Holy Days of Obligation

'wild horses on the beach' corolla, north carolina

Holidays of Obligation are days that Catholics are required to participate in the Mass and abstain from such work that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body.
(Canon 1247 of the Code of the Canon Law)

Christmas, New Year, Easter, are huge H of O's (others: Sundays, Ash Wednesday, the Assumption etc...might take a backseat for the less fanatical)

Contrary to the Code of the Canon Law, I find that Holidays of Obligation inhibits the due relaxation of mind and body.
This is because I define a Holiday of Obligation as a trip or vacation taken with a big family or a big group of people.
Others use terms like, oblivacation, vacation tax, the living funeral- to describe such obligated trips.

Nadine Nardi Davidson, who wrote the book "Travel with Others Without Wishing They'd Stayed Home" asked, how do you travel with your friends and stay friends?
I add, how do you travel with family and stay family?

Two things, prep work and survival skills.

To prepare for a holiday of obligation:
1. do not plan to go away with people you do not like.
2. say no.
3. send the big mouth (usually your spouse) who said yes to the trip,
without you. (sending a family rep is a way of sending a part of you,
if the spouse is uncooperative, an offspring or beloved pet will suffice)
4. in the event of serious coercion,
have emergency evacuation plan ready:
- bring, borrow, rent or steal a mode of transportation
- mapquest the nearest airport
- pack a good pair of running shoes

To survive a holiday of obligation:
1. practice the art of verbal windmilling
(to windmill is, to attack with both arms flailing)
- be ever ready for counter attacks
- be vile and outspoken
- consistently stand your ground, whether it matters to you or not
2. drink lots of vodka
3. get lots of sleep (sleep early and sleep in- blame it on the vodka)
4. have the headphones of your ipod, walkman, mp-3 player at the ready. turn it up loud when not verbally windmilling.
5. get everyone to do karaoke.
6. sit on the toilet and read, all day, bowel movement or not.
7. practice holding your breath underwater:
The ocean drowns out voices that
mimic fingernails on a chalkboard--but a swimming pool,
a bathtub or even a kitchen sink can do the same.

If one is well prepared and hones aforementioned survival skills...
the trip ends up not being too bad at all. Really. Actually enjoyable.
The debriefing journey home plus one really long blog entry cures anything that may have not have received attention during the trip.

However, if you really want to get exempted from future holidays of obligation, try the following:
1. never volunteer to prepare a meal nor clean up.
2. sulk, glare, and pout the entire time.
3. when someone is not feeling well, act like you do not care.
4. get irrationally angry, and verbally windmill at someone who will
not verbally windmill back at you.
5 .enable the irrationally angry person.
6. hog the karaoke machine.
7. brag about your life, imagined or real.
8. get very drunk, then systematically tell everybody what you really think about them. (thanks, abby)
9. exclusively use the act of vomitting to signify the end of a party (thumbs up, kar)
10.do not thank your host.

If all else fails, call someone a whore. This always works.
(hello j.e.)