Re: Holiday Celebrations, or lack of
From: lilbert (lilbertearthlink.net)
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 15:48:25 -0700 (MST)
Dearest Patty et al,

I have a few comments to make about your post. It certainly seems very
natural, the processes you describe. Around here, the holiday celebrations
that happen are the ones that the energetic people organize, as is the case
elsewhere. But after years of living together, I don't feel insecure in any
way about not celebrating holidays with my cohousers. It is a good time to
be with my family, and I had a fabulous time with my brother and his
life-partner this Christmas. My neighbors are very like the everyday china:
durable and well used, sometimes taken for granted, but loved nonetheless.
It is nice, however, to get out the good china sometimes. Leaving the fold
can be very refreshing. Coming home from vacations and family visits has
never been as good as now, living in cohousing.

I'll repeat my (seemingly, to me) hackneyed mantra here. I think it's very
important to make some duties mandatory in cohousing. Cooking on a regular
schedule is one of them, chores and committee membership are the other two.
Without mandatory cooking, it peters out to less than optimal frequency. I,
for one, never do anything I don't have to do. I'm quintessentially lazy.
But I happily do my chores when there is threat of social retribution, and
enjoy it. Some of us need structure imposed upon us!

If you have a committee dedicated to community life, you can
institutionalize the party-making chores, thereby making them recognized by
the community as valuable work, and people who like to do that sort of thing
will be rewarded for their efforts. If you don't, these events always fall
to the same people (usually women), and they feel unappreciated, then
activities dwindle. I hate to say it, but if left to volunteerism, the work
involved in parties gets done by women almost exclusively. I'd fall over in
a dead faint if I saw a man start to clean up after a potluck. Make it a
recognized chore, and at least the women who do it don't have to do other
chores on top of it.


--
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

----------

>
> Christmas was celebrated privately, for the most part.  There were some
> efforts made at the last minute to put up a tree in the common house, but
> families chose to celebrate privately at home, or with two or three other
> families on Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning was very quiet around here.
>  Several families have gone to visit relatives or find some snow for
> skiing.
>
> New Year's plans include a party in the common house with a Benefit
> Auction to support our still unbuilt community workshop.  I expect the
> turnout to be smaller than our Y2Kasino party last year, but still
> heartfelt nonetheless.

>
> An unspoken dynamic which seems to be surfacing to my awareness is that
> many of the members of our community expect things from the community,
> without contributing an effort to make it happen.  The "busy bees"  like
> myself, who take great joy in planning events, plays and parties have
> stepped back a little to rest, and so there are fewer activities that
> "magically" appear for those members who expect them to happen so
> effortlessly.  In the space created by our resting, the other members are
> learning to do some of the planning, OR some things just don't happen.
> And folks feel kind of confused by the vaccuum.

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