Blogging On a Holiday: Should You Do It or Ditch It?

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

For Canadians, that is. I was of two minds about what to write this year, considering current Internet trends. Should I do like so many other bloggers, post up a holiday notice and go enjoy a day with my family? Or should I treat the day in a business-as-usual manner? After all, the virtual world is international.

It’s a tough call.

Alright, let’s be honest, though. As I write this post, it’s actually October 4 and we haven’t even made our Thanksgiving plans yet. I’m going to timestamp this post for automatic publishing on the 13th and take Thanksgiving Day off anyways. You wouldn’t even notice I was gone if I didn’t tell you.

But many bloggers don’t seem to do that type of thing. I see plenty – plenty of blog posts on various holidays go up that just cheer for the occasion, wish readers well and that’s it.

Why? Why do people post up holiday wishes when so many other people don’t observe the same holiday?

“Well, it’s just a nice thought, James. It’s kind. It’s… well, it’s a holiday!”

Okay, I get that. Why not write a post that says, “Hey, Happy Thanksgiving,” at the top and then continue with the rest of the post?

I don’t understand why I should post that I’m off having turkey with the people I love and resting on a well-deserved day off while so many other people are just having a regular day. It’s not Thanksgiving for all my readers. Not everyone even believes in Thanksgiving.

So what purpose does it serve to put up a notice that I’m not around?

“Well, it shows that we have certain beliefs and respect them.”

Alright. So you post all your holiday notices, I’ll post mine and the other guy will post his. That’ll make for a nice mess, hm?

Oh, and while we’re talking about respect of beliefs, should we get into respect for other people’s beliefs? Don’t they matter? Why don’t we post nice wishes on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the day Zwarte Piet arrives?

“Well, James, really. Now you’re going overboard. There’s a holiday every day of the year somewhere.”

Exactly. The Internet could become a fiesta of holiday notices of all kinds from all over. Finding out which blog is up and running on specific days could become a nightmare. Granted, it isn’t yet, but more people from all sorts of countries in the world are coming online every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Back to posting notices, shall we? I’d like to know why a public worldwide demonstration of a holiday observance is a necessary thing. Can’t we celebrate quietly without telling people we’re celebrating? Are we that egotistical that we believe the whole blogosphere cares we’re off having a turkey dinner?

Does it make us feel more important about ourselves to distinguish that we observe certain holidays or uphold certain beliefs? Does telling everyone make us a better person than the next guy who doesn’t?

“Well…”

Hm. Yes. Things start to get a little nebulous, don’t they? Where does self-respect start and end? Where does respect for others pick up and leave off?

“Well, you shouldn’t ignore holidays, James…”

Of course not. I don’t. But I don’t feel the need to scream from the rooftops about the holidays I observe. It’s just not necessary. It serves no purpose. There is no benefit to readers or to the blogger. None.

We have blog post timestamps, people. Use them.

“Oh, come on, now, hey. Look at your own blog, James. You shut down last Christmas, you hypocrite.”

Yes, yes we did. Truthfully, we just used Christmas as an excuse to take a break from blogging. We took advantage of the situation for ulterior motives. We didn’t shut down because it was Christmas. Harry doesn’t even observe the same kind of Christmas that I do.

Anyways, today’s holiday up here in the Great White North is about giving thanks, so I will.

I give thanks that the Canadians are outnumbered online, because that means I won’t have to see a whole bunch of Happy Thanksgiving wishes plastered all over.

I give thanks that I can carry out my personal holiday observance in an intimate setting while life goes on around me.

I give thanks that I can respect myself by observing my holiday and respect others not observing the same holiday on the same day.

I give thanks WordPress (or whoever) invented timestamping so that my blog doesn’t have to shut down while I’m away.

I am curious about how others feel regarding holidays and blogging. I welcome people’s thoughts, so please feel free to share them (without setting our blog on fire, hm?)

Should bloggers post holiday observances and absences? Is it right to do so when we have technology that lets us sidestep that hitch in regular posting? Do you consider it fun or boring when holiday notices go up? What do you do when a holiday comes around?

There’s a ton of conversation to be had here, and I think it’ll be an interesting. I’ll add my thoughts to the discussion too.

Tomorrow. After I return from my holiday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. I have never been to the newsagent and seen a newspaper in the stand that is only a frontpage long and declares, “It’s Christmas, we’re taking the day off!” If you have nothing to say, the professional thing to do is to say nothing. I prefer your suggestion that a writer would future-post something if they have a regular posting schedule. I suppose many bloggers haven’t made the mental jump to realizing that they’ve become publishers in this New Renaissance of the art, entertainment and media industries.

