Holiday and Observance Calendar

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There is no debating that computers have added value to our lives. They've not only replaced everything from our record players to our digital alarm clocks – but they've also made those very things better, as well!

When it comes to calendars, the same holds true. Not only do computers already have calendars programmed into them – and you only need to open your phone's calendar app to know it – but they've also made old-school, paper-and-printer calendars better.

The Holiday and Observance Calendar we've made, and are offering here for free, is a great example of how computers have improved an ancient technology. We've designed our calendar to be highly customizable – entering the dates and events that are important to you is as easy as changing a few cells in a spreadsheet. It's easily shareable as an Excel file, or can be printed in landscape or portrait modes. This way, it can be hung on an office wall, the back of a classroom door, or made into a mat and kept on a desk.

If you've been looking for a convenient, easily personalized, and inexpensive calendar, then you've come to the right place. Read on to find out about some of the features of our Holiday and Observance Calendar.

Quick Summary

One benefit of our Holiday and Observance Calendar template is how quickly it can help you create a quick overview of events you want to remember or celebrate throughout the year. Enter the dates and descriptions, and the spreadsheet will automatically shade the correct days on the yearly calendar. The entire worksheet is proportioned for landscape printing [IMAGE A] but can also be configured to print just the calendar portion in portrait mode – without the “Holiday and Observances” list. (Note: See the Printing section below to learn how to print this calendar in portrait mode).

Holiday and Observance Calendar Landscape Printing


While this template is titled “Holiday and Observance Calendar,” it can also work well for keeping track of other yearly events. The quick overview it presents will help you track important moments throughout the year. Here are a few examples:

  • Academics: start of the school year, student registration, holidays, semester breaks, days that classes resume, campus-wide celebrations and events, and the end of the school year,
  • Business: employee birthdays, scheduled training days, observed federal holidays, part-time employee hiring events, and project calendars for presentations,
  • Personal: friends’ birthdays, days you’re scheduled to work, holidays, and vacation.

Template Contents

In this template, there are two calendar versions – one gray and one blue. Both have two worksheets with different formats. The first one starts the week with Sundays. The second starts the week with Mondays and has highlighted weekends. The two worksheets in each file function as independent yearly calendars – each worksheet maintains its own holidays and observances list.

Calendar - Sunday

IMAGE B displays the “Calendar - Sunday” worksheet. As mentioned above, it begins the weeks with Sunday. The image below also demonstrates the highlighted holiday. Take a look at the January 1 entry, “New Year” (highlighted in yellow), in the “Holidays and Observances” dataset to the right of the calendar. Now, note how the January 1 calendar date is highlighted in blue to indicate the scheduled event.

Holiday and Observance Calendar Sunday


Calendar - Monday

Our “Calendar - Monday” worksheet, displayed in IMAGE C, starts the weeks with Monday and shades the weekends in light blue. But don’t worry if something comes up on a weekend that you want to track; when you enter an event, the darker blue highlight will still override the light blue shade.

Holiday and Observance Calendar Monday


How To Use the Holiday and Observance Calendar

Setting Up the Calendar

All of the setup for this calendar has been done for you. After opening the workbook, you’ll only need to enter the event dates and descriptions that are important to you. The title of the dataset list is “Holidays and Observances,” but you can change this to make it fit your category. Just edit it like any other cell (double click on the cell, highlight the text, and then type in the new title).

Using the Calendar

The “DATE” and “DESCRIPTION” are entered by clicking on the desired cell and typing the data. You can enter the dates by typing the month and date only – the year will automatically populate. In my example [IMAGE D], I used Veterans Day (November 11) as an example.

Holiday and Observance Calendar Date Example


(Note: The templates works fine if you enter the events out of chronological order. But, if you receive the information in random order and prefer an organized list, see the ADVANCED section below to learn how to sort the data).


As mentioned above, this template defaults to landscape printing and the proportions are correct for US-letter size paper (8.5” x 11”). If you needed to print in portrait, it’s as simple as selecting “Portrait Orientation.” But, since the designer built it for landscape, you will end up with some extra margins [IMAGE E: Left graphic].

To get the calendar to fill the margins in portrait printing, we will need to change the defined “Print Area.” In the “Calendar - Sunday” worksheet, highlight the calendar without the dataset (A1:X44). Select “Page Layout” in the menu, then “Print Area,” and finally “Set Print Area.” Now, go to “File” in the menu bar and then choose “Print.” You’ll see the new print preview without the dataset [IMAGE E: Right graphic]. Notice that the calendar fills the margins. (Note: If you don’t want to set this as the default print area, then hit the “undo” button.)

Holiday and Observance Calendar Printing




The primary programming behind this template is in the conditional formatting. Each date cell in the calendar compares its date entry with the “DATE” list in the dataset. If it finds a match, then the condition exists, and the template applies the blue highlighting.

Sorting the Holiday and Observances List

I’ve added some data to the template to demonstrate sorting [IMAGE F]: Christmas (December 25), Independence Day (July 4), and Thanksgiving Day (November 28). The first step in sorting the event list is to highlight the “Date” (Z) and “Description” (AA) columns. Start with the top left date cell and only highlight the data – not the titles. Right-click on the selection, choose “Sort,” then “Sort Oldest to Newest.”

Holiday and Observance Calendar Sorting


You’ve now sorted the data in chronological order and it should be quicker to locate.

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