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Holidays

Food For Thought

We generally refer to this time of year, roughly the period including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, as “the holidays.” My dictionary defines the word itself as: absence, celebration, day off, interim, pause and vacation. My thesaurus gives a mind-boggling list of well over a hundred official holidays worldwide, many of which are unknown to most people. Some of those are regional or state holidays which, I suppose, are or were, at one time, important to the people who live there, but I wonder just how many of them are still significant enough to be celebrated annually.
Do any other states besides Arizona and California have official Admission Days? (A few others have State days, possibly the same thing?) And, if so, how are they celebrated? With everybody getting a day off from work or school, or is it simply acknowledged as the day the state was admitted to the Union, with everyday life going on as usual? How does Boston observe Bunker Hill Day? And, if that battle was important enough to be in the history books, as a significant event in the history of the United States, why don’t the rest of us celebrate it? I’m totally mystified by another Boston holiday known as Evacuation Day. I shudder to think of the possible significance of that and how it is commemorated.
While our southern states seem to be big on celebrating the anniversaries of Civil War battles and birthdays of generals, the northern states appear to prefer to honor former presidents and battles of the Revolutionary War. Understandable, I guess, considering those events were relatively recent in terms of world history. I do, however, wonder how long the reverence for our own disasters deserves to be preserved.
Maybe some of these many holidays should be relegated to the list of commemorative days, such as Pickle Day and Button Day, the last of which was actually established specifically for people who collect buttons. Remember your grandmother’s button box? My grandmother’s was a sturdy old wooden cigar box filled to overflowing with buttons that had formerly adorned now-defunct shirts, dresses, winter coats, baby clothes and even men’s suits. One could sort through the collection hoping to find a perfect match to replace a missing shirt button or even a whole set for a new homemade dress or blouse.
There are a couple additional holidays I’d like to see established. One of those would be called Birthday Day and would set aside one day a year when everybody officially becomes one year older (as horses all are considered to be a year older on New Year’s Day.) This would save us all a lot of time and trouble trying to remember all those birthdays of friends, cousins, children and grandchildren and shopping for late birthday cards that are clever enough to get us forgiven for being forgetful. Birthday Day should probably be set for a day when the weather would be agreeable so people could make it to parties safely, and not close to other celebratory holidays, so no one would have to make a choice of which to celebrate. I would also recommend a Friday, so the majority of celebrants would have ample time to recover from their excesses before having to return to work. Something like the second Friday in August might be a good choice, since many people would be on vacations, anyway.
Another, and perhaps the most needed, holiday I would recommend would be called Procrastinators Day. It would be a day set aside for everyone to tend to some of the things they intend to do someday but never seem to get around to doing. It should be a day when all other required activities are canceled so there can be no excuses for not taking care of at least some of the things we have been putting off. There should be no bills due, no classes or meetings to attend, no jobs or appointments to go to. It would be a day to sort out those old snapshots and write names, dates and occasions on the backs. A chance to clean out the garage, the refrigerator, the closet or the junk drawer. It would be a time to transplant rose bushes that got too big, to prune the apple tree before it loses another limb to overloading, to varnish a chair you started to refinish last winter, or to shorten that skirt you keep rolling up at the waist. Maybe we should even have a second day, about six months later, called Senior Procrastination Day for those of us who are so far behind we aren’t likely to have the time to catch up on the things we’ve left for later.
You might spend part of your first Procrastination Day making a list of all the things you have been putting off. If the list gets too long, you could, in the true spirit of the day, move some of the items to a second list of things to be put off until the NEXT Procrastination Day.