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Some celebrations shouldn’t be just for the holidays 

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Need to confine thankfulness and new beginnings to certain times of year is silly

Family and friends, expanding waistlines and shrinking wallets all signify the arrival of the holiday season. The holidays have always been regarded as a great time for us to unwind and enjoy the company of our loved ones, but in all honesty, what is the true purpose of them?

We Americans just celebrated Thanksgiving — a day on which we were supposed to reflect on what we were most thankful for in our lives. All across the country, families sat down to tables overflowing with food and gave thanks for their non-material possessions. Now, I love Thanksgiving as much as the next person (and who wouldn’t, with all of the food involved) but if you ask me, that holiday is just another excuse for us to pig out and for stores to take advantage of bargain-hungry shoppers.

Thanksgiving today seems to be characterized more by Black Friday than it is by the act of giving thanks. But, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. After all, is it really necessary for us to set aside one day out of the year on which we remember what we’re thankful for? I believe that if we truly appreciated what we had in our lives, we would set aside some time each day to reflect on those very things. Whenever we wake up or go to bed — hell, whenever we are able to cross the street safely — we should feel thankful because we are alive.

New Years is another one of these pseudo-appreciation days. The prospect of a new year is supposed to excite us because it supposedly signifies hope and a new beginning. While it is sort of fun to think of the new year as a “new chapter” in our lives, it seems to me that some people take the idea of “a fresh start” way too seriously. They believe that as soon as the clock strikes 12 on the night of New Year’s Eve, all of their past problems will suddenly be easier to deal with.

These extreme hopefuls often find themselves disappointed when they realize that the new year is just like any other; it comes with its good days and its bad days, its trials and its rewards. This is why we should start to examine our lives in smaller pieces. Instead of making resolutions and anticipating the new year, we should set smaller goals and feel hopeful at the start of each new day.

Besides giving us false inspiration and time to reflect, the holidays also seem to bring families closer together. They are a great excuse for relatives who haven’t seen each other in a while to sit down to a classic family dinner. I have nothing to complain about there as I understand that, for some families, holidays are the only time of the year in which they are able to be together. I do believe, however, that with some effort, these types of families would be able to spend more time with each other outside of the holidays.

While I may not fully agree with the ideas associated with some of these holidays, I love celebrating them nonetheless. I love the food, the atmosphere and, dare I say it, the false sense of hope. Maybe that’s what the holidays are meant to give us — a false sense of hope as we seek shelter from the real world in the loving arms of our families and friends. But, as a self-proclaimed over thinker, I may be wrong. The holidays, much like life, are whatever you make them. So go on and keep celebrating.

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