Earlier this year, as the winter holiday season ended and the winter kept right on wintering, we sent an invitation: If you could create a new holiday from scratch—or more widely celebrate an existing but lesser-known one—we asked, what would it be?
You responded in force. We received hundreds of nominations, for holidays both whimsical (for example: Kid for a Day Day) and meaningful (for example: Get Back in Touch Day), and narrowed those down to 12 finalists. We asked you to vote on your favorites—and, once again, you answered the call.
Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and preferences. Because now, based on your votes, we have a very clear winner. And that winner is …
Step Away Day!
This is a day reserved for taking stock, taking a breath, and putting down the screen(s). Essentially, it’s a collective “tech sabbath”—a time to relax in whatever way most refreshes you. That could mean a day spent on your own or with loved ones; indoors or outdoors; at home or on a new adventure—as long as you don’t have to go online to do it. Many thanks to Laurie Dewitt of California; Keita; Jennifer of Iowa; and Tessa of Toronto for the nomination.
Now let’s talk celebrations! We hope that Step Away Day will soon catch on with schools and workplaces the world over. Until then, though—since our internet-addled lives mean that one person’s most convenient time to abandon screens will vary from another’s—we won’t limit Step Away Day observations to a single date. Instead, we’ll offer one more invitation and challenge: Celebrate the day on your own time, however works best for you, by the end of April. (The Culture Desk’s version of the celebration will very likely take place on a Sunday and involve spending time in nature: hiking, journaling, picnicking, chatting, and reading—books, and also print editions of The Atlantic. We will also definitely find a way for things to involve cake, just because … cake.)
We’d love to hear what you did to step away (or how you’re planning to do it). Were you able to fully disconnect—and for how long? Did you find creative ways to keep your phone from tempting you away from your book? Did you decide to go on an adventure, only to realize that you weren’t quite sure which road to take without the help of Google Maps? Did the time offline give you any insights? Did you have cake?
Please do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And thank you again for brainstorming, voting, and celebrating with us. We wish you rest, relaxation, and refreshment whenever you decide to join your fellow Atlantic readers in Stepping Away.