Although I admittedly feel the need to use it in professional circumstances (ie, work email exchanges with clients I’ve never met), I can’t stand the greeting “happy holidays”, but not because it makes me feel religiously slighted; no, I think it just makes me sound like a pretentious asshole. Happy holidays! Season’s greetings! Look at me, I’m politically correct! No one shall feel offense to my cheery, generic, void of any creativity well wishes! Barf.
Anyway, despite my distaste for the “happy holidays” bullshit, I’ve found that it actually does have one solid redeeming purpose, all political crap aside. December is full of weird, random holidays, and this is a great way to incorporate every single one of them! Sure, we have the obvious ones like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, but those are just the tip of the ice berg! Let’s take a look at a few of the lesser celebrated December days, shall we?
Festivus, December 23.
Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism associated with Christmastime. Practices include the airing of grievances, which occurs over a meal with everyone informing everyone else how they’ve disappointed one another over the course of the year, and the feats of strength, which involve wrestling the head of the household to the floor. Although Festivus was introduced to popular culture by a Seinfeld episode in 1997, it has been celebrated by Seinfeld’s screenwriter’s family every year since 1966.
Boxing Day, December 26
Growing up seeing “Boxing Day” on the calendar always led me to believe Canadians were bad asses who headed to the boxing ring to duke it out every year the day after Christmas. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I learned the childhood dream crushing truth; Boxing Day isn’t about the sport of boxing at all. No, Boxing Day actually finds its roots quite literally in “boxing” as in the day everyone boxes everything up. Apparently this is worthy of a bank holiday, but hey, who am I to argue with an extra paid day off?
Saint Stephen’s Day, December 26, 27, or January 9
Although no one can really agree which day to celebrate it on, Saint Stephen’s Day is pretty cool. This public holiday, celebrated in many Eastern European countries as well as Ireland and Wales, commemorates the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen. Common celebrations include parades, festivals, and a gigantic feast appropriately known as the Feast of Saint Stephen. Former Welsh traditions included bleeding out livestock and beating late risers and female servants with holly branches, although these festivities were discontinued in the 19th century. The popular Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas” tells a heartwarming tale of the Feast of Saint Stephen, sans bleeding livestock and holly branch beatings.
Whether you light a menorah, decorate a Christmas tree, or beat your loved ones with seasonal flora, from the DragonFlyEye family to yours, we wish you an honest, heartfelt, “Happy Holidays!” What are some of your favorite offbeat December customs? Share your best, nontraditional traditions below and we’ll share ours, too!