    Someone should invent an aggregator that rounds up all the holiday notices from around the world, each day. Then, we tie holiday notice offenders up in a chair and give them nothing to read for 24 hours except for the Holiday Notice Aggregator. That would allow us to salvage some entertainment from this phenomenon as we watch them squirm in frustration.

  2. I won’t begrudge anyone the option to say “Have a great WHATEVER DAY, I’m taking the day off.” Am I interested in it? Not particularly. But the hell if I’m going to stand in their way or criticize them for it.

    I’ve seen plenty of small businesses (big businesses, too) with notes on the door that say “See You After Christmas!” I think it depends, in part, on how you see your blog. Do you see your blog as part of the media? Follow those conventions. Is your blog a small business? Follow those.

    It doesn’t become a problem until someone says “Happy WHATEVER DAY, I’m taking the day off, and you should too if you’re a good person.”

  3. I agree with Bob — etiquette should depend on the type of blog. Many people follow blogs with a more personal tone precisely because they enjoy knowing what that blogger is up to. A lot of blogs thrive on that curiosity…hey, maybe for some it’s a way to vicariously live the life and celebrations of a Canadian, or a Jew. But if a blog is strictly informational, for example, such holiday notes are definitely irrelevant.

    James: All that said, thanks for giving us an interesting post while you’re off celebrating!

  4. Give it a go, at least I would if the situation permitted. Plenty of ways around this, my aim would be to post a head of time or to maybe allow a guest post. Interesting topic, I’m curious to hear what others think?

    Oh, another thought, maybe the decision should be considered with one’s readership in mind.

    Miguel Wickerts last blog post..Blog Development ( Series) Site Goals and Objectives

  5. Hi Jerry,

    You’ve raised some good points.

    Readers who enjoy holidays and who like hearing about a blogger’s activities aside from blogging will enjoy holiday posts; others may not if their intent is to obtain information via visiting the blog. You can’t please all the people all of the time.

    It’s been my observation that blogs that offer a personal touch tend to attract readers. While many people are career-driven, it’s still refreshing to read a blog that isn’t just a dull listing of information.

    Write and Earn a Livings last blog post..Writing Children’s Books

  6. Graham Strong says:

    @James – Just wrestled with this myself. Wrote my post (just a short announcement) and then wished all Canadians a Happy Thanksgiving. Wondered if I should even do it, but *not* to mention it would seem a little weird. Part of the holidays is togetherness, and simply saying “Happy Thanksgiving” brings us closer together.

    On the other hand, I always celebrate my birthday as a national holiday. That one I didn’t announce this year, though I did take the day off. Nobody that I know of observes my birthday (yet, heheh) so there was no reason to wish everyone a Happy Graham Day.

    I do agree that a “Gone Fishin'” sign on your blog is usually a little much. But in your case, you do answer comments quicker than most, so telling everybody to expect your comments back tomorrow is probably a useful courtesy.

    So Happy Thanksgiving to you James, and all who are celebrating. And a Happy-belated Graham Day, for those who celebrated that too…

    ~Graham

    P.S. Tell me that “fiesta of holiday announcements” was pun intended…

  7. The thing about Thanksgiving, that lends itself to people wanting to write about it, is that we like to show our appreciation of the good things in our life. Whether or not you actually write on Thanksgiving, it’s pretty cool to list the things that you’re grateful for on Thanksgiving. So I can get behind that.

    To each their own. And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    Mark Dykemans last blog post..Digg.com lacks… it just lacks

  8. I think the holiday announcements are nice, actually. It opens my eyes to (literally) a world of holidays I might not otherwise know about. Until a few years ago, I never realized that Canada celebrated Thanksgiving in October–or, if I knew, it hadn’t registered. Now I find it an endearing quirk that makes me smile when I see it cropping up. One of the great things about the internet is that there are entries from all over the world, and if nobody ever mentioned what they were doing off the computer, think how dull it would be? I LIKE being reminded that it’s Spring in the southern hemisphere, even though our leaves are turning colors and it’s finally sweater-weather again. So, in my book, by all means, everyone, continue to announce your holidays, spread the joy.

