If you’re swearing off Valentine’s Day this year (or are simply tired of all the pink and red decorations) why not try celebrating a new holiday? We tend to think of American holidays as limited to those that either involve presents or let us take off work: Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas, and so on. But there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of strange, unexpected holidays that happen every year. These unsung celebrations range from the weirdly specific (Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day, Nov. 7), to the nonsensical (Nothing Day, Jan. 16), to the completely boring (National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Dec. 30, I’m looking at you).
Most of these delightfully strange holidays are not actual, federally-sanctioned holidays. Creating a real national holiday takes a lot of work, as it can only be legalized through an act of Congress. But while only four federal holidays have been added to the national calendar in the last century, new informal holidays seem to crop up all the time. Holidays can be created in a variety of ways: Organizations declare holidays to raise awareness of specific issues; Companies create holidays to support products; and one holiday-obsessed American, Thomas Roy, has created and copyrighted over 90 holidays on his own in the last 28 years.
All that really needs to happen to make someone’s randomly declared holiday into a national celebration is for public enthusiasm to take hold. So check out these unusual holidays and add a few to your calendar. We could all use a little more celebration in our lives, right?
Fruitcake Toss Day, Jan. 3
Kick off the new year by hurling your fruitcake as far away from yourself as possible. Pictured above are the catapults used for the annual fruitcake toss in Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Squirrel Appreciation Day, Jan. 21
Show your neighborhood squirrels some love. Did you know that squirrels’ teeth grow six inches a year? Now you do!
National Weatherperson’s Day, Feb. 5
Celebrate by watching your favorite weather videos.
National Organ Donor Day, Feb. 14
I enjoy the fact that National Organ Donor Day coincides with Valentine’s Day, because what better way is there to give someone your heart than, you know, giving your heart? Heh. Seriously, though, organ donation is a really important, generous thing to do. Learn more about how to sign up to be a donor here.
International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, Feb. 23
I’m confused by this holiday. Are we supposed to make dog biscuits, or just appreciate them? And what does it mean to “appreciate” a dog biscuit?
Panic Day, March 9
If one panicky holiday isn’t enough for you, there’s also International Panic Day on June 18.
I Am In Control Day, March 30
You may be surprised to discover that the history of “I Am In Control Day” is rooted in the 1981 assassination attempt that wounded President Ronald Reagan. Secretary of State Alexander Haig declared “I am in control here” and much political drama ensued. Now that the holiday is almost entirely divorced from its history, use it as an opportunity to take control of a chaotic aspect of your life.
Barbershop Quartet Day, April 11
Celebrate by hanging out with these smooth gentlemen.
Ex-Spouse Day, April 14
If Valentine’s Day is too saccharine for you, just wait a couple of months for “Ex-Spouse Day.” If you have a decent relationship with your ex, send flowers. If you and your ex both hate each other with a fiery passion, then maybe “Ex-Spouse Day” should remain unobserved.
No Socks Day, May 8
Let your feet be free!
Lost Sock Memorial Day, May 9
Held only a day after the joyful “No Socks Day,” this holiday is an opportunity for us all to come together and light a few candles in honor of the socks that have fallen in action.
Old Maid’s Day, June 4
This day is such a jerk. While Valentine’s Day likes to indirectly tell single women that they’re inadequate, “Old Maid’s Day” just puts it right out there in the title. Rooted in a history of women being left single after World War II, Old Maid’s Day needs to evolve. These days, celebrate the day by getting all of your single friends together and enjoying all of the awesome aspects of being unencumbered.
National Splurge Day, Jun 18
TREAT YO SELF
Take Your Pants For A Walk Day, July 27
Yeah, I don’t even know. I think you’re supposed to celebrate this day by taking yourself for a walk while wearing pants, but all I can picture in my mind is putting a pair of pants on a leash and walking it like a dog.
Middle Child’s Day, Aug. 12
FINALLY—a day to bring national attention to the tragic plight of middle children everywhere. WE JUST WANT LOVE, PEOPLE.
Be Late For Something Day, Sept. 5
Some of these holidays seem like excuses for bad behavior. I imagine “Be Late For Something Day” started when some random person was two hours late for an appointment, and, desperate for an excuse, declared, “Don’t you know? It’s Be Late For Something Day!” In that spirit, I would like to declare “Oops, I Forgot To Clean The Bathroom Day” and “I Didn’t Feel Like Doing Laundry Today And That’s Why I’m Wearing Pajamas At Work Day.”
Bald and Free Day, Oct. 7
Embrace your baldness, gents. I can promise you that women would rather see a confident bald guy than an elaborate comb-over any day.
Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, Nov. 15
Some holidays seem designed to try to make tedious domestic tasks seem exciting. It doesn’t really work.
Put On Your Own Shoes Day, Dec. 6
“Yes, Jeeves, take the day off. I’m putting my OWN shoes on today.”
National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Dec. 30
Why? It's as if someone decided that, between the excitement of Christmas and New Year’s, we all needed to have the most boring holiday ever—sort of like a palate cleanser.
Images: Dan Fearman/Flickr; Giphy (9)