Monday Dare: Let’s do this shit

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Do it up big

I was faced with a difficult decision this morning. I could pony up $13.99 for Internet access to post this Monday Dare in a timely fashion. Or, I could use that money to buy six churros and wait until the afternoon to jack free access from my homegirl’s place of employment. Anyone who’s experienced the crispy-but-also-surprisingly-chewy goodness of a churro would agree that I made the right choice. This is also why I haven’t answered last week’s comments yet. Tomorrow, y’all. My value-seeking ways really fuck up my life sometimes. 

As a kid, I noticed a trend among the other Korean immigrant families at church. No one Did It Up Big for holidays or birthdays. No ice cream cakes. No snowflake-shaped string of lights. No Candied Sugar Plum candles from Bath & Body Works flickering in the entranceway. Most disturbing was the lack of presents. Some people believe that the real joy of any special occasion is the company of loved ones and an abundance of laughter. You must be kidding. I would take an elaborately wrapped Memory Foam bath mat over my Uncle James’s jokes any goddamn day. How do a few chuckles compare to the pleasure of a mat that provides almost an inch of cushion against a cold bathroom floor while simultaneously wicking the moisture from my feet?

The family across the street Did It Up Big. They had a colorful flag for every special occasion. And not just the Big ‘Uns like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Every April 23rd, you better believe the custom-made “Celebrating ___Years of Love” flag with the delicate fringe around the edge would come out. I admired Mrs. Cameron’s forethought. Instead of ordering a new flag every year, her special creation sported velcro strips, allowing her to swap out just the numbers.

Everyone in the neighborhood looked forward to the Camerons’ Fourth of July barbecue bonanza. The invitation beckoned: “Show your spirit! Don red, white, and blue!” One year, I tried to convince my parents that all anyone really needed to throw these shindigs was a 12-piece patio set from Wal-Mart and a yellow water-resistant boombox. They insisted there was a lot more to it. I voiced my suspicions that perhaps my parents were really just being cheap and lazy. Important Lesson: Lobbing insults is NOT the best way to get what you want. Actually, maybe the Important Lesson here is not to be cheap and lazy.

It’s probably because the Universe has a twisted sense of humor, but I’m now guilty of the same offense: I am lazy about celebrations. I let holidays and other special occasions pass by with little fanfare. And Cal, just like her ma back in the day, thinks it’s bullshit. Well, she’s never actually said those exact words, but I assume that’s what’s going through her mind when she points to the seasonal decorations at the grocery store and gives me a sideways glance.

I got two days. Watch out, Wednesday. We’re going to celebrate the fuck out of the Fourth of July.

Do you make a big to-do about holidays and special occasions? What are you doing for the 4th?

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  • Amanda

    My favorite holiday is Christmas and I start decorating and dreaming about the big celebration and planning the menu the day after Thanksgiving!  The other holidays though?  Not so much.  I even forgot father’s day once. Oops!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Dannnnng. I feel pretty smug if I remember to pick up the HoneyBaked Ham a few days before Christmas Eve to beat the rush. 

      You are clearly just better than me. ;)

  • Sarah

    Sadly since I’ve been married we have not. Well, my husband and I. I suspect that if we had kids this would be way different but when it’s just the two of us it tends to be just a normal day.

    Don’t get me wrong. I want to do it up big but it takes a lot of work and I’m a) putting my energy into a lot of other things and b) lazy. It also doesn’t help that my husband and I are okay with not really doing anything.

    Maybe we’re Korean? ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LMAO. Told you we’re sisters.

      I totally get this though. I kind of feel this way about cooking for just myself. Yes, I could do it, and I’m sure it would be a lot healthier than the bacon cheeseburger I get from a fast food joint, but I feel like “Why bother” when there’s not kid around. 

  • leanne koh

    no big celebrations at my house. then all of a sudden my mom started asking why we weren’t acknowledging mothers day or her birthday. i told her it was because we never did it before. she said that we were older and we should have known. parents…

    if you want it acknowledged, you better do it big now so Cai knows to do it all the time, for every occasion. i learned the hard way. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh man….we never really did it up for my mom’s birthday either and then all of a sudden she wanted this huge shindig for her last birthday. which she told us about, like, 3 weeks beforehand. We managed to pull it off (sort of), so I’m glad she was satisfied. =)

      I’ll make sure to demand something big starting this year. ;)

  • Jankwon

    Asians don’t do it bih. We don’t fuss over holidays or b
    irthdays. I never had a party and neither do my kids. I just buy them stuff and take them out to dinner.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      A present + a meal = GOLD. 

