Why Holidays Are a Nuisance…

Unless you are a government or bank employee, holidays are more of a nuisance to us lay people.

1)  You have to wait an extra day to go to the doctor, dentist, or vet (unless you want to pay the exorbitant urgent care fees and after-hour fees).

2)  Because government offices are shut down, private businesses have to wait an extra day to get permits and such, stalling production and having employees have a day with no extra money in their pocket.

3)  The day AFTER the holiday, no one wants to go to a bank or government offices such as the DMV because the lines will be long and cumbersome.  And no one wants to return to work who had the day off because the day after a holiday is non-stop insanity, trying to make up the day.  (I DID have a life BC (before children) where I worked in a bank so I do know!).

4)  The kids are out of school.  This is a huge problem for working parents who are not fortunate enough to have the day off who now have to hire a baby-sitter or pay for a day-long camp.  Plus, like it or not, all these little holidays add up to an extra week of school since most states stipulate number of days kids must be in school.  This prolongs the school year to June in some cases or causes schools to start earlier in August.

5)  The Post Office is closed.  No receiving mail.  No sending mail.

6)  It compartmentalizes causes, in effect diminishing them, by squeezing all activities and commemorations into a 24 hour time-span.  Basically, by declaring “today is the day for…”, it implies every other day is not.

And this is just the US.

It’s similar in other countries.

Take England for example.  They have holidays called “Bank Holidays”. This is now a colloquial term for all public holidays but to foreigners like me I had presumed it was for no other reason than banks wanted a holiday.  Well, don’t we all, I thought at the time.  Still, the misnomer is confusing and seems to just be days off from work.

Then there’s Spain.  The whole month of August is a virtual holiday as most family-owned businesses shut down and go on vacation.  This is bad news for those foreign students moving there in summer for the fall semester.  This means most private businesses are shut down, no one is renting apartments, etc.  Nothing gets done.  If you want food, you usually have one choice:  El Corte Ingles.  And good luck if there’s not one near you.  The city is a virtual ghost town (and small towns are even worse) and the only ones walking around are tourists (who have no where to go!).

[Disclaimer:  this is based off of when I lived in Spain 15 years ago.  I have read that the month has been shortened to 2-3 weeks because of tourists and it may not be as bad as I make it out.  However, it was bad when I arrived!].

I am in NO WAY discounting what these holidays commemorate.  Trust me, I am the first to thank the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for our freedom (both of my grandfathers and several uncles served).  And I love the Fourth of July, which celebrates our country’s independence.

What I am saying is this: despite all the altruistic reasons to celebrate these causes they often cause inconveniences and have unforeseen repercussions.

We should be grateful every day for our independence and for soldiers who fought for it.  We should remember our troops and their families every day of the year.  We should be grateful every day (and not need Thanksgiving as one day to force us to be grateful) for what God provides for us.  We should remember Christ’s birth every day and thank God for sending Jesus.  We should remember our Presidents and Martin Luther King.

Point being:  we shouldn’t need the federal government to step in and pick a random day that says, “This day we will force Americans to celebrate such-and-such”.  And then the private sector gets involved and even the most noble causes become secularized (particularly Christmas and Thanksgiving–both meant to thank God for His provision and His son and are now reasons that are set on the back-burner).

[And I’m not even going to rant about non-official “holidays” such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, etc.  That is for another post.  Suffice it to say the principle remains the same.  I, as a mother, should be appreciated every day of the year and not just one!].

On the flip side, the good thing about holidays is they do force us Americans who are crazy busy to take a break and remember (at least for one day) our blessings, those who served our country and changed it for the better, and be thankful for it.  One day is better than none.  One prayer is better than none.

So, what does this say about our society?  I’ll let you be the judge…

Personally, this Memorial Day, I will be home with the kids and dogs, hopefully playing outside if the weather is nice.  I shall have to wait until Tuesday for my dentist appointment and to call my vet about my dog (who coincidentally is having teeth problems as well).  I will pray for our current troops and take a moment to remember the fallen.

