Bored of the same old holiday traditions year after year? Create some new and exciting ones involving dogs, baths and hard liquor (not at the same time).
At this time of year, there’s a big focus on traditions. People who might otherwise be described as spontaneous and free-spirited* will instead show a startling devotion to particular rituals simply because “that’s what we do EVERY year!”. They’ll insist on watching the same movie every year, bully everyone into themed outfits, or doggedly stick to Grandma’s recipe for spinach and artichoke dip, even though Alton Brown’s recipe is unarguably better.
My family had our own set of holiday traditions when I was a kid. These included going to the movies on Christmas Eve to see something festive (The Fellowship of The Ring counts, because it has elves in it), driving around to look at houses decorated with lights and eating croissants on Christmas morning. Now we’ve all got our own houses and families, these traditions are harder to maintain. The only one that persists, due to my brother’s dogged insistence, is that when we get together for a meal during the holidays, my mother has to make and bring a plate of devilled eggs. I know…the rest of us are confused by it too.
I’ve dabbled in creating my own traditions over the years, because it’s nice to have a few activities to look forward to. I used to wrap Christmas presents while watching Carols by Candlelight on TV, but realised I needed to have the volume up really high to drown out the sound of my own singing. So I’ve been trying to come up with other ideas to put into regular holiday rotation. I’m still workshopping names, but they include:
Baths are great. At this time of year, you’re probably stressed from all the shopping, cooking and going to terrible office parties. Set aside a few hours, run yourself a bath and fantasise about ditching everyone for a solo holiday in a fancy Austrian hotel, where you pretend to be a wealthy countess with 13 ex-husbands and an unusually close relationship with your manservant. Accompanying beverages, snacks and magazines are not mandatory, but 100% recommended.
Buying gifts for adults is a hard and thankless task. So skip it, and instead get a group of friends together early in the year and draw names out of a hat. During the year, steal a small item from that person’s house, and wrap the item to gift back to them at Christmas. The aim of the game is for them not to notice you stealing it, or that it’s missing. It means you’re all guaranteed to spend more time together during the year, and everyone gets a gift they want because they already own it.
New Year Fortifications
It’s New Year’s Eve and you’ve decided to have a quiet one in…a couch fort! Adults don’t build couch forts as frequently as children, which is a shame given our superior strength and engineering skills. Examine the best way your furniture can be rearranged to form the best cubby house. Draw up blueprints if necessary. Structural integrity is a must. So is popcorn and movies.
Pats For All
Everyone needs love over the holidays. And dogs are the best at love because they don’t care whether you’re wearing the same top that you slept in, or you’ve never made your own pasta. But due to draconian apartment rental agreements, not everyone has a dog, so there needs to be a day when everyone agrees on unfettered access to dogs. Maybe you want to pat every dog being walked down your street, or block, or neighbourhood. Or go to the dog park and play with all the dogs for hours without being asked annoying questions like, “Where is your dog?” and “Do you even have a dog?”.
Feel free to use any of the above ideas, should they speak to your particular style of celebrating. The only credit I ask for is to pour out a little of your festive cocktail in my honour. But just pour it into a smaller glass that you’ll then drink too. There’s no sense in wasting good liquor.
*Please note that I’m not talking about myself here. Like most people, I’m only a free spirit when I’m two and a half cocktails into a beach holiday.