Questionable Outlook holidays

Should Outlook be adding marketing holidays as well as real ones?

The US Holidays list in Outlook 2013 adds some unexpected and non-holiday items to your calendar – the full list is below. There were some surprising entries in the list supplied by Microsoft.

Administrative Professionals Day

There’s no doubt that Administrative Professionals, Executive Assistants, Personal Assistants and Secretaries deserve recognition. However “Administrative Professionals Day” is the rebadged ‘Secretaries Day” with its own registered trademark. It’s not a holiday but there it is added to your Outlook calendar: image from Questionable Outlook holidays at

Why has Microsoft decided to add this particular faux holiday?

The same ‘holiday’ is celebrated in other countries like Australia, but isn’t in the Australian holidays list.

Groundhog Day

Another surprising entry but at least Groundhog Day (2nd February) has a longer history going back at least 200 years.

“Day after Thanksgiving”

Isn’t an official holiday. Though the Friday is often taken as an extra day to give people a 4 day break so it makes sense to add it. It’s also the major shopping day; ‘Black Friday’.

US Tax Day

Not anyone’s idea of a holiday. However it makes sense to add it to the ‘holidays’ list because it can’t be added as a yearly recurring event. Tax Day can happen on the 15, 17 or 16 April depending on whether the 15th falls on a weekday, Saturday or Sunday. That’s a complexity that Outlook can’t handle in a recurring appointment.

There’s a semi-serious point to all this. People around the world would rely on the Outlook default data for holiday details and may well assume that events like ‘US Tax Day’ or ‘Administrative Professionals Day’ are holidays on the same level as Christmas. Since ‘Thanksgiving’ isn’t a holiday outside North America, how are people across the globe supposed to know that’s it’s a major event compared to ‘Groundhog Day’?

If Microsoft is going to add things like or ‘Administrative Professionals Day’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ to the Outlook holidays list where will it end? With those precedents there’s a case for ‘April Fool’s Day’, ‘National Walk to Work Day’ (established by the US government), ‘National Eggs Benedict Day’ or ‘Hairstyle Appreciation Day’ to choose from the many ‘special’ days in April alone.

Other countries?

We’d be interested to hear from readers around the globe about the peculiar Outlook holiday entries. Are there equivalents to Groundhog Day or Administrative Professionals Day in other places. Let us know via the Feedback page.

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