But it will be a day just like any other in my life–one I shall try to live as Jesus would: prayerfully and thankfully, purposefully and for others, shining God’s Holy Spirit to the world.  In accordance with God’s will.  Always and forever.

6 thoughts on “Why Holidays Are a Nuisance…

  1. i grew up in an era when all businesses were closed on Sundays. you knew this and planned accordingly. it was nice to give the day to the Lord.

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  2. Me also. Even though I’m retired (and everyday is a holiday!), I still enjoy holidays and love to celebrate with family.

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  3. Me, too, Keg. It was really nice growing up in a Blue Law state when our small little world closed down for the Sabbath. Most families lived close to each other and Sunday afternoons were spent at the grandparents.

    Now, I dread holidays in a different way from AtoZMom. My mother is alone across the country and even going to church is sad for her on holiday weekends. My own children live 3 and 4 hours away and both have to work holiday weekends. It can get lonely if I dwell on it. So I stay off of Facebook and the legions of family photos of barbeques and picnics.

    Today, I will spend time reading Psalms, doing laundry, and getting organized for the week ahead and be thankful I live in a country where I am free to worship God because of the men and women who gave their all to the United States of America.

    My country ’tis of thee,
    Sweet land of liberty,
    Of thee I sing;
    Land where my fathers died,
    Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
    From ev’ry mountainside,
    Let freedom ring!

    Our fathers’ God to Thee,
    Author of liberty,
    To Thee we sing.
    Long may our land be bright,
    With freedom’s holy light,
    Protect us by Thy might,
    Great God our King.

    On another note, is anyone doing studying the Psalms online with BSF this summer? I’ve seen some references to it but I’ve not been able to locate this other than some comments on Facebook. Maybe this was an informal thing to encourage us to read through the Psalms this summer using the questions listed?

    ***And I’ve often thought the same way about teacher work days sprinkled throughtout the year, AtoZMom. It seems so parent unfriendly when working parents have to scramble to find child care.***

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  4. As a retiree (33 years as a teacher in the public schools) I looked forward to the three-day holiday weekends. Yes having to get Monday’s and Tuesday’s curriculum taught on the same day was a challenge, but the extra day off was always a blessing, time to rest, time to clean house, I always told my family I could either keep a tidy house or teach well, and just catch up with the day to day, including work related paper-work. I always looked at three-days as a chance to catch my breath.

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  5. Hi Atoz…Long time :-)…

    I always read what you write just often feel I don’t have anything to add to what you’ve said so well :-).

    I do understand what you wrote about holidays and other’s as well (i.e. I also came from the generation where everything was closed on Sundays, except for 7-11’s so you could always get milk etc)..and we coped fine and did learn to plan…but I hear what you are saying about we shouldn’t need a time set aside to remember our Mom’s or Dad’s etc..and I understand the government setting the day, etc. (like Memorial Day).

    I did hear two soldiers on Memorial Day say that they don’t celebrate Memorial Day. They felt the whole “general” approach to Memorial Day (i.e. let’s have a BBQ and it’s the first day of summer) is something that they can’t participate in knowing the people who gave their lives and it’s not about a BBQ and summer…etc…so you’re not alone.

    Yet in general…I believe Sabbaths (for everyone) and Holidays (i.e. called festivals) are Biblical and needed as well…and unfortunately now most of the retail industry doesn’t celebrate any Sabbath/Festival (or whatever you want to call it) at all. Even the last two “almost everything closes down holidays” (i.e. Thanksgiving and Christmas) both kids had to go in that night. Thanksgiving my DD had to get into work at 9pm to get ready for the big Friday sales and Christmas was the same…so they don’t even get the whole day off..because they have to worry about getting some sleep so that they can work all night.

