President’s Day may seem like another one of those throwaway holidays drummed up by Hallmark, but it’s a great opportunity to dive into some rich American history. Not to mention getting some great deals at President’s Day sales.
You probably dimly remember celebrating President’s Day in elementary school – dressing up as Abraham Lincoln, learning about Washington’s childhood. If you’ve blocked all that out, or recently moved to the United States from elsewhere, Meredith has the skinny on the history of President’s Day.
This year, President’s Day isn’t just another holiday. It’s another day your kids have off from school. If you live in Blizzard Country, you’ve probably run out of cute creative projects to while away the hours with. At my house, we even ran out of flour and crayons, we’d done so many snow day crafts.
So what are you going to do this President’s Day? Here are some ideas.
- Throw a Presidential birthday party. Little kids love tea parties. Use the holiday as an excuse to get the dolls dolled up, whip up some mini-cupcakes, and throw Mr. Washington and Mr. Lincoln a festive teddy bear picnic.
- President’s Day is celebrated the 3rd Monday in February to honor both Washington and Lincoln. Originally the holiday celebrated only Washington’s birthday, and was celebrated on his actual birthday, February 22. You could make a list of other February birthdays among your family and friends. Do any of you share a birthday with the Father of the Country?
- President’s Day is when Purple Heart medals are awarded to veterans injured in the line of duty. This is a great time to talk about family history: does anyone in your family have a Purple Heart, or other military honors?
- The Senate traditionally reads George Washington’s Farewell Address on President’s Day. You can too: it’s available free online through the Avalon Project.
- Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, but many states celebrate both presidents on President’s Day.
- Massachusetts also celebrates all the president’s with local roots, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy. You could easily spend an entire day learning just the basic facts about each of these presidents.
- But President’s Day is also a day off, and learning about presidential history might seem like work. Before you break out the X-box for the day, try some more creative ways to play.
- For example, you could consider making the day a media Sabbath. Experiment with living a little like our venerated presidents did: with no Internet, no video games, no iPhones.
- Traditionally, it’s a day for big-ticket shopping: cars, mattresses, furniture. Will you be making any this year? If so, you may want to find a sitter for the day. Taking kids with you can distract from important aspects of the purchase – like negotiating a final price.
- However you celebrate President’s Day, enjoy the time with your family. After all the snow days, it might feel like another holiday is just too much, but remember, they’re only little once.