This is the United States of America, right? I didn’t wake up in some kind of bizarro-world where everyone works together for the good of all, did I? Our life’s visual comparison metaphor isn’t one big, teamwork-drenched sandbag line, is it? This is ‘Merica, after all…land of the free, where we’re free to work as hard as we want to or skirt the rules as much as possible in order to crush the competition and make as much money and enjoy as much success as is humanely possible.
Assuming that’s the case, it’s always amazed me, in our free-market, capitalism-on-steroids-driven society...the intensity of the debate that ensues when someone suggests that it might be better if we weren’t so married to specific dates to celebrate major holidays year after year. Maybe, the argument goes, it would benefit far more people than it would hurt if, every year, we moved the big holidays closer to the nearest weekend, in order to increase the chances that more loved ones and friends are able to get together to spread some happiness and tidings of good joy.
And, all sentimentality aside, wouldn’t being less beholden to specific holiday dates also boost our economy? Wouldn’t entrepreneurs and small business-people enjoy a greater profit? Wouldn’t corporate America be able to rake in more mountains of almighty cash? After all, people would buy more things like plane tickets, gas, food, drink, groceries and supplies at the store. They would book more hotel rooms and air-bnbs. They’d pay more Uber drivers for rides to and fro.
Yes, in addition to all of that warm and fuzzy festive family stuff, moving the big holidays so that they are celebrated closer to weekends would feed the gargantuan greed machine that is the good old U.S of A.
But, such a logic-based argument often doesn’t go over too well.
Sacrilege from a blasphemer! is the most common response, even though Jesus was not born on Dec. 25.
Move Christmas to the Friday closest to Dec. 25; it doesn’t matter if it’s a couple days before Dec. 25 or after. Just move it. Give people a long weekend to spend together. (And boost the economy.)
Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year. Won’t that be a treat? Sure, the haves will probably just take the whole week off, or maybe Dec. 23-24 or Dec. 26-27 to give them a nice, fat five-day weekend on whatever side of the big birthday they choose. But the have-nots will be lucky if they’re able to get together with anyone at any time that week. How many families do you think are making plans to move their official Christmas celebration to the weekend before or after? Tons. And how productive do you think the American workforce is going to be with the granddaddy of all holidays, Christmas, falling on hump day?
But, in a development that can only be described as a Christmas miracle, the wise, sage folks who crafted our 12-month calendar long ago and try to keep it in line with the Earth spinning on its axis and rotating around the sun conjured up something known as the “leap year,” and in 2020, our calendar will be kept in synch with the cosmos simply by adding a day that comes only once every four years, February 29th.
As a result, the 2020 holiday calendar is nothing short of glorious. Whether you sell trees that people put up in their homes for a few weeks in December, things that explode in the sky in early July, or merchandise like miniature candy bars, costumes, greeting cards, flowers, boxes of chocolates and jewelry...you should all be dancing in the streets.
Check out this 2020 holiday rundown, which is peachy enough to put a wide grin on the face of even the biggest grinch:
• Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, falls on a Friday: Romantic dinner, drinks, maybe some dancing…can you say “baby boom” right around Thanksgiving?
• March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, falls on a Tuesday: OK, so this doesn’t fit the narrative of this column, since Tuesdays are the absolute worst. Just suck it up and go to the Irishman’s Shanty for a little while and give the Greggs some of your hard-earned cash.
• July 4, Independence Day, falls on a Saturday: BOOM! Just make sure you put down your Bud Light before you try to light that M80 artillery shell.
• Oct. 31, Halloween, falls on a Saturday. Think of the children, people. Did you read about how many parents let their tired kids with their over-sugared brains and chocolate-stuffed stomachs stay home from school on Friday, the day after Halloween this year? It’s become an actual thing, letting your kids stay home from school the day after Halloween. It’s madness.
• Dec. 25, Christmas, falls on a Friday: Rejoice! What glad tidings!
The 2021 holiday dates will be solid, too, but then we’ll be teetering on the abyss again in 2022, in the form of a multi-year stretch of mid-week holiday observances. How much longer will we force families, loved ones, friends and the American economy to needlessly suffer before we do something?