Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Enough with the Happy New Year already

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 7:54 AM EST, Tue January 8, 2013
Time to put away all things New Year's, says Dean Obeidallah, starting with the constant
Time to put away all things New Year's, says Dean Obeidallah, starting with the constant "Happy New Year" greeting
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dean Obeidallah: You can stop saying Happy New Year now. It's tacky and too late
  • Even South Jersey School of Etiquette president said after the first week, stop
  • He says we don't say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah when those holidays are over
  • Obeidallah: It gets progressively more insincere. Lets agree to cut off the greeting at 7 days

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and co-director of the upcoming documentary, "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @deanofcomedy

(CNN) -- It's now a week after New Years Day. Can we please stop saying, "Happy New Year?" Telling people "Happy New Year" more than a week after the first of the year is like keeping your Christmas lights up until February. It's tacky. And I grew up in New Jersey; I know a thing or two about tacky.

Plus it's bad New Year's etiquette. That's not just me talking, that's the opinion of etiquette expert Crystal Seamon-Primas, founder of the South Jersey School of Etiquette. (Stop laughing. We are not all "Jersey Shore.") Seamon-Primas told me: "In my opinion, after the first week, I stop wishing others a Happy New Year, the new year is well on its way."

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

The biggest reason we need to stop New Year's wishes weeks into the year is that it sounds so insincere. Hollow, not heartfelt, like something you say to a co-worker you really don't know well to fill an awkward silence, a small step up from, "That's some weather we're having, huh?"

The same goes for the insincerity you detect when people greet you a few days after January 1 with the question: "So how's your new year been so far?" Really? You are actually asking if I have survived the first "grueling" 48 hours of the year? If you really care about how my year is going, ask me in October.

Look: No one says "Happy Thanksgiving" on December 1. I never heard anyone offer a "Happy Fourth of July" on July 6. And when is the last time you heard a "Happy St. Patrick's Day" on March 19?

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Even with the big religious holidays, well wishing starts before the holiday and stops with its occurrence. Go ahead and joyfully exchange wishes of "Have a Merry Christmas" the week before the holiday through Christmas Day, but not on December 29. Happy Hanukah greetings are fine throughout the eight-day holiday but not after. And Ramadan wishes are contained within the 30 days of the holy month and stop with the Eid celebration at the month's end.

Tech: Losing New Year's resolve? Google wants to help

Sure, I get it: It's a wish for a full year, not just a day. But among the vast array of omens that predict good fortune for the coming year, not one involves saying Happy New Year's for weeks on end. Believe me, there are some odd superstitions out there that will supposedly bring you luck for the year, from kissing a loved one as the clock strikes midnight to writing your new year's wishes on a piece of paper and planting it in the ground to eating lentils or black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.

A how-to on afternoon tea
Mobile society leads to bad manners?

There are even admonitions to avoid certain activities on New Year's Day because they portend bad luck for the coming year. One such superstition tells us that eating poultry on New Year's Day means you will financially struggle for the coming year, which I really wish I had known before I ate chicken with mixed vegetables on January 1.

If even one custom instructed us that extended New Year's wishes would increase the chances the year would indeed be a good one, I'd be saying Happy New Year's every day until April. But none do.

Consequently, I propose that from here out we need to come together in a bipartisan fashion -- as a lesson to our dysfunctional Congress -- and stop with New Year's wishes after the first seven days of the year. If someone does offer you such a greeting two or three weeks into the New Year, don't be rude, simply explain that it's like wishing someone Happy Valentines Day on February 18

In time, hopefully we'll all be on the same page on this issue. However, even if you are reading this after January 7, I still sincerely wish you, and your family, a very happy and healthy New Year. But this is the very last time I will say that in 2013.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:42 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
updated 11:00 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
updated 5:23 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
updated 1:39 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
updated 3:20 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
updated 9:56 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
updated 4:01 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
updated 9:53 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
updated 5:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
updated 4:23 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
updated 9:26 AM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
updated 9:39 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
updated 12:38 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT