Happy Family Day! Happy, that is, unless you’re part of the seemingly endless parade of business owners, executives, police officers, parents, people who have to work today, cynics, bitter old men, or plain old ne’er-do-wells in general who believe that Family Day is going to ruin life—and, more importantly, the economy—as we know it. Well, buck up, kiddo. It’s just not that bad.
Just how curmudgeonly do you have to be to focus your rage on a day off work? Sure, Family Day is a borderline holiday with a silly name. Who really wants to spend time with their family so soon after Christmas and Chinese New Year anyway? According to one recent poll, only about a quarter of you. So let’s all acknowledge that Family Day has absolutely nothing to do with families, and has everything to do with getting a day off work and school.
So why all the controversy? Some people are angry that anyone is getting the day off, and others are angry that some people aren’t getting the day off. Still more are upset that one of their existing floating days is being converted to cover the new holiday, while a growing contingent takes umbrage at the cost of the exercise. Scofflaws may be the only people rejoicing. Federal government offices are open, but more importantly, The Beer Store is closed. No wonder people are upset: what good is a day off work if you can’t buy beer? You know you’re in trouble when lawyers have to step into the fray to clarify things.
How exactly is any of this different from any other statutory holiday in Ontario? Truth be told, it’s not. The only difference is that Family Day is new, while the other statutory days off work are relatively long-standing traditions. Is it silly, stupid, and pointless? Sure, but no more so than naming a dead Queen’s birthday after a case of beer. Will it destroy life as we know it? Well, if Saskatchewan can adapt in short order, so can we.
For next year’s Family Day, a modest proposal: that the third Monday in February be rechristened “Canadian Holiday” and celebrated/condemned across the entire country. After all, we spent years agitating for a mid-winter holiday. “The Americans have two, we deserve at least one!” went the battle cry. And almost from the very second we got our coveted holiday, we began months of complaining about how inconvenient, costly, and stupid it is to have a day off in the middle of winter. You can’t get any more Canadian than that, and that’s what we should be celebrating. So happy Canadian Holiday, everyone. Get out there and enjoy complaining about it for the rest of the day.
Photo by Simon Chambers from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.