Danecdotes: Back when Christmas break was a break

Christmas break was awesome as a kid. Nowadays, breaks can sometimes feel like anything but.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

We are officially through the holiday season, and everyone should be back to work and school.

Looking back on the Christmas break my wife and son had, it made me think of the breaks I would have when I was in school - sleeping in, going for snowmobile rides with my brother (not always the best idea) and maybe having a basketball tournament away from home.

In elementary and high school, we usually had 10 to 14 days off for Christmas break. In college, that break stretched out to about a month, and that was a lot of fun. I almost exclusively had on-campus jobs, and when classes were done for the season, work was too.

That meant I had a month-long break that truly was a break from responsibility.

After spending the past week working from home while the wife was home with the kid, I came to realize that even when you have a break as an adult, you don’t really have a break. My wife seemed to be working harder than I was, and I didn’t have the week off.


Between cleaning, laundry and wrangling a 3-year-old who never naps at home, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of time for her to do much break-taking.

For a work-from-homer like myself, I’d argue their Christmas break was harder for me than regular times of the year. Without the little man going to day care, I would constantly get a visitor in the form of a 35-pound natural disaster coming into my work space once every hour or so.

I love the kid to death - don’t get me wrong - but productivity tends to go right out the window when he is around. He likes to come “work with me,” which means I need to open a blank document and just let him type at random for a bit.

Other times he just wants to come hang out, which is sweet but no less distracting, as he will then get his little mitts on whatever he can - my voice recorder, whatever documents I have in front of me, my headphones, what have you.

So now that they have returned to their normal schedule of work and day care, I somehow feel like I’m on more of a break than before even though I’m working the same number of hours. The house is quiet again and the only one making attempts to distract me is the dang cat, and she is admittedly not as effective at doing so.

I kind of feel bad for my wife. Work breaks should be a time to relax and decompress, but I’m not sure she really got that last week. Sure, part of her time was watching cartoons and playing with Legos, but I’m not sure that really qualifies as a break - I mean, it would for me, but that is beside the point.

If there is one takeaway for me, it is that it is important to find some time for yourself in whatever way you can. Maybe that is taking a week off from work. Maybe it is just having 30 minutes with a good book or allowing yourself to pick what’s on TV sometimes.

Yes, your job and your kids need to be tended to, but once in a while, give yourself a break.


Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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