      Sometimes I got the meal, sometimes I got the presents, but my parents were pretty lax about doing both….in the same year.

  • neal call

    I’m going to have my family watch Saving Private Ryan and explain that that’s what the American war for independence was like, but in a different country, with different weapons, and something about tea. Also, my two-year old might need therapy afterwards.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      The important thing is that you tried to explain the significance of the holiday. And as parents, that’s really the most that can be asked of us. Well, that’s what I plan to say anyway when my own kid starts therapy.

  • Kathy W

    We Do It Up Big.  Whether it’s just family or others join us, I plan and execute a fabulous meal and beautiful table setting.  Since we quit drinking, we miss the element of suspense as to who will ruin the holiday, but we find other ways to amuse ourselves.  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      When we’re all sober at a family gathering, I secretly amuse myself by seeing who is going to be the first one to say something totally awkward because we *feel* so awkward being so sober. 

  • Alison

    We don’t celebrate anything around here.

    My husband doesn’t even know when any of our birthdays are. Heck, he can’t even remember his own.

    Fortunately, that means I get ice cream and chocolate year round.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Presents too? I would totally just buy shit for myself all year long and claim I didn’t know the my exact birthdate either. 

  • Kinsa

    When I was a nanny we celebrated every single holiday like it was the biggest deal. But on my own I don’t do anything big. I’m overseas so the only holidays we have in common with the US are Easter, Christmas, & New Years. I just go with my friends to visit their families. I’m thinking of adopting a kid & already shuddering at how much holidays can cost, but I’ll suck it up for the kid. It’s just a one-time expense for most of the decorations.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Good luck with the adoption! Kids make us do stupid shit and buy stupid shit…but gladly, with a smile on our face. Uh, most of the time. I mean…some of the time. Well, at least one time that I can remember looking back. 

  • CC

    Sadly, I have decorated for every holiday for years and nowmy kids expect it. My enthusiasm has dwindled as they’ve grown and I find myself procrastinating with each turn of the calendar page. Except birthdays!
    P.S. (I am a closet Christmas Grinch. I am always relieved when that season is over. And my family did Christmas-On-Steroids every year)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Major fist bumps to you for going all out even when you don’t feel like it. That takes a special kind of patience and a special kind of love for your small peeps. 

  • Misty

    Yeah, I’m pretty hit or miss about holidays.  In our family (read: hubs’) there are so many siblings that they actually split up the holidays as to who is responsible for each one to have everyone over.  We got Xmas eve.  Yes, I know, you are saying “that’s not ACTUALLY a holiday, you know,” and you are correct.  But there was an abundance of siblings, so they created a holiday event.  Whatever, we inherited it once another sibling declined further contact with the family (an ENTIRELY long and another story, that sibling is).  And it’s the best one!!  Everyone comes over after church.  We feed them, give them booze, then they are out by 8:00 to go home and get ready for the next day.  Then we get to relax (well, as much as you can with small kids!) on xmas day without any responsibilities, because another sibling got THAT day!

    Wait, did I have a point?  There was a point somewhere . . . Oh yeah!  So, holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving and such are always at other people’s houses, so I don’t have to do anything, including decorating and such.  I am decorated to the HILT for xmas, because everyone is over for that, but the others are just not that important.  We have a pool so most of the summer holidays (memorial day/4th of July/Labor Day) just happen to be at our house, but we don’t actually DO anything for those.  People just come over and swim and use the grill.

    This comment totally got away from me.  Sorry it’s a book.  Have a fun 4th!  Don’t blow off any fingers or anything.  ;)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Mommy minds think alike. I’ve been telling everyone I know “Stay away from firecrackers. Those motherfuckers will blow your goddamn fingers off.”

      Man, I wish I had a larger family so I could dole out holidays like that. I would assign myself Leap Year. I guess that’s not technically a holiday either, but I’m the assigner and goddamnit, I say it’s a holiday and it’s mine.

  • Johi

    I try to celebrate the holidays here with decorations and shiz, but this year the fourth just passed me by. Maybe it’s because my head is up my bum, or maybe it’s because all of colorado is on fire, but this year the fourth is going to be low key. You have inspired me to go to Target and buy some flags and corn on the cob.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      There are certainly enough fire works going on in CO without the added hoopla. I hope you and your family are safe and away from any danger. xoxo

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    Churros are revolting!

