Celebration comes but once a year or does it?

by Jane Keep, UK

I felt inspired by Shannon Everest’ blog – ‘Birthdays’ – to write a little more of my experiences.

Birthdays come but once a year. Christmas comes but once a year. Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Easter comes but once a year. A holiday comes but once (or twice) a year. Wedding anniversaries come but once a year. Valentine’s Day comes but once a year.

That we are often raised to feel we are only allowed to celebrate ourselves on these ‘one day of the year’ occasions is deeply sad, as if we only deserve it on that one day, and then only if we are ‘good’ – as I learnt from my own childhood experiences.

That the theme for celebration is limited to certain times of the year feels unnatural: why only celebrate a wedding anniversary one day a year? Why not celebrate the joy of connecting and loving another every day? Why only send someone a Valentine’s card on one day a year? Why not send a card, or some flowers to people you love simply when you feel like it? It’s a little similar to how I have been observing Christmas: that families gather for meals, present giving and celebrations, but just on one day (or maybe a few days) of the year.

I know from experiences in my own life, and observing the lives of friends and work colleagues, that people often count the days to the next celebration. They put a big ‘stake’ on how a birthday or Christmas will be, or what Valentine’s night will bring. These subtle expectations put an enormous amount of pressure on us to ‘getit right’ and leaves an empty feeling on the other days in between when there isn’t a ‘celebration’ to be had, or a need to be planning the next ‘celebration’ or holiday as soon as the last one is over. For instance, people plan and book their summer holidays as soon as Christmas and the New Year celebrations are over, and count the days until their holiday. I was one of those people as I used to need something to look forward to, and would count the days until my next holiday.

Why can’t we make celebration normal everyday? A normal way of daily living, with playfulness and joy – I can celebrate myself, and others, every single day. I’m not talking here about eating huge meals, or laying around watching movies, or buying mountains of presents or bouquets every day, or having to go and eat with relatives every day or week…

It’s about the simply amazing things in daily life – nature, gorgeous skies, a sea breeze, the feeling of silk or cashmere on your body, the feeling of sinking into a gorgeous bath with mountains of bubbles, the feeling of sharing a meal with another, of sharing a moment together, a momentary smile or laugh with a stranger, and the feeling of tenderness, and the magic of God that is all around us 24/7 every single day, and not just ‘one day a year’.

407 thoughts on “Celebration comes but once a year or does it?

  1. In the last few weeks Ive been asked by taxi drivers, shop assistants, colleagues ‘are you ready for christmas?’ – and Ive said I dont actually do Christmas – no cards, no presents… and I can go into a shop having completely forgotten about Christmas – then there it is all around all the festivity stuff that is being sold. I remember when I did used to do Christmas – Id wear myself out to a frazzle – and feel too tired to get involved on the day so Id end up in the kitchen preparing food and washing up as I just didnt feel like engaging with others. Id be glad when it was over, and, feel as flat as a pancake after. Additionally Id eat so much chocolate to pep me up and keep me going that Id usually be on a ‘downer’ after Christmas and New Year from the effects of having ate so much chocolate, and the after effect of coming down and having to wean myself off it. I love a rhythm and flow that doesnt make one day better or bigger than another, though that does include celebration, or a beautiful dinner with friends or family, or a bouquet of flowers here and there.

    1. Can so relate Jane, for the last few years especially since moving to another country away from all extended family, Christmas has been how ever we would like it… this year it’s Christmas eve and we have absolutely no plans for tomorrow. This is completely opposite to how I used to approach Christmas, so stressed that I would be running around like a headless chook, screaming at my immediate family, wanting everything perfect, trying to fulfil everyone’s perceived or real expectations and then put on a happy face and smile when everyone walked through the door. Phew even writing this is exhausting. There was absolutely no love for anyone including myself in this experience. Now I can more just sit and enjoy others’ company.

    2. I too love a consistent rhythm to my day that supports me during that day but also prepares and sets me up for the following day. Going to bed by 9pm is part of my rhythm which I now find easy to do. I love going to bed at this time already thinking and planning for the next day… purpose becomes more meaningful.

