This year, more than usual, there has been a waterfall-esque onslaught of holidays. It started with Halloween, then Grady’s birthday, which rolled into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, my mom’s birthday, Cade’s birthday, and Christmas. Every week there has been some reason to celebrate with candles and/or cake.
As fun as all of these have been, my kids are clearly confused about what they are celebrating and why. Case in point: both boys sing Happy Birthday when Corey lights the menorah. They are deathly afraid of Santa but super jazzed about the tree. I guess when you think about it, a tree is less likely to attack you than an old fat guy who sneaks in at midnight to eat your cookies. I see the reasoning there. And Cade, bless him, still wants to go trick-or-treating every day when we get home from preschool.
Holidays were special when I was a kid. Of course they are still special, but it’s different. The Macy’s parade was a spectacle to behold, rather than the materialistic schlock it’s
become. (“Here comes the cast of NCIS on the Samsung/Pillsbury float, Savannah!”) Movies like It’s a Wonderful Life were shown just once a year. There was no Netflix to recapture the Christmas spirit in June. Same with The Wizard of Oz, which was only shown at Easter. I have vivid memories of being at my grandparent’s house and being presented with a true dilemma – it was the one and only night I could watch The Wizard of Oz, but the neighbor’s garage was on fire. Which should I watch? My only shot at winged monkeys for an entire year, or a real live fire, which I had never seen before? I compromised – Oz mostly, then flaming neighbor’s car during the commercials.
The point is that holidays and their festive accouterments were special because they were rare. Fireworks were only for July 4th. Peeps were only for Easter. A Christmas Story was shown once – not 24-hour-marathon style on TBS. If you missed any of it – candy canes, festive lights on houses, the Shamrock Shake – you just MISSED IT. And because it was rare, it became special. Are Peeps really that delicious? Heck no! They’re fun and people ate them because they were only available for two weeks of the year. Do you know what I saw today at the grocery store? Gingerbread Peeps. Gingerbread. I wish I was making it up.
I’m trying to do my kids a favor and keep special things special. Too much of a good thing ruins the magic. And isn’t the magic what makes it awesome to be a kid?