This year, Christmas and New Year’s Day both fell on Saturday, which is really the second worst day they can happen, the worst being Sunday.
At least a Saturday puts the Eves on Friday, so most places will give people half a day off, and then there’s the Sunday after the holiday to get ready to come back to work.
But if the holiday is on Sunday, then the Eves are on Saturday, so any extra time off before or after is solely at the discretion of employers. Some will still give a half day off on Friday. Others will give both Mondays off, but most of them will give neither, although in the case of a Sunday Christmas, the public holiday is on Monday, the 26th, and the New Year Holiday is on Monday, the 2nd.
This year, Christmas and New Year’s both fell on Saturday. Whee! 2021’s last little middle finger to us, I suppose.
As for the best day for the holidays to fall? I suppose that would be on Thursday, with Wednesday’s second. The reasoning? With Christmas and New Year’s on a Thursday, the inclination is to just take Friday off. And while some bosses might want to drag their staff in for the three work-days in the net week, that really doesn’t make any sense, either. Nothing gets done in a two-day workweek, and Wednesday is probably going to be a half-day anyway.
This also kills the other Friday, so in effect, people get a little vacation that runs from Christmas eve on Wednesday afternoon and doesn’t end until the Monday after New Year’s day, in this case, January 5th.
Wednesday may or may not work out in a similar fashion, but there’s no harm in trying to argue similar logic.
Of course, things are very different for one of the few floating holidays in the U.S. By floating, I mean that they always happen on the same date, rather than the same day of the week.
For example, most Federal holidays have been fixed to Mondays, with the exception being if they happen on a Saturday, in which case Federal employees get the Friday off. If the holiday falls on Sunday, then Monday is the official holiday.
The main floater is Independence Day, aka the 4th of July, which tells you right there why it’s always on the same date every year with the Saturday/Sunday exception noted above. But sometimes it can fall on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and of these, Wednesday is the absolute worst.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky and it’s on Tuesday or Thursday, then your company may take the Monday before or Friday after off as well. But if it’s on Wednesday, you’re SOL. You’ll be working on Monday and Tuesday, have a single day off, then be back at it on Thursday and Friday, making for the most awkward workweeks ever.
While Halloween might fall on any day of the week that happens to be October 31, it’s not an official holiday (yet), so it really doesn’t matter what day it is — although West Hollywood and other gay communities, where it is a high holy day, will often schedule Halloween as a celebration that takes place the entire weekend closest to before or after the actual day.
So the timing of Christmas and New Year’s this year could have been better, but they also could have been worse. Just be glad that you got at least one Sunday in before having to go back to work!