I’m writing this post on Sunday night (though it is likely Monday before you will see this), a couple of hours before the end of my Christmas holiday. Having finished work on the 23rd December, I return tomorrow morning at 9am for the first time in 2021. I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it.
It is not the work as such, I continue to enjoy my job and find the work rewarding, but rather it is returning to the morning alarm, days spent at the computer, and less time to do the things I really enjoy (though I will grant you in a pandemic some of my preferred activities are severely restricted). Of course I know I am lucky to be in work at the moment, and it is having a job at all which allows me to travel and do the other things I love. Even knowing this, is does not stop me feeling sorry for myself as I sit here.
I have told you this to begin this post to provide a little context to the idea which follows. I am sure my general gloom will be colouring my thoughts, while at the same time I am convinced this is the best idea had by anyone ever…
What I have been thinking about, just as it ends, is the Christmas period. I have written before about how much I love Christmas, and the Christmas period coming to an end certainly is contributing to my mood. One issue in particular irks me, we have a whole year to wait until the next time we get a significant break.
Of course I know there are other public holidays dotted through the year, and with my annual leave allowance for the year and weekends I will be having plenty of time off between now and Christmas. What I am thinking about is rather time when all (or at least most, thank you key workers!) of us have time off to relax and celebrate together. Instead, we concentrate festivities to a week or so at the end of the year, leaving us devoid of further festive fun for another 12 months.
My proposal, you have have guessed by now, is to remedy this imbalance. Given what I have said so far, you might think the title of my post, End on a high, relates to the end of the year and the festive celebrations. If you did think that, you would be wrong, at least in part.
Because what I am proposing is the increase of festive periods from once a year to one festive period to end each and every month!
At this point you are probably thinking I am mad. For many, surviving the Christmas period is hard enough when it occurs once a year, to do it every month will bring on palpitations. There will also be those yelling about the economy (who are strangely silent when we have the day of for a royal wedding or some such nonsense), claiming frequent time off work will lead to a loss of earnings. Add on top increasing present giving and consumerism (something I am definitely not suggesting as part of every monthly holiday), and the list of opponents is growing.
And yet, there is increasing evidence to support the idea of more time off work as a way to not only improve people’s wellbeing, but conversely their productivity as well. You may have heard of the campaign for a four day week, with a growing number of examples where this has been successfully implemented.
I am certainly in favour of the idea of a four day week among a variety of other ideas I support to improve wellbeing and productivity at the same time (note to self, write blog post in future…), but I am proposing the option of more condensed time off instead. The advantage as I see it is the anticipation of the holiday, which can often be as enjoyable as the holiday itself, and it would allow three weeks or so of five day weeks left in the month to get some work done.
As I have been thinking about this more, I have been trying to think up reasons for the holidays themselves. Clearly the December holiday would incorporate Christmas and New Year (more on this at the end) but what to consider the other 11 months of the year? I am sure everyone reading this will have there own ideas (assuming you have made it this far), this is my thinking.
January: given the Christmas period was only a month previous (and I still envisage Christmas being the biggest festive period of all), I feel the January offering should be a fairly restrained affair. Three days at the end of January seems enough for me, and with Burn’s Night on the 25th for the Scottish or Chinese New Year falling around this time, there are options for festivals to celebrate at the time.
February: this holiday was an easy one for me, the Leap Season. Yes, I know the leap day only occurs every four years (give or take the odd century), but would that not make those years even more special? I propose a four day holiday ending on the 28th, or the exciting five day break in a Leap Year.
March: the Spring (for us in the northern hemisphere) Equinox forms the focal point of this break. Usually landing around the 20th March, this could form the start of a week holiday and a celebration of all things Spring.
April: with Easter moving depending on the full moon cycle, it is hard to include the holiday regularly into my new system, so I propose the last week in April is considered the Easter holiday, accepting we might need to include an Easter weekend elsewhere as well.
May: the socialist in me feels the need to include the Labour Day (May Day for us Brits) celebration into a holiday. It might make sense to have had this at the end of April, give it is the 1st May, but I thought this could get messy, so I have unilaterally moved it to a four day holiday at the end of May. Up the workers!
June: the sun is back for June, with the holiday this month beginning at the Summer Solstice (bonus if you are a wannabe Druid), and lasting for the five days which follow.
July: this holiday is inspired by our friends down under, the Tree Planting Holiday. In Australia this can fall between the 25th and 31st, which seems like a perfect time for a holiday (yes, I know it is not the best planting time for large parts of the world, but I wanted to fit it in somewhere).
August: for August it has to be all about the celebration of Summer (or the end) with a three day holiday seeing out the Summer fun. Although it is my idea of hell, I suspect a musical festival or two might find its way into this break.
September: with the Autumn Equinox and the Harvest Festival towards the end of the month, it seems the perfectly fitting time for a week of giving and feasting (more of the former please).
October: don’t think this needs any explanation really, the month ends with Halloween, a week of festivities leading to the day will only heighten the fun.
November: like January, it feels acceptable to make do with a three day holiday prior to the big event at the end of December. I wonder whether this might be best celebrated on the 29th, 30th and then the 1st December as the start of Advent.
December: obviously, this is going to be celebrating the Christmas period, but what this actually means can be different things depending on your point of view. For example Advent is now more commonly seen as the 1st to 24th December, whereas for Christians it is the four Sundays before Christmas.
When the Christmas period falls can be equally contested. Obviously Christmas Day itself falls in the holiday, but when should it end? And how about beginning? Is it the twelve days of Christmas up to the 6th January? Or perhaps it should end on New Year’s Day as my breaks often do. And what of Christmas Eve?
My solution is hopefully a mixture of the above, beginning on the 21st December (I know, that is early, but typically falls around the Winter Solstice) through to the 1st January.
Obviously, there is a long way to go to see my monthly holidays formally adopted. There are approximately 50million adults in the UK capable of voting, so I need to convince roughly 25million my idea is a good one to guarantee success. Given I am all in favour, that leaves 24,999,999 people to go. Let me know below if you are convinced and we can start ratcheting up the numbers.