The Hallmark Effect

With Thanksgiving just past (I hope yours was wonderful), we are now officially in the hell that is supposed to be the best time of the year.  Yes, the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/whatever holidays are here.

Holidays are hard.  Just a few possibles…I can think of dozens!:  you may or may not be with your family (and you may or may not want to be); you may be missing those who passed, especially if it’s the first holidays without them; those you are with are not inclusive, or actively disapprove of your choices; you may be unable to meet the expectations of HAPPY that we are told we should feel (yes, that’s the Hallmark effect)…

And it’s the last one that gets me, every.damn.time.  I’ve written before about New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, and in general, I think you can probably tell how I feel about high expectation holidays, even manufactured ones.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my family and my friends.  I was pleased and lucky to be invited to several “Friendsgiving” feasts, and was made welcome at the one I attended.  I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my sisters and other relatives, and seeing a few friends.grinch

But even if that were not true, it’s near impossible to say so without accusations of Grinchiness (Dr. Suess has a lot to answer for on that one).  But know that if you are feeling that way, you’re not alone.  In fact, I sometimes want to spend the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s under my bed, only emerging for (of course) my birthday.

So take some time for yourself, and understand that the holidays don’t have to meet some Hallmark standard of perfection.  Enjoy the time the way YOU want to, even if that is embracing your inner Grinch  – and to hell with expectations.




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