This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 4-year-old daughter, who has had rain on 75 percent of her trick-or-treating days.
My daughter has had it with bad Halloween weather. This year it rained right up until trick-or-treating, wiping out all the daytime festivals and events. Last year was, of course, “The Frozening” and it sleeted all night, thanks to the critical mass of Elsa costumes. The year before that it rained and the year before that Viva was a 2-month-old blob in a pumpkin suit, sleeping in a bouncy seat. That means every Halloween she can remember has had lousy weather. And I seem to recall most of my ‘70s and ‘80s flammable vinyl smocks being covered by puffy coats. Oct. 31 just isn’t a good day to have an outdoor holiday in the Midwest.
But that’s only one problem with the American holiday calendar as it stands. You see, now we enter the final sixth of the year known as “the holiday season.” Stores have their stuff out and I’m sure Delilah is already taking morbid phone calls and spinning carols. Thanksgiving gets bulldozed over, and November, which we should spend lovingly shoving decorative gourds and dried corn into wicker horns, instead becomes 30 more days to buy BB8 shaped tree bulbs. If you count Halloween, which now starts around Sept. 15, as “The Holidays,” then a full fourth of the year can be considered “The Holidays.”
Thanksgiving and Christmas are way too close together, which makes it pricey for college kids to get home, and New Year’s is right on top of Christmas. What’s wrong with that? Well, between Christmas parties with work, friends and family, by New Year’s everyone is partied out. As overworked Americans, we barely enjoy ourselves all year, then we go to one party a night from late November until Jan. 1. It’s a huge waste. Plus, it is often snowing and terrifying on New Year’s Eve, which is the scariest night to drive even if the weather if reasonable. Between booze and blizzards, New Year’s seem to exist to thin the herd.
So, let’s spread these holidays out better and put them on dates that make more sense with the weather.
Some holidays are based on religious tradition, but, let’s face it, the dates are bogus. Christmas and Easter didn’t have dates assigned to them until the fourth century, and Easter is a “moveable feast” on a lunisolar calendar anyhow.
I’ve done a lot of thinking on the subject, and below is my new proposed Federal calendar, soon to be forced upon you by my jackbooted minions.
Each holiday will take place on the last Saturday of the month with a three-day weekend, Friday through Sunday, for everyone. That gives you a day to travel and have an “Eve” dinner, a day for the holiday, and a day to recover before you go back to work again. (It also means we’ll start slacking on Thursday at noon, so it kind of gives us a 3.5-day weekend.)
States are welcome to keep their individual holidays, such as Pulaski Day here in Illinois, except for the racist ones celebrated in the South: “Confederate Memorial Day” in South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia (honoring Treason in Defense of Slavery), Confederate Day in Texas and Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama. Oh, and Alabama has Jefferson Davis Day, as well. That’s actually three racist holidays in Alabama. Sorry, Lynrd Skynrd, your state is messed up.
January – Civil Rights Day
It maybe ought to be Human Rights Day, but given our country’s only recent end to institutionalized apartheid (and slavery isn’t too far in the rear view mirror), let’s keep it Civil. We can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Rosa Parks, Daisy Gatson Bates and other Civil Rights figures currently celebrated across the country. It also provides a day when we can discuss the current state of affairs in the country, be it race relations or marriage equality.
February – Love Day
Remember to break up with your significant other before the last Saturday in February if you don’t want to have to pay for a Love Day dinner. No sig other? Here’s a great day to send something akin to your Grandparents Day and Children’s Day cards.
March – New Years Eve/Saturnalia
As long as we’re messing with the calendar – let’s make March the beginning of the year, and celebrate the passage of time, watch Die Fledermaus and have a champagne toast the last Friday of March. This will also cut down on the blizzard conditions. Then, on Saturday, we can combine all the ethnic drinking days: St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo and Von Steuben Day, into one big drunk day. (The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, incidentally, in December.)
April – Vernalia
Celebrate the Spring! Put your Easter here, put your bunny egg thing here, put your derby hat day here. Celebrate birth and rebirth. It’s two weeks later than Easter now, so you’re more likely to have a warm and dry egg hunt, and you’ll feel better in those pastels.
May – Earth Day
We should probably make this bigger, since the earth is going to go poof in, like, 50 years. Let’s make this a combination outdoor celebration and day of service, planting trees, stabbing Asian carp and zebra mussels, and then eating them.
June – Summer Solstice
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets! School’s out forever! The living is easy! Barbecue! Boat! Enjoy the longest(ish) day of the year!
July – Patriot Day
Begin the day with a somber laying of wreaths for fallen military, then move on to a parade for current military, then a big barbecue followed by fireworks to celebrate the Founding Fathers and their heroic unwillingness to pay taxes.
August – Family Day
This is vacation month, so why not put a Mother’s Day/Father’s Day thing here, too. Don’t have a family? Maybe this is Free Comic Book Day, too.
September – Carnival
A spooky, sexy, candy-filled costume party for all ages. Just like current Halloween but a month warmer!!!
October – Thanksgiving
Count your blessing and celebrate the harvest on this Autumnal celebration.
November – Labor Day
Is it weird that I left this one in? Maybe I’m becoming a Bernie Bro, but celebrating labor and discussing wages, economic fairness and labor equality deserves a weekend. Plus I’m trying to build a boring buffer between Thanksgiving and December. Oh, and you can drink.
December – Winter Solstice
Put your Christmas in this one, and your secular winter fun and red Starbucks cups. Remember, Thanksgiving was two months earlier and New Years isn’t until March – so enjoy!
That’s my new calendar. I know I’ve upended things, but I’m really tired of my daughter having to wear a coat over her Princess gowns.
Got your own ideas? Any of these too samey? (I have to admit I hemmed and hawed about including an Arts Day or some kind of Culture Day, but I’m biased.) Leave comments below!
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