Holiday hardship and heartache

Posted 4/12/23

In a recent game of trivia I was tasked with naming up to ten federal holidays in 60 seconds. I managed to name four.

I know that sounds crazy, but after Christmas, Thanksgiving and finally Easter …

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Holiday hardship and heartache


In a recent game of trivia I was tasked with naming up to ten federal holidays in 60 seconds. I managed to name four.

I know that sounds crazy, but after Christmas, Thanksgiving and finally Easter I found myself at a loss. Just before the timer was up I managed Columbus day, but it was till an embarrassment. It was then that I realized just how weird and unfair “federal holidays” are.

I have never in my 36 years of life worked a job where I got any holiday other than Christmas and Thanksgiving off. When I was working at Burger King in my late teens I remember working Easter every year and my mother kindly dropping off a portion of the family meal I missed so as to include me at least a little. While I have always been lucky enough not to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving, I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve had friends or family express excitement at having a holiday off while I am only able to respond with a “must be nice.”

It made me wonder. I mean, many of the jobs I’ve have had made me work on holidays while the owner gets to be with his family. I mean what is the point of declaring something a federal holiday if it’s only a holiday for some?

I’m not even talking about the fact that Christmas is a holiday but Chanukah isn’t. Which is ridiculous by the way. I’m talking about the fact that these holidays only exist for those who can afford to not work during them. It’s a little crazy to me that while laws protect the rights of people working for the government to enjoy their holidays off, or at least compensate them for extra money if there is a reason they have to work, those same laws don’t apply to everyone.

As a journalist I try to pay attention to when things aren’t equal, unfortunately, in this case it was my boyfriend who really noticed the inequality. When it comes to the law, no one should get something that isn’t offered to everyone. How is it fair that Christians, Catholics and similar religions get to have a federal holiday while other religions get no equal consideration? Why is it that multiple federal holidays are devoted to the painful struggles of African-Americans, but there is no federal holiday in remembrance of the devastation of the Native Americans on which this country was built?

I know what you’re thinking, Biden named the second Monday of every October as Indigenous People’s Day. Did you know that’s also Columbus Day. A day that is already a federal holiday. Is that really an adequate way to make things equal? The same can be said of a lot of holidays. So often politicians “recognize” a day or a month as being in honor of something, but it never really seems to mean anything. Even if it did, does it have any value if you don’t even get to celebrate it?

I don’t know what the answer is. On the one hand, you could just do away with federal and state recognized holidays. Everyone could just celebrate their own personal holidays in their own free time and everyone is treated equally. On the other hand for every holiday recognizing one group, you make another for every other group. Though, at that point, are you even going to have any days left for people to work on?

Personally, I think the first solution is much more fair… even if I don’t like the idea of doing away with mandated holidays, but it does seem the easiest solution. Why should a teacher get a paid day off when a fast-food worker doesn’t? Why should a police officer receive overtime pay to work on Independence Day while the woman working at the liquor store gets nothing extra on one of the busiest days of the year?

So yeah, holidays are a weird concept to me.

holiday, holidays