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Family Day Guidelines…

Wow, times have changed. When I was little ‘Family Day’ was every Sunday. But now, the Government of Ontario here in Canada has passed legislation designating the third Monday in February as a statutory holiday called Family Day. This year it falls on Feb. 16. Guidelines have been established for employers, outlining who can remain open, who gets paid and how much. But what they haven’t provided are guidelines for those of us expected to celebrate this new Family Day.

 Everyone knows at Christmas you go to church, you get gifts, you give gifts, you break up a family argument or two and eat way too much turkey.

 New Years, you drink yourself silly, dance like a fool, and kiss strangers at midnight.

 Valentines Day, might involve some flowers, maybe some chocolate, and if you play your cards right, you get lucky.

 Easter, you just eat way too much chocolate.

 May 24th weekend, well duh, May 2-4.  Often celebrated in a tent, in the rain.

 Mother’s Day, Father’s day; no brainers.

 You get the picture? Everyone is pretty much up to speed on how to spend the holidays. 

 Sadly, judging by some of my friends, I think there are people who could benefit from some advice on how to spend this new holiday. They have no clue what ‘Family Day’ means. My girlfriend left her husband and kids at home last year, to take advantage of the long weekend to go to Vegas with the girls. My husband’s buddy went fishing with the boys.

 People. People. That’s not what Family Day is all about.

 Like I said, when I was a kid, every Sunday was family day, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject.

 My family day began with church followed by a big breakfast. Then we’d pile into the car and head to my Aunt and Uncle’s farm.

 While my dad, grandparents, and aunts and uncles played cards, my mom would walk my sisters and I, and our cousins (usually a group of at least 10 or more) to my uncle’s sawmill down the road. We would go to the top of sawdust pile and slide down to the bottom. (I have to say looking back, what were you thinking mom? Never heard of suffocation?)

Afterwards, my mom would help us catch frogs in the creek and we would splash around until we were all soaked. Some Sundays we would take turns riding my Uncle’s horses, and in the winter we’d tie toboggans on the back of skidoos (not snowmobiles) and race in and out from between the lumber piles. (Again mom, not to judge, but what were you thinking?)

 We kids always ate dinner while watching Walt Disney on their colour TV (such a treat, we only had a black and white).  In the summertime, when there was no school the next day, we’d have huge corn roasts and dance around the fire until late at night. So many wonderful memories were created on those Sundays, those ‘family days’.

 So let’s make Feb. 16 count! It’s not the time to fly to Vegas with the girls, it’s not the time to go out with the boys. Dragging the kids kicking and screaming to the mall for a day of shopping doesn’t count either. It’s time to re-establish family values in our homes and in our communities.

 Go the extra mile, do something enjoyable with the people you love and create some happy memories.  Don’t have children? Visit your mom or dad. Mom or dad passed away? Then visit an elderly neighbour. Do something for or with someone you care about.

 Family Day should be about spreading the love.  Give it a try Feb. 16 and if it feels good, do it, every Sunday if you like.




1. Halina Shillolo - February 11, 2009

Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood, Brianna Popsickle, which does indeed make you an expert of family times. I enjoyed reading about your Sundays on the farm – it was like a walk back in time, a very welcome one at that. I think you should write about family life and values and inspire families to go back to simpler times. These really are what memories are made of. And, in this time of recession
would make a lot of sense.

2. Brianna Popsickle - February 11, 2009

I couldn’t agree with you more Halina. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

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