On Thanksgiving and Other “Holy Days”

This week someone asked me how my Thanksgiving “holiday” went. I replied. Well, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but of course I did eat, and I did enjoy the break. In reply to that she said, “Well, what about your family, did you go over to see them, etc., etc.?

 

Here is the thing. When I say that I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving that is what it means. I don’t celebrate it. That does not mean that my family member or friend doesn’t celebrate it, it just means that I don’t celebrate it. Period. Just because I go over to a family member’s house, or anyone’s household for that matter, does not mean that I celebrate it, or that by being there I must have celebrated it by association.

 

It is what I say it is. I don’t celebrate or recognize Thanksgiving no more than I would celebrate Christmas or Easter or any other holy day deemed important by any government or organizational entity. If I am over to someone’s house who celebrates a “national holy day,” it is often, quite simply, to spend time with that person at a time and on a day that is good for the both of us.

 

© 2016 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

 

“I Don’t Celebrate Christmas!”: Everyday is a Day for Loving and For Giving

A couple of days ago, I met a man and a boy (his son). The man was helping me to tow my car (yes, back to the dealer) while the boy sat patiently in the cab waiting on his father. I was a little amazed that he occupied himself so responsibly, while the two of us wrestled to get my non-responsive car on the flatbed truck (well, the man did most of the work).

Though I am an atheist and I have entirely rejected the concept of Christmas and any other fairy tales that go along with this day, i.e., Santa Claus – which is why I could care less about nor will I participate in any debate about the racial identity of such a figure on national television or elsewhere for the matter (no more than I would take the time to care or argue about, say, “The Grinch”) – out of a sense of courtesy and conversation, I asked the young boy, who is 12 years old, what he was planning for this week. In response, he said, “I Don’t Celebrate Christmas!” He continued, “And, I don’t believe that Jesus was born on Christmas.” After a few moments of catching myself staring in amazement I said, “I don’t celebrate Christmas either,” and, ” Good for you, you are right, Jesus was not born on Christmas.”

Rarely, if ever, do I hear such boldness from children concerning matters of god and religion. His simple critique of this holiday – declared a “holy day” by some – was thoughtful, true and authentic. I was quite impressed. His father chimed in to say, “Everyday is Christmas in our household,” and during the ride we continued in a lively discussion about how he as a father came to that conclusion, and about how he as a son was quite remarkable. One day the son hopes to play for the NBA, and I suspect that he might reach that goal, and a few others that he hasn’t yet formulated. Their loving attachment to each other (a black father and son) caused me, momentarily, to forget my car troubles.

At this moment I am preparing for an afternoon visit with my family, yes, on Christmas. Normally, I spend Christmas alone, or in the company of a mutually, loving partner (which I will probably do later tonight), but this year is different. I want to show support to a family member who is going through a very difficult and traumatic tragedy; one that I could not imagine, not in a million days. Of course, I don’t celebrate Christmas, but after meeting this man and his son, I was reminded that everyday is a day for loving and for giving (and forgiving). It’s that simple, that true, that authentic. Cheers!

© 2013 annalise fonza, Ph.D.