Planning for the Extra Hour – Fall Back

Planning for the Extra Hour – Fall Back

Do something fun with your extra hour come daylight saving time.


By: Helen Jane Hearn

My favourite day of the year is not my birthday. My favourite day is what I affectionately call “Extra-Hour Day,” also known as daylight saving time or “fall back.” We put off changing our clocks until sundown, mostly because of the secret thrill I get from looking at the clock and thinking, “Yes! I still have an extra hour!”

It is funny to me to see how many people try to silence my enthusiasm for this day. “It gets dark so early!” they say. As someone lucky enough to not be too affected by the change in season, I will take my short-term gain of an extra hour.

We do “fall back” a little differently than other families. By not changing the clocks until sundown, we feel like our day is full of extra hours. We then divvy up each extra hour between us. Maybe because my life is so tightly scheduled, this extra hour for everyone means a lot to us. And that’s telling, isn’t it?

Our family has a few rules for the extra hour which include:

The activity cannot generate any money.

The activity cannot be for the sake of anything other than the activity itself.

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The activity must be enjoyable.

Notice I didn’t say that the activity needed to be fun — I said it needed to be enjoyable. You would probably agree with me that lying on the floor, listening to a whole album through headphones with your kids isn’t fun, but if you’re actively listening and imagining, it can be enjoyable. It’s amazing how when our schedules get crimped, we either have time for work or fun, but not enjoyment. Extra-Hour Day gives us that time for enjoyment.

Enjoyable activities for our family on Extra-Hour Day include anything having to do with getting in touch with nature. Covering each other in a pile of leaves, lying on the grass and short hikes are all perfect activities for our extra hour.

Our extra hour also includes indulging our silly sides. We try to make up knock-knock jokes, put on short plays and learn short dance routines. Other plans for Extra-Hour Day include taking the time to do activities for which we never seem to have time. Making pasta from scratch, listening to an entire classic album, memorizing our favourite poems and nursery rhymes are all thoroughly enjoyable things to do with our bonus hour.

Doing nice things for our family and friends is the grey area around the “cannot be for the sake of anything other than the activity itself” rule. When we do things with our extra hour like make pound cake for our neighbours or make a stack of thank-you cards for the year ahead, we use our time to do something nice for the people we love — and I can’t think of a better activity than that.

That’s the real lesson of this day, isn’t it? An enjoyable hour can be ours any day of the year.



Napa Valley-based Helen has written about Internet culture and home entertaining at helenjane.com since 1998. She is a certified specialist of wine and founder of Cheesewhizzes, a nation-wide cheese tasting club. She also captains her bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce.

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