Happy New Year – I mean it. Happy New Year! Start the New Year whenever you wish. It certainly does not have to be January 1st. If your New Year is in September (you are probably Jewish), then Happy New Year for then. But if you decide that your New Year starts on your birthday, or your wedding anniversary, or the day you acquired your dog, or the day that you bought a new iPhone, then a happy New Year for your individual new year. And, if you have any good resolutions, then start your New Year resolutions tomorrow (or immediately if possible). Why wait until a future date to eat more healthily, or be nicer to your mother-in-law, or drink skim rather than whole milk? If that is what you have decided, go for it. Now.
We are getting obsessed with dates. I wish they had a gift-giving holiday around the middle of January because then I could take advantage of all the January sales – that time when exactly the same item is half of what it was before the Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza gift giving season. Why should an electric razor change its value because of the date it is sold on? Why do we have sales? If we could get away from this date obsession, then all items would be the same cost every day of the year. But I am being too rational, and we are, whether we like it or not, affected by the seasonality of retailing.
Of course, you might ask about Christmas trees and Easter Bunnies? Might it not be a little late to buy them after the holiday they commemorate? Humbug, I say. I like that word. We once acquired from Sears in Palm Beach, a beautiful Christmas tree for my in-laws on Christmas Eve. The price…zero. They were giving them away, and the ornaments were at least 70% off. Wonderful! We played at decorating the thing that night and felt totally in the spirit of the season because we had been flexible about the date. I know that Christmas is a totally fabricated date (Christ, in the Bible, was born in the Spring), and I am quite prepared to assign the date of His birth to some other arbitrary day of the year. Easter may be a much more authentic day in history, but nowhere in the Bible are chocolate bunnies mentioned, so, for me, a chocolate bunny bought the day after Easter, at 80% off, is just as tasty as it was the day before, nor do I feel as though I have spoiled the occasion.
New Year’s day itself has changed over the years as we moved from the Roman to Gregorian calendar, or is it the other way around? Who cares, they changed it. They added a leap day in February. (Who on earth were “they”?)
So Happy New Year! For no apparent reason I see that I have capitalized the H, N, and Y of Happy New Year throughout this essay. Apparently I am taking the whole thing seriously too. Let us be realistic; for a school like ours, the New Year (there I go again) starts on the first day of school in the beginning of September. And you do give your child gifts on that day… textbooks, school shirts, backpacks, etc. So Happy New Year for then, and let us ignore the dropping of the ball in Times Square and all the hoopla that potentially ends with the embarrassment of what we call “office parties”. Let us call it as it is: Humbug!
Ronald P. Stewart