    3. I say the same to people. I never enjoyed Christmas when I used to try to do it but since I stopped doing it there is a true joy in the day, because all the sense of duty about presents and cards etc has gone and I can simply enjoy the connection with others unencumbered by ideals and beliefs of what the day should be.

  2. Jane I have also asked this question for several years now, “Why not send a card, or some flowers to people you love simply when you feel like it?”… making it just one day to celebrate how you feel about yourself or another simply doesn’t make sense… because what happens on the other 364 days of the year. I’ve even noticed it with having date night, leaving expressing how I really feel until that moment.

  3. Watching the amount of commitment people put into Christmas is quite incredible, imagine if everyone put that much commitment into every single day of their lives, and into ensuring every single moment of those days was of a certain quality.

  4. Yes Jane, it says something about the way that we’re living that we settle for these rare occasions of delight. If you had a dog you wouldn’t starve them of food all year and then suddenly dish some out – so who and what made these celebration rules so we go without? Celebration and appreciation far from being occasional icing is the very food of life and sustains us to keep choosing Love.

  5. “It’s about the simply amazing things in daily life – nature, gorgeous skies, a sea breeze, the feeling of silk or cashmere on your body, the feeling of sinking into a gorgeous bath with mountains of bubbles, the feeling of sharing a meal with another, of sharing a moment together, a momentary smile or laugh with a stranger, and the feeling of tenderness, and the magic of God that is all around us 24/7 every single day, and not just ‘one day a year’.” YES! Celebration comes naturally when we live joyfully – something I am yet to feel consistently but have definitely experienced and now have as a reference point in my body from which to evolve.

  6. The magic of God is all around us in every moment of the day and it can be in those simple, everyday yet sometimes profound moments that we get to feel and experience true love which no hype, expectation or gift could possibly bring.

  7. This made me wonder if we really know what it means to ‘celebrate’. I actually felt a little at loss with it to be honest. The way we do Christmas for example doesn’t really feel like celebratory even though it may have got all the details and peripherals set up properly and we could spend so much money and effort.

  8. A celebration is a confirmation and so the confirmation of ours and others amazingness deserves confirmation everyday.

  9. I get a feeling that we’ve got this celebration thing a bit upside down. Maybe the way we celebrate isn’t the true and proper way to celebrate. Maybe there is a natural way to celebrate but it doesn’t include presents and partying but just a confirmation of how great we are.

  10. Thank you Jane for developing this conversation. We all in fact have the free-will to choose to embrace celebration ourselves and each other every day, yet we seldom do. We instead have given our power away to the society to dictate when, where and how we should celebrate things. We gear ourselves up and plan for this one day of celebration yet miss celebrating all the magic that happens between us and within us in the days leading up to this ‘big’ day. There is much to celebrate and appreciate every day through the lives we live and the more we embrace this, what we all already hold within, and the loving moments we can share together, the awe of nature the more our lives enrichen with many moments to celebrate throughout our everyday living.

  11. Over the Christmas period just gone, I was very aware of the ‘wish it could be Christmas every day’ feeling we often express. What presented for me to explore was that it can be, in my relationship with myself. When I live in a loving way with myself and deepen the connection to the love within every day, there is much to celebrate and feel joy-full about. Even on a so-called bad day, there is something to learn, some opportunity to grow and some way to evolve who we are. This is a true gift and there is no special day to receive it but just a choice to make to receive it.

  12. Through personal observation, a lot of families don’t actually get along and use Christmas and Birthday celebrations to ‘bite the bullet’ and put up with each other. After that, and having a ‘good time’ based on food and drinks can they go back to the normalised disfunction that no body wants to talk about.

  13. I loved what you shared Jane, a great reminder that the magic of God is all around us and in each of us every every single day, So what’s not to celebrate.

  14. A beautiful blog. Thank you Jane. There is absolutely no reason why we should not celebrate everything all the time, living with joy and in appreciation for all that there is and all that we are.