    And we don’t celebrate much.  My mom was a celebrator, with decorations and such.  I’m too lazy.  My husband is opposed – a holiday is like any other day to him.  But I try to pull out a few decorations here and there for my girl…

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. But I still like you. ;)

  • Jaclyn Flores

    I think you picked a good holiday to start with because you won’t be bogged down with all the present-buying bullshit you might need to do for some other holidays. BBQ, some sort of sprinkler system/water fun and red, white and blue snacks. That is all you need! I made cake pops. They are super easy. Make a cake from a box and smash it up, then blend in some frosting from a can. Roll the cakemush into balls. Melt a little chocolate to put on the lollipop stick so they stay on, freeze for a hour or two so they are easier to work with, then dunk them in melted chocolate (white chocolate looks really good too) and red, white and blue sprinkles. DONE. They look so fucking fancy, I can barely stand it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      OMG, I’ve always wondered how those cake pops got into a circular shape. You just solved one of life’s big mysteries for me!

      Hope you had a fab 4th.

  • Alice C.

    Churros revolting?  [[[[Blabbergasted at the sentiment]]]]  My parents never celebrated any holiday, not even Christmas, much less our birthdays.  Now that the are older, they’ve gotten really sentimental, dragging out a seven foot tall plastic tree from the garage, pre-lit and ornaments intact every December 15.  The thing is usually up till February.  So hilarious, yet oddly touching.  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      My mom goes nuts during Christmas now. Which is odd because she has no small children underfoot who would really appreciate that shit like my brother and I would have 20 years. Thanks, ma, FOR NOTHING. Just kidding. Well, maybe just a little serious. 

      Churros are tasty. 

  • newfoundjoye

    I love doing up other people’s birthdays. There is nothing like surprising other people and seeing their faces light up like fireworks (oh snap! tying this together with Independence Day). However, holidays are the real deal. Not all holidays though. I mean, Valentine’s Day is a good one—sweets galore! St. Patrick’s Day? I’m not Irish, but I do pull out some green. Easter? Of course, what a wonderful day for Christians like myself. Otherwise, you have a bunch of egg laying rabbits that have hidden their baby chicks all over the place, and you still have a good time. Mayday? Huge in European countries. Memorial/Veterans Day is a time to give back and be patriotic. Independence Day? Patriotic like no other. You’ll never see that much red, white, and blue…unless you live in France, or Great Britain, or those other countries that have red, white and blue flags (but we have stars!). Halloween? Need you even ask? Dressing up + candy = winning. Thanksgiving? The best day to eat ever. Christmas? Jesus + family + decorations + eating = awesome sauce. Shoot, I even start celebrating those random days…pancake day, pi day, doughnut day, geek day…I treat every day like bacon day. 

    All that being said, I have no plans for this 4th of July. Probably because it is inconveniently occurring on a Wednesday. But make sure you spiral cut your hotdogs at your cookout! They look awesome that way (and taste better, some people say). You can also spiral cut some potatoes. Oh, and have grilled corn on the cob!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      DAMN. You got your holidays down to a science. LOVE IT. I just copied and pasted your comment into my online notepad for future reference. You just distilled everything down for me and I can’t even tell you how much it makes me smile. 

      Spiral cut hot dogs….once you do it, you can never go back. Cuz I’m all fancy and shit now.

  • Bea

    When I was younger we used to do it up big on the birthdays, my mother even went to the task of making sure our birthday cake decorations even coordinated with what we wore on our special day. 4th Birthday yellow frilly dress, yellow frilly cake frosting all over my cake. As I got older, I just wanted to go out to dinner and or shop. Now we are back to celebrating with parties at home, booze and adults need I say more.

    Holidays we did it up big with the home made food, nothing out of a can. Which is why last year at Thanksgiving I felt insulted that my future mother in law would say we should get cranberry sauce from a can. I was like “Bitch… I don’t think so… I’ll just make it!” My fiance told her I don’t do canned anything during the holidays, because well I want those celebrating with me to know that I care and put in the time and effort to cook a meal that not only tastes great but will give you the “iTis” later. (<– Cause I love you, I want to put you in a food coma)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Homemade everything? I am insanely jealous of your skill and I bow to you for your dedication and effort and non-laziness. 

