A couple of months ago I was talking with someone in HR about the way that the vacation policy works (in light of when you move from 2 weeks to 3, 3 weeks to 4). I was mainly asking in the case of someone else in my department, who wasn't sure if he got 3 weeks this year or not (he was assuming he did, but afraid to raise the issue himself. It ended up he did.) I then asked the HR guy, "So if my start date is Jan. 1, 1995, when do I get 4 weeks vacation?", and he replied, "If it is Jan. 1, you get 4 weeks this year." When I started, the then-HR guy put my start date as Jan. 1 (even though I started on Jan. 2) so I would qualify for medical benefits a month earlier (they have a full calendar month waiting period, so if he put it down as Jan 2, I wouldn't get benefits until Mar. 1). Up until that point, I had figured I wouldn't get to take 4 weeks until next year.
Anyway, so far I've only used 1 week this year. We're going to Florida the first week of Christmas break, so today I started submitting my requests to use up 3 weeks of vacation by the end of the year: Nov 11 & 14 (Fri. and Mon. of a weekend we are driving to Omaha to visit my daughter's family), Nov. 28-30 (might as well take a full week off at Thanksgiving), Dec. 19-23 (trip to Florida), Dec. 28-30 (the 26th and 27th are holidays, so this will fill out that week to be off as well, and if they end up declaring extra days off a year-end shutdown, I'll be allowed to carry those days over to the next year). I still get to figure out where to use 2 more vacation days and 2 more sick/personal days, too.