I said Yellow would be about social plans, but I lied. Instead it's about my relationship with holidays.
My dad's side of the family knows how to do Christmas right. My grandma used to mail out big tubs of Pfefferkuchen topped with chocolate and a few sprinkles a couple weeks before the day. Christmas Eve dinner is usually something simple but nice, maybe cheese fondue or roasted duck legs. There's presents to unwrap and actually classy Christmas music playing. They polish the actually-silver-silverware and have a great fancy dinner, ending in a big, boozy trifle.
I don't have any of that this year. It's important for me to remember that that was my choice: the reasons I'm not there are awful and unfair, but I could have gone. It's hard not to be wistful, all the same.
Instead, I'm doing dinner with a couple friends, and I am going all-out, within the allowances of my budget. I have made cookies and acquired a duck and they're bringing the sides and dessert. It still feels strange to be the one hosting. I am confronting the question of what my own traditions are going to be, much earlier than I thought I would need to.
Yesterday I celebrated Circlemas.
This is approximately how much meaning Circlemas has for most Discordians: "Celebrants of Circlemas may decorate themselves, their households, or other things with circles and circular patterns, and partake only of circular foods such as cake, pie, and pizza." (Discordian Wiki) Screw that. What I want from my flavor of Discordianism is the same as what most people want out of any religion, and that means I want holydays that actually mean something. Let's get symbolic with this shit.
We are in the season of Aftermath, the season of reflecting and winding down for the new year. I am all about patterns: finding them, breaking them, making them. Patterns are like circles, in how you can go round and round in them without finding a way out.
I have made paper chains.
Three chains: One for patterns in the old year that I want to break. One for the patterns in the old year that served me well. One for the patterns I want to cultivate in the new year. Five links in each, for each of the five seasons.
I sat, and thought about everything that's happened, season by season (approximately. Wow, it'll be weird when someday I'll stop being able to remember things by which house I was in.) I thought about the things I regret. I looked for where I showed strength. I thought about what patterns could have made those times better. These patterns are always in me, but I note when they were especially prominent.
- I let myself believe that I had no better options.
- I ask for the help I need.
- I will see possibilities everywhere.
- I was afraid to speak my truth.
- I am tenacious beyond all reason.
- I will give people the space to show me their kindness.
- When my brain didn't seem like it would let me do something, I didn't fight much.
- We can always rebuild.
- If there's something I can't not do to reach my goals, I will do anything to make it happen.
- I confused urgency with importance, and neglected my future self.
- I have the courage to believe that now could be different from then.
- I am kind to my future self: I put in place the support I need before I need it.
- I let myself hold on to patterns I knew weren't working.
- I let people see who I am, and this draws the right people to me.
- I will give myself chaos.
(I would delightedly elaborate on any of this)
I've managed very few presents this year. Having thought about it more, I don't think I want to do Christmas presents. I'm always caught horribly off-guard, it takes way too much effort and money and time to give all the presents I would like to, the stuff that I actually like about Christmas is the food and atmosphere. So I said this on Facebook:
I am, for the most part, not giving Christmas gifts this year, for myriad reasons.
Because presents are awesome, though, I will be giving Unbirthday Presents throughout the year. Unbirthday presents may descend upon you at any time, and without warning. They may not take the form of Wrapped Stuff: Unbirthday presents may also take the form of favors or activities.
To help me formulate my Secret Plans, if there is anything that would delight you that I could conceivably provide, I would like to know about it. I will be watching all of you closely, and taking notes.
(this applies to all of you, too!)
If it were up to me, Christmas wouldn't be presents-day, it would be wishlist-day. When there's no specific present-day, people get to be delighted by receiving a present at all, rather than feeling disappointed by something and then feeling guilty about their ingratitude and mustering a polite "thank-you". Plus, it's harder to feel crappy about not getting presents: one would notice, of course, but there's no specific day to be let down by. Better system all around, I think!
What are some traditions that you're creating or disrupting this season?