Do Holidays Lose Value in Retirement?

Today is a holiday. I only know because of the calendar. It doesn’t feel like a holiday to me. Does it to you?

Now I have to remember to put the garbage out a day later than usual. We’ll see how many of our neighbors forget about that on Thursday night. 😉

When I was working, holidays were like gold. The anticipation of a three day weekend was pure pleasure. And then having those three days off? Bliss.

I’ve been retired now for almost four and a half years and holidays are definitely not the same. Much like Saturdays, they’re like any other day now. Except this year, they mean we’ll probably have a surge in coronavirus cases over the next few weeks. As if we aren’t in the middle of one already.

I’m sure you’re saying that there have to be some holidays that still have value. Sure. Thanksgiving and Christmas still mean something. But my favorite weekend of the year – Thanksgiving – is no longer special. At least not the way it used to be.

It seems holidays were only special because I didn’t have to go to work. Is that sad?

I know, holidays are what you make them. We’re at the point where holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day don’t bring anything special to our day. We don’t spend them with family or friends. I’m not sure why. Too much work? No one takes the initiative? Nice to relax at home?

We’re not big partiers anyway so why would we party on a holiday? What can we do to make it special? Today, we’re making pot roast in the crockpot. Talk about living it up!!

Even before Tim and I were married, I didn’t do anything. When you’re working, it’s just nice to have the extra day at home. I’d take the day to do something just for me, like sit outside and read all afternoon. Now I can do that any day, which is great, by the way.

Tim’s still working but he’s also been home due to his surgeries so it’s not like a big day for him either, other than he gets paid for it. And like for many, holidays create more work when he goes back. So is the holiday worth it?

How do you feel about holidays? Take a second to answer my poll, if you’re retired.

26 thoughts on “Do Holidays Lose Value in Retirement?”

  1. I get incredibly lonely during the holiday season – longing for the “old days” which were happier than these seem to be. I live alone (which doesn’t help) and 2 of my 3 children live out of state. Their work schedules are irregular so we celebrate holidays whenever they can get time off. I’m glad that they have their own lives, however I wish that I could be more a part of them. At 82 years of age, I’ve worked nearly all my life – my final retirement was only 5 years ago. Now I cannot travel easily/comfortably – and virtual visits, while useful, are far from the warmth of real human contact.
    I live in a rural area, somewhat isolated, and with very limited income…it’s easier to consider the holidays “just another day”.

    1. I’m so sorry about your situation, Dorothy. If I hadn’t been married five years ago, I’d be spending my days alone too. I think about how lucky I am, since I have no children of my own. Through my marriage, I’ve gained a couple of grandchildren, who I love like my own. They aren’t close either, and they’re so busy they can’t visit us often. My parents and sister have always lived close by and we do spend the major holidays together. But as my parents have aged and require more care, we can see our holidays changing this year. COVID might also mean a couple of my nieces won’t be with us this year, which is sad. Best wishes as we head into the holiday season. Thanks for following.

  2. First time commenting. Holidays never meant too much to me. Dysfunctional family growing up. Worked as a nurse many years so I had to work most holidays anyway. We are aging alone, no children so most holidays are like any other day. I am an introvert and being alone feels OK to me.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Barb. I think a lot of people don’t understand when someone says they’re fine being alone on a holiday. While I love spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, I could easily spend those days alone and still be happy. When I was working and before I was married, Thanksgiving was my favorite. One day with family and then three days all to myself.

  3. I’ve been retired for a long time (well, not really, I still work part time when the virus abates). But, I LOVE holidays. No family around, but since they’re all still working they do sometimes try and come for some holidays. Last Thanksgiving was amazing. I had all four of my kids, six of my eight grandkids and all their spouses here. Talk about a zoo. Was I glad to see them all? Absolutely. Was I glad to see them leave? (I won’t answer that).

    I’ve managed to stay pretty busy even with the pandemic so I ‘take the day off’ when a holiday comes.
    Grace & Peace,Iris

    1. That sounds perfect. I need to figure out how to make all the holidays feel special. Just need to make an effort, I guess!!

  4. I’m working full-time, Linda, so holidays still mean an extra day off work for me. I’ll take it! I will say most holiday weekends we stay close to home, because we don’t want to join the crowds at popular recreation spots–and, of course, this year at corona virus hot spots. This Labor Day, we had the added incentives of a heat wave and smoky skies to keep us completely indoors. Some holidays we do gather with family for barbecues. Not this time though. Thanksgiving and Christmas are still my favorite holidays!

    1. Thanks Christie. Crowds have become less appealing to me, even before COVID. Too many hassles. I hate to say it’s due to my age but maybe it is a little? We have small families and I do enjoy spending time with them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those will likely never change in significance.

  5. I’m laughing as I type this because it took me forever to find your poll. Certainly not your fault! Earlier this morning, I couldn’t come up with the word dashboard (as in the one in a car). It’s better to laugh than worry — I’m going with that for the moment.

