Today’s holiday spotlight goes to the 33rd annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. And before anyone tunes me out, please hear me out. The Great American Smokeout is not a “bash smokers” day. If you are over a certain age (18 here in the U.S.), you have the legal right to purchase and use tobacco products. Having watched my grandfather succumb to lung cancer, that’s not a right I’ll be exercising. But as a strong proponent of limited government and personal freedom, it’s one I’ll defend.
Now, back to the Great American Smokeout. First of all, what is it? It’s an opportunity for smokers to go tobacco-free for 24 hours. For those who want to break the cigarette habit, it’s the ideal jumping-off point. Instead of going through the process alone, you can begin your journey to a smoke-free lifestyle in the company of literally millions of other Americans. And even if you’re not ready to part ways with tobacco permanently, the Great American Smokeout allows you to prove to yourself and others that you CAN make it through a day smoke-free should you choose to do so.
For non-smokers, the Great American Smokeout is a chance for you to support friends and loved ones who are giving up smoking for the day. Offer them a stick of gum, a cup of coffee, a (preferably healthy) snack, a listening ear. And if they choose to continue working toward a smoke-free lifestyle, make sure your support continues for as long as thet need it.
On an unrelated note, November 20th is also Universal Children’s Day, a UN-sanctioned observance to promote child welfare. While celebrating the child or children in your life, you might want to share a book — or several. Why? Because the third week of November is also Canada’s Children’s Book Week. (Traditionally, the U.S. observed Children’s Book Week the week before Thanksgiving as well. This year, however, the observance moved to a new spot on the calendar and now falls during the month of May.)
At 4 1/2 months, my daughter is still a bit young for the works of Anne of Green Gables creator Lucy Maud Montgomery, my favorite Canadian children’s author. So we’ll celebrate with the works of runner-up Robert Munsch instead. After all, a girl is never too young to be introduced to The Paper Bag Princess, and Love You Forever is an essential part of every baby’s library.
Finally, today is the 66th bithday of Vice President-elect Joe Biden. Sorry, folks, it’s too late to send a card. But if you’re looking for an excuse to eat cake and ice cream …