Ain't nobody got time for that
March 20, 2013 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I don’t like the feeling of disappointing my kids. But I refuse to give into this holiday overkill. I’m overwhelmed enough as it is. Today I gave all of my kids a bath. We read with each of them for the recommended 20 minutes. We reviewed our Math Facts. We practiced guitar. We sat together at the table and ate a meal that was NOT procured at a drive-thru. We played outside. Most days, I’m struggling to achieve all these things. I can’t have these haphazard, once-monthly overblown holidays take over my life.
One mom talks about "bringing the holidays down a notch," 'cause ain't nobody got time for that.
posted by bayani (160 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
I got bronchitis.

Seriously, though, this makes me happy to be an aunt and not a parent.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:27 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yep, my kids read a library book called "The Night Before St. Patrick's Day" a few years ago, and now we make elaborate leprechaun traps every year. They are left all over the house for several days before SPD,and inevitably are trodden upon painfully.

This year's new achievement was making a corkscrew slide out of paper inside an oatmeal container. My wife stepped on a huge-ass maze of Duplo blocks in the dark.

We didn't catch any leprechauns, either. I could have used a pot of gold...
posted by wenestvedt at 1:28 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seriously, though, this makes me happy to be an aunt and not a parent.

This.
posted by Fizz at 1:30 PM on March 20, 2013 [18 favorites]


Ha. Welcome to being Jewish.
posted by Mchelly at 1:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [21 favorites]


This Kristin speaks truth.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:33 PM on March 20, 2013


At the risk of attacking teachers, random day long parties as a cirruclum seems like a poor use of well, everything.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


"At the risk of attacking teachers, random day long parties as a cirruclum seems like a poor use of well, everything."

Don't worry, the only teacher that is going to be upset with you is the one that thought they taught you how to spell "curriculum".
posted by HuronBob at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2013 [74 favorites]


If every day is special, then no day is special.
posted by inturnaround at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Admittedly, I'm not (by choice) a parent, but wow, parents, is everything celebrated now? Because if so, then double wow.
posted by Kitteh at 1:38 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is something I learned only after becoming a parent with a kid in school. Of course I remember Thanksgiving and xmas being big deals and spring break always happened around easter, but there's a string of bullshit holidays cooked up by Hallmark et al., that basically serve as an excuse to sell candy and crap once a month. My memory is that Halloween was the sole holiday for gorging on candy, but now it seems everything involves bags of free candy. Birthday parties, Valentines, Easter, xmas, cinco de Mayo, etc.

I probably have some chocolate Abraham Lincolns somewhere from Presidents Day.
posted by mathowie at 1:38 PM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


What happened to art and science and music?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:41 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


That homemade Valentine card gets funnier every time I look at it.
posted by echo target at 1:42 PM on March 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


Hombre eggs. Hee.
posted by 41swans at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, what?!? I thought for sure upon reading the excerpted bit that this was a well-timed screed about the December-holiday season that would make valid points without seeming like a grinch. The truth is so much more horrific.

If you want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by more than wearing green, just don't have kids and overdrink like the rest of the U.S. And please don't suck other families into your madness.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


This also seems to be related to the trend of calling every school transition a graduation. When I grew up you graduated high-school and college. Now we have preschool graduations, elementary school graduations, and middle school graduations.
posted by lucasks at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wow, I did not even know that leprechaun traps were a thing. St. Pat's for us is just the day Pa Ardship dyes his beard green and goes and eats corned beef at the old boys' table...
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 1:45 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the Easter tip, has anyone else been accosted by the joint Fisher Price/Mattel "Save the Chocolate Bunny" campaign encouraging parents to buy their kids TOYS for Easter? It's the only ad my ABCFamily app will show these days, and it's just truly awful not only for the plastic consumerism it promotes but also for the sympathy it provokes for Meredith from the Office, Illeana Douglas, Greg Grunberg, Charisma Carpenter, and all the other mortgage-payers who are participating.

I'm just saying, that goodie bag parent probably didn't come up with the idea on their own.
posted by kickingthecrap at 1:46 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There really is something to this. and it's called consumer driven economics....we (and by that I mean u.s.ians) are pretty much conditioned to needing/having an excuse to celebrate as often as we can (and by celebrate i mean buy shit and have a party).
Every aspect of our consumer culture feeds upon this. Look at the March Madness explosion that's going to drive folks in droves to sports bars this weekend (and the next 2) and of course that gives rise to the tournament of books (which sells more books i hope) and the bracketology of every other thing that can be sold.
and then easter, and then memorial day and prom and graduation and 4th of july and on and on.
schools are just jumping on the train, because it's easy and, frankly, inclusive, to have random stuff to celebrate.
opt out, if you can.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:47 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


My mother used to celebrate holidays by dying my cream of wheat and milk (breakfast of champions!) thematic colors. Green for St. Patrick's Day, pink for Valentine's Day, red and blue for July 4th, blue and yellow for the first breakfast of Chanukah, and red and green for Christmas. No matter how much I tried to convince her that cream of wheat was not meant to be green (of all colors, green!!!).
posted by ChuraChura at 1:48 PM on March 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


I probably have some chocolate Abraham Lincolns somewhere from Presidents Day.

Do you bite his ears off first, or his butt?
posted by Lyn Never at 1:48 PM on March 20, 2013 [20 favorites]


Yeah, this is all nuts. If it helps, I didn't even wear green.
posted by maxwelton at 1:48 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree with this. Its all BS. that being said we do throw a few SMALL toys in the Easter basket if only so its not all OHMYGODITSAHUGESUGARRUSH candy.
we think of it as bulking up the basket.
posted by ShawnString at 1:49 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


wenestvedt: "This year's new achievement was making a corkscrew slide out of paper inside an oatmeal container. My wife stepped on a huge-ass maze of Duplo blocks in the dark.
"

Are they actually teaching this bullshit in schools? My kid came home with a cardboard mailbox loaded down with thumbtacks, glitter and doublesided tape, explaining that it was a lepraucan trap. I guess I'm happy they didn't have any razorblades nearby, because it's dangerous just to pick up.

