I just came back from visiting my mom on Mother’s Day. So yes, I would like to think of myself as a good son However, I have also visited her 10 times this year. I did not need Mother’s Day to bring me to her.
Hallmark Corporation must really love Congress. I wonder if they were our original lobbyist? The companies that do well on most holidays are the crappy gift makers and the cheesy holiday card producers.
I am going to round out the necessary holidays we should keep to the big five. The rest should either be privately observed or discarded completely. The ones that make the list are the ones that are observed by the government.
Let’s first start with the holidays we should keep:
- New Years Day: This is an internationally observed holiday and it does have a religious significance in most of the world. For the rest of us, it marks a day to renew our goals and reflect on the year that has passed. We often do not have time to think of these broader goals, so I would keep this one.
- Memorial Day: Our soldiers have fought valiantly for our freedom. They have made the ultimate sacrifice that most of us never would do voluntarily. These heroes deserve a day of commemoration and the families need our support and thankfulness for their former loved ones. God Bless America.
- July 4th: This has to be the holiday that is the most exciting of the ones we have. Who does not like celebrating a birthday – especially our nation’s birthday! The fireworks, barbecues, beer, beach and Nathan’s hotdog eating contest makes the cut to qualify saving this gem.
- Thanksgiving Day: This is a day that is about family and appreciation. What a combo! Add in the great food, the NFL from noon until you can’t stay up any longer, and the shopping deals makes this a quintessential American holiday.
- Christmas: This has been a deeply religious holiday for Christians in America and dates back to our country’s founding. Although this holiday takes preference over all other religious holidays in the U.S., I believe that all things considered it has become a tradition for gift giving and a time to go on vacation with the family during the winter. This one is never going away in the USA so we need to keep it.
Now here I go with the holidays that must go to the scrap heap. Sorry in advance if I offend some people but I am trying to keep it real (remember all you thin-skinned folks out there, this is satire you know):
- Martin Luther King’s Day: Wow! Just my luck. I am starting in chronological order and the ‘Big Wheel’ of holidays stops on this one? Ok, I will take it head on. There is no doubt about the significance of Martin Luther King. He was not only a great American, but an inspiration to us all. We are so much better off for a courageous man like him to have graced our planet. However, I do not believe in commemorating individual people as a public holiday. There are far too many that we would have to exclude, namely FDR, JFK, Lincoln (we no longer really observe Lincoln’s birthday), Gandhi, Churchill, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Menachim Begin (the last one being a joke!).
- Valentine’s Day: This, the cruelest of our holidays, deserves the firing squad. Which insensitive, ego-centric, money sucking sap created this awkward celebration? Where do I even begin? There are millions of women who are not in a relationship that feel sad on this day. The men are forced to buy an overpriced chocolate strawberry or teddy bear to profess their love! Both couples have to be ready for sex that day, even though they might have other things on their mind. You know, the NHL or an NBA game on the West Coast that you really want to see; or the ladies being online browsing male hunks instead of looking at their husband’s sagging belly all night? Hey, I thought sex was supposed to be spontaneous? This act is not supposed to go into your iPhone’s calendar for a 9:30pm scheduled appointment! Please please put this one in the paper shredder of life.
- President’s Day: I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to get up on President’s Day and reflect about the life of Hoover, Harrison, Polk and Harding – NOT! This is a holiday to give people up north in the winter a break for a three-day getaway to Aruba. “Craps eleven any seven, horn hi lo and yo.”
- Good Friday: This is not a necessary holiday to close the government down. It is a purely religious observance for one religious group and the Pandora’s box would need to be opened for all other religious observances of all denominations. The faithful should observe this holy day on their own time.
- Mother’s Day: This one really gets to me. I love my mother very much, so this has nothing to do to insensitivity. To the contrary, the opposite is true with this demarkation day for our mothers. Some of us do not have mothers. They might have abandoned us at a young age, or perhaps they recently died. Do we really need to open this kind of wound to millions of people? And why do we need a contrived day filled with overpriced flowers to show our appreciation for our moms? Some people say that it marks the day for siblings to visit their mothers, and if not for this day they would not have that important visit at all. For that I say rubbish! That is super selfish for sons and daughters (transgenders as well to be fair) not to treat their moms special on EVERY day. Be spontaneous and visit your mom as much as possible and save the spare change for something she might really want.
- Father’s Day: Let’s be honest now ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. The only reason for this ‘tacky tie-giving’ holiday is for equality amongst men. Why should females get a day and not the males? This politically correct holiday smells worse than seven-day old garbage laying in the heat.
- Labor Day: Unions were very important a century ago. So was the steamboat. However, both are now virtually obsolete. This is an excuse for this bookend holiday at the conclusion of summer to marry the other one that began the summer – Memorial Day. I am sorry folks, but I just cannot justify this holiday and a government sanctioned day off. Actually, manufacturing plants are closed and doesn’t that hurt the economy in the long run? It’s counterintuitive AND anti-labor.
- Columbus Day: This holiday is too niche for me. Christopher Columbus is not even an American! He simply stumbled on this land as a result of a long boat ride. He got lucky, don’t you think? I know the Italian Americans love him and he gives them a sense of nationalistic pride. However, this should not be a mandated day of reflection. Keep it in the history books and celebrate it as you will on your own time.
- Veteran’s Day: We already have a holiday for the fallen. Do we need one for the living? I say that we should scrap this holiday and use the money to really support our veterans who have been mistreated by our government when they came home. These bravest amongst us need jobs and medical care. Let’s stop skirting the real issues and think a parade will make up for a lost limbs and broken hearts.
You see how easy this exercise was? Now here are some additional benefits and solutions:
Think of all the economic benefits to eliminating these government holidays. When we buy gifts that we would never buy for ourselves, we should realize that these gifts are designed to be just ‘gifts for gift sake.’ I don’t know anyone that says, “Why thank you Larry for this beautiful orange scarf from the Macy’s clearance rack!” Economies work most efficiently when we allocate our limited resources to the most useful goods and services produced? Do we really need to produce millions of CVS mediocre chocolates packaged in a red-shaped heart box? Aisle nine in that store looks like a scene of desperation on the morning of Valentine’s Day when so many poor shmucks are left buying the ‘expected present’ at the last moment. Besides, why do I have to wait on a longer line at the check out counter just to get my bandages, Aspirin, and Chapstick?
Now hold on workers of America! My intent it not to rob you of time off. Rather, you should get the best and most meaningful time off! So, if there are ten paid holidays a year, for example, than every employee should get ten paid personal days instead. That is added into your “vacation bank.” The possibilities that now occur to enjoy days that are significant to you are endless. In fact, I would even go so far as implement the “rollover plans” like AT&T just did. If you only use 7 one year, you get 13 the next. How is that for fairness?
Why don’t you use these personal days for birthdays, anniversaries, non-public fun holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween, the NHL Stanley Cup finals, and the season finale of your favorite HBO show. Could you imagine the fun to be off all day preparing to celebrate “Game of Thrones?’ Who wants to come home from a hard days work, have dinner and then just jump into such a spectacle? I certainly do not. Heck, for you religious people out there, put back Good Friday and add Yom Kippur to the mix.
If we just think about things we just take for granted, we numb ourselves into a herd mentality. Don’t except the status quo on blind faith. Challenge yourself to think in a different way and hopefully you can make a difference that people will follow. We may all be better off without the last Brookstone’s novelty gift that ends up in the junk draw.