you know it.
Spending Company Time Online Shopping – Unfortunately, Cyber Monday isn’t a corporate-sanctioned Holiday. So, in between vigilance of deleting Reply-All emails at work, you keep up with your relentless refreshing for the <insert electronic item here> to be back in stock.
Hurry and Find a Present for Secret Santa/White Elephant Gift Exchange – No pressure. But it has to be good… and somehow within the $10 spending limit that was agreed upon and wrap it in fancier-than-usual wrapping paper because it’s for someone you don’t know very well…and you don’t want to seem completely cheap. Your reputation is on the line.
Argue With Each Other About Not Being Able to Cancel on Holiday Parties You’ve Been Invited To — It’s too late to cancel, and the invitation has been sitting on the fridge for months. (Let’s face it. You have to go to the Work Party… because human beings are all nosey…and Karen can’t hold her alcohol very well. Hilarity, blackmail, and a boost to your self-esteem. Hole-in-One.) So you go, anyway, and begrudgingly attend said parties by arriving at the absolute last minute, holding your breath and holding your tongue, and then leaving at the pre-calculated acceptable time to leave. (Hint: Make sure to say hello to at least 50% of the people there. Grab a snack or drink to hold in your hand to make it seem like you’re committed to staying. After a little while, find the host of the party, and tell them you have to go. You have other places to be. Total Time Lapsed – 45 Minutes. TOPS.)
Spend the Morning of Christmas Eve Going to the Grocery Store 27+ Times in Your Pajamas – No matter how many lists you write, and how many times you hit the aisles… you always seem to forget something. But you don’t notice until you get home and you’ve unloaded all the groceries…and now you have to drive all the way back to the store saying every curse word you have ever heard and find a good parking spot. Make sure you have everything! The safety of others depends on it.
Spend the Evening of Christmas Eve Making Sure Everything is Done – Presents must be wrapped, pies must be baked…It’s 3 AM and somebody has some enthusiasm they have to fake in the morning! You will be opening presents that embody your loved ones’ best attempts at guessing what you like. (Hint: Smile, make your eyes big, hide your visible disappointment, express gratitude, and hug. Repeat, as needed.)
Spending Christmas Day Absolutely Exhausted and in Fine Form – You got a lot of gift cards, and a few gifts you’ll definitely be taking back to the store. Your brother-in-law insisted on making Christmas Day dinner and it turned out to be a huge flop. The realization that you can’t get fast food on the way home has JUST sunk in.
Spend the Day After Christmas Eating Leftover Food and Resenting Leftover Guests – You did it. You survived Christmas — Almost. Now, you have to continue to entertain…even though you just used your last bit of Holiday Cheer.
Researching Places to go and Spend $20–$100 on a Table Reservations for New Year’s Eve – Yet another beloved group text message trying to decide where you all want to spend NYE. You still can’t believe that you’re friends with these people – because you have set up the reservation on your credit card…and you know no one is going to pay you back. You know Doug will sing Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ along with the band at the top of his lungs at the beginning of the night, get way too drunk way too fast, make out with a stranger at midnight, and then he’ll be crying at the end of the night while puking in your front yard.
Filling Yourself with Greasy Food to Fight Off Your Hangover – All the while researching which gym you’re going to be joining, this year, as part of your New Year’s Resolutions… (Memorize those cancellation policies!)
In my opinion…the Holidays are a time for us to share and celebrate what we are thankful for, to spend time with loved ones, to reflect on our lives and try to better ourselves.
We adhere to these ‘rules’ that we have created for ourselves.
We endure people, places, things, ideas…For what?
This New Year, I resolve to speak my mind more.
and you should, too!
Let me tell you how I got to this resolution.
I was thinking back to when I was about 6-years-old, in Wood Dale, Illinois; and my best friend lived down the block from me.
One particular day, we were having a petty disagreement. I don’t remember how it started — or why – but I would write an insult reserved for her on my driveway in sidewalk chalk. And then, I would run in the house and keep checking the window for her to ride by on her bike to read it. She did. Then she would go back to her house and write an insult reserved for me, and then hide in her house and wait for me. And so on, and so forth.
I was growing tired of the back and forth. I was highly offended by the insults that she issued to me. (Side Note: I had no problems with the insults I was dishing out to her.)
The passive-aggressive chalk-off had gone on long enough.
I went outside to the driveway…one last time. I grabbed the biggest piece of chalk that I could find.
And in big, pink, bold, chalky letters…I wrote the worst word I knew –
I stood out in front of it… Proud. And I waited.
After a few minutes, as expected, she rode by on her bike. She was surprised when she saw me – and then she saw what I had wrote. Her jaw dropped, and she screamed. I stayed put, and watched her ride back to her house.
In the end, I definitely don’t think I won the argument. (I think I probably got yelled at)
But I spoke my mind. She was being a jerk…and I called her out on it.
So, for the upcoming New Year…
Be the proud 6-year-old standing in the driveway in front of what she had on her mind.