We wound up putting a small note saying "I'm not getting near that. I'm a fairy, not an idiot." and a small scrap of felt as a "cloak" stuck on one of the pins.
posted by boo_radley at 1:49 PM on March 20, 2013 [32 favorites]


I've got 4 kids a little older than the author, and she's doing it wrong if this topic is even an issue.
You are the grown up, just say no if you think it's stupid.
posted by bystander at 1:49 PM on March 20, 2013 [27 favorites]


I mean, has she never seen the Love Day episode of the Simpsons?!
posted by bystander at 1:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Although my little brother and I used to lay elaborate leprechaun traps outside in the build up to March 17th - potatoes with a piece of foil-wrapped chocolate in a hole right in front of them.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


On a large whiteboard at Hallmark there is a list of:

Remaining Holidays Yet to Be Monetized

Martin Luther King Day
Groundhog Day
Mardi Gras
Presidents' Day
Purim
April Fool's Day
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Earth Day
May Day
Cinco de Mayo
Memorial Day
Flag Day
Bloomsday
Bastille Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Guy Fawkes Day
Veterans Day

posted by leotrotsky at 1:51 PM on March 20, 2013 [19 favorites]


I laughed at this comment from the blog post:

Daughter: Are we celebrating St. Patrick's Day?
Me: Well, you can wear a green shirt.
Daughter: But nothing else?
Me: You do realize you are not Catholic -- or Irish, right?
Daughter: Oh, yeah.
Me: If you really want to celebrate St. Patrick's day, we could go to Catholic mass after Sunday School today.
Daughter: Will there be leprachauns there?
Me: no.
Daughter: I think I'll stick to being Ethiopian, then.
Me: good idea.
posted by bayani at 1:51 PM on March 20, 2013 [95 favorites]


/ quietly puts away the Festivus Pole
posted by HuronBob at 1:55 PM on March 20, 2013 [18 favorites]


Seriously, if my child ever came home with a leprechaun trap before they could identify how long it takes the Earth to orbit the sun, that would be the last day they go to public school.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:57 PM on March 20, 2013 [32 favorites]


I feel vaguely guilty about not celebrating most of these holidays with my kids, but they get the main ones: Easter, Halloween and Christmas. We also celebrate New Years in a very elaborate way (special food, watch Japanese New Years programming until midnight).

My main beef with holidays is that my out-of-town relatives usually come and visit, totally destroying a long weekend.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:58 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


quietly puts away the Festivus Pole

Does that mean we're not going to do the Feats of Strength? Because the article was a superb Airing of Grievances.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is insane. It's like a nightmare combination of conspicuous consumerism, competitive parenting, and cultural appropriation. I'm (also) glad I'm not a parent (and in Canada)- it's bad enough being a drinker, and having your local invaded every weekend closest to March 17. Do they do this for Cinqo de Mayo as well, now? Do the kids have to dress up in costumes as Benito Juarez and Maximilian I and Napoleon III (actually, that would be kind of awesome)?


For the record, last Sunday I celebrated the Feast of St. Egregious. That's where you dress up like a longshoreman, and shoot side-eye at anyone wearing green in your local drinking establishment.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


if my child ever came home with a leprechaun trap before they could identify how long it takes the Earth to orbit the sun, that would be the last day they go to public school.

Dude, the teachers are hoping the leprechauns will handle that stuff.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:04 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have 2 young sons and have never heard of SPD as a huge holiday for kids. Is this a regional thing?
posted by jclarkin at 2:04 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hell to the no. I don't do holidays and I ain't about to start now, dagnabbit.
Little Stardust will just have to cope with home being a dour, Miss-Havisham-style tomb where fun goes to die.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2013 [25 favorites]


In this house, we celebrate St. Patrick's day the traditional way! Hours and hours of exhaustive argument over the minutiae of Irish History!

Kids may join in so long as they are silent or provide supportive booooing.
posted by The Whelk at 2:10 PM on March 20, 2013 [41 favorites]


My mother used to put down Easter Bunny footprints when I was a kid, back in the 1980s, but really that was in self-defense -- I was terrified of Santa Claus et al. breaking into the house to watch me sleep, and had been known to set tripwires or balance buckets of yarn over partially opened doors to try to prevent this. She thought the footprints might reassure me the Easter Bunny kept to the public areas of the house. (Note: This does not work, or at least it didn't on me.)

Leprechaun traps? How is this even a thing? (But if people have inspiration boards on Pinterest I guess it must be a thing.)
posted by pie ninja at 2:12 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article is spot-on. And when you overlay on top of this phenomenon the fact that kid birthday parties are celebrated more and more elaborately ... well, there's something that you're pressured to plan and spend money for every week, sometimes more often.

My kids' school also routinely plans fundraising nights with various fast-food joints, sending home fliers about how "Eat at McDonald's tonight and support your school!" and the kids are made to feel bad if we don't.

When everything is a special occasion, none of them are.
posted by jbickers at 2:12 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Leotrotsky , that list is sadly outdated if it still includes mardi gras and cinco de mayop as undermonetized.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Just serve Lucky Charms for dinner. Done and done!
posted by thelonius at 2:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


And suddenly Pi Day is a thing? My children expect to be served pie because someone at school told them so?

I get the general point about crass consumerist holidays, but maybe it's not all on the school if your kids think they can con you into celebrating Pi Day.
posted by yerfatma at 2:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wait... you're supposed to trap them....??? All this time I've been shooting them.
posted by HuronBob at 2:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [24 favorites]


What do you do on Columbus day? Steal your neighborhoods shit and give them a sinus infection?
posted by The Whelk at 2:16 PM on March 20, 2013 [63 favorites]


Preach it, sister. Having a child in elementary school is a never-ending barrage of holidays, craft projects, teachers' birthday presents, Christmas presents, end-of-year presents, parties for every damn thing in sight (for which one is expected to bring goodies). I am a total failure mom who forgot - forgot! - Valentine's Day this year until the kid came home with twelve pounds of candy, more or less (to be fair, we were all sick and my child was coming off a three-day suspension for smacking a kid who called him a nerd). Not to be all get-off-my-lawn, but when I was in school I don't remember "celebrating" all this stuff - when did 100th day of school become a thing?
posted by Daily Alice at 2:18 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Actually, our public school only has two short (60 minute) parties per year: the Harvest Party and the Friendship Party, because we can't say Halloween or Valentine's Day. And no one is allowed to bring treats on their birthday. And we are discouraged from sugary treats for the parties, but good luck with that. It's nice.

However, seriously, Pi day is awesome. Nothing wrong with Pi day.
posted by Malla at 2:19 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


My kids' school also routinely plans fundraising nights with various fast-food joints, sending home fliers about how "Eat at McDonald's tonight and support your school!" and the kids are made to feel bad if we don't.

OMG HATE THIS! They actually stick stickers to the kids' shirts at our school. And they are often partnered with Chick-Fil-A, which we do not patronize.
posted by Daily Alice at 2:21 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I kind of like the idea of incorporating traps into as many holidays as possible. The metaphor is gorgeous.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:22 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


The annual highlight of my wonderful Canada public school K-6 experience was the Hotdog Day where we would gorge ourselves on steamed hotdogs until we were on the edge of vomiting. I really can't remember anything else being celebrated (though there was the strange showing of Heavy Metal in the gym one evening). Good times.
posted by srboisvert at 2:25 PM on March 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh, and add to all this the fact that we're not Christian, so we don't actually celebrate most of these holidays. (I am totally down with Pi Day though.)
posted by Daily Alice at 2:26 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


OMG HATE THIS! They actually stick stickers to the kids' shirts at our school. And they are often partnered with Chick-Fil-A, which we do not patronize.

