On Why Holiday Traditions Are Problematic—and a Different Perspective


Here we are again. The holiday season is upon us. People are running around trying to organize things for the upcoming holidays, and trying to find gifts for their friends, loved ones, and those they don’t care about or even hate. Why? Many reasons, and we’ll talk about some of them.

There are a few problems with all of this and here I will discuss two of them. Moreover, I offer a perspective on how you can make things better for yourself and those around you.

The first problem is that the whole tradition thing can be messy and complicated. Yes, the holiday tradition can be beautiful: devoting time and attention to those who are dear to you, thinking about them and giving them something that will hopefully bring them some joy. But—the important thing is to ask yourself if it’s something you WANT to do or if it’s something that you feel you HAVE to do? Plenty of people think they “have to”—that’s the tradition, and everyone is doing it.

Yet, many people hate the holidays and experience a lot of stress and depression doing all of these things. Isn’t it supposed to be about enjoyment and relaxation? Isn’t it supposed to be meaningful? Here, group behavior can a strong motivator and it can be a negative force in our lives. It is important to remember that, if you don’t want to do something, YOU DON’T HAVE TO. When there’s a lot of pressure to “have to” do something, it is important to remember that you are still making a choice.

There are very few obligations in life, and celebrating holidays and following traditions is not one of them. If you like it, great! If you don’t, also great—go do what you actually want to do. If you don’t like spending time with your toxic family, or being stressed or depressed, guess what—you don’t have to. There may be unpleasant consequences for this choice, but you are an adult now so you can handle it.

The second problem is in relation to the fact that people wait for an arbitrary date to do something. My suggestion is to live the life you want to live NOW. If you want to spend time with your family and friends, create a life for yourself where you won’t have to wait for a special time of the year to be able to do that. If you want to give your loved ones a gift, there is no real reason you should wait for Christmas or their birthday—do it TODAY.

Life is short, and you’re getting closer to your grave every day, every minute, every second. Who knows, maybe the beloved in your life will die tomorrow, or even yourself. Highly unlikely, but who knows. People take many things for granted and squander their resources, be it time, money, energy, attention, or potential. And then we die.

It is my opinion that people could be happier if they stopped following social rituals just for the sake of it, living from one mental fix to another, and instead aimed to build a life that they enjoy every day, and then live that life as they want to every day. Is it easy to do? No. Is it possible to achieve quickly and 100%? Perhaps. But you can AIM for it and consistently work towards it, and I guarantee you that even if you achieve 10% of it, your life will be significantly better than it is right now.

This holiday season I wish you more enjoyment in here and now.
Darius
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