Not going to lie: I really don't like holidays. Now, the holiday season? Love it. Holiday movies? Love them. Holiday decorations or costumes or food? Big fan of all of that.
What I don't love is the actual day of any given holiday. You may be asking yourself, "But how? Why?"
If you have never woken up on a holiday, bursting at the seams with excitement, only to find yourself at the end of the day feeling drained and disappointed, then you probably have not yet come to the realization that a holiday is just another day.
Holidays have meaning because we ascribe meaning to them. There is nothing inherently different about any specific day in December, yet Christmas is a day that we place great expectations and value on.
Why? For Catholics to celebrate the birth of Jesus? He wasn't even born in the winter. To celebrate our families and loved ones? We can do that any day of the year. To celebrate wintertime? In that case, have the holiday on December 21st, the Winter Solstice.
My point is that the actual day on which any holiday falls is arbitrary, even if the date is one which is specified and unchanging. If we were to decide, suddenly, that Christmas was on December 10th, then December 25th would cease to exist in a space of relevance of significance, and would once more be regarded as just another day.
However, because we place these meanings on holidays, we have certain ideas of what they should be like and expectations of what will happen. In truth, the holidays will not be as special or as important as you are imagining them to be unless you make them that way.
Holidays are fun as children because other people maintain the illusion of the holiday for you. They dress up as Santa Claus, they give Easter baskets and hide Easter eggs, they give out candy on Halloween and create haunted houses.
As we get older, we maintain an assumption that a holiday will be special, or somehow distinct from our everyday life, but we don't account for the fact that with age comes both reality and responsibility. Now there are tasks to be done - cooking, cleaning, hosting, buying gifts - that disrupt the magic of the day.
Holidays, as an adult, are only as special as you make them. That's why so many people find themselves disappointed during the holidays; they are going into the day with expectations of it being inherently special, so they don't put energy into creating something special.
I don't like holidays because I hold on to the expectations of them that I grew up with. If we try to focus on enjoying the day for what it is, on making the most of the moments we have, maybe the holidays won't feel like such a letdown. Maybe they'll become a little bit more magical again.