No matter what you’re looking to celebrate, remember, observe, or honor, there’s definitely a holiday somewhere out there for it. You could literally enjoy a different holiday on every day of the year if you don’t mind a) recognizing official, unofficial, regional, and fake, and b) participating in holidays from your own country, as well as those from elsewhere. Taken altogether, there are thousands of them waiting to be discovered.
Sure, some of them may fall well outside your likes and preferences, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a shindig to commemorate the day that Cheez Whiz was invented, or a banquet to laud the humble fig newton, or a gala to remember the final episode of M*A*S*H. Holidays are what we make them.
And December has some awesome holidays. It, of course, contains two of the biggest of the entire calendar year: Christmas on December 25, and New Year’s Eve on December 31. But if you think that’s the be all and end all that December has to offer, boy are you wrong! Classic rookie holiday merrymaker mistake. This month has an embarrassment of riches in the offbeat holiday department.
1. December 3 - Anniversary of First Text Message
Sometimes we feel like text and instant messaging have been with us forever, but it was only 23 years ago that someone sent the very first one. Neil Papworth was a 22-year old software engineer when he sent “Merry Christmas” from his computer to his boss’s (huge and clunky) cellphone on this day in 1992. The rest is history. Now, we send billions of them every day. Take a moment to appreciate the humble text message and all that it does for you, from sparing you having to actually speak to anyone, to providing a built-in excuse (I sent you a text...you didn’t get it?!).
2. December 5 - Creep Like a Ninja Day
Who doesn’t love ninjas? Crazy, sad, pathetic people, that’s who. Ninjas are the coolest thing in the history of forever, and I defy anyone to come up with something better than them. Ninjas improve literally everything: boring party? Add ninjas. Bad day at work? Add ninjas. Fight with your significant other? Add ninjas. See. December 5 is the Day of the Ninja, so break out your black pj’s and ski mask, get yourself a plastic sword or sai at the dollar store, and go do some good. Write a short story about your adventures. Upload a YouTube or Vine video chronicling your ninjarial shenanigans. Create a mural that glorifies their awesomeness (the ninjas won’t be seen in the mural, of course, as they’re experts in the art of invisibility).
3. December 8 - Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day
This is one holiday we can all get behind. First proposed in 2007 (you can still see the post that started it all), December 8 is the day to live out your time traveler fantasies. You’re given three options to portray a: time traveler from some utopian but clichéd future, traveler from some dystopian future, or time traveler from the past. You have to dress, act, and speak the part, thoroughly, and with all your heart. If people don’t think you’re a complete nutjob, you’re not doing it right.
4. December 10 - Nobel Prize Day
Admittedly, this one is not so much offbeat as it is intriguing (although it is at least slightly odd to celebrate the man who invented dynamite). December 10 marks the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death, and it’s the day that the prize that bears his name is awarded. It’s a celebration of all things Nobel. When the Swedish inventor and businessman died in 1896, he held 355 patents (including dynamite), and had started 87 international companies (what have you done with your life?!). His will specified that the bulk of his fortune would go towards the creation of an annual prize in the fields of physics, medicine, chemistry, literature, and peace. Each recipient receives a diploma, a medal, and a cash award in the vicinity of $1.4 million USD...along with international acclaim and respect.
5. December 16 - National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
In addition to being Beethoven’s birthday (a great composer, but decidedly not offbeat in any way), today is also the ridiculously offbeat National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. It’s exactly what you hope it is: you can cover anything - literally anything - with chocolate and no one can say anything about it. What have you always secretly dreamed about covering in chocolate? Do it. Do it today. Live, dammit, live. Carpe diem.
6. December 17 - National Maple Syrup Day
For all my Canuck compatriots out there, there is a holiday that celebrates the sweet, sticky stuff that we all love so much. Canada produces roughly 85% of the world’s maple syrup, and it improves almost everything you decide to pour it on (much like chocolate, and whipped cream). Start December 17 with pancakes covered in maple syrup, enjoy a french toast with maple syrup at lunch, and finish with maple syrup candy after dinner (you can make your own by pouring it on clean snow...a little Canadian lifehack).
7. December 18 - National Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day
No explanation necessary. Ideally, buy a new one. Because eww.
8. December 21 - Humbug! Day
The good people at wellcat.com have contributed 80 holidays to the calendar, including this one. Humbug! Day is the perfect opportunity to vent any and all of your Christmas shopping and preparation frustrations (and there’s usually a lot). Get it out of your system so you’re ready for the big day.
9. December 22 - The Shortest Day of the Year
In the Northern Hemisphere, at any rate. This day makes the longest night and shortest day on the year. The Winter Solstice (as it’s called) marks the official start to winter, and each day afterwards gets progressively longer. Yay! Dress as a druid.
10. December 23 - Festivus
You know it. You love it. Created by a Seinfeld writer’s father, Festivus has taken on a life of its own since its debut in a 1997 episode of the show about nothing. There’s even a website dedicated to the “festivus for the rest of us”. Just how do you celebrate it properly? You need an undecorated aluminum pole, you must participate in the Airing of Grievances (where you tell everyone at the holiday table all the ways they’ve disappointed you in the past year), and you must finish the day with the Feats of Strength, which puts the head of the household against one other family member of their choosing in a wrestling match. Festivus does not officially end until the pater has been pinned. Do you have your pole yet?
11. December 26 - National Whiners Day
Created by Rev. Kevin Zaborney in 1986, the holiday is meant to remind people of the good things in their life. Yes, you can whine today, but you should also feel and demonstrate gratitude, too. But let’s not kid ourselves...it would be way more fun to just whine about abso-freaking-lutely everything today.
12. December 31 - Make Up Your Mind Day
All year long, we put off making big decisions for as long as possible. On the last day of the calendar, make those big decisions, and pull the trigger. Don’t let anything carry over into the new year. Start clean. Start fresh.
Oh the days that December provides us: Bacon Day on December 30, Monkey Day on December 14, and Eat a Red Apple Day on December 1. It may be cold, dark, and snowy outside, but the holidays this month should warm the cockles of your heart.
What’s your favourite non-traditional holiday this month? Leave your answers in the comments below...