I have already started knitting and weaving Christmas gifts; birthday gifts I make all through the year. I don’t really even celebrate Christmas, but my daughter and her family as well as many of my dearest friends do.
As I’ve already disclosed that I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, I will fill in some of the details. Though Christian, JWs celebrate none of the standard Christian or secular holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and Halloween come to mind – oh, and birthdays. (Pic source)
After I severed my relationship with the church and the young single mother of a very young child, I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I had no interest in joining another religion but I had no emotional, spiritual or intellectual attachment to or interest in holidays. I tried to “do” them for my daughter, however, but bombed miserably.
Christmas: No one told me Christmas trees had to be put in water. So I gave up on Christmas after three trees in three years lost all their brown, brittle needles soon after we decorated it. (They weren’t evergreen for us.)
Easter: Why would any adult give a child a basket of chocolates?! Far better, I thought, would be to give my daughter a basket filled with pretty soaps, bubble bath and hand knit wash cloths. My daughter saw it and burst into tears. She cried on and off for a couple of days.
Valentine’s Day: Now THAT I could do because, in reality, she did it all. She picked out a box of cards she could fill out and give to classmates, and I made a couple of trays of cupcakes and cookies for her and her friends to decorate.
Halloween: I could do part of that. I made my daughter fantastic costumes – costumes she and her friends played with and wore all through the year in fact! But I thought giving children oodles of candy was just, well, silly! So I bought dozens of travel sized toothpaste and mouthwash (no I am not a dentist or a hygenist) and gave them out instead. (Our house was covered with toilet paper several times by vengeful miscreants whose behavior clearly indicated they didn’t need any more chocolate.)
Birthdays: This was really bad and my daughter never misses a chance to tell any of my newer friends about one particularly awful birthday where, no “Happy Birthday” sung to the birthday girl, I sliced up and gave out all her birthday cake while she was outside riding on her new bike.
Now that my daughter is grown up with young children of her own, she’s become a bit of a Martha Stewart of holidays. She rotates very nice but whimsical holiday displays, plans wonderful family get togethers, and pulls together amazing birthday parties.
Me? I remember birthdays of family, and I am happy that Thor always remembers mine. Birthday parties, though, are a little hard for me. Christmas? Though I did manage to commit to memory the words to “Happy Birthday,” I never learned a single Christmas song, and I simply don’t “get” the whole decorating thing. Valentine’s Day? When Thor and I approached our first Valentine’s Day, he asked me what I like to do on Valentine’s Day. I replied I thought it was the silliest holiday anyone could have thought of. He quietly said, “Oh, I’ve always rather liked it.” (Gulp)
Result: I have a stack of handknit items ready for birthdays and holidays for close friends and family. They’re usually too pleased by the handknit gifts to care that I forgot the holiday card, didn’t use the holiday wrapping paper, etc. 🙂