Holiday Rebel

Metro Parent's editor-in-chief shares her thoughts on holiday traditions.

reb·el
noun
1. a person who refuses allegiance to, resists or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country.
2. a person who resists any authority, control or tradition.

Traditions can be double-edged swords. Some are truly beloved and we greet them with real joy. For me, making Christmas cookies is that sort of tradition. I love making the eight or more varieties of family recipes – the chocolate-covered cherry cookies my grandmother made, my mom’s dream bars and my own addition to the family collection: gingerbread men sandwich cookies (which, I’m proud to report, are now so popular that people request extras in their cookie collection). I look forward to packaging them up, handing them out and sharing or shipping them to friends, families and colleagues.

But somewhere along the way, some traditions get tired. And we can’t help but wonder, “Why?” Why are we still doing this? It doesn’t mean what it once did. It’s time-consuming and exhausting or just plain boring. Whatever spirit this was supposed to stir in us is long-since dead, and all that’s left behind is a mix of resentment and resignation.

If that’s the sort of feeling you’re getting about some part of the holiday season, then this issue is for you. Our cover story is written permission to stop it. Stop doing what you’ve done year after year if you’re just not feeling it anymore.

Say, “Ta-ta, Tannenbaum” – and to the endless stray needles and watering duties that come with its real Christmas tree smell.

Opt out of buying gifts for your father who wants nothing, your aunt who hates everything and your teenager whose answer to “What do you want for Christmas?” is “anything.” (Not helpful, kid.)

Forget the shopping, chopping, cooking, baking and make a different sort of Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa meal. Heck, go out.

Be a rebel (see definition above). No need to bear arms. Instead bear responsibility for what you really want – or don’t want. Resist traditions for traditions’ sake. Need help? Read our merry manifesto here.

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