With Memorial Day fast approaching, we thought it would be a good time to take a moment to appreciate and reflect upon the true meaning of the holidays – getting embarrassingly, pants-wetting drunk. And in that spirit, we thought we’d go one step further and rank these drinking holidays, from the lamest to the most awesome. Some might surprise you while others will make you recall fondly the time you got wasted and shot a firecracker out of your ass. But the one thing they all have in common is that the only reasonable way to get through them is with a bottle. Or maybe a beer bong.
Easter? Yeah, Easter. Sure, it might be a holiday about less important things than drinking, like hanging with your family or Jesus, but last time I checked they served wine at church so I’m counting it. Still, it’s wine that’s actually supposed to be blood and you don’t get drunk off of it so much as be reminded of all the ways you have been a degenerate screw-up in the eyes of God, so all in all it’s pretty much the worst of all the drinking holidays. Actually, given all the giant bunnies and neon and pastel colored eggs, it might be the best LSD holiday of them all. So at least it’s got that going for it.
Like Easter, Christmas isn’t traditionally associated with drunken revelry. But let’s not forget that Christmas has its own alcoholic drink. Sure, it’s horrible and if you drink too much of it you will vomit all over Grandma, but eggnog will still do the trick. Plus, you can get nicely toasted at many of the dozens of Christmas parties we’re all dragged to. But let’s face it, drinking at Christmas is more about survival than it is about having a good time. We drink just to get through it, to be able to withstand all those mind-numbingly boring Christmas parties and the various relatives and coworkers whose names we can’t remember who inhabit them. So it’s hard to rank it any higher than this relatively lowly spot on our list. Sorry again, Jesus.
You would figure that Cinco de Mayo would rank higher since its whole reason for existence seems to be getting shitfaced but the truth is that Cinco de Mayo is pretty overrated as a drinking holiday. The problem is that most years you find yourself stuck at work and since Cinco de Mayo isn’t as widely celebrated as, say, its Irish cousin, if you do decide to get plowed at work people will just think you have a problem. Hell, most people don’t even know that it’s Cinco de Mayo until someone tells them. Still, if you can sneak away to a bar or restaurant they’ll probably have something lined up – like a row of tequila shooters – and hey, any excuse to tell yourself you’re just getting into the spirit of things and not a pathetic drunk is good enough to bump it ahead of the more sober Jesus-centric holidays, right? Right.
Thanksgiving is kind of an underrated drinking holiday. After all, there’s a reason why Thanksgiving Eve has garnered a reputation as the busiest bar night of the year. It’s the night when everyone returns home from college and catches up with old friends over drinks and the night when everyone else catches up with their drinks in order to get away from all the old friends and family that are staying with them. But it’s not really a party atmosphere. It kind of has the same depressing pall over it that Christmas does, like everyone is drinking just to get through it all. Still, “busiest bar night of the year” means something around these parts. We’re dudes and lady dudes of deep principle, after all.
When you’re a kid, Halloween is all about dressing up in cute costumes, drinking apple cider and getting candy from strangers. When you’re an adult, Halloween is all about dressing up in slutty costumes, drinking hard apple cider and having sex with strangers. So Halloween has to have a semi-respectable place on this list. The problem, again, is that Halloween tends to fall on a workday and so the actual day itself is kinda lame and your alcohol related shenanigans usually have to wait for the weekend, which is okay but honestly doesn’t make it that much different than any other weekend party. It might have slightly more costumes than the usual weekend party depending on how freaky you are, but on the alcohol front, it isn’t much different. Still, again, any excuse to drink is a good excuse.
The 4th of July is always a good drinking holiday. Everyone has the day off, it’s nice outside and you can pretty much drink the day away if you want. The only thing keeping it from a higher spot on this list is that it kind of has the feel of a family holiday, doesn’t it? Everyone cooks out, hi-fives America and then plays with fireworks. It’s not really a big party atmosphere. It’s less tequila and anonymous sex, and more beers and stuffing yourself with hot dogs. That isn’t to say that isn’t a hell of a way to spend a day itself, it’s just that, well, that other stuff is just a tad more fun. Still, the 4th is a perfectly respectable drinking holiday and so it gets a perfectly respectable spot on this list.
Labor Day is similar to the 4th of July in a lot of respects – the cookouts, the lazy feel, etc. – but the thing that separates the two is that while the 4th falls right in the middle of summer, Labor Day come at the end of summer and so it’s the last real chance to party before it starts getting colder and the bikinis and sun dresses go back in the closet. That means that the atmosphere is just slightly more kinetic, with people drinking and partying just a little bit harder, looking to have one last good time before all the fun goes back in the closet along with all those bikinis and sun dresses. The result is one of the better drinking days of the entire year. Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s also a day specifically designed to celebrate not having to work for a day and what better way to remind yourself that you’re not at work than by getting completely shitfaced?
There isn’t a whole lot separating Memorial Day from its cousins, the 4th of July and Labor Day, but what gives it the edge is that for most it marks the first day of summer, the first day when you finally let all the winter doldrums fall by the wayside and cut loose. It’s a day in which millions of people take all that pent up partying and drinking energy and release it onto the world. Sure, there are the requisite sober head nods for the fallen soldiers out there but then it’s straight drinking. People get wild on Memorial Day. They just do. Just find any place with water deep enough to hold a boat and you’ll see evidence of that first hand. Pour one out for the fallen and then pour the rest down your gullet. That’s Memorial Day in a nutshell.
Look, I agree, St. Patrick’s Day is slightly overrated. But here’s the thing – it’s only overrated because people get so shitfaced that it’s become a cliché and people love busting on clichés. The truth – and that’s all we’re ever after here at Guyism – is that St. Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year when you can get completely hammered no matter where you are and people will be cool with it. At a party, a bar, alone in the middle of the street, hell even at work – people expect you to drink. I once openly drank on St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of one of my college classes. And that’s because the professor is the one who brought the drinks! Another St. Patrick’s Day saw me help kill a keg and then pass out at eleven o’clock – eleven o’clock in the morning. You can say it’s overrated and a cliché all you want but name me one other day of the year that kind of thing isn’t just the exception, but the rule. You can’t and that’s why it deserves its ranking.
If you’re not drinking on New Year’s Eve, you’re not doing it right. New Year’s Eve is basically one big worldwide party. Everyone is chill for a change and people just want to get drunk and then laid just after midnight. It has everything – you don’t have to work, the drinking is near universal and so you don’t have to worry about some teetotaler giving you the evil eye, there are parties everywhere you turn and then you can lay around all day the next day and watch football and stuff your face with leftovers from Christmas. Now that’s how you do a drinking holiday right.
(Previously published on May 24, 2013.)