Rethinking Ritual: How I Learned to Find Meaning in Holidays Without Excessive Consumption

“New Year’s Eve? Is this what we have to celebrate? ”

My boyfriend blurted out subconsciously. He raised his head and noticed my slight frown. As if he caught my fleeting unhappiness, he quickly added. “Then it’s up to you how you want to live.”

I am a person who pursues a sense of ritual very much. For me, in daily life, people will be covered with a layer of dust without realizing it, and they will lose their perception of the passage of time. Festivals are like the embellishment of stars. , only when we look back on the past can we feel the brilliance. If there are no festive decorations throughout the year, looking back, it will always feel like the year has been wasted.

In addition to being engaged in planning-related work, I am committed to planning every festival like a plan. I wish I could write a PPT for each festival, carefully planning which restaurant to go to, what dishes to order, and even special festivals involving clothing. What style of clothes and makeup.

For my birthday, I would not only book a restaurant with a good atmosphere in advance, but I would even ask my boyfriend to order a cake from a certain brand, just because the delivery person of this cake would be wearing a doll costume and singing and dancing.

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries follow, as well as New Year’s Eve, Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and even Children’s Day.

Secondly, as for the arrangements after the meal, the exchange of gifts is always indispensable. If you go home right after eating, you will not have enough fun and you will have to find some entertainment.

Finally, you have to purchase some decorations or clothing for the festival to add to the festive atmosphere.

My meticulousness also worked well. Every time I posted it on social networking sites, I received a lot of likes and compliments.

“New Year’s Eve is coming soon, don’t you have any ideas?” I asked my boyfriend again.

He stopped playing the game and looked at me blankly, his eyes evasive.

Seeing him like this, I frowned and said, “Forget it, let me think about it.”

He was relieved and returned to the territory of his game, continuing to crackle on the keyboard.

My boyfriend doesn’t like rituals very much, and he never has any constructive opinions, but the advantage is that he is “obedient” and cooperates with me to celebrate festival after festival.

The ball was kicked back into my arms. How will I spend New Year’s Eve?

Looking back on most festivals, I always start planning about half a month in advance. With more than a dozen festivals a year, my ideas have long been squeezed out. To be honest, I feel a little tired.

Thinking back to past festivals, last year’s Valentine’s Day, KTV prices soared on such a day, and it cost several hundred yuan more than usual to book a room; I went to an amusement park on Halloween, and I queued for two hours and still didn’t get to play the first one. Project; the retro sticker photos taken on my birthday were stuck in a book after taking them and were never taken out to look at again; at Christmas, I followed the guidance of the social networking site “Exceeding Film” to go to the landmark and took a lot of effort to take a set of photos. Then it took half an hour to refine it; a leather card holder sold online for more than ten yuan, and offline DIY by two people cost more than two hundred yuan.

Let’s talk about gifts. I recalled the last time I received a gift. After get off work, I rushed to the restaurant dressed in travel dust. There was a plastic square bench spread out at the door, filled with waiting diners. When will the line come back? Nowhere in sight. My boyfriend has already arrived. He raised the express box at his feet and said “Your gift is here” with excitement and mystery.

My expression flickered for a moment, and I couldn’t help but mutter in my heart, he is really a straight man, he doesn’t even have a package.

Opening the express box, there was a pair of high heels inside. The off-white lambskin was shiny, with a black satin bow on the upper and a diamond embedded in the middle. Looking at this pair of shoes, the smile on my face couldn’t help but solidify. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the shoes, it’s just that I tend to dress neutrally and casually. This pair of shoes doesn’t match my style, and it’s not what I like.

But thinking about what my best friend once said, receiving a gift must not dampen the other person’s enthusiasm.

“How’s it going? It took me three days to choose them!” I quickly put a smile on my face and praised the shoes again and again for the quality of the material and the comfortable foundation.

After that day, I secretly searched for information about this pair of shoes on a shopping website, and found that this pair of shoes, which were too elegant for me and useless, actually cost four figures, which made me even more heartbroken.

In addition, I also received two OL-style bags, a string of fine glitter necklaces, and a cashmere coat that looks expensive at first glance but cannot be worn for two days a year where I live. They are incomparable. Lying gloomily in the corner of the house.

Then I looked at the watch I carefully selected as a gift to my boyfriend last year. After wearing it twice, it had been kept in a drawer. I realized that he had no habit of wearing a watch at all.

But the moment we received the gifts, we put on our prepared smiles and said in a somewhat exaggerated tone, “Wow – thank you, baby!” and in a tacit understanding, we never asked about the whereabouts of those gifts again.

I realized that by celebrating the holidays just for the sake of celebrating them, I forced myself to find programs and give gifts. In the end, all the money went into the pockets of the merchants, and I only kept some items that I didn’t like and were not practical. Not only did they cost money, but they also took up space. , you have to worry about storing them, and moving next year will be another huge project.

At the same time, I learned that there is a term called “holiday anxiety”. On the one hand, it is caused by social or economic pressure. On the other hand, the bustling scenes of the festival, coupled with the boost of social media, make people feel uncomfortable. When I do something, I feel like I am alone, and I feel psychologically out of place. Therefore, even if it takes time and effort, you must create a positive and lively persona.It was only when the glitz was gone and I was alone in a room that I realized that I had just been brainwashed by consumerism and Internet personas.

It reminds me of my parents, who have been married for decades and still have a good relationship. Their only way to celebrate the holidays is to “eat a good meal.” The “good” ones here are not the delicacies from the mountains and seas, such as abalone, ginseng, fins and belly, nor are they any internet celebrity restaurants. Most of them are farmhouses in the mountains, where they eat reservoir fish, free-range chicken and the like.

So this year, I announced to my boyfriend that there will be several changes during this year’s holiday:

First, do not give each other gifts. If you want to receive something, you can directly express it to the other party;

Second, take a group photo at a fixed angle every year during the festival and mark the date to maintain a sense of ritual at the minimum cost, and you can look back at it in the future;

Third, do not spend extra money to purchase decorations and clothing, use the decorations from the previous year or DIY them by hand;

Fourth, change your identity and turn a festival of consumption into a festival of making money.

As soon as this proposal came out, my boyfriend changed his previous lack of interest in the festival and immediately expressed his praise. He also admitted that he had been thinking about what gifts to give. He also said that he could draw and it would be the Year of the Dragon soon. He could do it. Undertake some work of painting customized avatars.

I was also inspired and said that since the Year of the Dragon is here, didn’t we buy small hand-woven lanterns on the roadside in the Year of the Rabbit? This year we will also purchase some lanterns from the Year of the Dragon to set up a stall!

My boyfriend kept saying yes, saying that it was much more fun, and since they couldn’t be sold out, they could just give them to relatives and friends. It was almost the Spring Festival anyway. On Valentine’s Day, we can also sell roses.

This feeling of working side by side and planning together made us talk to each other. In the excitement, we discussed the plan for this year’s New Year’s Eve – cook together, he will cook, and I will wash the dishes; Order milk tea and watch online New Year’s Eve programs together; at twelve o’clock, video chat with friends to count down, take photos, and record New Year’s wish vlogs.

To this day, I have learned that it is not ritual that traps us. Rather, it is a pair of invisible invisible hands that guide you on how to celebrate the festival in order to gain a sense of ritual.

I still enjoy the holidays, but I already have new ideas about how to spend them.

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