Expectations of Holidays: The new trend of holiday one-upping.

I know many of you are probably seeing all the posts about St. Patrick’s Day regarding celebrating, or not celebrating it, how, why, or why not.  I’m seeing them too.  And I agree to a point with a lot of the ones against it.  They’re voicing concerns I’ve been starting to have for a while, about nearly all of the holidays that many of us as Americans tend to celebrate one way or another.  Yes, there has been criers about the commercialization of holidays for a long time now.  More and more I’m hopping on that particular bandwagon.

I read this article earlier: “Can We Bring The Holidays Down A Notch?”  Kristen Howerton via HuffPost Parents


Reading even just the first part of it had me shaking my head and rolling my eyes a bit, at the weird expectations kids are now having with holidays.  So much of which has nothing to do with the origins of the holidays in the first place.

I completely agree on one hand there are some seriously cute ideas out there.  But on the other hand, it’s getting to be absolutely ridiculous, overwhelming, and just plain silly.

Elf on the Shelf:  Cute, but tons of work, especially for people who perhaps aren’t the most creative in the world, which is a good majority of us.  And honestly, I can see it becoming a chore after a while.

Advent Calendars:  Grew up with them.  Meant to count down the days to Christmas.  Not even lined up with the days of Advent, either.  Though, I’m not sure the whole “tiny gift” with each day such as a little trinket or chocolate is all that new an idea…I can see this one getting completely out of control with expectations among children, and the comparing they do with other children at school.

Valentine’s Day:  Yeah, there’s been tons of complaints about how commercialized this one is for ages.  Doesn’t really need much explanation, but I will touch on something Kristen mentioned in her article and something else I was told recently.  You can’t send your kids with only cards they want to give to certain people.  Every kid in class has to get one.  And an expectation of candy?  Considering the issues of allergies in schools right now, I’m amazed this is even an issue.  Throw in the cost of the character-driven cards, just how small or big they are, or extravagant, then the candy?  And I’m betting the kind of stuff we got when we were kids isn’t even on the radar anymore.

St. Patrick’s Day:  Yeah, the drinking and whatnot is another, non-kid friendly post altogether.  But seriously?  Doing more than dressing up in green and having some decorations was about as far as it went when I was a kid, as Kristen also points out.  Which is hilarious since green was not even Ireland’s national color originally.  Blue was.  And for the Order of St. Patrick, their color is blue.  St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.  The holiday for a long time was observed as a dry holiday in Ireland, and was celebrated by going to church, as it is said that St. Patrick was the man who solidified Catholocism in Ireland.  But, getting back on track to kids and this holiday…  Seriously?  Creating a “visiting leprechaun” akin to the visitation of “Santa” on Christmas?  REALLY?  While on the absolute surface it seems cute….but the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it is, and just falls into the realm of over-commercialism.  What next?  A giant heart with arms and legs like the Kool-Aid man visiting to deliver stuff?

This next one surprised me.  Pi Day.  Heck, it’s a great day.  It’s my kid’s birthday, so I’m biased.  But I’m not sitting here talking about Pi, mathematics or ridiculously serving or expecting to eat pie.

And another:  Dr. Seuss’ Birthday.  Awesome, recognize it at school for scholastic/reading purposes.  But don’t expect me to treat it like a holiday.  I’ll read some Seuss books, that’s about it.

Easter is another biggie that’s been complained about for a long time, but I’ve made my peace with it, as I have with celebrating Yule personally instead of Christmas.  Easter for me shifts to the Spring Equinox, the celebration of life, growth and fertility.

And I fully agree with her sentiments about not wanting to disappoint our kid(s), but really…in this Pinterest world we’re living in now (don’t get me wrong, I use Pinterest too) it seems like it’s nothing but a bunch of one-upping everyone and everything, and completely ignoring the crazy, over the top expectations kids are having.  Heck, I have heard complaints about the kinds of expectations even my generation apparently had, and we’re not making anything any better with all this holiday ridiculousness.

Fun things shouldn’t need a “holiday” to justify them.

Simplifying whatever holidays you recognize and choose to celebrate shouldn’t be looked down upon.

Teaching your kids that not everything needs to be celebrated, bought, and indulged to the highest degree all the time shouldn’t be a bad thing.

Even the kinds of things I learned as a kid about the holidays aren’t really historically accurate, or really even all that useful in a lot of cases.  I am glad I am in a stage of my life where I’m really taking a step back to take a long hard look at a lot of these things, and finding ways to simplify things down, not only for me, but for my child in the hopes of teaching them some actual history, some appreciation for thought, idea and past, versus expectations of growing amounts of materialism and indulgence.


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Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

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