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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Monday, September 10, 2007

Write Back Weekend "Holiday. Celebrate."

Last Tuesday I asked you the following question:

Which is your favorite national holiday and why? And as a bonus question, was the holiday that is your favorite now always your favorite or has it changed over the years?

Needless to say, Labor Day made me think of the question, but Labor Day would not be my actual answer. I'm sure someone, somewhere appreciates Labor Day since it grants many of us a day off, but in my case it also signifies the return to school the following day, thus not making it the most relaxing of choices.

If we're being honest, most of the reasons why we like the holidays we do have nothing to do with the holiday itself. The significance is there somewhere, looming in the background, but what it means to you often takes precedence over global significance anyway.

If you had asked me this question growing up, I don't know what I would have chosen, but the typical children oriented answers would certainly make the short list. Back then I always loved Christmas because, I'm not gonna lie, it meant getting presents. But then I always had a soft spot (or sweet tooth as the case may be) for Halloween and Easter for similar reasons. Basically as a child you choose your favorites based on whatever gives you the biggest payout. Don't lie. You know this is true.

Now that I'm an adult, I find that those same three holidays probably make the cut in terms of favorites, and only in part for the same reason. I mean really, who doesn't like getting presents?! But I actually do like giving the right presents, too. Yet this adds stress to the holiday season, stress that is absent from your life as a child, thus freeing up this holidays to be favorites, without conditions.

The other reason I like these holidays though is for the simple fact that they are rooted in tradition and memory. Every Christmas I think about Christmas experiences that have come before like decorating the tree while listening to Christmas carols or attending mass. The same goes with Easter complete with Easter egg dying and Cadbury egg eating. Even Halloween, though not on the same scale, carries with it specific memories. For instance, I can tell you the story of how I got sick two Halloweens in a row, or about the time a neighbor down the street organized a Halloween pageant for all the neighborhood families to enjoy. I can still sing the chorus of the song we learned too, H-A- Double L, W, Double E, N.

But that's not important now.

Yet, while the memories serve to make the holidays meaningful, they can easily make you melancholy, too. When you are a kid, there are no memories of people who have since passed or regrets about New Years Resolutions left unresolved. Your life is a clean slate, yet to be drawn on. As the years progress, however, the memories can make you sad at the same time you are happy, and for the same reasons. As Monk would say it's a blessing...and a curse.

I guess you could say the criteria for my favorite holiday has changed, too. I'm no longer picky. If I get a day off to reflect or relax, preferably with a drink in hand, surrounded by friends and/or family, that's all I really need.

Of course the presents and candy are always welcome, too.



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