Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Ettiquette

Its the obligatory phrase that the world yells when the second hand hits the 12, and the year jumps forward. Its the phrase you hear for weeks after the big day, but just when is enough enough? When will the madness cease?

I must admit that I do get sick of hearing that casual phrase. I don't mind using it when i is applicable but February 8th is not New Years. I don't care if you haven't seen your friend since 2009 but you cannot still use that greeting. However, I admit that there is a significant grey area that needs to be addressed. Just when is using that phrase appropriate?

Today, I'm putting my foot down and defining the appropriate dates from which the phrase "Happy New Year" is applicable and acceptable to be used in conversation.

  • Any day after Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa
  • New Year's Eve
  • New Year's Day
Here's where it starts to get a little tricky. By all means, you can use the greeting in early January, but when is it too late to continue the trend? I say the first half of January is in the clear; greet to your heart's content. But what about after the 14th. I propose a grace period lasting around a few days. Using the greeting on th 15th is partially acceptable, the 16th passable and the 17th endurable.

So it's acceptable to use the phrasing on:
  • Up till, and including, January 14th
  • 15th, 16th and 17th but use is not encouraged

The 18th is the day that the the greeting is entering its redundant phase. On this day, expect to be looked at strangely when using the greeting. On the 19th expect a few more weird looks and a shake of the head or two. But on the 20th, you're dead wrong. Congratulations, you have entered the black zone.

It is never acceptable to use the greeting past this date. That is unless you have amnesia. Or want it...

So there we go folks. Spread this post to your friends and family, to outline to them the proper New Year greeting etiquette.

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