The Worldwide Celebration

Every year, I approach New Year’s Eve with a meh feeling.  It’s a phony holiday, I think, based solely on the arbitrary divisions of time set by medieval calendars created by forgotten leaders.  It’s also a an event that causes people to raise their hopes for great parties and great times, and often it ends up being a tremendous letdown.

Unbeknownst to me, however, there is a hard core of people out there who love New Year’s Eve.  They live for it and celebrate it with joy and fervor.

Why?  As one person explained it to me, it’s because New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are really the one worldwide holiday.  Many holidays are national, or religious, and therefore aren’t recognized, much less celebrated, by people in different countries or of different faiths.  But New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are different.  Across the globe, as the hour strikes 12 and the calendar page turns, people of all nationalities, faiths, colors and creeds celebrate the New Year and the promise of a fresh start that a new year holds.

I never really thought about it in quite that way — and while I’m not sure that the remote villages in Papua, New Guinea, for example, are waiting for a ball to drop, there’s a lot of truth to the notion that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the closest thing we’ve got to a worldwide holiday.  Turn on the TV now, and when it strikes the hour you’ll see fireworks and celebrations in some faraway land.  So maybe New Year’s Eve really does deserve to be the subject of festivity.  This year, we’re going to give it a shot.

In The Midst Of The Pre-Christmas, Pre-New Year’s Crush

Christmas comes but once a year, but does it have to be on a Wednesday?  If you have a white-collar job, Hump Day is the worst day of the week for Christmas.

Why?  Because Christmas isn’t really confined to one day.  Many people don’t work on Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas.  This year, that takes out Tuesday and Thursday.  With the heart of the week gone, who will work on Monday and Friday?  And with New Year’s Day falling on a Wednesday, who will be working the following Monday and Tuesday?

What does that mean for your average cubicle inhabitant?  It means that every deal and order that needs to get done before the end of the year needs to get done this week.  It means that the procrastinators of the business world are suddenly charged with energy, pestering you to get your work done faster than normal so the transaction closes despite their delays and the accounting department doesn’t fall on them like a ton of bricks.  It means everything is being done with a special sense of urgency, and speed, and added stress — and of course all of that comes on top of the extra activities that go naturally with the holiday, like wrapping presents and baking cookies and decorating the tree.

So welcome to the pre-Christmas, pre-New Year’s crush.  It will be better for us all if we just accept — nay, embrace — the suckiness of this week, grit our teeth, and knuckle down.  The hands on the clock will move, the work will get done, and the days will pass.  By the end of the week, we can raise a special Christmas cocktail to celebrate our survival.

If you know a white-collar worker, give them a break this week.  They need one.