by Chrysa Smith

Do Americans have enough time off?
I believe the average is 10-12 paid days annually, plus accumulated vacation time (if your employer hasn’t had to cut benefits) We do seem to work an inordinately long number of hours compared to our European friends. No hard coffee breaks, casual cafe conversations, best friend bistro time—all to stop and smell the roses. I remember back to the week I spent working in Switzerland, when we stopped our meeting to go watch the cows come down the mountain: an annual must see event.

So, where’s the time to just be? Enjoy the little things in life? Savor the passing moments? While watching tv this morning, I may have just found it in national food days. According to the annual list of American Food & Drink Holidays, I counted 58 food celebrations in March alone. March 1st was National Pancake Day, and in celebration, IHOP (International House of Pancakes) was giving out free pancakes all day. I wish I knew that before breakfast. So I did a little research and discovered that food—-the glorious nourishment that sustains and delights us, is celebrated somewhere, somehow on almost every day of the year.
Take this month, for example. In March, did you know we celebrate National Ham and Pineapple Day? National Syrup Day (if only it were on the same day as pancake day)? American Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Week?
Marketing gimmicks, you say? Maybe. After all, you can even create your very own special holiday by going to But think about it for a moment: if IHOP will serve you a comp pancake breakfast on March 1st, just how long could you keep the food and drink flowing? I, for one, am going to further investigate any giveaways, special offers and freebies for National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5), National Crabmeat Day (March 9), National Baked Scallops Day (March 12), National Potato Chip Day (March 14), Coq Au Vin Day (March 22), National Black Forest Cake Day (March 28) and possibly the most creative and mysterious: Something on a Stick Day (also March 28).
Now if you could only convince your boss that it would be the patriotic thing to honor such holidays with some time off, a bonus or just a nice lunch out.