    I was never big on holidays anyway, with the exception of Thanksgiving (which admittedly was probably more about the food anyway). But adding in the pandemic, and I agree it has managed to make me question the need for any of them this year. I’d cancel Thanksgiving if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d be angry knowing everyone else is eating turkey but me. 😉

    1. That is too funny. Now, if you’d waited to look for it until this weekend, you wouldn’t have found it anyway. It’s set to close on Friday. Then you’d really think you were losing it!!

      Even if I were alone, I’d have turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s a must have. And all the good things that go with it. Why not???

  6. Many holidays are connected to the seasons. I tend to celebrate the seasons more than the actual holidays on the calendar. This hasn’t changed in retirement. I’m aware of the calendar holiday but the demands of the season dictate how I spend the day. There are many occasions/days that call for celebration that aren’t marked on the calendar. I still recall the joy of having extra days off when I was still working. I have to remember that I can take a day “off” even in retirement.

    1. We definitely need to give ourselves permission to take a day off, even in retirement. Nothing wrong with spending a day doing nothing but what makes you happy. That’s the true benefit of being retired. Thanks Mona.

  7. I agree that holidays, and even weekends, have lost their allure in the 5 years since I retired. I was never a big partier but I did enjoy the time away from work. Now, being single and still in quasi-lockdown, three day weekends don’t seem any different. I like to celebrate certain holidays – Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Christmas – because of their significance. Other than that, because of my dysfunctional family dynamics, none of the family oriented holidays mean much to me.

    1. If only life were like a Hallmark movie!! These are the things that can make us disappointed in our own lives. I know there are people that think you have to get together with family on the actual holiday or it doesn’t matter. I don’t care when or where we celebrate as long as we can spend time with each other. And family gatherings can create tension depending on the circumstances. Sometimes being alone isn’t so bad!!

  8. My favorite holiday isn’t really a holiday at all: Halloween. It is the only one that I actually decorate for and our neighbors put on a really fun adult party… at least they did in years past. Who knows what will happen this year.

    I completely agree that the anticipation of having extra days off work made the holidays extra-special when we worked. Now… meh. But, an’nyce said, “Every day is a holiday when you’re retired!”

    1. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Halloween this year as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve already changed our Thanksgiving plans which makes me sad. No matter what, I’m enjoying my never ending holiday called retirement!!

  9. Almost all holidays have become “just another day”. And in some cases, a pain with more traffic here at the beach! [I had to recall it was a 3-day weekend after I saw tons of boats out & about yesterday.] I used to do more for the holidays, family-wise, but realized that it was not appreciated and that lack of appreciation at the day’s gathering always left me feeling bad. Hubby (my Tim) for years told me to stop doing the family gathering…he saw how exhausted and upset I was at the end of each one….and a few years ago I did stop. So now, we don’t even plan anything just for us. Sometimes I miss that idealized gathering…. that really never happened! I’m wondering if I should start some new traditions around holidays.

    1. Isn’t it funny how we want that ideal family gathering but it never happens? I enjoy having people over too but I want everything just right which definitely stresses me out. Then I can’t even appreciate the day. I’m getting better at “simple” but it doesn’t change my desire for perfection. We’re too hard on ourselves!!

  10. other than Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays haven’t meant much to me for the past 40 years, my wife or I were always working so hard to get home to family now that I’m retired and a widower as you said, it’s just another day. No family left to spend time with, today is just another Monday to me.

    1. Three day weekends were good if you had to travel far to see family. But now it’s best to avoid those times for traveling. Thanks Mike.

  11. I feel much the same way. Today does not feel any different from any other day. It’s not like we can have a bunch of people over for a cook-out. I wonder how I’m going to feel about decorating for Christmas, knowing there will be no cocktail parties or friends over for dinner – just the 5 of us as it has been for the past months. I have tried not to think about it too much, but here we are in September….

    1. I know. We don’t typically have big celebrations but we had planned to spend Thanksgiving in Arizona with Tim’s mom and now we don’t feel comfortable flying. My niece in Germany may not be able to come either. She’s already canceled one trip due to the virus. Tough time.

      1. I appreciate them for what they are, in general, rather than a day off or a picnic day, although I have many still working friends and family that still work and its a day I can see them. I admit labor day is a difficult one for me to get into the meaning off other than it being the end of summer. Many other holidays have unfortunately turned into picnics and days off. One of the many reasons I am not in favor of the Monday holiday thing. Celebrate on the day. I always celebrate the veterans holidays, Halloween in full, Thanksgiving,( I love to eat and I adore football). And all the winter and religious ones.

        1. Making holidays on Mondays seems to emphasize the value to working people. Give us a three day weekend instead of celebrating the actual day. To me, that also makes those holidays less important.

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