They have pizza day, subway sandwich day, and sushi day at our school. Although it is organized by the parent advisory group (aka PTA) to raise money for the school, it's just not something I can support. High in fat, sugar and starch, low in value... I can only imagine what class is like after the kids consume a quart of sickly sweet chocolate milk, a large chocolate chip cookie, and a piece of pizza made from undercooked dough, ketchup and string cheese. Blech.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:28 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boy, it seems like the shops get their Beltaine decorations out earlier and earlier every year! I mean, Lupercalia is barely over! I feel like I should be starting work on my Bastille Day guillotine already!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:29 PM on March 20, 2013 [24 favorites]


Saturnalia has gotten so commercial!
posted by The Whelk at 2:30 PM on March 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Wait... you're supposed to trap them....??? All this time I've been shooting them."

No no, you leave out a little dish of milk... dosed with a drop or two of ketamine. Then you can collect them in the morning and interrogate at will to find that gold.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


there was the strange showing of Heavy Metal in the gym one evening

Oh, man, I wonder who got fired over that one.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 2:35 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remaining Holidays Yet to Be Monetized
[...]
Bastille Day


Oh yes. Bourgeois traps, Lego barricades and fortress-prisons. Then the kiddos can learn what l'étendard sanglant est levé and égorger nos fils et nos compagnes means. And let's not forget that gentle Marianne!

Fun for one and all!
posted by fraula at 2:36 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


OK, kids- remember to wear your Jacobin cockades and Phrygian caps, and when see Louis XVI trying to sneak across the border in drag, run after him and hit him with your wiffle ball bats!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:36 PM on March 20, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yet to Be Monetized

Presidents' Day


When did the auto dealers stop "honoring" the presidents with all-out advertising blitzes?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2013


Also, as I near retirement, I am annually reminded of the utter hollowness of Veteran's Day. What good is a holiday honoring your sacrifice if nobody, not even veterans, gets the day off?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I re-shared this when a teacher friend of mine shared it on her Timeline yesterday. I'm in full support of this effort to de-escalate the holiday one-upmanship that's run rampant through suburbia. Judging by my brother's girlfriend this is due in no small part to Pintrest.

On the other hand I found myself standing outside at three in the morning on Christmas Eve gnawing on a raw carrot because otherwise it wouldn't be believable that reindeer had visited. And I don't even have kids.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yet to be monetized: Arbor Day?
posted by Lynsey at 2:45 PM on March 20, 2013


I'm waiting for the day when Pininterest one upsmanship like, levels Cleveland.
posted by The Whelk at 2:45 PM on March 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


What do you do on Columbus day? Steal your neighborhoods shit and give them a sinus infection?

Better set up those Conquistador traps...
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:47 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, man, I wonder who got fired over that one.

No one. It was the seventies man.
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought the traditional celebration of St. Pat's was to give the kids a half slug of whiskey and watch them toddle around and maybe puke.
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Daily Alice: "My kids' school also routinely plans fundraising nights with various fast-food joints, sending home fliers about how "Eat at McDonald's tonight and support your school!" and the kids are made to feel bad if we don't.

OMG HATE THIS! They actually stick stickers to the kids' shirts at our school. And they are often partnered with Chick-Fil-A, which we do not patronize.
"

Ehh. Here in Colorado we don't support schools that well (Thanks in part to noted felon and tax dodger Doug Bruce). I don't mind the ask, but I'll just cut a check rather than eat at whatever restaurant they're working with.
posted by boo_radley at 2:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Actually, our public school only has two short (60 minute) parties per year: the Harvest Party and the Friendship Party, because we can't say Halloween or Valentine's Day."

Wait, why can't you celebrate those two? That honestly sounds specious, so I'm curious.
posted by klangklangston at 2:51 PM on March 20, 2013


The director of my kids' old school put me in charge of all the classroom holiday parties because he knew I was a grouch who would outlaw classroom holiday parties. I was also put in charge of the stupid school strode where kids could spend tickets they got for good behavior on dollar store crap. Got rid of that too.
posted by artychoke at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I swear, I don't know how parents do it these days.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2013


Better set up those Conquistador traps

No one ever wants to clean up after the Fountain Of Blood Aztec fun faire!
posted by The Whelk at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've got 4 kids a little older than the author, and she's doing it wrong if this topic is even an issue. You are the grown up, just say no if you think it's stupid.
posted by bystander


Word. I'm a teacher and I've got three kids that I raised myself (without a minivan) and this woman seems like the type who complains about the endless hours she spends hand sewing Halloween costumes (or, in fact, making handmade Valentine's cards).

Christ. Just say no like the rest of us and have a cocktail. Makes parenting a hell of a lot easier.

Sidenote: I really, really hate when people put pictures of their kids on public blogs. I have absolutely no rational reason for this.
posted by kinetic at 2:54 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, this is easy enough to control: just make your kids do all the work if they want to, after you tell them "you know, holiday|spirit day|whatever activities are totally optional. Some people find them fun, and if you want to do 'em, great, and some people find them annoying or boring, so you don't have to do them if you don't want to."

Works for me, anyway, which is how I get out of buying my kids [insert color here] shirts every time some PTA person decides it is spirit day, and why when my kids dress as monsters for a church thing that almost no other kids dressed up for, they don't feel embarrassed because they thought it would be fun. Works both ways.
posted by davejay at 2:55 PM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


there was the strange showing of Heavy Metal in the gym one evening

Oh, man, I wonder who got fired over that one.

No one. It was the seventies man.


Impressive, since Heavy Metal wasn't released until '81.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a τ-day man myself, because a) who can deny this logic, and, more importantly, b) two pies.
posted by bonehead at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the other hand I found myself standing outside at three in the morning on Christmas Eve gnawing on a raw carrot because otherwise it wouldn't be believable that reindeer had visited. And I don't even have kids.

And then one fateful Chrismas eve, squatting on the roof, pants around my ankles, it hit me. I was taking this all just a little too far.
posted by ODiV at 2:58 PM on March 20, 2013 [22 favorites]


"Just say no like the rest of us and have a cocktail."

I really miss Nancy Reagan, but I don't remember that "have a cocktail" part... would have made quitting drugs a lot more fun...
posted by HuronBob at 3:01 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


We also have Pink T-Shirt Day now as an official school event. All the teachers and all the students are "encouraged" to go to school wearing a pink t-shirt to do something something something about bullying (totally reminds me of Heathers).

We don't have any pink stuff in our house, so I was worried our son would be picked on for not dressing up for the occasion.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:06 PM on March 20, 2013


Every holiday needs traps. Every goddamn holiday.
posted by dr_dank at 3:07 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There aren't THAT many holidays celebrated at school, especially now that the years are longer.

What I don't get is why none of the teachers or office staff know how to write an English sentence conveying a single, unambiguous meaning using correctly-spelled words. Pretty much every sheet of paper that comes home with the kids has some major error, often one that prevents it from being understood.
posted by DU at 3:09 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


What struck me, after reading and thoroughly enjoying/appreciating the article, was the addendum where an apology was offered as some were offended and said so. For heaven's sake--what sensibilities were offended, why an earth would that wonderful article require an apology and who ever they are--get over and beyond it.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:11 PM on March 20, 2013


Pretty much every sheet of paper that comes home with the kids has some major error, often one that prevents it from being understood.