    As to the business part? Well, no … I’d be disappointed in the blogging community if everyone took off for, say, Arbor Day, or “National Be Good to your Dog” day, because, well, that would be silly. But the major holidays? I’m not going to expect any Canadian to post today because they SHOULD be spending time with family and friends and turkey. If they wanted to plan ahead (like you did), that’s fine, but major holidays? I’m not going to begrudge them to anyone.

    –Debs last blog post..Business: It’s All in the Cards

  9. I don’t mind seeing bloggers post that they’re off enjoying their holidays, but I don’t tend to post up such notices myself. If I were running a business blog, I would likely schedule my posts in advance. Since my blog isn’t about business, I simply take a day off as I see fit and resume my blogging when I return. Holiday or not.

    As Deb touched on, I too have learned some interesting bits from bloggers’ holiday posts, and I find it interesting (on personal blogs anyway) to learn how folks celebrate. The recent Jewish holidays brought out some interesting posts. I already knew the holiday but was enlightened to learn how differently we all celebrate.

    Amy Derbys last blog post..Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Conquering Stress Addiction

  10. It all depends on the blog. I’d be downright shocked if some blogs even mentioned a holiday unless it directly pertained to the post of the day. Blogs that have a more personal feel (like MwP) I can see posting a holiday announcement and taking the day off. I do like that you (pre)posted so there was still something here for my holiday reading enjoyment though, and I think that’s a great way to do it. Thanks!

  11. Honestly, I’d not thought of it until you brought it up, but your way of handling it makes perfect sense. If you’re going to take the time off, then prepare. Date stamp your posts ahead of time, and catch up on the comments when you return. That seems perfectly reasonable. A holiday post that basically says, “smell ya later,” IS kind of a waste of time.

    Writer Dads last blog post..Namasté

  12. @Writer Dad–I agree. I would prefer if a blogger used the holiday as a springboard for a post, instead of an excuse not to post.

  13. What an interesting post! I have been posting a Happy WHATEVER post for major US holidays that I celebrate. Not so much as a notice that I’m off, but more just to be a well-wisher to others celebrating the same day. I usually only post once or twice a week, so a 1 day holiday isn’t a reason for me not to post, so that’s not the reason.

    Now that I’m entering my 2nd year of blogging, though, I’m realizing how redundant the Happy WHATEVER posts are going to be. I mean, how many ways can I say Happy Halloween, LOL.

    My thought was that it adds a sense of personalization to the site, but reading the comments, seems it’s actually pretty pointless. My first repeat Happy___ will be for Halloween… only have a couple weeks to decide what I’m going to do, LOL.

    Selene M. Bowlbys last blog post..Business Card Design Galore – Uprinting.com Review + Brief Tutorial + Blogger Business Card Showcase

  14. It does make sense to at least acknowledge that you’re away for the day, even if you’re going to set up the auto-post thing to happen while you’re away, because you won’t be around to participate in comments. Particularly here, people are going to notice that and question it. So a simple head-nod to the holiday is in order.

  15. If it’s a holiday that we observe, and thus, spend celebrating rather than working, then we’re perfectly fine to celebrate instead of work, or write blog posts.

    No reader deserves a post from us on a holiday, nor am I bothered when someone in India or Africa enjoys their holiday without posting. I say go celebrate and I’ll see you when you come back.

    Holiday notices? If it’s a blog with frequent posts, it could be a wise move; if it’s a blog that posts once a week or so, it’s not necessary.

    However, blogs are the creations of individuals, so personalizing them is a good thing–that is, whatever someone wants to do is cool. If it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want and if it’s your blog, do what you want.

    Being individuals who celebrate our unique holidays is a good thing. Needing to read your favorite bloggers every day, regardless of circumstances, is not. It borders on co-dependency, in my view.

    Anyway, I love holidays, both the ones we have here in the U.S. and those celebrated around the world.

    We don’t have to work 24/7 all the time. Let’s enjoy our holidays.

    Jesse Hiness last blog post..Grammar Tip: When to Use “We” or “Us”

  16. Nicole, that’s a good point I hadn’t thought of — saying you’ll be away because you won’t be responding to comments.

    I am attached to my iphone, so I respond to comments even when I’m not at my computer. I can’t remember the last time I went more than 12 hrs without responding to comments (even on days I don’t post). If I planned to not be around at all, like for a day or two, I suppose I would give a head’s up to my readers in the previous day’s post (like, a sentence at the end of the post). I still don’t think I would create a whole new post just to say I would be gone, even though I don’t mind when others do it that way.

