HOLIDAYS: DON'T WAIT - CELEBRATE...TUESDAYS!
In the fall of 1995, I almost got burned. I lived in Princeton, New Jersey, about an hour and some from my parents in North Philadelphia. I thought I’d skip Thanksgiving dinner and catch up at Christmas. Thankfully, a voice in my head told me not to skip. I sucked it up, made the arduous drive through metropolitan Philadelphia's holiday traffic, and had a great visit with Mom and Dad. Four days later, on the Monday he went back to work, my dad had a heart attack and died. Had I skipped Thanksgiving dinner, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share some great stories with him and hear his recount of what he remembered while immigrating to the United States as a small child in the 1940s. I still keep the family photograph from that meal on my desk.
Oh yeah, take pictures. Lots of pictures. And make sure you’re in some of them. Every smartphone has a great camera on it, and selfies are socially acceptable, so there’s no excuse not to. Take video too. It’s incredibly interesting to hear someone’s voice years after they’ve passed. Fortunately, as a video producer in the 1990s, I was lucky enough to catch Dad’s voice on several videos. Those recordings are priceless.
Nothing is guaranteed in this world. Illness, sudden death, natural disasters, crime, and other malfeasance strike without warning and often randomly. So why wait for Christmas if you don’t have to? Why wait for Thanksgiving? Why wait for tomorrow? It might be too late! What’s today? It’s Tuesday as I write this chapter, so I will choose to celebrate Tuesday!
I will randomly create weekday holidays for my F.U. We’ll sometimes go to our favorite Japanese hibachi table restaurant to celebrate life. Just for fun, we’ll tell our waiter that it’s someone’s birthday so they’ll bang a drum and make a big fuss for no real reason. If you’ve never been, Japanese hibachi restaurants are really the best family dining opportunity ever. A lot of time to chat as you wait at your table with yummy appetizers, great food cooked in front of your eyes, and an entertaining host that may flick cooked shrimp in your mouth and light an onion on fire. It’s a happy environment too which helps set the mood. Hibachi meals can be a little pricey but not much more than your typical Outback, so budget properly.
Other times, I’ll stop by a local dollar store and pick up some silly gifts for the fam. Not useless plastic things, but useful things they can use. I’ll get pens or sketchbooks for the kids, and maybe a little something silly for the spouse. I’ll wrap things with used boxes or paper bags I get from the supermarket (if they ask “paper or plastic,” always opt for paper) and present them as impromptu gifts. Occasionally, I’ll buy a bag of balloons and write a random number on a slip of paper, put the paper into a balloon, and blow them up. Everyone gets to pop one balloon, and their prize is whatever the numbered gift is. Who doesn’t enjoy getting gifts?
Look, I’m all about being frugal and saving money. Although all this fake holiday hoo-ha sounds expensive, it absolutely doesn’t have to be. We’re talking dollar store runs, occasional eating out at moderately priced restaurants, and reusing things you already have. F.U. celebrations can be nearly free, and still be extremely funnish.
We’ve also invented other silly special days that turn a doldrum Monday or Wednesday into a fiesta including Back to School day, an April Fools Halloween costume contest, 80s Flashback Movie Nights, and we always celebrate Friday the 13th with a few scratch-off lottery tickets for everyone in the F.U. Who says Friday the 13th is unlucky? I won 78 bucks last year!
For family competition situations, we borrowed an idea from Royal Caribbean cruises. They’re infamous for making you bare your soul and act like a fool in front of hundreds of strangers, and then reward you with a trivial gift like a keychain or pencil. Your prizes can absolutely be menial! We often use homemade coupons, which can be traded for exclusion from chores, forced foolishness from a member of the F.U., or a fun activity with the winner’s friends at a later date. More on rewards later.
The important thing is don’t wait for traditional holidays. Celebrate life while everyone is here and while you have the opportunity. Celebrate Tuesdays!
Here are a few of our F.U. ideas to get your started. I will purposely omit TL:DR descriptions so you can create your own twist, so own it! If you’re looking for prefab ideas, check out a terrific book titled Party Games by Chuck Fresh, available on Amazon. Fresh was kind enough to share many of those ideas on our ACTIVITIES page!
Moonday. Just like the old days, eat in the darkness of moonlight. Supplement with LED candles.
Twos-day. At dinner, you must eat and drink two of everything (two carrots, two potatoes, two glasses of milk…) and say every every word word twice twice for two minutes per person. Yes, it’s silly. The little ones will love it.
Whens-Day. We don’t say WED-nes-day, so why not change it to something that resembles how we pronounce the darn day? Pack the fam into the vehicle and time travel to your favorite futuristic or nostalgic restaurant. You can create this at home, too, with a little imagination and some décor from your local party store.
Fry Day. The one day a week you get a pass to eat fried things. Air-frying is a little better for you.
Name Days. An old European tradition celebrated a certain day of the year that pertains to your first name. Think of it like a second birthday. Similar but less fodder.
Scavenger Hunts. Hide a bunch of stuff, make a list with some clues, and have the kids look for it. Make sure your dangerous and, um, adult things are locked away somewhere off-limits.
Kamikaze Karaoke. Pick a song out of a hat, and you’re forced to try to sing it. Also, an additional option could be sing without moving your lips, sing while gargling water, sing with a nose clip, and other interesting things you can create yourself.
Bobbing for… onions? Or tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, garlic, spaghetti, or other putrid or offensive things. This is hilarious.
What the Heckoween? We make puking pumpkins, take photos, and make pumpkin pies with the leftovers. Can be anytime during pumpkin season.
Snowmen. At the first sign of packable snow, the fam would run outside and build the coolest snowman. Mom and Dad would judge.
Thankful. We go around the table and everyone talks about the nicest thing they did for someone else in the past week.
Formal night. Dress up in your favorite formalwear or prom dress, have dinner, and take lots of pictures. Or, take pictures first, before the gravy lands on your jacket.
Recycled Art Competition. Create something really cool from something you’d normally recycle. For more on Arts and Crafts night, see our ARTS AND CRAFTS page!