    There is something about just about everyone being OFF. I know Nurses/Doc, Firefighters/Police… still have to work but I also know we rotate holidays too. I really don’t have anything brilliant to say except that whole community time off to celebrate or remember is something that God seems to know are good things for us based on his commands to have festivals in the OT..and the celebrations that Jesus participated in as well.

    I so hear that the meaning of things is lost in so many of the holidays. Satan’s done a good job of eroding values and changing us without us even knowing it. Where standing up for something makes you out of touch or crazy or phobic or whatever. And he’s great at getting people to not think of the eventual consequences…just the now consequences. I think we’re a nation “Shocked” by so much of what we should have seen coming. Did everyone not hear that there was a national debt years ago and what?…figured we’d get out of it? It’s not rocket science.

    Anyway, as always I digressed on my soap box…but I just wanted to suggest that maybe we need those universal days of rest because God seemed to have planned it to be so since the old days. Just my two cents.

    BTW (for you Atoz) an update on things here in Chicago. My DD is now expecting child #2 and we found out yesterday that the wee one is a girl. Other than that same old, same old. 🙂

    Enjoy your babies this summer!

    Hugs,
    Nancy

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  6. I concur with all these comments:

    There is definitely something “refreshing” to my soul, my ears, my eyes on holidays. And, there are certainly people getting lost behind the scenes.

    1) I relish the much-needed, no-alarm-clock-necessary, rest. Rest is a gift; whereas, sleep deprivation, by definition, sacrifices this physical and mental health requirement.

    2) Sounds seem to be reduced on holidays. I do enjoy the sensation of quiet that pervades a holiday. I already struggle on a daily basis to quiet my mind so I can focus on priorities. With the copious distractions of the world, I’m not often successful. Silence allows our mind to meditate on one thing… at a time. Sounds clutter and distract my mind.

    3) Traffic is reduced if I do get out on the roads and stores are closed. I usually notice nature more. The leaves’ colors, the clouds, the beauty of the world God gave us. But I don’t really see these when I am hurriedly driving to an appointment. I enjoy seeing sights like flags displayed, or wreaths on doors, or smoke rising from chimneys. I imagine other folks who got to sleep in. I picure them drinking coffee in their pajamas. They will celebrate the day in their own way. This image quiets my soul.

    4) Nothing beats the mystical feel of Christmas Eve for me. Stars take center stage. Church bells often ring at midnight. Strange cars outside houses represent visiting family and friends. Homes are transformed, and showcase the celebration of their inhabitants. I love it.

    All this said, like these other comments report, there is that “mad dash” before and after a holiday that seems to be incredibly stressful, pressuring us to celebrate everything in a 24 hour period — or else! The bounty and grace and majesty of God gets lost in translation. The power and good news gets tamped down or glazed over. The honorable and valorous acts of others, almost taken for granted. The very things we are meant to be celebrating – reduced to “theme parties”.

    Also, as a person who worked for several years in industries that must “perform” on holidays, I had to brace for the holidays, knowing I’d be exhausted by them in the end. Travel and hospitality workers do not get holidays off. They are ensuring those “traveling on holiday” are taken care of. Health care workers and animal caregivers work regardless of the day or date. I have necessarily celebrated with my family/friends weeks before or after actual holidays for this reason.

    I certainly don’t begrudge others for getting time off. They need it. Unfortunately, there are consequences to the system. Added stress, long lines, back logs and other chaotic elements abound such as a shortage of goods and services or additional costs and hassles. Lack of office hours or child care means one person’s vacation becomes another person’s crisis.

    When I was young, I thought holidays were “holy days” because they seemed so special. Today, mastery of a holiday (to me) means you know what ‘s important to you enough, that you celebrate what you want, how you want with enough maturity to prepare for what you can, and play the rest by ear. Now I’d rather split a tv dinner peacefully with a cherished loved one, than resentfully lay out a full spread of recipes made from scratch for a bbq or a sit-down dinner.

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