      I hope everyone gave you a round of fist bumps. That is some serious hardcore shit, yo.

  • Mrs. One Day

    If I had the funds I would be one of those people that decorates and has parties for everything. Goat Owner’s Day? Let’s par-tay! I love a good celebration, but it can get pricey to Do It Up Big, so my holiday creativity is stifled for now, but dammit one day… Hmm… I smell a blog idea. Oh yes, I have something good brewing in my mind for a post now! Thanks, Liz :) <3

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Excellent! I’m always happy to get a blog idea because I’m always hurtin for one. 

      I try to pick up decorations the day after a holiday, but even when I manage to get some for 50% off or something like that, I can’t be bothered to put them up the next year. 

  • Jennifer Clark

    I do holidays subtly.  At Halloween/Thanksgiving, there will be pumpkins and gourds about. The good linen and china on the table for the feast. Easter, some pastel flowers and perhaps a bunny or two. For this year’s Fourth, since we are having a big BBQ, I planted red, white and blue flowers in hanging baskets. Now, at Christmas, I break out the big guns. My m-i-l LOVES holiday décor, and has given me all kinds of Xmas shit to scatter all over the house. After we take down the tree and put away all the stuff, the house looks so bare….

    Good for you to step up and give Cal a nice holiday experience!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ah, I go through PCL (post Christmas letdown) any year I decide to break out more than 2 candles and a box of candy canes to scatter around the coffee table. Yes, that’s pretty much the extent of my holiday shit some years. You MIL would be so ashamed of me. 

      Can’t wait to see what you bust of for the girls’ birthday! I am so excited, I can’t even contain it. 

      • Missus Clark

         Don’t get too excited. I’m all birthday’d out. I swear the next person to offer me cake will be kicked in the shins!

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Damn. WIsh I had remembered to test this out. ;)

  • Jen

    I go batshit crazy over the random holidays like St. Patrick’s and Halloween and pretty much gloss over the major one’s like Christmas and Easter.  I do, however, celebrate the short people’s birthday three times a year.  Once, on the actual birthday, once on their due date (three months after their premature birth), and once on their half-birthday, just to remind us all how damned lucky they are to be alive.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Fuck. I wanna come live in your house. Can I have three birthdays too? I was only born 2 weeks early, but that’s still something, right? Or…no? 

  • Andi

    I’m completely bipolar about holidays.  Some years, I drag out the sparklers and invite people over and do it up BIG.  Other years, I kinda let the whole thing pass.  Which reminds me of my childhood, as my mother was also bipolar about holidays and it gave me a deeply ambiguous reaction to all forms of celebration.

    I try not to let birthdays and Christmas go by without at least a little fanfare and plenty of gifts.  Everything else is kind of like a mood ring….you can tell how I’m feeling by the state of our decorations, plans and menus.  I wish I was a better person about it, but I’m kinda looking forward to the kids moving out so I can stop pretending I give a shit about things like Valentine’s Day and 4th of July.  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LMFAO. You know what…I think you just distilled this whole thing down into one simple sentence. If I’m being honest, I guess I really DON’T give a shit about these things. I’m doing for Cal’s sake so she doesn’t feel like she missed out like I did as a kid. But maybe it won’t matter because she won’t give a shit when she’s older too. 

  • Ann

    When i was a kid we did it up big for most of the holidays.  I especially enjoyed Easter, where we would tear around the yard in our best clothes, crawling under bushes, and climbing trees in an effort to find plastic eggs containing yummy chocolate treats.  Then, while still under a chocolate induced sugar and caffine high, we would have dinner and a big cake.  I never did understand why we were in all the fancy clothes since we didn’t go to church, but that’s what made it so fun.

    Now, the only holiday that I go big on is Halloween.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I LOVED the easter egg hunts our church put on every year. However, after a particularly hot Texas Easter one year, our church started putting coins in the eggs instead of candy/chocolates. It just wasn’t the same.

  • Makaila

    Ugh, I wish I did it big.  Every year it’s on my “to-do” list.  But then “effort” comes into play, and I just don’t have much of that.  

    Light a sparkler for me!!  

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      My laziness and desire to watch a marathon of Hardcore Pawn always win out over effort. Sorry, family. 