  17. Avid Writer says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!:)

  18. Happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadian readers and Happy Columbus Day to those of you in the states. As for the rest of the world, well, have a good one!

    Debbis last blog post..Quotation for the Week of October 12

  19. Hey, good comments everyone. A couple of things I’d like to add to the discussion:

    I don’t begrudge *anyone* the chance to take a day off. I’m sorry if people thought that’s what I was saying, because that was definitely not the take-away message I wanted to give. Take days off, enjoy the holidays, yes. Always.

    What I think is important is that you prepare for them in advance, don’t cheat your readers and that you have respect for other people while celebrating.

    I think holidays are, as RLD pointed out, springboard opportunities for posts (like mine) and that writers/bloggers should use those opportunities to their fullest potential.

    And on a side note, we had roast beef instead of turkey, I had a great day and thanks for the warm wishes!

  20. Urban Panther says:

    Well, thank goodness I posted about our turkey catching on fire rather than wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Bah-humbug!!! (oh, wrong season complaint…umm….gobble gobble to you too!)

    It actually never occured to me not to post on Monday. Monday through Fridays are Urban Panther posting days, so I posted. It just happened to be about the series of unfortunate events that befell the Urbane Lion. I’ll likely post on Christmas and Boxing Day if they fall mid-week, and the post will likely be related to those events (hopefully the turkey doesn’t catch on fire again), because I write about what I observe. If someone chooses to write about their celebrations, that’s cool too because hopefully I will learn something.

    As for someone firing up a post that simply wishes me a Happy Thanksgiving, I don’t think that is necessary. I read posts to be entertained and/or learn something. If you are simply going to wish me well, and tell me you are taking time off, I have just wasted time (as harsh as that sounds) coming over to your blog.

    In conclusion, I’m with you on this, James…..I think.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Through someone else’s eyes

  21. You know what’s scary: If I wished everyone a happy (time that I celebrate), I would _at least_ double my blogs existing posts. For instance, I’m stoked that tonight’s the full moon in these parts of the world and you know when the next full moon is? About a month from now.

    I agree, James–announcing celebrations can get a bit out of hand.

  22. I mainly use celebrations as prompts; I got a sweet piece on perspectives out of Independence Day, and Labor Day gave me an excuse to riff on the question of what main characters do when they’re not out main-charactering.

    Then again, if I don’t let family crises or long trips keep me from posting, why should a little thing like a holiday slow me down?

    If you’re not going to post, don’t post. If you’re going to post, make it interesting. If you want to talk about the holiday, either making a theme of it or mentioning it in passing, talk about the holiday. Just try to stay true to the style your readers are used to seeing from you.

    Ravyns last blog post..Collaboration and Challenges

  23. Speaking as someone who has taken work projects on her last two vacations, I say don’t work on the holiday. 😉

    Seriously, I think the key is whether or not working on holiday will keep you from interacting with loved ones. I usually try to arrange my schedule so I don’t have to work on holidays and vacations, but often a last minute deadline changes my plans.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Laura Spencers last blog post..Of Note, The Blood Red Pencil

  24. Ok, I’m like two weeks late to the party, but here’s my thought.

    When you visit my blog, it’s like visiting my house. I put out the welcome mat, put some nice pictures on the walls, serve hot coffee and chocolate chip cookies, and sit down to talk about what’s on my mind, and yours.

    If I celebrate a holiday, and you stop by on that day, I’ll give you a piece of birthday cake with your coffee. If it’s a holiday for you, I’d be happy to celebrate with you.

    Timestamp if you’re organized enough, send out a quick Happy Holiday if you’re not. Makes no difference to me, but I respect the right to celebrate, and take time off if you feel the need.

    Jamies last blog post..Blogging for Dollars: Tweak the Bottom Line

  25. Um, sorry to flog your blogging eloquence, but I must point out that “Alright” in your second full paragraph should be spelled “All right.” Often confused with already, all right is two words.

    Otherwise, I think it’s cool for a blogger to give himself or herself some down time with a meaningful, time-stamped statement or send-off.

    Be well,
    Lili

  26. @ Lili – Actually, there’s nothing wrong with “alright”. It’s a non-standard abbreviation dating back to about 1890 or so and commonly used in non-formal language, which is the style we use here at our blog.

    You can have some fun reading these:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/02/news/edaaron.php
    http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19990604

Trackbacks

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