As I wandering down the candy aisle at my local grocery store at 11 PM on Saturday night, I was struck by exactly how badly we half-ass Easter. For Christmas, we go all out, and make detailed plans that literally span months. Easter? Well, I better get a basket before she wakes up or I'm a bad parent.
Holidays are great, particularly the ones you get a day off of work for. There's nothing better than firing up the grill, having some friends over, and maybe finally putting up the badminton net. But there is a holiday pecking order, and like all things, it must be appropriately ranked.
Now, I am approaching this from the standpoint of a lazy, American Christian. I'm sure Islam and Hinduism have some awesome holidays, particularly if their weddings are any indication, but I've never experienced them, so they have to remain unranked. I did rank one Jewish holiday, based upon personal experience.
10. PRESIDENTS' DAY
OK, you don't get the day off of work unless you work for the bank or the government. There's no barbeque going on, and really, it's just an excuse for mattress stores to have a sale. So why #10? Because at least it's not fucking Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is a gigantic scam designed to make us buy greeting cards and fondue. And fondue sort of sucks, and you always leave that place still hungry. I mean, I guess the cheese course is okay, but the main dish? Please. Anyway, at least I got my mattress half-off on President's Day, and that makes it better than the Hallmark Holiday.
As discussed, Easter sort of sucks. All right, I admit that little boys and girls in their Sunday best is pretty damn cute. Definitely the best part of the holiday is the unofficial competition for the biggest bow in a child's hair. However, you go to church, have brunch, and... well, that's pretty much it. By mid-afternoon, I was replacing lightbulbs around the house. Also, when did we start dumbing down Easter egg hunts? I'm not asking for the eggs to be hidden like some sort of buried treasure, but the hunts now are essentially just one giant, open field full of eggs. That's not a hunt, that's a scramble. It takes no skill whatsoever. At least put an egg near a bush or something.
8. MARDI GRAS
Mardi Gras is actually pretty awesome. It's a holiday devoted to sinning as much as possible before Lent, and let's be honest, I'm a huge fan of sinning. There's food, drinking, and all sorts of extra-curriculars. Heck, there's even the only good parades of the year. The problem with Mardi Gras is that it is almost exclusive to Louisiana (settle down, Mobile). There's this great party going on next door, and Texas is just going to work like nothing is happening. The rest of the country is even more oblivious. It's just a reminder that Louisiana is more fun that the rest of the country combined. It's infuriating.
7. MEMORIAL DAY
The ultimate grilling holiday. The unofficial start to summer, which is also pretty awesome. There's a bit of a bummer hanging over the whole day, as it is a day to honor the dead, but it's just a nice Monday off with good food and good friends, and there's the lacrosse national championship game. You don't care, but Jake and I do. Pretty much indistinguishable from July 4th and Labor Day in its actual execution, but Memorial Day gets the bump because it is when we all poke our heads out of our holes like groundhogs to finally enjoy some decent weather.
6. NEW YEARS DAY
Not to be confused with New Year's Eve, the last chance for cops to hit their DUI quotas for the year. New Year's Eve is when your favorite bar suddenly charged a $50 cover and invites some DJ or lousy cover band. It is always a letdown. Do not go out on New Year's Eve. However, New Year's Day is great. You sleep in, maybe make some chili, and watch a bunch of college football all day. That's a holiday.
5. ARMISTICE DAY
It has gotten rebranded in the US as Veterans Day, but Armistice Day is perhaps the world's only international secular holiday. World War I was so awful that the world still stops on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to remember it, and all of the people who have served in all wars. It's a genuinely somber holiday, when we take a step back and think about the awful human cost of all of human history. That's worth a moment of silence.
Passover is not the most important Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur is, but it is by far the best. Way too many Jewish holidays involve fasting for me to totally get behind them, but Passover? It's inviting your friends and family over for a great meal at which you tell a terrific story. The Passover Seder is one of the most wonderful things, and if you are not Jewish, you really need to figure out how to get invited to one as the token Gentile. Christianity is just a sect of Judaism when you stop to think about it, so we need to bring this one back into the fold. Christians made a real mistake getting rid of this holiday.
This is a holiday that really grows up with you. When you are a little kid, Halloween is your chance to rack up a bunch of candy. If you ration correctly, your candy stash can last you until Thanksgiving, and that's even with a good post trick or treating binge. Then, when you are a single, young adult, Halloween is the best going out holiday. It's pretty much perfectly designed for attractive people to have sex with one another. Heck, even us ugly people do okay. Eventually, you become an old fart like me and it's great to sit on your front stoop and hand out candy to all of the cute kids. It's just nice to see the neighborhood full of kids, as it's a very social holiday. No matter what phase of your life, or your level of degeneracy, Halloween is near perfect.
Food. Family. Football. Those are the three prongs of a pretty great holiday. There's real nothing about Thanksgiving I do not enjoy, but I think the best thing about it is large groups of people just getting together and enjoying each other's company. It's the holiday that feels the most like home.
Want to know why Christmas creeps all the way into October? Because Christmas is awesome, and we, collectively as a society, cannot wait for it to get here. Christmas has the best movies, the best songs, and the best rituals. Yeah, Santa Claus is a bit of genius marketing by Coca-Cola, but doesn't that make it more American? Some people like to complain about Christmas being too commercialized, and I guess that's true to a certain extent, but I like to think that all of the non-religious parts of Christmas makes the holiday more inclusive and universal. You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy watching Elf or hearing a beautiful version of Silent Night. People are just in a better mood around Christmas, and there seems to be a concerted effort to be better people. And what could be better than that?
Also, there's all of the loot.