What I want to know is why are we stilling sending paper home with kids? You don't even have to use a current technology - blogs are ten years old now, at least.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:13 PM on March 20, 2013


Cinco de Mayo

Uh, that's pretty well monetized if you have the Mexican equivalents of the people who celebrate St Patrick's day where you live. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

At any rate, when it comes to superfluous holidays, just say no. Leprechaun traps? No, we're not building any of those.
posted by GuyZero at 3:13 PM on March 20, 2013


What I want to know is why are we stilling sending paper home with kids? You don't even have to use a current technology - blogs are ten years old now, at least.

A lot of people, especially low-incomes ones, don't have a computer at home still. As we discovered when my wife signed up to edit our son's high school newsletter. They stil get printed, labelled and mailed down at the local post office.
posted by GuyZero at 3:15 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Impressive, since Heavy Metal wasn't released until '81.

Weird. Maybe I have some sort of false memory! I'll have to look into this and see how I have it wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 3:18 PM on March 20, 2013


I will let any future children I have celebrate Pi Day, provided they can recite pi to 50 digits. I know some traditionalists think it should be 100, but hey, I'm not a monster.
posted by Cash4Lead at 3:20 PM on March 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


I was ingesting heavy metals long before '81.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:20 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


So holidays, properly speaking are ways in which a tradition makes sense of the annual rhythms of life on earth. In the absence of actually living that tradition these holidays become commercial ventures and "learning opportunities." Or just drinking binges. The reason they are empty is because if you don't live as a Jew or a Christian or a Zoarastrian or a Wiccan, or a Midewiwin practitioner then religious holidays don't make sense.

If you are not irish or Persian or Chinese or Indian then St. Patricks Day or Nowruz (Happy Nowruz, by the way) or Lunar New Year or Diwali isn't going to resonate much with you beyond "hey beer and firecrackers and pappadams and honey - what?"

And unless you care about the scientific realities of the world then the equinoxes and solstices and Pi Day and other miraculous wonders of our natural world elicit a "WTF?" or at the very least "hey I saw a grackle today!"

Culture, in my opinion, is about rhythms. And the fact that earth spins and orbits a star gives us all kinds of ways that we can notice these rhythms and use them as ways to come and be together. But when we mash them all up into one huge misunderstood hash pot, then Hot Dog Day and Santy Claus Christmas are gonna stand out for the sheer awesomeness of the one sided obligation between parents and kids.

And a little bit of our interesting humanness starts to wane.
posted by salishsea at 3:22 PM on March 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


Weird. Maybe I have some sort of false memory! I'll have to look into this and see how I have it wrong.

"My power infests all times, all galaxies, all dimensions" -- the Loc-Nar
posted by radwolf76 at 3:26 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was in school it was before terminals had upper and lower cases so every GODDAM DAY WAS CAPS LOCK DAY!
posted by bukvich at 3:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I heard a story - enough removed from the source to be almost urban legend - that St Patrick's Day was introduced to Toronto Schools sometime around the middle of the 20th century with the express purpose of relieving the tensions between Protestants and Catholics. Most of the Catholics were recent Italian immigrants, but having St Patrick's day was a way for the primarily protestant public schools (what with the segregation we still have, where Catholics have their own state system) to celebrate a safe and familiar Catholic culture (ie Catholic Irish culture).

anyways, that may have made sense then. But it doesn't make sense now. We don't celebrate St Andrew's Day in Toronto, even though we've always been a more Scottish City than an Irish city. Nor do we do St David's Day or St George's Day.

Maybe I'll just send my kids to school with leeks instead of shamrocks if they ever have to do St Patrick's. Or maybe draw on my own family history and send them in orange. (Maybe dangerous in Belfast, wouldn't even be understood in most of Toronto, even if there is a tiny Orangemen's parade that still happens every year).
posted by jb at 3:37 PM on March 20, 2013


But Pink Shirt Day is an awesome idea. I also don't have a Pink Shirt, but if I were a student or worked in a school, I might have gotten some pink just as an armband or something.

Anti-bullying is so much easier to get behind than ophidiophobia.
posted by jb at 3:38 PM on March 20, 2013


St Andrew's day!

Oh oh oh you could celebrate Burns Night! educational and full of sheep organs!
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a mom, I say, right on to the holiday stoppage. As the owner of iron maiden, zeppelin, and black sabbath vinyl records, I'm gonna call bullshit on the 1981 as beginning of metal.
posted by dejah420 at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The movie, Heavy Metal, Emily Litela.
posted by klangklangston at 3:44 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


jb...having grown up in the Toronto Public School System in the 1970s I don't think I remember us celebrating St. Patricks Day...I might be wrong, but I'd be surprised if St. Patrick's Day was a holiday that was even acknowledged let alone celebrated in the 1950s in Toronto. And I say that as a descendant of Ontario Ulster Scots Orangemen. Toronto was governed by the hegemony (and the actual hand) of my ancestors for a good long time.

And i'm glad it has changed.
posted by salishsea at 3:45 PM on March 20, 2013


I figure that the amount of lounging about that we're training our kids for is just about right… for the America a few realities over where wealth is distributed equitably.
posted by egypturnash at 3:48 PM on March 20, 2013


The TDSB now celebrates nearly every holiday in existence. Diwali is especially popular.
posted by GuyZero at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2013


even if there is a tiny Orangemen's parade that still happens every year

I think I saw that parade once, or at least it was a little clutch of guys dressed like Irish Orangemen that I had seen in news photos. My reaction was total disbelief. I just wanted to yell "LET IT GO" at them.
posted by GuyZero at 3:51 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


salishsea - maybe a decade (and one borough over) makes a difference, because we definitely did St Patrick's Day in Etobicoke in the 1980s. It wasn't as big as it is in the States, but it was there - and we never talked about the English or Scottish history of Toronto.

I could totally get behind any haggis-based holidays. That stuff is delicious.
posted by jb at 3:52 PM on March 20, 2013


srboisvert: The annual highlight of my wonderful Canada public school K-6 experience was the Hotdog Day where we would gorge ourselves on steamed hotdogs until we were on the edge of vomiting.

OMG. I'd almost forgotten about that part of going to elementary school in Montreal. I think it was meant to synch with Carnaval because we did have a Bonhomme wandering about as part of the festivities. We even got little Bonhomme figurines to go on our ski-suit zippers. But for some reason, we got the hot dogs cut up and served with baked beans, not served in buns.

Otherwise, yeah: we just got Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter. Plus the unofficial school-is-almost-over ritual theft of freshly-bloomed lilacs from the tree bordering the playground.
posted by maudlin at 3:56 PM on March 20, 2013


I don't have a problem with kids making leprechaun traps all on their own but I sure don't like the obligation to buy candy and trinkets all the time. And I think all the goody bag stuff that parents seem to feel compelled to do is off the charts. And it's like a self-fulfilling system where seemingly nobody wants to do it but assumes everyone else will do it and doesn't want their kid to be left out. Leaving aside for a moment that kids have really short memories at this age so what the hell?!

