Opinion — Dear holidays, you suck

Dallas Wiertella

I wake up in a cold sweat to the ding of my phone and multiple messages from family members. They are all reaching out to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. 

I groggily get out of bed. It is 3 p.m. and I have not eaten or showered today. I respond to each message with “Happy Thanksgiving!” before making the most important decision I will make all day: What toppings should I get on my pizza?

My family seems to only find free time to reach out to me during the holidays. It feels like a forced reminder to celebrate the festivities, except there are no presents or dinners — just a reminder that today is a holiday and that they exist. 

Swiping up through my messages easily reveals last year’s “Happy Holidays,” which are followed by the year before that and so on. There are no phone calls on May 26, and no text messages from August 22, both of which are arbitrary dates with no meaning. Instead, I seem to only find myself celebrating and acknowledging family when a holiday tells me to.

This is not an article about my family. Not at all. This is an article about how to successfully detach yourself from holidays. 

I wholeheartedly believe that holidays kind of suck. Obviously, religious-based holidays are extremely important, but I am talking about the major capitalistic holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July. 

Whenever it comes time to celebrate a holiday, I enjoy my pizza and watch some football recaps. I might read, play some video games, go for a walk or even stop by a friend’s house who is in the same boat as me.

I do things that I can do any other day, just like I could do holiday-based activities on any day of the year — without having to assign a holiday label with discount deals at big-box stores to match. 

We are told that Thanksgiving is about gratitude, so should we not express thanks in the middle of summer? Christmas is about giving gifts to those you love and gathering the family together for one night. So, is it so wrong to give my gifts in March, June or September? Additionally, is it useless to gather with my family on a crisp April night?

I do not think there is anything wrong with the expressed reasonings for being a good person to a neighbor or showing thanks with your family, but it seems forced and superficial when we only truly feel like honoring those feelings and actions on holidays. I want to show my appreciation to my friends all the time, not just on Christmas with a $5 gift card and a $10 bill. I want to give thanks and go out to dinner with friends not because it is Thanksgiving, but because I believe they deserve to understand my appreciation for them year-round. 

In no way am I saying we should abolish all holidays. However, I do think we put too much importance or emphasis on the day itself. 

The celebration of holidays also causes a lot of stress on families that do partake in the festivities. Will the food you spent all day preparing taste perfect? Will people like my gifts? Have we put enough Christmas lights up? Is my sweater ugly in a festive way or just ugly? 

Not only is there the emotional stress of maintaining the perfect holiday appearance, but also terrible financial stress. My mom could never afford presents on Christmas, and I never wanted to trade food for a new Lego set so we just stopped doing presents altogether. The pressure to give all your gifts on one day can feel like watching money being burned right in front of you. 

So, why do we even force ourselves to celebrate? 

I feel like it is just one big traditional pressure. Holidays are a way to keep appearances in society that you care about and have a good relationship with your family. I feel like we care so much about being labeled as anti-holiday or having friends that are all about a holiday and we care about them, so we do not want to feel like we are bashing their spirit. Most likely, and even worse, we just want to fit in.

Happy Holidays,


Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.