After the barrage of colored lights and multiple pies with various berries, I got to thinking about some holidays we really do need.
1. The Homemakers' Holiday Breakdown
Set it for the first week of January, when the hoopla from the multiple holidays has died down. Just as the Brits have made a tradition of their Boxing Day — a national bank holiday instituted to give boxes of good things to the underprivileged — set this time aside, too. Give it to the one in the family who makes the sauce for the goose (and the gander), buys and wraps the presents, engineers the trimming of the tree, and runs for the Cuervo when 17 strings of lights blow because of a single failed bulb the size of a comma. Whoever these people are, they deserve a holiday, complete with packages of unknown contents, and a home-cooked meal they didn't prepare. Witnessing the spaniel-like gratitude, celebrants will be wroth for not having instituted this sooner.
See also: Starting life over after age 50.
Photo by Randy M. Ury/Corbis
2. Thy Brother's Keeper (and Thy Sister's)
If you like them at all, they're more than just people you fought with about the bathroom mirror. A great sibling has a price beyond rubies. A great sibling remembers more than just your own rendition of you and is the company you keep when all your friends are sick of hearing about it. High time we honored that bond with homage and tithing — or at least chocolate and flowers and a handwritten letter.
3. The National Festival of Sleeping Around
Oh, out upon you! That isn't what I meant at all.
I'm as bored as anyone else by hearing about all the things that the ancient Japanese considered to be sacraments (tea, sex, poetry, soup), but am all "domo arigato" when it comes to sleep. Americans have a truly bizarre sleep debt, and it shows — in the cosmetics bill. A good night's sleep can make $33.50 look like a million bucks, and feel like James Franco does when he looks in the mirror. Now consider, a full night and day's sleep, without guilt? Imagine cops in South Boston high-fiving during rush hour.
4. Mental Health Day
Long a standard of workplaces, there should be a no-harm, no-foul holiday (not a "personal day," which has become a euphemism for a funeral), on the same day every year, when everyone gets to think it over, talk it over, do it over and generally come back out among 'em, refreshed.
5. Read in Public Friday
Let's call it … July 15. Everyone gets to pick out a beach, a park bench, a porch swing, a library or a window seat, or a car seat, and wear your colors. Show that you read, that you love and believe in reading — whether it's with a hardcover book or some iteration of an electronic reader. Kids won't get the day off from school for this, except in the state of Oregon. Those of us who work won't get a day off with pay. (And, boy, would it ever be not a bad idea if we did.) Whoever reads can never be a prisoner.
6. The Feast of Random Acts of Anonymous Kindness
Once, on an ordinary Tuesday in my neighborhood, 49 people in a row paid for the Starbucks order of the individual next in line. I must have had Kate Gosselin in the car behind me, because my bill was $37, but the spirit was uplifting, and it lasted throughout the day. If it doesn't merit a flag or a rubber bracelet, maybe a Facebook page? We could describe our random acts (anonymously, of course).
7. Dog Day
I don't mean the sweltering days in August. I mean a day that canonizes canines. Bake them liverwurst cupcakes with salmon frosting. Do not force them to wear garments that are absurd for predators, including a berth in your backpack. Laud and glorify them for the absurdly upbeat and heartfelt companions they are.
(Why did I not suggest Cat Day? Ask any cat or cat owner. Every day is cat day.)
8. Approve of Someone You Disapproved of Day
Whether you're a tea party conservative or a daisies-down-the-gun-barrel liberal, you're guilty of being smug about your own kind and judgmental about the other kinds. So, Sarge, take a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person to lunch, or at least leave a doughnut. And lady with the fish symbol on your car that says "Darwin," indicating you vote for evolution over creationism, admit that you don't know for sure that God didn't create Charles Darwin. Even Darwin wasn't sure about that. When I was a college student, I went to church with a girl who was part of a sect so strict she made Sister Wendy look like a heretic. Everything I saw and heard made me think everyone there was daft as a brush — except my friend's face. It was like the morning sun, and made me feel like a truly good person.
Also of interest: Avoiding absurd New Year's resolutions. >>
Jacquelyn Mitchard, the best-selling author of 20 books, lives near Madison, Wis., with her family. Her most recent novel, Second Nature: A Love Story, was published in September by Random House.