I know a mom who was upset that they were doing a fundraiser where kids could buy each other "lucky clovers" for $1 that would then get distributed by the older middle schoolers. She missed the memo so her third grader (!) didn't send or receive any clovers. It's just nuts. We did stuff like that at one of the public high schools I attended (way back in the 80s) but I had my own babysitting money to use if I wanted (I didn't). At the DoDDS school I attended, I don't remember any kind of fundraisers. But then, as a military school, I guess we were pretty well funded. Schools are in a sad state in America and I think we have too many people underemployed.
posted by amanda at 4:02 PM on March 20, 2013


Klangklangston, our district has a very large Jewish and Muslim population. But my understanding is that a few Christian parents strongly objected to Halloween because Satan I guess, and the district was worried the Somali parents might feel uncomfortable with the romance parts of Valentine's Day. Harvest Party and Friendship Party is okie doke with everybody.
posted by Malla at 4:12 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


lucasks: "This also seems to be related to the trend of calling every school transition a graduation. When I grew up you graduated high-school and college. Now we have preschool graduations, elementary school graduations, and middle school graduations."

Not in our goddamned house we don't. My wife, usually a level-headed person but occasionally subject to fits of watching Lifetime movies and believing in the Hallmark Holidays, suggested to me exactly once that we attend Number One Son's preschool graduation.

The foam-mouthed splenetic tirade that resulted was a thing to behold. For nearly twelve minutes straight, without repetition and only occasionally stopping for breath, I held forth on the decay of Western Civilization as represented by an endless proliferation of meaningless "graduations". She said later that she thought I was in serious danger of a stroke or cardiac event.

Some days later, after I had calmed down, and we had both extinguished the cats and repaired the attic, we sat down and with considerable forethought drafted a list of Real Holidays And Sundry Events Of Note which may be celebrated in our home.

Without further comment, the scrump household LORHASEON:
  • New Year's
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Graduation that involves an official change in your voting and/or taxation status
  • Award ceremonies that draw international media attention (not including trials)
  • The successful bringing of spawn to term and/or the age of 18, provided you yourself are above the age of 18
  • Having a mathematical or scientific theorem named after you (must be by a recognized international scientific authority)
  • Failure to marry into any of the following families:
    • Kardashian
    • Hilton
    • Bush
    • Brown, Chris
Every year or so we sit down and revise it.
posted by scrump at 4:12 PM on March 20, 2013 [34 favorites]


Impressive, since Heavy Metal wasn't released until '81.

Nah, the '70s didn't end in Canada until, like, 1983. Case in point.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:13 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: "Boy, it seems like the shops get their Beltaine decorations out earlier and earlier every year! I mean, Lupercalia is barely over! I feel like I should be starting work on my Bastille Day guillotine already!"

Don't lose your head over it.

I'll see myself out
posted by scrump at 4:14 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


I heard a story - enough removed from the source to be almost urban legend - that St Patrick's Day was introduced to Toronto Schools sometime around the middle of the 20th century with the express purpose of relieving the tensions between Protestants and Catholics.

I can't speak to the holiday specifically, but the Toronto Maple Leafs were called the St. Pats from 1919 to 1927, so I'm guessing some people were celebrating his day before the middle of the 20th century.
posted by Copronymus at 4:16 PM on March 20, 2013


Nah, the '70s didn't end in Canada until, like, 1983. Case in point.

Gah, I'm always depressed by the sludgy mixing on that album.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:19 PM on March 20, 2013


I happened to be out grocery shopping today, and was surprised and, frankly, disgusted by the massive displays of "Easter" candy. WTF?! When did Easter become Hallowe'en?

Maybe it's always been this way. Seems like it's in pretty poor taste, what with it supposedly being a very significant religious holiday.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:21 PM on March 20, 2013


fff, where you been? Easter has been like that for years. I have never liked Easter. No presents (unless you have a need for stuffed rabbits) hard boiled eggs are nasty, and most of the candy is substandard. I also dislike salty ham, which appears to be the mandatory main dish.
Egg hunts lose their charm when you get past 8 or 9. Last year I filled the plastic eggs with nearly as many tattoos and stickers as candy. I also like to put money in them. but I'd gladly dispense with it entirely.

I have a pretty dim view of most holidays except Christmas and Halloween, actually.
posted by emjaybee at 4:33 PM on March 20, 2013


No no, you leave out a little dish of milk... dosed with a drop or two of ketamine. Then you can collect them in the morning and interrogate at will to find that gold.

Guantanamo Day?
posted by scalefree at 4:38 PM on March 20, 2013


The movie, Heavy Metal, Emily Litela.
posted by klangklangston at 5:44 PM on March 20 [+] [!]


Oh, well. That's completely different. Never mind.
posted by dejah420 at 4:44 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


We are Irish Catholic. Last year I decided to make leprechaun "pee" by putting green food coloring in the toilets. My potty-training twins were so scared by it that it set us back months, easily. They thought that if they sat on the toilet the leprechaun would get them. Stupid Pinterest.
posted by candyland at 4:47 PM on March 20, 2013 [33 favorites]


Despite me agreeing with the idea that certain things within this thread have recently got out of hand, I have to admit that pre-school graduations have been around for over 30 years.

(Weirdly, I think despite going through multiple ceremonies through the years, I think this is the only graduation photo I actually have of myself.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:47 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate, hate, hate St. Patrick's Day in the classroom. The leprechaun thing just drives me insane. My kids come into first grade knowing that they exist, because in kindergarten they make a huge deal of it and paint their feet green and all kinds of ridiculous stuff.

When my kids ask me whether leprechauns are real I tell them that I've never seen one or even a picture of one so I don't believe in them, and they all raise their hands and want to tell about how they saw one in kindergarten last year or at home and I just want to scream. I'd push it a little and ask why all the millions of people who must have seen them too have never managed to get one picture, but I can't go too far or parents get upset.

I don't think parents are aware of how angry some kids are when they find out that their parents have been lying to them for years about this crap. Just a word of warning... some of them take it really badly.

Also, it's harder to instill critical thinking skills when their heads are full of this nonsense.

We did celebrate Pi day by doing some math and looking at the first 10,000 digits, but no pie.
posted by Huck500 at 4:48 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's the War on St. Paddy's Day.

Just another way the atheists are crowding religion out of public life.
posted by surplus at 4:55 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


what with it supposedly being a very significant religious holiday.

I thought Easter co-opted an older holiday, hence the rabbits and eggs and chicks. Not sure about the pagan significance of cheap chocolate though.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:56 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, it's harder to instill critical thinking skills when their heads are full of this nonsense.

Well there is that thing called "imagination" - mightily more important to a six-year-old than critical thinking skills.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:57 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


This has done nothing to alter my firm belief that raising children is basically hell on earth.
posted by Decani at 5:00 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


> srboisvert: The annual highlight of my wonderful Canada public school K-6 experience was the Hotdog Day where we would gorge ourselves on steamed hotdogs until we were on the edge of vomiting.

