A Child’s Holiday

Giancarlo Diotaiuti, Photographer

As a child, the most exciting days were always holidays. Whether celebrating Halloween with over-the-top costumes or slyly sneaking a valentine into your crush’s box on Valentine’s Day, holidays were always cause for an extra bit of fun in our childhood eyes. Unfortunately, some of these memories have faded from our minds. So let’s rewind the clock and remember what it was like to celebrate holidays as a child.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day was always incredibly nerve-racking as a kid. Not only because you have to give out a bunch of goodies to all the kids in your class, but you need to make sure that that one special someone  knows why their valentine has an extra heart on it. A day of mixed messages, sugar rushes, and all-around bad romantic choices.

Once, I remember quite distinctly that I has the biggest crush on this girl in my class. I was no fool though; I knew it would take something special to woo her. So I created a one-of -a-kind (literally, because all the rest of my Valentine’s were cheap and store-bought) valentine for her. On Valentine’s Day as we were all going around and exchanging cards, I noticed that the card I had given her had ended up… IN THE TRASH. I was so hurt that my love was rejected so fiercely that I decided that girls just weren’t worth my time at all. Right you were, little me. Right you were.

Fourth of July

So many good memories come from the Fourth of July. I’ve always loved celebrating “America’s Birthday” because it’s full of fun parades, delicious barbecues, and just spending time with family and friends. But more than anything else, the Fourth of July is known for its fireworks. Now in high school, that means a bunch of kids are going to be looking to kiss under these fireworks. But as a child, these things with light shows hidden inside were things of wonder, often causing some an incredible amount of curiosity and amazement.

But not everyone enjoyed the fireworks. As a kid, I often gathered with several other people in my neighborhood to watch some larger-scale fireworks get lit and go off. One year, we were lighting off fireworks like normal, when all of a sudden, one of the lit fireworks got tipped over and started pointing at us. Mass panic ensued, as everyone scrambled to get out of the way of the fiery beast aimed directly at them. Well, one of my neighbors was not so lucky, and a firework shot out and – pop – hit her squarely in the knee. A few choice words were exclaimed, and many of the surrounding adults rushed to her aid. My friends and I, however, thought this situation was hilarious, nearly in tears from all our laughter. Needless to say, that woman always stayed just a little bit farther away from the fireworks the next year — and we never stopped laughing about it.

 

Halloween

By far, Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. It was full of dressing up in costumes, scaring each other, staying out late, and (of course) getting free candy. What was there not to like? Halloween (and the Halloween season) were always just such fun times, and the festivities always made for amazing memories.

In fact, one of my proudest achievements comes from Halloween. It was an idea for a costume. I was trying to think of something original to be, and I was struggling. I thought about all the other things I had been for Halloween in years past (pirate, ghost, vampire, etc.) and then it hit me: why not combine the two best ones? And so, the Vampirate was born. Part pirate, part vampire, and all a brilliant idea. Now my execution of this costume could have been better, but it was still pretty darn sweet. I’d say I got more candy that year than any other year, and I was pretty sure I knew why.

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is actually a super cool holiday, and it’s a shame it often gets overshadowed by Halloween and Christmas (and Black Friday). As we all know, Thanksgiving is a holiday intended to commemorate the anniversary of the Pilgrim’s incredible feast all those hundreds of years ago. And having an excuse to eat a lot of food seems pretty American, so that’s all well and good.

And of course we all have several days off for Thanksgiving break each year. But one year, I remember quite clearly having some sort of Thanksgiving feast in an elementary school class the day before our break started, and it was great. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie – it was all there. As we were feasting, somebody had the cool idea to say “cheers” and hit our milk cartons together like we saw in the movies (if we’re being honest, does anyone actually know why that’s a thing?). For whatever reason, our teacher got mad at us and told us not to do that anymore. But we were wild, sneaky kids who couldn’t be tamed. So rather than hitting our milk cartons together where our teacher could see them, we did it sneakily. We collectively decided to hit our cartons together under the table so our teacher wouldn’t know we were doing it. Naturally, we weren’t very good at this, and it was quite hilarious trying to reach all the way across the bottom of our tables to hit milk cartons without our teacher seeing. I couldn’t tell you exactly why we enjoyed this so much, but we did. And I guess you could say that was my first real experience in defying authority.

All in all, celebrating holidays as a kid always brought about the best times. My favorite memories from my childhood always came under Fourth of July fireworks or from the inside of a Halloween costume. Of course, having fun during holidays throughout the year still happens as a teenager, but the experience is a little bit different. As a kid, I’d say those special celebratory days were just a little bit more magical.