From a Timing Perspective, We Got the Holidays Right

This is a bias of the northern hemisphere, and beyond that, the northern part of the northern hemisphere. But hey, Yester’s based in Boston, and so where we come from winter sort of sucks.

It’s cold, it’s dark, and weather is a constant worry. Days are short and commutes are long. It’s a drag.

That’s why I think one of the things American society’s gotten right, with a big assist to Rome for Saturnalia and the Julian Calendar, is the way the holidays are scheduled. From late November through on to January 1, we don’t really have to worry about winter’s cold grip.

Sure, people take some time off around Memorial Day, and most of corporate America is more or less on skeleton crews through July and August. And for the record, if I had to choose one holiday and leave all the rest behind, give me the Fourth of July. But that time away is because the season is calling — the allure of time at the beach and outdoor drinks late into the night is hard to deny. But without the bam-bam-bam barrage of Thanksgiving-December holiday d’jour (and their accompanying parties)-New Year’s, the turn of the season would be devoid of little more than a harrowing glance at the aforementioned cold darkness ahead.

Instead, and I should take the time for the obligatory note that this sadly ain’t the case for everybody, but instead, this is time spent with family and friends, and meals. Snow, destined to become a villain in the coming months, instead signifies a seasonal charm. The stress of work is superseded by the stress of holiday shopping, which at least offers a different stress. And at a time when every business is in a race to close the quarter strong, holiday time abounds and — if you don’t work in retail — for a chunk of time, those business goals aren’t your problem.

This isn’t a particularly academic analysis and I’m projecting. I had a good holiday season with ample vacation and family time, and I’m excited to finish strong with New Year’s. Not everybody can say the same, and even many of those who can like winter well enough. But allow me to posit the opinion: When it comes to scheduling the holidays, history could have done a lot worse than delicately placing them at a time when the days grow increasingly dreary.

photo credit: Daren Naylor, Creative Commons/flickr