Friday, September 30, 2016

Holidays -- the faves, over time

Hi Y'all.
I'm just sitting here thinking about my favorite holidays, both in the past and in the current. Because, I don't know, what do you sit around and think about?
So, if you don't mind, I'm going to blog out some of my thoughts on this.
Great. Thanks. Let's get started.
So, I think my first favorite holiday was probably Christmas. I mean, I think it's the favorite holiday for a lot of Christmas-observing children, for the obvious reasons.
Hushed candle lit services at church.
Several of these things -- OK, maybe all of these things -- haven't exactly lost their charm for me. I still get excited when they start selling Coke cans with Santa on them. I still like quiet, meditative church services. I enjoy presents.
And candy? Duh.
But Christmas itself is no longer my favorite holiday, I don't think. I find it valuable for spiritual reasons (the birth of the person I call Savior), and I enjoy the excuse to see my family.
And, as we've covered, I still enjoy candy and presents.
I own what some may call an obsessive collection of holiday films -- and music -- as well. I'd say I'm festive. But one can never quite get back that childhood feeling of pure wonder, once a certain number of Decembers pass in one's life.
Did I just make things depressing?
I'm sorry. Thought I'd get real for a sec, and I guess they got too real. Let's move on.
When I became an older child, I decided I liked Christmas Eve just a little bit better than Christmas Day itself.
Ever the philosopher, I felt that the giddy anticipation that Christmas Eve held couldn't compete with the day in which all the hoopla actually, well, hooplas.
I loved Christmas, sure. I loved the big reveal of what all those mysterious wrapped boxes contained. I loved waking up before daylight and giggling with my brothers as we rifled through our stockings. But I think, around the age of 10, I realized that on Christmas Eve, I still had something to look forward to, and on Christmas, I knew that once the last present was open, then there were no more presents to open.
Did I just get depressing again? I'm so sorry, seriously.
I think I just love anticipation, and having things to look forward to. I've never outgrown that.
As I grew older still, I moved into the phase of life during which Thanksgiving held the title of Bailey's Favorite Holiday for quite a few years. It was an impressive run, to be truthful.
First and foremost, it just symbolized even more greatly my love for anticipation, for build up. If Christmas Eve holds extreme amounts of giddiness for the next day, then surely a whole month ahead of time ought to hold way more giddiness, am I right?
Some other things I loved about Thanksgiving:
  • Football on the television. I will always love that sound.
  • Stuffing, lima beans, gravy.
  • Sparkling grape juice.
  • No school.
  • The Brewer tribe attending a movie each year.
  • Being in the house with my whole family all day.
  • Eventually (around the time I started high school), the tradition of going to Grams' place for the day.
  • Pumpkin pie.
  • Finally being "allowed" (one of my great realizations of adulthood was in learning that I didn't have to ask permission) to pop Julie Andrews' Christmas album back in the CD player.
When I, I'd say, I got really philosophical and weird and declared Groundhog Day to be my favorite holiday.
OK fine.
I admit it.
I just wanted to be different from everyone else. Who else claims that Groundhog Day is their favorite? Please.
I have always wanted to be different. When I was younger, growing up with three male siblings, I wanted to be more like a boy than other girls my age generally did. I wanted to be (and was) sarcastic, like the boys. I wanted to be creative. Funny. Smart. It most likely comes from simply wanting attention (not that I didn't receive a lot of it, because I did).
One of the most beautiful things in my adult life is learning to love being a part of a community, an equal, a contributor to society rather than the star of life's show. There's something freeing in it. And a lot less lonely.
So even though my motives for naming GD as my favorite day of the year were probably pretty selfish, I did have my reasons to back up my claim.
Things that are great about GD:
  • One of my favorite movies is named after, and centered around, the day.
  • February is pretty dreary in a lot of areas of the northern hemisphere, and so it's fun to have a random day of classroom crafts and national silliness in the middle of a tough season.
  • It's super quirky.
So anyway, there's that.
There's one other holiday (and I say this more in the sense of the term where "holiday" came from: holy day) that I've long enjoyed as well, and that's Maundy (or Holy) Thursday.
I rarely attend church on Good Friday anymore, because it's too dark and sad for me. My sentiments can't generally stomach it.
But I do enjoy the day before. Even though it should have a really sad, somber feeling of impending grief to it, I find it to be...still, I guess.
And there's something about washing feet that has always been mysterious but insanely intimate and sacred to me.
I love the quiet church services. Taking communion. Getting my feet (or hands) washed. Meditating on a meal that Jesus ate, one that was just dripping with feeling and meaning and weight.
Today, I'm not sure what my favorite holiday is. I'm not sure I have one.
Last year's Christmas season was fun, because I was finally past what had been many years of me not enjoying Christmas. Anxiety and depression in my twenties made the season really hard to get through for a long time. But last year, I made holiday crafts, watched movies, decorated the apartment, buried my niece and nephews in gifts. It was awesome.
But I still don't know that I'd call Christmas my favorite.
I do still love Maundy Thursday.
I still enjoy an excuse to watch Groundhog Day.
I enjoy stuffing. And gravy. And lima beans. And football on the television.
Lately, on Sundays I find myself inviting myself to Alex's couch, where I just soak in the sounds of the NFL.
It all takes me back to childhood, the Midwest, the Brewer's living room, sitting on Mom's cross-legged lap, groggily waking from a nap. Dipping salty chips in a crock pot of Velveeta cheese with Ro-Tel stirred in. Sluggin' cans of Coke (have now been replaced with Bud Light).
I guess you could say that's my current favorite holiday. Sundays at Bethel, then Sundays with the Chiefs. Alex handing me a Coors when Kansas City's about to rally. Telling me I don't need to help in the kitchen, he'll make lunch. "Just enjoy the game, Baby."
It can be sad when childhood traditions lose their spark. But it's a beautiful thing, when they can be transformed into new versions of their old selves. In a way, on Sundays in my life right now, my childhood traditions are still with me. When I hear fans roaring, see referees' flags flying, my childhood isn't lost. My family isn't as far away. I pretend the weather outside is cooler than LA's 90 degrees. My phone blows up with texts from my brothers, arguing about the fairness of that last call.
And my new family stands in the kitchen, making me lunch and bringing me beer, laughing when I dance around the living room when the Chiefs force overtime and then win it all.
"Just enjoy the game, Baby."

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