Choose Your Own Holiday, Day 4, January 4

What if you could invent your own holiday? What important thing would you like to recognize? That’s what our writing assignment asks this week.

What’s something that you love, that you care about that deserves a day of recognition, a day of celebration? The students have some important questions to answer in the course of their writing: What is the origin of your celebration? What’s the reason you’re choosing to celebrate? And: How does this celebration take place? What are the customs? How do you make this holiday come together?

We’ve talked about some of our favorite holidays to help them think about how to make up their own special day. We can look at the roots of the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, or even the Honda Days Sales Event (Happy Honda Days, everybody!!) to learn how to talk about the why of our own personal holidays. We can also look at the customs of common holidays to learn how to construct our new customs. As I was reading The Best of Me, the new anthology by David Sedaris, I was reminded that in France, at Easter time, children’s chocolate is delivered by a bell that flies in from the Vatican. Meanwhile, here in the states, a rabbit personally delivers children's Easter candies. These are both really weird stories, but they make the holidays fun. So I talk with the kids about things they can do to observe their holiday, and to make sure it’s fun.

Once we’ve got this down, their assignment is to write about it. I want a good page or two with a description of the why and the how. Once they’re done, they get to choose a date. I’ll put all of them on the calendar, and I’ll be so happy to celebrate every one of their holidays!! I’m going to say this next bit formally, and then I’m going to say it much more plainly. It’s important to celebrate together, it builds bonds, it makes memories, and it makes your culture stronger. I’ll stand by all of those words. But if you’d like to be even more direct, I’ll give you: It’s good to have fun together. It doesn’t get much more simple — or true — than that!

So sure, this is a writing project. Or maybe it’s just a Trojan Horse so we can sneak in 22 days to look forward to in the back half of the school year.

I teach kids, snuggle with cats (mine) and dogs (when I can). I eat plants, draw pictures, ride bikes, and I like to read and write. @MagicPantsJones on social.