Presidents' Day

Presidents' Day, also known as Washington's Birthday, became the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen. It is observed on the third Monday of February every year. The technical name for the federal holiday is Washington's Birthday (created in 1880), but many state governments have re-named the holiday "Presidents' Day". In the state of Virginia, Washington's birthplace, the holiday is officially called "George Washington Day". Whatever you choose to call it, most people associate Presidents' Day (or Presidents' Week depending on where you live) with only two things: skiing vacations and great sales. To be fair, the holiday has been pushed to greater prominence by the advertising and retail industries, who in the 1980s decided to make the federal holiday into a commercial weekend. However, there's no reason you shouldn't take advantage of all the great sales opportunities!

Sales and Rebates

If you're thinking about a new appliance, a new car, or some new winter gear, this is the best time to do it. With spring just a few weeks away, most retailers are moving out the winter stock at greatly reduced prices; it's a great time to get a coat, sweaters, skis, gloves, and winter boots. This is not, however, the ideal time to get luxury goods; anything that was prime for Valentine's giving is back to its usual price. Don't be surprised if you have to do a little bardrive for $40; you're more likely to find it for $200 with a $160 rebate if you mail in the form. This can seem daunting and risky, but it is usually worth it. Here are a few tips for rebate redemption: * Read the fine print before you buy. Make sure you're eligible and that you have all the necessary materials. * Make copies of everything before you send it off receipts, UPC codes, rebate forms, everything. * Send your rebate materials through certified mail so you'll have delivery confirmation; isn't it worth a few dollars extra to make sure your $500 rebate goes through? * Mark the date on your calender by which you should receive your rebate. If this day passes, contact the company. For more advice on redeeming rebates, read this article from the CBC. This time of year, look for sales in these categories: If you've got a sweet tooth, keep in mind that most Valentine's Day candy will be on sale right around Presidents' Day as well! (Pink M&Ms taste just as good as all the others.)

Skiing Getaways

Presidents' Day weekend is also a great time to hit the slopes. If you ski in the East, this is probably the best time to go; there is usually more snow than there was in December, there's more sunlight at the end of the day, and the weather tends to be better. Skiing out west is always great, but in February you'll still get more light on the slopes than you would in December. Snap a ski over Christmas break? Tear a hole in your favorite snowboard gloves? This is a great time to take advantage of sales on ski and snowboard equipment. Before you hit the slopes, make sure everything is in good working order and stock up on trailside essentials.

Presidential Patriotism

Finally, Presidents' Day is a great time to learn about presidents, of all things. If you know a serious history buff, get him or her one of the dozens of biographies that have come out lately; there are also a number of new books about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War that will be of interest. You can also add a little educational fun to your kids' day off from school with a presidential trivia game or a biography written for youngsters. Don't forget to display your flag outside! For more information about how to display a flag, read the United States Flag Code at '''Recent Biographies''' '''Books for Kids''' '''Games and Toys''' '''Portraiture''' Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot to get a great portrait of two of our greatest presidents!