A Day Off Fit For President(s)

President’s Day is one of the great holidays to have a day off from your normal actitivties, enjoy an extended weekend and be treated – well – like a President. It’s also the perfect opportunity for retailers to have big sales and earn big money. Kids are off school, adults are off work, and everyone is ready to spend money. It’s also a great chance for families to get out of town for a long weekend and relax. Therefore, the travel industry benefits as well.  But where did the holiday come from? And why do we all get the day off? President’s Day tells an interesting story that has evolved into a marketing paradise. One that has been untold and overlooked year after year.

Holiday Orgins

A lot of us know about President’s Day; however, we may not be familiar with it’s history. Originally, it began as a remembrance for George Washington, our country’s 1st President. It was initially referred to as “Washington’s Birthday” paying tribute to our president born on February 22, 1732. But it wasn’t until 1885, almost 100 years after his death, that the holiday was established under federal law.

After Washington, Abraham Lincoln followed as another prominent president in American history. In 1968, he was re-popularized. It was then debated if his birthday, also in February, should be combined with Washington’s and celebrated as one. After congress deliberated, they decided against it. Instead, they planned to move forward with a more inclusive plan.

President’s Day is born!

In 1971, the Monday Holidays Act went into effect. Congress deemed all existing federal holidays be moved to a Monday which would allow government workers an extended weekend. “Washington’s Birthday” was included in this, moving the date from February 22nd to the third Monday in February.

Now, we celebrate President’s Day with businesses having major sales. Our off day is a marketer’s dream. Since retailers are aware we have the day off to spend money, they plan accordingly. High ticket items like furniture, mattresses and cars are huge on President’s Day. Clothing and electronics are a close second. We know where we’ll be shopping. Do you?

Bernie Levi, the author, is the Project Coordinator at Marketing Keys. She will be participating in store sales because she always needs new shoes.