When Americans say, “The Holidays,” they typically mean Christmas and New Year celebrations. Or they might go so far as to include Thanksgiving, effectively making the entire month of December “The Holidays.” But why should one month take precedence over all the others? Couldn’t there be an argument for making February the other “Holiday Season?”
I mean, Groundhog Day has long been a favorite holiday for many Americans. It’s the half-way mark for Winter, and it provides a poignant occasion for honoring our nation’s groundhogs. As I described in 2008, “[Groundhog Day] is the day on which we honor one of the world’s great rodents: the groundhog — that wonderful woodland creature also known as the woodchuck, the land beaver, the whistle-pig. Its geographic range may be limited to specific sections of the North American continent, but its world-wide impact in the hearts and minds of millions of people cannot be overlooked. Nor should it be overlooked.”
And then, Groundhog Day quickly gives way to the Super Bowl. This may actually be my least favorite of this other “Holiday Season.” But still, it’s definitely an American Holy Day, set apart for all things Sports, Pop Culture, Patriotism, Capitalism, Commercialism, Consumerism. Astute readers may remember that I’ve got some discomfort with the violent, nationalistic, and consumeristic undertones of American football. And I don’t always like the way that it disrupts church rhythms. However, on my better days I can appreciate the spectacle of it all. There are definitely some lovely things about the Super Bowl holiday. Especially good food and fun with friends. So why not celebrate it? Why not lump it in with all of the other lovely February holidays?
And then comes that most magical of weeks. Two of our nation’s most beloved holidays typically fall within a week of each other.
Valentine’s Day on the 14th: a day for roses and chocolates… and dinner reservations… and disillusionment… and heartbreak… and soul-crushing loneliness…
And then — celebration of celebrations — Presidents Day falls on the third Monday of February: a day for honoring some of the great leaders of the United States of America, like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln… along with some of the not-so-great leaders of the United States of America, like Warren Harding and James Buchanan… Presidents Day also seems like a day for mattress sales and weird facial hair, so what’s not to like about that?!?
So anyway: Happy Holidays! Even though we’re all eager for Spring to arrive, we have so much to celebrate in the meantime. Happy, Happy Holidays!