We had hot dog day, and pizza day, but one time my school decided to try chicken nugget day and compounded the error by contracting a small kiosk-style business in the local mall that couldn't possibly have filled that large an order. Sure enough, the nuggets arrived sporadically throughout the day, often cold and even undercooked to the point of being raw. Good thing there's very little chicken in chicken nuggets, or someone might have gotten sick.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:00 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, it has been some forty years since I last had an Easter... but I'm pretty sure it didn't involve Hallowe'en–sized Snickers. Gross chocolate-style eggs and bunnies, yes. Ordinary candy bars, no.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:01 PM on March 20, 2013


Easter has been crap ever since Cadbury's Creme Eggs moved to another factory and NOW THEY TASTE WRONG.
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


What I want to know is why are we stilling sending paper home with kids? You don't even have to use a current technology - blogs are ten years old now, at least.

I can't magnet a blog to my fridge so I'll see it when I'm making lunches.

And in any case, all admin staff everywhere ALWAYS use technology in exactly one way: To attach Word documents to. Which is a major hassle and security problem.
posted by DU at 5:14 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Whelk: "Easter has been crap ever since Cadbury's Creme Eggs moved to another factory and NOW THEY TASTE WRONG."

We keep telling you: those are real chicken eggs you're eating raw, not Cadbury's Creme Eggs.
posted by boo_radley at 5:16 PM on March 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, some of the "chocolate" those bunnies were made out of was so bad that not even 8 year-old me wanted to eat them, and at that age I would eat Close-Up toothpaste.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:17 PM on March 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


100th day of school is actually fairly awesome. In K & 1st grade they have to bring in 100 items and when you are 5 or 6, counting to 100 is a big deal. Separating 100 pennies into 10 bags of 10 each was when my younger kid figured out that 10 x 10 = 100. The following year I got him 100 little candies. He did the math and realized that if he brought them in to share among 25 kids he would get 4... but if left them at home, and split them with his brother, he would get 50. I defy anyone to tell me that isn't educational.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:38 PM on March 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


A couple of links in our little side thread about St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Toronto. Here is a good paper in the rise and fall of the St. Patrick's Day parades in the 1800s which talks about both the oppression of Irish Catholics by my ancestors, Protestant Orangemen and the general shift in allegiance from Ireland to Canada as factors about why the parade fell away.

As for the Toronto St. Pats, they changed their name when Conn Smythe, bought them. He was a Methodist, and the son of Protestant immigrants from County Antrim and an Orangeman. No way "St. Pats" was going to be their name for long. Maple Leafs it was, named for a Canadian regiment from the Great War and in sync with the successful Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team.

indeed there were tens of thousands of Irish Catholics in Toronto in the last two centuries and yet the city was ruled with an iron fist by Protestant Orangemen. Such was the suppression of Irish Catholic national celebrations that it has only been 26 years since the St. Patrick's Day parade has been rebooted in the city. Both Caribana and Toronto's Pride Week celebrations are older than that. That should tell you something.
posted by salishsea at 6:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cadbury eggs taste fine.....Shamrock shakes taste wrong!
posted by brujita at 6:35 PM on March 20, 2013


Hey, Shamrock Shakes taste perfectly fine when you're in the mood for a nice mix of ice shavings, non-dairy creamer, celluose insulation, and green Sharpie ink. Mmm-mmm!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:00 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are they actually teaching this bullshit in schools?

Well, the Pre-K kids do hear about it some in school -- but, like I said, our older kids found out about this from a book and seized upon it like rat terriers. Ugh. My only solace is the annual engineering challenge, and building the paper slide was a neat way to try out the designs I had just seen as part of my oldest daughter's History Fair project on the history of roller coasters. (She won a prize. Don't ask.)

Mind you, they do enough other B.S. holiday-party non-education that it drives me crazy, but this one I can't blame on the school.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:06 PM on March 20, 2013


ob1quixote - the mental image of an adult gnawing carrots in the cold to provide proof of reindeer just made my day. Thank you.

It also convinced me that adults need more ridiculous craft projects/dioramas aimed at other adults. Leprechaun traps are for grown-ups, you silly rabbit! I guess Google's doodles are a little like this in their unpredictable whimsy? Yarnbombing and other guerrilla art projects also provide this jolt of the absurd, but I want the non-artists like me to get involved.

The only time I walked the walk: One utterly sober night in the dorms, we made giant hair balls from the remnants of my friend's head-shaving, put big googly eyes on them, and distributed them around the building. Happy Hayao Miyazaki day?
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:26 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


My Grandma once threw a party for my Mom when shew grew her first armpit hair. We celebrated my Grandpa's move into assisted living by wearing the ties he had acquired throughout his life at a formal dinner, even the girls.

There's always another hard day waiting, and they will always outnumber the special days. There's never enough joy and excitement to offset responsibility and care.

Celebrate every chance you get.

Happy Equinox, and a pleasant Won't You Be My Neighbor Day!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 PM on March 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


Wenestvedt, shamrock shakes have been reconfigured from when they disappeared a few years ago.

I see that you're doing a good job of teaching your daughter self-reliance.
posted by brujita at 7:46 PM on March 20, 2013


What Slap*Happy said too. Though I still think grown-ups need this more than kids do. Human Resources should schedule Playdoh Day in addition to health fairs.

But I am saddened that the "yay diversity" push to celebrate multiple cultures appears to have stalled out on candy and glitter. I don't recall if the sugar cube igloos I made in grade school were supposed to teach us anything about Eskimos, but I distinctly remember the flavor of gluey sugar. A few years later, an ambitious parent brought unagi rolls as part of Japan Day in my social studies class (this was 1987 or something, so very ambitious parent) and I spent the rest of the class having to explain roasted seaweed to my horrified classmates. 45 minutes as an ersatz Japanese culinary expert plus the fact that I knew how to make an origami crane did not help my case that I was "Korean, not Japanese, how many times do I have to tell you."
posted by spamandkimchi at 7:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


And I think all the goody bag stuff that parents seem to feel compelled to do is off the charts. And it's like a self-fulfilling system where seemingly nobody wants to do it but assumes everyone else will do it and doesn't want their kid to be left out.

One of the moms in my playgroup had a Valentine's Party for the kids, which was kind of adorable because they're all between the ages of one and two years old so they were there smooshing pink play doh into the rug and sticking hearts on each other's faces. (Note: this was the first outside-of-playgroup party that had been hosted since, as mentioned, these are tiny kids whose idea of a party is an extra helping of crackers. Even six months ago a "party" would have been "putting the babies on the floor and seeing which ones roll under the furniture.")

And then... she handed out goody bags. And I, whose son had the next upcoming birthday and thus would be hosting the next party, inwardly cursed. Because now the g-ddamn goody bag is a Thing We Do For Parties and FUCK THAT NOISE.

