Handsel Monday is the first Monday of the year, particularly as used to be celebrated in Scotland and northern England.
The “handsel” refers to small tips and gifts of money that it was customary to give at the beginning of the first working week of a new year. In this respect it is somewhat similar to Boxing Day. If the handsel was a physical object rather than money, tradition said that the object could not be sharp, or it would "cut" the relationship between the giver and the recipient.
I started eating on Thanksgiving and I don’t think that I have stopped since. So that is around 40 days and 40 nights of holiday cheer. Thanksgiving is the official “kick off” to the holiday season, and we don’t miss a beat in our household. Football, food and family, for almost 40 straight days. Then, all of the holiday parties. Even when we are at work, we really don’t get much work done the few days before Thanksgiving. Then the “starter’s pistol” goes off on Black Friday – and the official manic shopping begins. My two sons went to the mall at 4:00am this year, to grab the bargains. I went along in spirit only, as they had my credit card.
December always seems to fly by. It always feels like there will be more time. You really can’t get any new projects started in December, because even if you are working, your (clients, vendors, partners, suppliers, etc.) are not “really” working, right? The closer it gets to Christmas, the easier it is to say “see me next year”.
Christmas Day is always the best day. Even in a bad economy, regardless of the number of presents under the tree, Christmas morning produces the best feeling in the world. The entire month of December’s TV shows and movies tries to remind us of the true spirit of Christmas, but we are always thinking about the gifts – and spending money - especially when you put off your shopping until the last minute.
New Year’s is the weirdest holiday, don’t you think? Should we go out? Should we stay home? Going to Times Square in NYC is always discussed with great enthusiasm in our house – and then we never do it. And the news on TV always runs through the long list of big stories of the past year, and they go through the list of all of the celebrities that passed away during the year. I always see someone that I thought was already long gone – and now, they really are.
OK, so we are all done, tomorrow is Monday, 1/3/2011. The 40 days and 40 nights of the holiday season have now officially passed. It is time to get back to normal. Back to work, and send the kids back to school.
Not so fast! Remember, tomorrow is Handsel Monday! What if everyone at your office is going to celebrate Handsel Monday, and you almost forgot? What if everyone at work has gifts, and cards, and balloons? What if they have cake – Handsel Monday Cake!!!
I am not sure, but I think that you are supposed to wear polka dots on Handsel Monday, like wearing green on St. Patty’s day. Party City might still be open, and you need to get your Happy Handsel Day banners and napkins. Get moving!
Now I know what you are thinking. Thank God that I “blogged” the night before Handsel Monday, otherwise you would have totally forgot all about it, and boy would you have been embarrassed.
Well, here is one more thing that you should remember. The first Monday of the New Year is your chance to start fresh. It is your chance to do all of the things that you wanted to do. It is your chance to start all of the projects, and pursue all of the tasks and the opportunities that you were told “see me next year”.
The first Monday of the New Year – it is up to you how you want to celebrate this special day. I hope that you make 1/3/2011 the best day ever. It is up to you – but when you really stop and think about it, it is always up to you.
So, now you can call all of your prospects and clients tomorrow, and wish them a “Happy Handsel Day”. And, while they are scratching their heads, you can ask them for the order.
Have a great 2011.