Happy Famiversary! How do you Celebrate Family Day?

Yesterday was Family Day in some parts of Canada. It’s the latest holiday sensation sweeping the great white north.

Alberta started the craze in 1990, and this year Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan joined up with varying degrees of success. Some people got the day off, others didn’t, and Manitoba called its holiday Louis Riel Day. (Manitoba always has to ruin the fun for everyone.)

A Saskatchewan news release explains, “Regular public holidays enhance people’s ability to create better work-family balance.”

But the popular consensus in Canada says February is just a really boring month, everybody likes a holiday, and politicians love declaring them.

America has been celebrating Family Day since 2001 on paper.

It’s the fourth Monday in September, by presidential proclamation, at the urging of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).

George W. Bush stated, “I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day by spending quality time with family members and engaging in other wholesome activities that help unite and strengthen the bonds between parents and children.”

Specifically, CASA bills the holiday as “a day to eat dinner with your children.” Wow, that’s setting the bar high.

Wikipedia indicates Australia and South America celebrated Family Day for the first time last year. Clearly, the holiday is set to take the world by storm.

So… I have questions.

How does, or how should, Family Day differ from Thanksgiving? Obviously gourds and pumpkins are out because Family Day isn’t a harvest holiday.

But what else? No big family meal? Spend the day with immediate family, nixing a family reunion? Finger football instead of TV football?

How did you, or would you, spend Family Day?

I ask the question seriously because I’ve often thought of inaugurating an end-of-year family day. It would be a day with its own quirky traditions specific to our family, but because it would follow so closely behind Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seemed a little redundant. Maybe February is the answer.

I like the name ‘Famiversary.’ Yes, it’s a little goofy, but like an anniversary, you’d be commemorating a date, in this case one that symbolically marks the starting of your family. It could be the date you learned you were pregnant for the first time, or the date adoption records were finalized, or maybe it’s the day you already schedule an annual family reunion.

If Family Day or Famiversary was a national holiday where you live — or your family simply decided to take that day off — how would you use that day? Recreate Thanksgiving? Do something new?


12 Responses to “Happy Famiversary! How do you Celebrate Family Day?”

  1. Christina says:

    I don’t know, I think Famiversary day should be in April. February has Presidents Day and Valentine’s Day, it’s the shortest month of the year, AND Black History Month. Should be in April because there are no major holidays in April, though, of course, many schools have Spring Break in April. OR, it could be a randomly selected day of the year, selected at the beginning of each year. We tried that with Valentine’s Day, but we never got to celebrate it on that day. I think it was just an excuse not to buy me jewelry, lol.

    February 19th, 2008 at 6:19 am

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    No major holidays in April?

    Did you forget Easter? Easter is almost always in April. “Easter always falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25 inclusive” (which is why Spring break is in April, in this day of not wanting to admit you are celebrating a Christian holiday)

    As for Family Day — growing up we had that every week. I don’t want to cut back to once a year.

    February 19th, 2008 at 6:26 am

  3. Cindi Hoppes says:

    I like the idea of March! Then, it would be still winter, but almost spring. I have heard of “Family Day” only one other time! Isn’t every day a family day in its’ own way…..Cindi

    February 19th, 2008 at 9:21 am

  4. Hope says:

    Well, we live in Alberta, and love Family Day! My husband and I have an 18 month old and a 6 month old. We took them to the zoo on Family Day, and then we had my brother and his wife over for dinner. Nothing really exciting, but its nice to have an extra day to be together. I didnt realize that other places had a Family Day, I thought we were special…(sniff) Oh well! Happy Family Day!

    February 19th, 2008 at 9:37 am

  5. addy says:

    Happy family day!! I think it is a good idea in that remembering to spend time with your family is important especially in this day and time when alot of adults and children are overscheduled and may need that reminder to make time for the family. It also is a good chance to make people that have no family feel lonesome and sad like all other major holidays that suck for those that have no family…now I am just rambling…Family day should be in March and should be celebrated by heckling those that have no family…LOL just kidding

    February 19th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

  6. kelli says:

    I had no idea that there was a Family Day in September. I do know that Grandparent’s Day is on a Sunday in September, though.

    February 19th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  7. AJ says:

    I like Hope’s zoo story. An annual day-long excursion somewhere special might be nice, perhaps always to the same place every year.

    February 19th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

  8. adrienne says:

    I like a self-selected Family Day- and the resultant possibility of more than one a year.

    Back when we both worked (before we had a child), we’d celebrate an impromptu “Hooky Day.” On a particularly lovely day when neither of us had anything important happening at work, we’d both call in sick and we’d go on a day trip. On the Hooky Day that looms largest in our memories we went to see a great movie at our favorite art house theatre (fresh caramel corn and snickerdooldes), went to a sporting goods store, bought two sets of nice rollerblades and gear and then flailed around a parking lot until we went to a favorite restaurant for dinner. It was magnificent.

    This is the type of random togetherness that I hope will be the cornerstone of future family days.

    February 20th, 2008 at 7:13 am

  9. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    I love the idea of famiversary and building traditions and holidays unique to your own family. We have a tradition that we started when I was pregnant of a family camping trip in June. It started just with us going with one other couple, last year it was three families and this year there will be four families going!

    February 20th, 2008 at 8:31 am

  10. Erica says:

    Sadly, I’ve never heard of Family Day. America has so many unheard-of holidays, though, it’s no surprise (although I would hope that Family Day is a bit more important than International Pancake Day, which I did hear about…and almost went to IHOP to get free pancakes for). My hubby and I have different ideas about what to do. His idea of a good day is staying at home all together, and mine is going out all together. Maybe we’d sleep in, have a good breakfast, then go out for part of the day. We’d come home and have naptime, and veg for the rest of the day. Best of both worlds!

    February 20th, 2008 at 9:37 am

  11. Diana (Holes in my Shiny Veneer) says:

    I’ve never heard of Family Day, though I know when Arbor Day and Cesar Chavez Day are…

    We like to have our own informal family days. My husband (a pastor) usually has Mondays off, so whenever a holiday falls on a Monday, he gets to take an extra day. That extra day usually is reserved as a day to go out and do something as a family. It doesn’t have to be Disneyland, we just all have to be together.

    February 20th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

  12. Mama Peach says:

    Well we got to enjoy our first ever “Family Day” here in Canada’s capitol city (Ottawa). Well, most of us did. Us Federal Gov’t employees did not get the new Provincial Statutory Holiday because our recently signed three-year collective agreement only includes Federal Stat Holidays.

    That’s OK though as I took a vacation day to spend Family day with, well, my family.

    Apparently it was very unorganized here in Ontario though, with nothing being open (businesses were not aware they were allowed to be open) and some employers not recognizing the stat holiday at all.

    I will be taking a vacation day to spend with my family for as long as I don’t have my own Family Day holiday. It’s a LONG stretch from the beginning of January until end of March / beginning of April here in the frozen North, so it occurring in February is JUST what we need!

    February 25th, 2008 at 2:55 pm