Hooray! — Halloween is over for another year. Ok, this may come as a surprise to many but I don’t enjoy holidays – any of them. It’s not the purpose, religious or historical significance of the holidays that I dislike; it’s the hype, the ceremony and the requirements for the holidays that annoy me.
Let me start with Halloween. I dutifully hand out candy at the door to the children, the ones who are excited and laughing and to the ones who are coaxed and prodded up the stairs in tears. Why are they here — if they are not enjoying the festivities why do they have to go? I’ve listened to others complain ‘those teens are too old for trick or treating’, ‘that person doesn’t even have a costume’. So what? If they are having fun and being respectful what is the problem? Discrimination? Personally I don’t think that saying someone cannot participate is any different than saying they must participate.
Let me use another holiday for an example of how I feel about the participation factor. Christmas – what are some popular Christmas traditions? Decorating – Oh how I love decorating! – but not just for Christmas and sometimes not at all for Christmas. Turkey – I love turkey and especially stuffing but I never prepare it for Christmas – I’m usually too busy. I cook big turkey dinners on lazy weekends when I have nothing else going on. Exchanging gifts – this practice I could do without entirely. This does not mean that I dislike giving or getting gifts. If I’m shopping and I see something that is ‘perfect’ for someone I know – I’ll buy it for them and give it to them regardless of the day or time of year and with no expectation of getting something in return. I hope no one ever gives me something because they feel obligated to. Going to Church or volunteering at a shelter or food bank – if these types of things are important to you why do them just at Christmas? Then there are the Christmas pageants – I have never been to one I enjoyed because there is always one child – sometimes many – who really don’t want to be there. No matter how great the rest of the performance is I only see and feel for the ones who’s “No!” was not acknowledged.
Here in my childcare home our calendar lists holidays and special days and I often use this time to talk about the holidays, to learn how they originated and talk about how people choose to celebrate them. The important word there is ‘choose’. I find it interesting to learn about the history and importance of special days regardless of whether I celebrate them or not. If the children are interested in learning more about them or celebrating them they are free to do so – but not required to nor forbidden to.
Here they can dress up in costumes, sing hymns & carols, have Easter eggs hunts, make and give gifts, be thankful or celebrate in any way and on any day they choose to as long as they let others join them if they want to and accept the “no” of those that don’t. Tolerance, understanding, and respect.