Holidays are big business in America, and often what should be a meaningful celebration feels more like a crass excursion into consumerism and material culture. Sometimes it feels like the only reason to celebrate is the fact that you’re off work for the day. You can banish Christmas, skip Halloween and pretend that Valentine’s Day doesn’t exist - however, instead of mourning the lack of meaning in our established holidays, why don’t you create your own? You remember the Seinfeld Festivus episode? Why not create your own holiday? What's stopping you? After all, somebody created all the rest of the holidays just because...
If you yearn for meaningful events to enrich the garden of your life, don’t just wait for them to appear on a silver platter. Whether you want to celebrate by yourself or with family and friends, creating your own holiday is a fun way to honor something you care about.
Life is full of reasons to celebrate: the first popsicle of summer, the last day of winter, the sighting of springtime flowers or the start of pumpkin season every autumn. These small moments of beauty and pleasure add up to a life well lived, so why not celebrate them as they happen? Create your own holiday around a special moment in your life, and re-introduce meaningful rituals to add color and richness to your calendar of events.
First, decide on the moment, day or event that your holiday will be organized around. Perhaps it’s an easy choice like the last day of school or the first snowfall. It could be something more unique such as new shoes day, the advent of your vacation planning process, or the anniversary of your financial independence or new vegan lifestyle. Maybe you just want to choose a random day like Tuesday, August 13 to celebrate your uniqueness. Whatever it is, pick an event that means something to you and mark it down on your calendar.
Give your new holiday a name, something straightforward like “New Shoes Day” or perhaps a general title like “Festivus” of Seinfeld fame. Decide if you’ll be celebrating your wacky new holiday on your own as a personal rite of passage, or if you can rope in your friends and family for the fun. Plan for a quiet evening of reflection, an awesome afternoon of fun and games, or an evening blowout with a crowd all toasting the Great Day of Shaved Legs and Sangria, Arbor Day Yoga Afternoon or the First Bare Feet of the Season.
Celebrate with friends or honor your holiday alone – either way, decide on some special rituals to make the occasion meaningful. What types of food and drink will you have at your holiday party? Ice cream and cake is taken; so how about sushi, fruit salad or an all-veggie brunch? You’ll also need to figure out what special activities this holiday entails. Will you walk to the park and fly a kite to honor your Dream Day, head to the beach with a picnic for Kale Day, or take the day off work and pamper yourself for your Annual Spa Celebration? Choose things to do and eat that are distinct and that reflect the theme of the day.
If you’re throwing a party for your friends and family, go all out with the new holiday theme from the invitations to the décor. If you plan on hosting an annual event to celebrate your crazy sock collection, let everyone know – and give out party favors of colorful socks to make everyone feel like part of the fun.
After your holiday celebration, you should feel newly inspired at your own power to create meaning in your life and those of others – and you can make your special occasion a recurring annual event.
Image: Randy Deuro