Holiday Love.

Posted on October 24, 2013

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group of women laughing original

One of the coolest things about being married to someone from a different culture is the holidays.

In our home, there are no discussions about whether or not we should celebrate Diwali or Christmas. We don’t choose whether we’re going to light up the Christmas tree or the diva lamps instead.

Long before G. and I were married we decided to hell with picking just one religion or set of customs. We’re going to do them all!

{And, if you’re the celebrating type, picking a partner from India is a really good idea. Because Hindus have some kind of festival, like, every week.}

So all of this is just to say that for us, the holidays start near the beginning of October, when we celebrate Dussera. Then it’s my birthday and Halloween and my son’s birthday and Diwali and Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Year’s.

String up the lights, start up the stove and bring out the booze because from October to January it’s one party after another!

I just love this time of year. I look forward to it for months. I don’t care if I eat too much and my jeans get tight and I don’t get nearly enough sleep. Because, at the end of the day, this whole time is all about love.

It doesn’t really matter what culture you’re from, does it? At the center of any holiday is love.

Now, before I got my shit together, it wasn’t this way. For many, many years I dreaded this time of year. October would roll around and the stores would start putting out the Christmas decorations and I’d think oh my gawd, not again!

The dysfunctional family dynamics. The parties and the cards and the long list of presents to buy. But most of all, I dreaded the obligation to eat food I didn’t want and do things I couldn’t afford with people I didn’t really like.

That was the ridiculous way I used to live. All that drama was self-imposed.

For many years, I forgot that the holidays were all about love and what I mean by that is that I forgot that you have to love yourself, too. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for yourself is to say ‘no’ to all of the stuff about this season that’s going to make you feel like crap.

You don’t have to stay very long at the office holiday party, or any holiday party, if you don’t want to. Guess what? You don’t even really have to go! You don’t have to hit the black Friday sales. You don’t have to eat the candy or cookies in the break room. The world won’t end if you don’t send out holiday cards. You don’t have to have Thanksgiving with your family if they drive you to drink and you don’t have to spend crazy money on presents because your friends do.

For every option you’ve obligated yourself to, there exists a creative alternative. Because this is your life, it is your job to figure out how to make the holidays fun.

Notice that I didn’t say “bearable” or “decent.” The holidays only come around once a year. Damnit, you might as well make them fun!

I still do a lot of stuff at the holidays that I used to do, only now my reasons for doing them have changed. I send holiday cards but I send them only to people I like because I want them to know that I’m thinking of them. I still buy presents but only if I really want to and only if I’ll enjoy giving it to the person (without the petty thought-But what did they get me?). I still probably pack my schedule with way too much stuff to do but so what? I’m having a good time.

There will be so much to do in the weeks ahead but before I say I’m going to do something I will ask myself: Why am I doing this? 

If the answer is because others expect me to or because I’m afraid what the neighbors will think if I don’t, I know that my intentions lack integrity. Spending your life trying to win the approval of others is an embarrassingly large waste of time.

If the holiday are meant to be about love, then I think the best thing we can do for ourselves and for others is to make sure what we do has the intention of love behind it.

One day, I wanna live my whole life like this. I want to be able to wake up and check myself, check every action and make sure that it’s grounded in love. Wouldn’t that be a great way to live?

Right now, I’m not even close. I still hold grudges, I’m still really petty at times. And you’ve probably noticed, I still cuss more often than I should.

But that’s one of the reasons I love this time of year. The truth is that this time is special because, no matter what culture or religion we’re from, we are all challenged to love each other-and ourselves-better.

So find what makes you feel loved. Figure out what makes you a loving person. And go do more of that.

Because the world doesn’t need another Scrooge. The world, and everyone in it, needs people who remember the truth.

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Posted in: The Holidays