But I did it. I did the fucking goody bag for a two year's g-ddamn birthday party. It took an entire hour of my life - which I will never get back - of searching on Amazon to find favors that were a) within my budget, b) would not immediately get thrown away the second the kid walked out the door, and c) the parents would not curse me for. (Ahem, Play Doh is a shitty ass goody bag favor for those of us with wall to wall beige carpeting. THNX FOR THAT.) I ended up with little maracas and some self-inking stamps. And I stuck them in little popcorn boxes that I got at the grocery store. And lo, the moms swooned at my organization skills and how great I am and I'd really rather have had that hour back, in all honesty.

I do not, however, regret the froofy invitations. In this the age of email and the evite, I have so few opportunities to order ridiculous stationery that I've got to take the few chances that I get.

Anyhow. If this is in any indication, I'm in for a lot of teeth grinding w/r/t holidays and small children and being Absolutely No Fun because yes, I know we live in Boston, but we're not "celebrating" St. Patrick's Day because in case you hadn't noticed we are not Irish. Also, our building sprays for leprechauns once a week, so trapping one is going to be futile.
posted by sonika at 7:51 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


so I was worried our son would be picked on for not dressing up for the occasion.

I always wondered what would happen when my kids didn't want to be part of the anti-bullying club...
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:21 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Purim"

Oh, let me tell you about COMPETITIVE PARENTING PURIM as viewed through my facebook feed, because clearly you are shopping at THE WRONG HALLMARK because there is a lot of shit to buy, make, and cook to properly celebrate Purim and there are 20-picture albums posted shortly thereafter. I was like, when the hell did this happen and where did the vodka go?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just tell the kids the rat traps are for leprechauns too.

And I wish she hadn't apologized at the end. Just own it.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 9:16 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Re birthdays: We did toonie parties: a toonie ($2 Canadian) for the birthday kid and one for charity (of birthday kids choice). Worked well for all the families until they were older, loved not buying gifts I knew the kid wouldn't use.
Once older, our rule was gifts only if all the guests regularly come to our home. Want a big party? It's toonies.
Some people hate it but honestly it has become a trend near me, about half the parties were no-gifts until the kids were about 10 yrs and by then they only wanted close friends over and I didn't mind. It's at the "invite the whole class" stage with two parties a month it was insane!

Our school rules out valentine candy, and the teachers really try... but some candy still came home.

The religious holidays are fairly low key as it is very muliticultural in our neighbourhood. I still remember the "Mohammed says Santa doesn't come to his house" chat. Hurrah Mohammed! And happy Narooz everyone!
posted by chapps at 9:35 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Although I love sewing Halloween costumes and once had a bunch of kids round to make costumes with us. If someone wants to invite us round to hunt Easter eggs or leprechauns awesome, but I won't be orgsnizjng that)
posted by chapps at 9:42 PM on March 20, 2013


I feel like I should go apologize to my parents for the leprechaun trap they made for me for an elementary school class project back in the mid-90s.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:26 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remaining Holidays Yet to Be Monetized
[...]
Mardi Gras


Yeah, but that's because only part of the population is obliged to purchase; if everyone were, it would defeat the entire purpose (which is not to say that there isn't a shit ton of crap sold to the other half of the populace every year, in stores and by roadside vendors, to tourists and to locals, not including the tricolor polo shirts, the ladders, and the very many king cakes and the booze consumed). Rest assured that the purchasers are under pressure to spend as much as possible, though. People demand it, and if you don't throw enough good stuff, your krewe will be accused of being stingy, and your parade will be less highly rated.

The funny thing about Mardi Gras is the bead inflation that occurs over time. People are throwing away or ignoring beads that ten years ago they would have clamored to catch. First it was glass beads. Then they replaced the glass beads with small transparent plastic ones. Then those plastic ones became more and more elaborate (shiny rather than clear, then larger and larger over time). Today they have long chains of large heavy white or pink beads. Chains with funky beads, like little crawfish or skulls or pigs or you name it spaced every so many beads. Beads with elaborate molded medallions hanging from them. Medallions that light up. Large beads the size of tennis balls or even softballs. (Never mind all the other throws: Tambourines. Tambourines that light up. Swords. Large plastic swords that light up. Deely boppers. Deely boppers that light up.) It seems you get fewer beads these days, but the ones you get are bigger and bigger. Soon I'm sure we'll all be going home with nothing but tennis-ball-sized strings, but only one or two apiece.

And now the glass beads are making their way back in, as a rare and prized catch.

Somehow, though, I'm pleased that the most prized throws of all Mardi Gras are the home-decorated things like coconuts and shoes.

On the bright side, you can recycle the beads by making cool art with them.
posted by CoureurDubois at 10:29 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Leprechaun traps are the baby steps towards going after the big prize; Santa. I just know in the back of all those minds is the potential to nab the big boy in red and lay claim to the gigantic goody-bag.

Or we're just developing a generation full of Mr. Teatimes.
posted by CancerMan at 11:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our son is now 12; the year he turned 6, spring came early to our part of California and I wanted to take him out fishing -- the weather was great, we were going to go to a local lake and rent a little 12' aluminum boat, and it was going to be a blast. Except that it was also going to be St. Patrick's Day, and some SPD-crazed adults at his school had convinced him that if he wasn't *on land* on SPD he wouldn't see the leprechauns. And by the time SPD came he had invested a lot of emotional capital in seeing those feckin' leprechauns. Except that there aren't any feckin' leprechauns, and besides, we're Jewish, so there were never going to be any feckin' leprechauns. But even after I explained this, his constant, anxious scanning of the shore for leprechauns did manage to distract him from the otherwise beautiful day on the water in a boat with his dad. Not that I'm bitter. Feckin' leprechauns...
posted by mosk at 11:55 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


...and this is why each October, we tell the little yankophiles to piss off.
posted by pompomtom at 12:11 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a father with a school kid, none of this sounds even vaguely familiar to me. Christmas, easter, that is it in our neck of the woods. Thank gawd.
posted by wilful at 2:16 AM on March 21, 2013


Leprechauns only live in Ireland. And why would they just give away gold coins? It's completely against their nature. I personally wouldn't go bothering a leprechaun if I could possibly help it. Perhaps the solution here is a fuller education about leprechauns.
posted by distorte at 3:05 AM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do the other kids in school still pinch you if you don't wear green on St. Patrick's Day? Pinch you as in HARD, with intention to HURT? When I was a kid (70s), St. Patrick's Day was just one more day I had to make sure I was flying under the mean kid radar, but on that day the bullying was SANCTIONED if you forgot to wear green.
posted by JanetLand at 3:27 AM on March 21, 2013


Oh, let me tell you about COMPETITIVE PARENTING PURIM...

You might 'enjoy' this blog post from a few years back complaining about out of control competitive Purim on Long Island - oy!
posted by Mchelly at 3:58 AM on March 21, 2013


I remember that we did a Valentine's Day thing in my fifth grade class. I was really annoyed, because I only liked one girl in my class but was obliged to make valentines for everyone. Everyone! And now I find out that parents are expected to invite every kid in their kid's class to birthday parties, which isn't happening; that bully's parents will just have to figure out for themselves why little Zack didn't score an invite.

