Making Sense Of Holidays

Andy Rooney Takes A Look At America's Holidays

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.



CBS has just given all of its employees a memo that lists the ten holidays all of us get off.

New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas and Friday December 26th. They knew no one was going to work December 26th anyway.

Making the days after Christmas and Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King's birthday holidays was a good idea but I don't know what "President's Day" is for. Our president gets enough attention every day without designating a special "day" for him.

No one I know calls the Fourth of July "Independence Day" either. We all call it just "The Fourth". It's a great American holiday.

Labor Day isn't much except the last day of vacation for most of us. "Labor" no longer needs to be given a special day of its own to make it happy. The word "labor" itself is going out of style in America because very few Americans do what we think of as "labor" any more. "Labor" used to be someone working with a pick and shovel and there aren't many of them left. There are machines that do what "labor" used to do.

I don't even think Labor unions make much of "Labor Day" any more. The end of summer vacation is what Labor Day is.

Thanksgiving is a great all-American holiday but we don't do much about it either except have a big turkey dinner. The trouble with Thanksgiving is we can't decide who to thank and it's too close to Christmas, too. We're really serious about Christmas. There are always people too cheap to buy gifts who say that Christmas is too commercial but I love Christmas. It may be more commercial than religious but it's great.

There's one day I loved when I was a kid more than any other but I've cooled off on that. It was my birthday. How in the world did we ever decide to make a joyous occasion out of being a year older?
Written By Andy Rooney