Opinion

OPINION | GARY SMITH: How about a holiday to escape the holidays?

Let’s create Zero Day to escape the holiday chaos

It appears the holidays are upon us with the inevitability that only the calendar and mass retail marketing can bring (apparently earlier and earlier in the year, but that's a thought for another time). And so, before we all get swept away in its tide, I have a proposal.

I want to start a new holiday. We'll call it Zero Day.

Yes, I know: I'm swimming upstream a bit here. For one, I'm not sure exactly how holidays get created. I think either the pope or the U.S. Congress has to be involved. And since I'm not appropriately affiliated to address the former and the latter is busy name-calling and shoving each other in walkways, I'm going to guess neither of those avenues will be open to me.

An aside concerning Congress: name-calling, not getting your assignments done, insulting each other's clothing, threatening to fight and elbowing each other in the hallways -- throw in smoking in the bathroom and you've got my high school. But I digress. And sigh a great deal.

Anyway, back to my new holiday. Again, we'll call it Zero Day. That's Zero, not O, the letter. Though I'm leaving that ambiguous enough that folks can argue over it. I mean, they're likely going to anyway.

Besides, if any one asks, I can claim the holiday has a religious connotation. I'll say it's from the Book of Numbers. And who will know, since no one has ever read the Book of Numbers, it being voted the Book Mostly Likely To Get Skipped Over When You Had to Read the Bible Front to Back For Sunday School.

The point of Zero Day is, well, sort of in the name. It will be the day when we do ... nothing. At least nothing holiday-related. No shopping, no decorating, no caroling, no list-making, no attending themed events, no ugly-sweater wearing (OK, you can still wear ugly sweaters. They just can't have reindeer or light-up Santas on them).

On Zero Day, no one will have to listen to "All I Want for Christmas is You," or "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" or "Blue Christmas" or any of those other songs that really aren't Christmas carols but keep getting dragged out this time of year and played on an infinite loop in every public space. You know, "ev-erywhere you gooooo." Which we also won't have to hear.

On Zero Day you won't decorate. Or promise to decorate and then not decorate until the last minute, when you're up on the housetop with a plastic Saint Nick and a lot of lights in the rain because, well, you put it off and it's Christmas Eve. This is a hypothetical example, of course. I'm not saying it's happened.

And if your lighted Christmas decoration just says "No" because the "E" and the "L" have gone out, well, that will be fine for Zero Day. It sort of fits the theme, anyway.

No arguing with relatives on Zero Day. OK, I know, that's not exclusively a feature of the holidays, but something about a little too much eggnog and longstanding resentments seem to make that as much of a staple as well, you know, "All I Want For Christmas Is You."

No debating politics. No arguing about sports. No insisting "Die Hard" and "Love Actually" are Christmas movies just because there is a Christmas tree in the background. It's Zero Day. No opinions – unpopular or otherwise – allowed.

Now it's important to establish here that I'm not proposing this because I'm a curmudgeon. OK, not exclusively because I'm a curmudgeon. It's certainly an element, but not the main driver.

It's just that, well, the holidays can be a hard slog that stretches on far longer than the calendar would indicate. At some point, we're all going to need a break from the festivities. Sort of like Superman going off to his Fortress of Solitude to recharge his batteries. Or watch football. Whatever he does.

So rather than turn that primal need into a battle, my plan is to make it official. If the pope and Congress can agree, then, hey, surely your significant other and the PA system at the mall can as well.

The problem, of course, is the timing. The calendar is pretty full and since Christmas starts in October now and doesn't end until Valentine's Day, squeezing in 24 hours to not have "That Holiday Feeling" (another song we won't have to hear on Zero Day) is going to be tough.

I think I've found an opening. It's in August.

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