Humbug! I’ve written before in these pages about how much I loathe Christmas. It’s not just Christmas though: with the exception of Thanksgiving, because it’s all about eating and gratitude and football, I could never stand any of the holidays. This has gradually abated over the years as I’ve started creating traditions of my own here in Los Angeles, but I still resent the feeling of obligation.

Then this year, a neighbor asked, “What’s your daughter going to be for Halloween?” That was the moment it struck me — I’m going to have to fully engage in...

Humbug! I’ve written before in these pages about how much I loathe Christmas. It’s not just Christmas though: with the exception of Thanksgiving, because it’s all about eating and gratitude and football, I could never stand any of the holidays. This has gradually abated over the years as I’ve started creating traditions of my own here in Los Angeles, but I still resent the feeling of obligation.

Then this year, a neighbor asked, “What’s your daughter going to be for Halloween?” That was the moment it struck me — I’m going to have to fully engage in the holidays now. All of them. No more hiding under the bed and letting them blow over. Turning off the lights and pretending Halloween doesn’t exist is not an option. No, I’m going to have to embrace my inner Basic Bitch because I have a kid. The thought made me shudder.

“What are your thoughts on moving to Portugal?” I asked my husband. Nothing makes me want to go full expat quite like Halloween, the dumbest of all the holidays. I’ve always hated it. Even when I was a kid it felt pathetic dressing up and going door to door, begging for candy. I feel the same way about Halloween as I do about naps: these are activities for children. Yet now I’m required to participate. And unfortunately, I don’t drink — so I can’t be one of the cool moms who takes it all in stride because their coffee tumbler is actually filled with wine.

I realize I sound like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites; a jaded, cooler-than-thou Gen X counterculture douchebag. Watching the Basic partake in their rituals of cookie-making and merrymaking made me feel the way I do as an atheist when I’m looking at churchgoers filing into their place of worship. God, I’d love to be as naive as that.

But bear with me. I’m self-aware enough to know that my snarky resistance to all things basic was masking deep-seated insecurity and longing. The knowledge that something in my life was missing. At its core was envy. These families who dared to enjoy the holidays and spread their Christmas cheer had something I wanted. Commitment. Connection. All the things that make us human. Personality disorder? Maybe. I don’t know. I just chalk it up to coming from a broken home.

My inner Basic was triggered during my pregnancy. I found myself gravitating toward Instagram, a social media platform I’ve publicly declared my disdain for on multiple podcasts. Instagram is an altar to all things basic. But up late with pregxiety, unable to sleep because the baby was either kicking too much or not enough, nothing was more relatable than that sweet, wholesome, third-trimester content. I’d watch the cutesy videos of women being unable to shave their private parts and wouldn’t feel so alone. I’d keep scrolling until I inevitably hit a reel with the viral cover Louis III did of the song “You’re a New Soul” dubbed over some video of a newborn baby meeting their mother for the first time — and I would bawl my eyes out. Ugh. Emotions. So basic.

Then the nugget of joy came along and now all I want to do is take her to apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Wait in line to ride the ponies. Go to petting zoos. Take family pictures on a bale of hay. Go see the Christmas lights at the Grove. I want to see her face light up when we light up the tree. I’m saving cookie recipes to make with her.

She’s so filled with joy and wonder and curiosity and I’m reminded I once viewed the world that way too. It has reignited in me something precious that I thought was lost. Maybe it was lost and maybe she found it.

Before my daughter came along, my husband and I would gladly sit on the couch and eat pizza for Christmas, without a decoration in sight, watching our favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard. We’d roll our eyes at our parents and friends saying, “Someday when you have kids you’ll understand.” No, even if we had kids, we’d never become basic. We were the cool ones in our misanthropic isolation.

Then we were blessed with a beautiful daughter and a steaming heap of humble pie. Fresh out of the oven. We deserve every “I told ya so” that we get.

Normal is nice. Basic is beautiful. And besides, between plummeting birth rates and climate anxiety, having babies is the new counterculture. I won’t be one of those losers who swears off bringing kids into the world. Hey, now that religion has fallen out of favor, I might even give that a whirl too.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s December 2022 World edition.