5 Things to Do When Everyone Else is Celebrating

The national day in Singapore is a big deal – as in, our whole apartment block and every other block around hung a flag at an even spacing from every floor of the building. Did I say big deal? It kind of felt like I was on a movie set for a something set in a North Korean parade, such was the level of patriotism.

And here’s the thing – I just didn’t get it. Australia Day to me means a BBQ, a music countdown on a radio station and a hard long look at our awful racist past that means we celebrate our national day on a historical date of an Aboriginal genocide at the hands of white people. Yay/Ugh. The Singapore national day is more along the lines of celebrating the military prowess of the country, with a big march and some parading of military vehicles and weapons and then lovely fireworks. It just felt like a blank day to me.

The similar feeling hit this weekend when the Crows played in the AFL grand final, and our city went absolutely crazy in preparation for the home team. I haven’t had much connection to AFL since I became a rugby girl. But this time, it wasn’t a blank day to me – I had found a way to join the festivities and make the best of it.

1. Get Invested

All of a sudden I had a huge interest in this AFL grand final because I was in an office sweep and my team was in the final! And even luckier for me, my team won!!! So I won a few dollars in a silly office sweep. But I tell you what, it was absolutely priceless for the amount of fun we got out of teasing eachother and decorating the office and just enjoying the atmosphere in anticipation of the big day.

For other days, other ways to get invested could be volunteering to contribute food to the party or setting your sights on the ‘best costume’ prize. A little bit of competition always makes things heightened, especially when you might not connect with the actual core of the event.

2. Be of Service

This may not be so much fun, but it’s a feel good way to get into a day by being of service to others. I found this a good way to pass family events in Singapore by dedicating a solid few hours of washing dishes and being general dog’s body around the kitchen.

3. Make an Alternate Party

It’s got pretty fashionable lately to have anti-Valentine’s Day parties. Just take that concept and apply it to whatever day you’re not celebrating. Probably a good thing to remember that alternate parties don’t always have to be hate-based anti-parties. They can also just be a fun twist on the day, like hosting the party for the day but making all the food and dresscode from a different era (70s dinner party anyone?)

4. Skip the Traffic and Staycate

For the major family holidays there’s usually a max exodus as everyone gets back to the fambam. Which creates a pretty golden opportunity for a staycation in a very empty city. Stock up days before so your house is full of great food and drink and flowers and 5 star luxuries, and then see what the city is like without all the people around. Visit attractions without the lines! Drive everywhere in 20 minutes flat! Live out your own apocalyptic fantasy in an empty street!

5. Skip Town

This option seems to be most popular with people who have obligations to celebrate the day, but just don’t personally connect with the rituals and expectations. I’ve got a few friends who just don’t like Christmas, so every third year or so, they holiday instead of celebrate. It seems like a good balance, 1 Christmas for each side of their families, and then 1 Christmas for themselves away from the fuss.

Humans feel loneliest in crowds, so if you’re anticipating a big crowded celebration and you’re not feeling the spirit of the event, I hope you can get some inspiration for making it an enjoyable time however you celebrate!

How have you spent celebrations that have made no sense to you? What got you through it, or into it?

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