I am totally cool with celebrating Diwali and Nowruz though. As long as they have the kids jump over fires I don't see the harm.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:56 AM on March 21, 2013


So holidays, properly speaking are ways in which a tradition makes sense of the annual rhythms of life on earth. In the absence of actually living that tradition these holidays become commercial ventures and "learning opportunities." Or just drinking binges. The reason they are empty is because if you don't live as a Jew or a Christian or a Zoarastrian or a Wiccan, or a Midewiwin practitioner then religious holidays don't make sense.

Aye thars the rub. Chillins aren't allowed to celebrate religious holidays in public schools, so everything has to have a secular tilt. Imagine no religion, it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and every holiday is celebrated equally.
posted by Gungho at 5:47 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to telling your child, and sending a note to school saying "we don't celebrate X."

I was raised Muslim in US public schools - I don't remember a time where it even really bothered me (though I was always the token Muslim kid). If everybody celebrates everything, the holidays kind of lose their specialness. And explaining that not everybody celebrates everything was actually a good opportunity to explain our own home life backgrounds, and that it was interesting to not conform to what everyone else does - it gave us stuff to talk about.

I do miss the Shamrock cafeteria cookie though. My parents never let me buy my lunch (especially after that time the girl sitting next to me found a worm in her chicken nuggets). But they gave me 35 cents to buy the special holiday cookies. Everyone knew the St. Patrick's Day cookie was the yummiest.
posted by raztaj at 6:17 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone knew the St. Patrick's Day cookie was the yummiest.

The taste of green cannot be argued with, as McDonald's proves every year with Shamrock Shake -- the one thing that brings in even people who would never usually step inside a McDonald's any other time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:32 AM on March 21, 2013


I'll have to suspend my disbelief that the author didn't know St. Patrick's Day was coming. These days stores start making that Green Aisle O'Crap happen on February 13th, taking over the Ever-Loving Aisle of Pink and Red Crap and Sweet, Sweet 50% Off Chocolates as soon as possible.
posted by peagood at 9:13 AM on March 21, 2013


Look at the March Madness explosion that's going to drive folks in droves to sports bars this weekend

I think that's just because people are genuinely excited for basketball.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:40 AM on March 21, 2013


...the big prize; Santa...

Hah! My daughter asked me about Santa in First Grade, and I told her the truth. Maybe other kids' parents didn't like me because of that, but I do not care. I also told her the truth when little proselytizers tried to sell her Jesus and Vishnu. You can have your Christmas and Easter. Not for us, thanks (at least not the Jesus parts - we do decorate a fake tree and give the kids presents on X day).

Valentines' Day is the fakest of all, and I wish schools would ignore it. I'm also pretty tired of the continuous round of birthday parties that must be held at some loud venue for every child every year, complete with the odious gift bags.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:59 AM on March 21, 2013


This is all completely foreign to me, too. Maybe we lucked into the no-bullshit school department or something.

I did make awesome chocolate frog lollipops for a Harry Potter themed birthday party one year. But I love that kind of stuff. I would do it even without a party.
posted by Biblio at 11:31 AM on March 21, 2013


I'm waiting for the day when Pininterest one upsmanship like, levels Cleveland.

HEY, waitaminnit here!!!

Do. Not. Want.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:10 PM on March 21, 2013


Man, what the fuck ever. I love dyeing eggs because my daughters get a kick out of it (just turned 6). It's something they can do with little supervision, we've already done two dozen (I have them dye uncooked eggs, which we then use as normal), and it's a project that teaches them a little bit about mixing chemicals, adequate PPE (gloves and aprons), and working relatively neat (putting down newspaper, cleaning up spills as you go).

I loved seeing them decorate valentines for family members, and seeing the various family members' faces light up was wonderful. I also didn't mind helping them do classroom valentines, even though it took two nights for them to write them all out (because yes, they wrote everyone's name, and I had to help them with every goddamned one, but seeing them realize that they actually did it? totally worth it).

I loved their helping set up for superbowl Sunday. They had an absolute blast setting out plates, pouring blue cheese into the ramekins, filling the Giants Commemorative Chip Helmet with chips (because fuck you New England, that's why), and then sitting down for about ten minutes of game time and eating with the grownups before getting bored and running off to play in the other room, running back for a bite here and there throughout the night.

Christmas morning was magical. Yes, they literally believe that Santa Claus came into our house and left them one present each, and they believe that because even after they find out that that's not the actual case, they'll still remember that feeling and know what magic is, and their lives will be a little richer for it, just as with any form of art or religion. Sure, decorating is a huge pain in the ass, and I see why tree size is inversely proportional to age. But the kids love it.

Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, St. Patty's day (because t and d make a similar sound, deal with it), all have their own bit of work. And the day the payoff:work ratio drops below whatever arbitrary constant I decide on is the day I don't celebrate. I've had Thanksgivings where I was too far spent to even think about going to any family or friends' house for dinner, and sure enough, people complained. But other people came up to me later and said, you know, I'm really impressed that you skipped this holiday, because it never would have occurred to me that this was anything other than mandatory, and now I've got that in the back of my mind that no, it's perfectly possible to choose not to do this thing.

This year I'm thinking of introducing the girls to April Fools Day. Maybe I'll teach them how to rig a basket over a doorway, or even something as simple as "here's a whoopie cushion, let's get Mom with it". Because all these little things bring moments of joy, and Callahan's Law: shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased.

Again, I'm sure that my motivation will wane over the years, as they grow and develop older kid interests. But who knows what little part of Christmas they'll remember and want to relive? And I'll gladly drag as much of that shit upstairs as they want to decorate with.
posted by disconnect at 1:13 PM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow, if we wanted fancy crap for holidays, my mother had us make our own - cut off the tip of my thumb making a Valentine's box one year. I'm so relieved that I raised my children in the era in-between the rampant child neglect of the 80s and the overly involved helicopter parenting we've got now.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:14 PM on March 21, 2013


I'm so relieved that I raised my children in the era in-between the rampant child neglect of the 80s and the overly involved helicopter parenting we've got now.

Me too!

When the Monsters were in school, there were the class Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's parties, the Thanksgiving play, and the Holiday Singalong. The 100th day of school was something they did in art class, and Dr. Seuss' birthday was celebrated by the librarian dressing up as the Cat in the Hat. That was it, and we were all fine with that.

At home, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Yule are celebrated with glee, and we have a giant party for Independence Day involving lots of food, booze, fireworks, and suchlike. Birthdays are celebrated by having dinner out.

My friends with younger kids are so frazzled with the Elf on the Shelf and Leprechaun Traps and the bajillion and nine other things that go along parenting a modern schoolchild...and all I can do is thank my lucky stars that my boys are grown and mostly so.
posted by MissySedai at 4:36 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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