  15. I wonder what the actual effect on us is when we wait for once a year to celebrate ourselves or the people around us. It seems like also the amount of pressure on that day is massive, and if we actually connected to the magic around us, especially in the people around us, then there is no reason to not appreciate that magic every single day.

  16. So many people get lost looking at shadows when there is so much darkness in the world…. And thus forget to look for the light. There are so many things in life to appreciate or celebrate and when you choose to not be blind to them, it’s amazing the beauty that can be seen in even the smallest of moments.

  17. I feel there doesn’t have to be a particular reason to celebrate… How beautiful for us to spontaneously celebrate when it feels right, in the moment. Celebrate life and Love.

  18. I love this Jane, a reminder that celebration in life is about the simple things, it doesn’t have to be a big thing or an event at all, why wait. Today I’ve been loving the amazing skies I’m seeing and it reminds me there is a whole big picture that I’m a part of and that’s something to really celebrate.

  19. Celebrating ourselves and others every day and not just on special or designated days really builds the appreciation we have of ourselves, each other and the magic of God that we have access to 24/7.

  20. “I can celebrate myself, and others, every single day.” A beautiful present that is constantly unwrapping another layer.

  21. Don’t we make every day much harder, much lesser than it could otherwise be and then we look to Christmas Day as a respite from the ongoing drudge and misery? But all we need to do is stop choosing the drudge and the misery and every day can be joyful. I found the Gentle Breath Meditation a huge support with this.

  22. It’s like we have these thoughts that the other days need to be serious or be a bit of a struggle and that our every day can’t quite be like this.

  23. Do we need permission to celebrate us or others?No we do not. Yet, in matters of celebration we hold on to images of how has to be. We do that because we do not want to really open up to ourselves and to others and to turn on our transparency.

  24. I love to celebrate the little things. I agree Jane that there is no good reason to wait for the big events like birthdays or anniversaries etc. Lets find something to celebrate and appreciate everyday.

  25. Those once a year events are much needed triggers when we don’t see the magic and beauty that are constantly being offered to us in simple everydayness and we feel as though there’s nothing to appreciate and celebrate about life and ourselves if not for special occasions.

  26. A lot of people getting very stressed and anxious around Christmas time, there is too much focus put on this one day to get everything ‘right’. As you so beautifully suggest here Jane, the more we bring celebration and ritual into our everyday lives, the more we will experience a depth and quality to our lives and relationships that bring more true joy.

    1. I agree Anna, and if we all sat down and had an honest chat ‘ what is going on?’ – ‘Is this all really needed?’ ‘does this frenzy at christmas truly support us to grow, evolve?’ ‘does having commercial, stress filled Christmases support the planet, or turn the tide of illness and disease – or not?’ we may just realise that this Christmas frenzy has been a distraction, and, perhaps in some ways does more harm than good?

  27. There is much to celebrate on a daily basis when we live from our heart, rather than the illusion of celebrations that are all over hyped, or the holidays we reward ourselves with for all the hard work we feel we have done, when everyday should be a joy-full day, full of laughter and fun.

    1. I agree Sally. Here we are again at Christmas – an annual celebration where there are so called ‘norms’, followed closely by New Year Celebrations, then we get to Valentines Day, Mothers Day (UK), Then Easter is upon us, then Fathers Day, then the annual summer holiday season, soon follows Halloween, Bonfire Night (UK) and then its Christmas all over again, and in amongst that we have birthdays too. What if these ‘celebrations’ are distractions, ways to busy ourselves, to give our lives ups (and downs once they are over), and to give us something to look forward to – when all the while there is joy and playfulness in every day, and a lot to en-joy all year round.

  28. Simply gorgeous Jane, the amazingly simple things in daily life that are all around us, that at times we forget to observe, share and celebrate with each other.

  29. Jane, it is so true what you share about how it makes no sense to limit celebrating ourselves, or others to a twenty four hour time slot. In fact pondering on it now it feels measuring the love we have for ourselves and for others is akin to inserting a dam to limit a fast flowing river. Love knows no bounds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s