'Strong Thoughts: Choosing to make every day like a holiday
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Jun 01, 2014 | 685 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

On Mother’s Day and on Father’s Day, we honor the parents who raised and put up with us throughout the years.

On New Year’s Eve, we celebrate the promise of new beginnings during a new year.

No matter the holiday, there are times scattered throughout the year that encourage people to remember, to honor or to take part in something.

Many people spend the rest of the year eagerly waiting for those days to come back again. While going through the mundane things that make up an unremarkable day, it is easy to want to pine for the days that seem special and make plans to celebrate or observe them.

For example, many people begin their Christmas shopping weeks ahead of time, and children count down the days until “Santa” arrives with gifts for them (assuming they have been nice instead of naughty).

Looking forward to special days can take various forms, and ways of celebrating or observing can be just as varied. However, a major commonality is that recognition of that special day often stops after the day is gone.

Why do special days have to happen on only certain days of the year? Why can’t every day be like a holiday? 

On Memorial Day this year, websites like Facebook were used as platforms for people to share their patriotism and respect for those who gave their all to serve their country.

The next day, those patriotic sentiments were replaced by the news of the everyday. So-and-so took her young son to visit a museum. Another friend complained about a rude customer he encountered at work.

I couldn’t help but wonder why we only go out of our way to recognize the fallen during certain times of the year, instead of trying to remind each other of those important sacrifices all year long.

On a more cheerful side of the same token, I also wondered why we have to wait until the Christmas season to adopt a spirit of giving and a desire to spread peace on earth and goodwill to all.

While there are exceptions to the general rule, holidays have been known to bring out the best in people.

For example, people might make a little extra time in their schedule around Christmas to volunteer with an organization that helps those in need.

However, once January rolls around, some of those same volunteers become too busy to help, either by necessity or conscious choice.

Is the new year the only time we can make goals? Is Valentine’s Day the only day we can do thoughtful things for the ones we love? Is Independence Day the only day we can take pride in our country? 

Questions of this type need to be answered because those answers can impact how we live our day-to-day lives.

I know I would rather be living like I will not be around for the next holiday than just hold off celebrating until that next holiday rolls around.

To throw out a cheesy cliche: Every day is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present!

To be clear, it is great to celebrate or observe certain holidays. They are full of wonderful traditions and memories for many families, and it is great that certain days can create excitement for those who really enjoy them.

However, we need to be careful that we are not saving the most wonderful parts of ourselves for “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Every day can be special if you decide to make it special.

While you cannot duplicate the excitement of a white Christmas during the heat of the summer, some of what makes holidays the exciting events they are can actually be duplicated at other times of the year.

It just takes more of an effort.

Determine what it is you like most about certain holidays, and turn those positives into habits.

Many people associate certain habits with holiday seasons — like goal-setting with the new year, giving with the winter holiday season and patriotism with holidays like Independence Day.

However, many of those activities are not intrinsically tied to certain days.

While I wouldn’t recommend, say, making a habit of asking people for candy the way you might on Halloween, look for ways to make every day a little more festive.

Buy your girlfriend or wife some flowers or chocolate even though it’s not Valentine’s Day.

Gather family and friends for a nice dinner and give thanks even though it’s not Thanksgiving.

Thank a veteran for his or her service even though it’s not Veteran’s Day.

The number on the calendar page should not dictate whether or not you find a reason to celebrate or honor something or someone on a given day.

The fact that all of us have found ourselves breathing on this earth for another day is reason enough to celebrate.

Be looking for ways to give to and honor those around you all year long.

You can give to yourself as well by setting goals and taking part in activities you enjoy, but you might just find that the positivity you give to others ends up coming back to you.

Celebrate when those special days on the calendar arrive, but don’t forget that any day can be special if you decide to make it so.