  • lisa from insignificant @ best

    I pretty much only decorate for Halloween and Christmas and Halloween is half-assed at best.  There’s a set of eyeball lights that play “It always feels like sombody’s watching meeeeee!” when people walk past and a couple bails of hay and pumpkins that look like a 2 year old carved them, but really it’s me.  Blah.  I HATE carving pumpkins.  I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler and then cut along that line with scissors…so me and pumpkin carving is nothing short of a debacle.  However, I can cook the shit outta some pumpkin seeds.  YUM!
    As for Christmas, I’m a little lazy to get started cuz frankly, I’m lazy.  However once my husband bitches at me enough and my kid whines enough I decorate the house pretty festively.  I do love the music and the lights and such…which all lead to presents (hells yeah!).

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      So many you can give me some tips….I have tried out this pumpkin carving thing for the past two years. Within days, the inside of the pumpkin gets moldy. Sorry for the grossness. How do you prevent that. 

      • lisa from insignificant @ best

         LOL  The only advice I can give you is to carve your pumpkins no more than 2 to 3 days before Halloween.  Sounds like you might be carving too early.  I normally carve the day before because I’m on top of things like that, so I never have that problem until after thanksgiving is over.  Otherwise, I’m not sure if your keeping the pumpkins in your house after craving, but if you are I’m sure that’s part of the issue.  You’ll want to keep them outside in the cooler whether so they’ll last longer.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Ah, clearly I have been doing EVERYTHING wrong. I usually keep them inside because I like to admire my ugly handiwork. And we do it way before, cuz I try to get the most bang for my buck. Which clearly does not work out. Thanks for the tips.

  • Tanya Doyle

    Growing up, we were allowed to have parties every 5 years.  Which meant, 5 and 10 years old (bc by the time we were 15, we realized how pitiful our lives were and wanted to share that with no one).  In a perfect knee jerk reaction, I now spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort making over the top parties for my boys.  

    But they only get them every other year, in homage to my broke upbringing.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Every other year is still pretty sweet. ;) Especially if they requiring that much planning and effort and love. Good goin, mama. 

  • Renee Pepmiller

    My family has always been pretty vocal/visual about holidays. We like the sparkle and shine and big christmas trees with tinsel.  Birthday parties growing up were the. bomb.  We had decorations and home made cake and streamers. 
    I think i’ve kept the spirit of that celebration, but i don’t go so much for the stuff anymore. 

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oooo, girl, you got homemade cakes for your berfdays? That’s dope. I once forgot to order a cake for my cake until 2 hours before the party. Parenting at its best. 

  • Rollerscrapper

    We only really celebrate halloween, because who wouldn’t love a holiday where you can dress up and get free candy? I too love churros and agree that 13.99 is better spent on churros, than on internet…although those suckers are expensive…$4 at sea world yesterday…and no I didn’t get one

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I just can’t help buying one when I’m at an amusement park or a fair. Even if they are highway robbery. I can, however, refrain from buying one if it’s from a street cart. I should rationally know that they are not less better, but I dunno. 

      I’ve been dressing Cal up since she was 10 months old and taking her around for the free candy. I know, I am such a great mom. ;)

  • LessThanKate

    Love this. My parents “do it up big” – but mostly only for Halloween. And they only used to. They don’t do it now that my brother and I aren’t home to put up and take down the decorations. But I did enjoy it. I hope you did it up HUGE for ‘merica and had a great holiday. I went to my cousin who barely knows me graduation party and caught fireflies with my niece. We didn’t do it up big, but I must say those little moments of watching my niece giggle as I showed her another firefly or listen to her repeatedly say “That was a double firework!” whenever more than one firework went off at the same time was really pretty great. Much love.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Sometimes, spending it with the little dudes and dudettes at a party is the way to go. I always find that there’s no bullshit and they are just genuinely fun to be around because they’re…genuine.

      BOOM. I hadn’t even though about asking Cal for help in putting up or taking down decorations. LOVE FREE LABOR.

  • Noa Gavin

    I do the SHIT out of Adrian’s birthday. That motherfucker has raced cars at Texas Motor Speedway, gotten a costume surprise party (more difficult to pull of than it seems at first), taken flying lessons, and this year, he’s jumping out of a plane. 

    The rest of my family can eat a bag of dicks for their birthdays, but Adrian? He gets the most awesomeness allowable.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Don’t tell Harv any of this. Promise me. He got a card this year. That should tide him over till Christmas. When he gets another card.