I wrap up the final edits on this piece, I feel comfortable saying
that I intend for these moments to be the last time I offer such
wishes in 2016. After all, it seems to me that a week is long
mean… it’s not that I don’t wish you a good year from this point
on. (I do.) Instead, it’s just that each year I find myself getting
a bit more prickly about when the time is right to actually stop
saying “Happy New Year” to people.
I said “more prickley”… get over it. It sounds funner that way.)
I see it, there are basically three generalities that are part
of any thoughts or discussions for finding an appropriate date
to stop saying Happy New Year…
you get your checks right
first time you see someone
start with the holidays.
almost feels appropriate in this debate. The holiday that follows
New Year’s in the United States honors the brilliant Martin Luther
King, Jr., and falls on the third Monday of the month. Potentially
a bit of a stretch when you look at 18 to 20 days, but not too
outrageous. And yet…
start by being literal about wishes following the holiday. How
often do you toast a St. Patrick’s Day on March 27th? Do you ever
offer best wishes for Halloween on November 10th? On December
2nd, are you greeting people with Thanksgiving tidings?
there are probably plenty of people responding to the mention
of toasting St. Patrick’s on the 27th of March with raised eyebrows
of excitement followed by deliberate consideration. Unfortunately,
they lose any possible attempt at making a case for follow up
arguments during the hangover the next morning. Still… the first
item against using the next holiday as a marker is that most holidays
end with the holiday date.
you want to be more open. It isn’t the holiday, but the season.
Halloween leads to Thanksgiving which makes way for Christmas
and so on. Well… yeah… no.
has become a mass consumerism tidal wave that begins building
strength in August. (Heck, you could make an argument based on
those out for post-Christmas sales, looking to supply next year,
that the Christmas rush begins on December 26th.) Sure, you get
things like barbecues from Memorial Day and July 4th. Still… no.
years ago I went out with some friends to a comedy club in late
January. For some reason, to this day I recall it was 1992 and
the Sunday after recognizing Dr. King. That would make it the
26th. The first comedian came out and wished us all a “Happy New
Year” to start his set. And it wasn’t a line to segue into his
act. He didn’t kick off a debate about it being late January,
nor did he ask if we got everything we wanted for Christmas. The
club wasn’t still decorated for any December holidays. It was
just “Happy New Year” and you can sense he lost the entire audience
for a moment as they shook their heads.
to argue that it’s ok to be saying “Happy New Year” on January
28th because it’s still fresh and seasonal seems a bit hollow.
next holiday... no. For a variety of reasons, it just seems too
long and missing in specifics.
up… how long do you write the wrong year? I made the joke initially
about checks, but I know we can all appreciate the frustrations
that come with habitual writing of the previous year all over
the place. This applies less and less to checks as technology
changes the way we bank. And yet, the concept holds true. We all
laugh when December turns to January and we date things incorrectly.
trouble with this one can be found on June 31st.
some of us are still dating things with 2015. A few will continue
doing so into February. And while it seems like that has to do
with the New Year, it’s honestly just a different version of not
knowing what day of the week it is… missing when one month becomes
the next… not recognizing that June only has 30 days… stuff like
how about the third option… a seemingly sensible one… wishing
someone a Happy New Year the first time you see them that year?
no. Because you might not see someone until July or August or
five years down the road. And honestly, if someone is so regular
in your life or important to you that you want to say it, then
you should see them at work, around your neighborhood, or know
how to send them an e-mail.
should understand that I wish you the best every day. Good morning…
good afternoon… good evening… from the start January all the way
to the end of December, and then around the calendar again. The
reality is New Year’s wishes fall into a special category that
eludes most other holidays. There is a post-holiday run where
the well-wishing is almost expected, and definitely appropriate.
However, there needs to be some sort of way to determine when
a New Year is no longer new.
me, a week seems just about right.
friend of mine got lost in her Christmas card writing this year.
On the fly, she adjusted and decided to send out New Year’s cards.
Love the idea… and enjoyed getting her card, with pictures of
the kids. (Thank you for including Terry and I.) How long would
it take for such a card to arrive in your mailbox? 5-7 days seems
about the extreme length for something not being sent internationally.
can afford some wiggle room in letting that week be five, seven,
or even eight days. We can adjust and debate allowances for the
work week, two weekends, or where the 1st might fall from year
to year. For me though, January 8th seems like the latest date
to wrap things up.
so… Happy New Year.
time to put the expressing of wishes away for the year. (And if
you haven’t… take down your tree.)