I spent New Year’s Eve alone in a hotel room. I didn’t have to, I chose to.

Last year was a whirlwind of planning, packing, moving, traveling and unraveling.
The quiet time was a luxury I felt I had earned and could afford.

I skipped the “holidays” again this year. Didn’t buy gifts, or send cards, plants, flowers or food. The season that begins with Halloween and ends with Valentine’s Day is my least favorite time of the year – for its disingenuousness, consumeristic and exclusionary properties – and my favorite time of year – for the cold weather allowing me very productive, guilt-free hibernation time. This year, because my mind has been so focused on so many non-trivial, real life issues, I had completely forgotten that we had yet to cross the holiday threshold of Valentine’s day until I opened up my news feed this morning and read the blog headline “2012 valentine’s day cards from rifle paper co.” on the Design Sponge blog site.

The cards are actually quite lovely, and if I were a participant in the grossly over-rated, Hallmark created, singles hated, chocolate sated, ridiculously outdated “holiday”, I might purchase and send these little beauties to friends as a token of my love for them. But I’m not, and I won’t, and I had honestly forgotten all about it until the moment I read that headline, blatantly reminding me that there are actually 5 more weeks until this “holiday season” is officially done and over with. Before I actually thought about it, I would have said it felt like the holidays went by very quickly this year, but now that I’ve been aptly reminded that I have five more weeks to be reminded, it feels like it will never end.

I don’t hate the holidays because I’m a scrooge, or because I’m cheap, or because I don’t have any friends. I hate the holidays on principle. I think the holidays send a message that generosity toward our friends and neighbors comes but once a year. They send a message that if you neglect your relationships during the year, you still have a get-out-of jail-free holiday to make up for it by buying something to show how much you really do care. It also sends the message that you have to buy things for people in order to show your gratitude and affection. I don’t spend my time with people who think they can buy my respect, loyalty or love, and I don’t spend money on people with the hopes and expectations of receiving these things from them. These things must be earned by me and by others, and when that happens in a natural progression, gratitude and affection follow eagerly behind also in a natural fashion.

Interesting I think, that the Halloween kick-off to the holiday season is probably the least offensive and most inclusive of them all, while Valentine’s Day, which bookends the outgoing holiday season is by far the most offensive and exclusionary bit of nonsense of them all. By its very nature it excludes at least half of the population and then with great audacity tries its damnedest to make the excluded majority feel like crap about themselves for not trying harder to become a member of the “in-love” minority. Society has given us more than enough reasons to feel bad about ourselves and as far as I’m concerned, holidays like Valentine’s Day just add insult to injury.

(Side note: I did have one truly amazing Valentine’s Day experience early in life, when I was about 21. Little did I know the bar was set so high that day, that no one in the future was ever likely to meet or surpass it. I probably took it for granted at the time, but I feel very fortunate for that one really great Valentine’s Day knowing now that my boyfriend at the time unwittingly ruined it for me and any other boyfriend in my future. This was not his intention, but I’m sure he would get at least a little satisfaction out of reading this tidbit, even today. It’s anecdotal really, because I try hard to abolish all expectation in my life. While not always successful, I find that disappointment is almost non-existent in my life when I am.)  ✻