Monday, November 2, 2009

The un-holiday holiday

Halloween is behind us and the fall holiday train is now chugging right along toward Thanksgiving, with Christmas not so subtly waiting in the wings if the displays at my local stores are any indication. At this time of year it can be hard to make time for socializing with friends when family usually takes precedent on these major holidays. In today’s world, people often live far from family members and take the opportunity to travel and visit. But many of us have formed new families with our friends, who we’ll see far more frequently, but sometimes not on the days that are set aside for family bonding. It can be stressful to have to choose between friends and family, and also to deal with the pressure that these high profile holidays can put on even a simple gathering.

One solution to this annual dilemma is to start a new tradition with your friends (or your family, depending on your situation). Create your own annual holiday on a date that doesn’t conflict with any universally recognized ones. By choosing to entertain in an off season, you can avoid the stress of committing to too much during the fall holiday rush, and take time to really have fun, appreciate your loved ones and make a unique memory.

Here are some un-holiday holiday examples:

  • For people with birthdays that fall on a holiday like Christmas, celebrate their half birthday instead.
  • Find an obscure “national day of” something you love and turn it into an annual homage to pie, or pi.
  • Co-opt another country’s holiday, such as Canadian Thanksgiving (Second Monday of October), or Boxing Day (December 26).
  • Love poetry or the epic ramble of James Joyce’s Ulysses? Stage your own Bloomsday celebration on June, or celebrate your favorite poet’s birthday with an annual reading and feast.
  • Make up something out of the blue. My family started “Salmon and Pork” night accidentally one year when a casual dinner party turned into a night of declarations about goals and resolutions. Now the fourth Sunday in April is a unique, five-year running event.

Creative Commons pi pie photo posted to Flickr by pauladamsmith

Creative Commons Bloomsday photo posted to Flickr by Barnacles Hostels

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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