diamond geezer

 Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Christmases are longer than others

This Christmas has been going on a bit, hasn't it? The long quiet spell between breaking up from work and New Year, it seems to go on for ever. We're on day 9 now. I'm assuming here that you've not been working over Christmas, but instead broke up on the last working day before the 25th and are going back on the first working day after the 1st. This year that's a glorious 10-day festive hiatus. Perfect for being with family, doing the sales, recharging your batteries, or whatever. But we don't always get 10 days off. Some years we only get 8. It all comes down to which day of the week Christmas falls, and whether the end-of-year break contains one weekend or two. This year December 25th was on a Monday so we had a weekend immediately before Christmas Day, and now we have another weekend immediately before New Year's Day. But next year's break includes only one weekend. Next year we only get 8 days off. So make the most of the next couple of days - they're a proper festive bonus.

Here's a guide to how long the Christmas break is in different years. Christmas Day (green) and New Year's Day (blue) are always on the same day of the week as each other. Bank holidays (orange) fall on the 25th, 26th and 1st (or on the next working day if any of these are at the weekend). I've shown the full length of each year's Christmas break using a coloured strip (yellow, with orange bank holidays). See, some last 10 days, and some only 8.

2000/01   2006/7   Christmas Day on Monday
FrSaSuMoTuWeThFrSaSuMoTu
2223242526272829303112
Here's this year's 10-day festive break. It's a good one. The last working day before Christmas was the 22nd (the earliest possible), followed by a full weekend to get ready for the big day. Then two successive Bank Holiday Mondays, with a decent gap inbetween, and back to work on Tuesday. Ten days altogether.

2001/2   2007/8   Christmas Day on Tuesday
MoTuWeThFrSaSuMoTuWe
242526272829303112
Next year's not quite so good. Christmas Eve falls on a Monday, which slices off that first weekend. The break continues across one remaining weekend until the following Tuesday, but that's only 8 days altogether. Not great.

2002/3   2013/4   Christmas Day on Wednesday
TuWeThFrSaSuMoTuWeTh
242526272829303112
Another 8-day-er, and possibly the worst Christmas break of all. There's a piddly but unavoidable two-day working week immediately before Christmas, and another piddly but unavoidable two-day working week after New Year. Still, at least we haven't got to suffer this particular break again until 2013, which is years away.

2003/4   2008/9   Christmas Day on Thursday
WeThFrSaSuMoTuWeThFr
242526272829303112
This isn't very good either. Another 8-day option, this time with Friday 2nd January getting in the way between the New Year holiday and another weekend. So 2008 is going to be just as brief as 2007, sorry.

1998/9   2009/10   Christmas Day on Friday
ThFrSaSuMoTuWeThFrSaSuMo
24252627282930311234
Hurrah, back to 10 days again. When New Year's Day reaches Friday, it links to a second weekend which prolongs the holiday. And this is also the only arrangement where all three Christmas bank holidays are spread out, with 'Boxing Day' celebrated two days late. Roll on 2009!

2004/5   2010/11   Christmas Day on Saturday
FrSaSuMoTuWeThFrSaSuMoTu
24252627282930311234
A full 10 day break from Saturday to Monday, just like this year. None of the bank holidays fall on the correct day, but we don't mind that. And, just like the previous year, a full three days to sleep off the New Year hangover. Nigh perfect.

2005/6   2011/12   Christmas Day on Sunday
FrSaSuMoTuWeThFrSaSuMoTu
232425262728293031123
And finally, last year's arrangement. 10 days altogether (which happens 4 years out of 7), from Saturday to Monday (which happens 3 years out of 7). Last year's Christmas was good and long. In fact, the last three Christmases have been good and long. Let's hope that next year's short Christmas doesn't come as too much of a shock.


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