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Presidents Day History

You may think of Presidents Day as that one day in February you have off of work or school, or perhaps the one day you wish you had off from work or school, but this federal holiday means a lot more than bank closures and clearance sales.

Happy Birthday Mr. President(s)

A combined celebration of first president George Washington’s birthday and that of 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, Presidents Day is a day of national refection and patriotism. Not unlike Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day, Presidents Day is observed as a time for community activities and service, though over the years it has become a big day for retail establishments to hold sales and special promotions.


A Little History

Also referred to as Washington’s Birthday, Presidents Day has been nationally observed the late 19th century when an Act of Congress established it as a federal holiday.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 moved Presidents Day, along with many other state holidays, to the third Monday of February, landing it square between both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. 

There were many failed attempts before the senate actually agreed to establish one, unified holiday for both birthdays, but in hindsight it makes sense since the day has come to stand for more than just the births of the two honorable men.


Presidents' Day Today

Aside from shopping sales, states all over the country continue to honor this historic holiday and the great men who fearlessly led our country through the worst of times and into the best of times. Some southern states honor Washington’s fellow founding father, Thomas Jefferson, on Presidents Day, while others choose to celebrate the same holiday on a different day all together.


Celebrate Presidents Day at Home

While the adults will enjoy a simple toast complete with a cocktail inspired by President Washington, the kids will get a kick out of these lucky penny chips in honor of President Lincoln.

Share the history of Presidents' Day with the kids, raise a glass, then have some fun with our Presidents' Day Photo Booth activity -- complete with printable Presidents' beards and mustaches!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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