Monday, December 31, 2012

January 2013 month-long celebrations

January brings the start of a shiny new year. Begin some new traditions! Many January celebrations focus on improvement or change. Events are listed alphabetically, with descriptive words such as "National" and "World" omitted.

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month
Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count - December 14th to January 5th
Bald Eagle Awareness Month
Bath Safety Month
Be Kind to Food Servers Month
Be On Purpose Month
Birth Defects Prevention Month - 2013 theme - "Birth defects are common, costly, and critical"
Blood Donor Month
Book Blitz Month
Braille Literacy Month
Bread Machine Baking Month
California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month
Celebration of Life MonthCervical Health Awareness Month
Change Your Profile Picture to a Muppet Month - Facebook
Change Your Stars! Month
Clean Out Your Closets Month
Clean Up Your Computer Month
Coffee Gourmet International Month
Creativity Month

Crime Stoppers Month
Diet Month
Eye Health Care Month
Financial Wellness Month
Get Organized Month
Get Over It Month
Glaucoma Awareness Month
High-Tech Month
Hobby Month
Hot Tea Month
Letter Writing Month
Lose Weight, Feel Great Month
Love Yourself Month
Mail Order Gardening Month
Mentoring Month
New Year's Resolutions Month for Businesses
No Name-Calling Month
Oatmeal Month
Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month
Polka Month
Poverty in America Awareness Month
Prune Breakfast Month
Quality of Life Month
Radon Action Month
Reaching Your Potential Month
Rising Star Month
Self-Help Group Awareness Month
Shape Up US Month
Skating Month
Slow-Cooking Month
Soup Month
Soup Swap Month
Stalking Awareness Month
Staying Healthy Month
Take a New Year's Resolution to Stop Smoking (TANYRSS) - December 17th to Superbowl Sunday, February3rd
Thank You Month
Thyroid Awareness Month
Train Your Dog Month
Volunteer Blood Donor Month
Walk Your Pet Month
Wayfinding Month
Wealth Mentality Month
Wheat Bread Month

If you know of other month-long celebrations that should be included in this list, please provide info in the Comments section below. Happy January!

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New Year's Eve, No Interruptions Day, Unlucky Day, more

December 31st, 2012, is New Year's Eve, Pine Cone Drop, First Night, No Interruptions Day, Oga no Namahage, Hogmanay, Stonehaven Fireball Festival, Unlucky Day, Leap Second Time Adjustment Day, Make Up Your Mind Day, World Healing Day, and National Champagne Day.

New Year's Eve is a time for celebration, including the ball drop in New York's Times Square and the lesser-known Pine Cone Drop in Flagstaff, Arizona. Many communities offer First Night festivities with no alcohol. Have a wonderful night. Drive safely, sans alcohol, texting, and other dangerous activitiies while on the road. We miss you, Dick Clark!

The last business day of the year is No Interruptions Day. Tidy up those loose ends, then celebrate!

Oga City in Japan celebrates Oga no Namahage, when youths wearing masks and carrying wooden knives visit homes looking for crying children, lazy people, and other ne'er-do-wells. After receiving sake and mochi cakes, the youths depart, promising good luck to the family.

In Scotland, New Year's Eve is celebrated with fire and fun as Hogmanay. In Stonehaven, the celebration is especially intense, featuring the Stonehaven Fireball Festival.

Unlucky Day always coincides with New Year's Eve. But never fear - you can mount a counteroffensive against this ominous holiday by eating certain foods that bring luck for the coming year. Southerners in the United States enjoy black-eye peas; other Americans eat herring; Austrians enjoy suckling pig; Sicilians eat lasagna (but no other pasta); Japanese eat noodles; Brazilians eat lentils; Spaniards, Portugese, and Peruvians eat grapes; Germans have carp; and Norwegians eat rice pudding. If you're in Denmark, watch out for piles of broken dishes on your front porch, left by well-wishers. Oh, and don't eat lobster or winged birds, no matter where you live. Don't ask why - just obey if you're superstitious!

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day takes place on the last day of June and/or the last day of December, as needed. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service determines if clocks should be adjusted, accomodating changes in Earth's rotation, to keep the time difference between atomic clocks and the Earth's position within .9 seconds. No adjustment will take place today. The last adjustment was made on June 30th, 2012.

Make Up Your Mind Day is an opportunity to set goals for the future, firm up plans for New Year's Eve, or simply decide what to have for dinner. Your choice.

World Healing Day, presented by the Quartus Foundation, is a time for everyone to come together in a "simultaneous global mind link," to pray for world peace and love. The event takes place for one hour, beginning at noon Greenwich time.

In case anyone needs an extra reason to imbibe today or tonight, today is known as National Champagne Day. Cheers!

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Bacon Day, more

December 30th, 2012, is Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, and Bacon Day.

Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute is a good opportunity to get the jump on your New Year's resolutions. But wait - if you start now, it's not the last minute, is it?

If your family enjoyed a live Christmas tree this year, today may be the day to recycle it and clean up the remaining needles scattered about on your floor. Celebrate Falling Needles Family Fest Day.

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day honors baking soda, without which many of our favorite baked goods wouldn't be so deliciously textured.

On Bacon Day, take a moment to reflect on one of the tastiest treats the culinary world has to offer. Breakfast, lunch, dinner; savory or even sweet; nothing is better than bacon. It's so tasty, in fact, that creative types offer amazing bacon products in tribute.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tick Tock Day, Pepper Pot Day, more

December 29th, 2012, is Tick Tock Day, Feast Day of Saint Thomas Becket, and Pepper Pot Day.

Tick Tock Day serves to remind us all that the clock is ticking, that we shouldn't put off until tomorrow what we can do today, that we should start thinking about that bucket list.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Becket. He offers inspiration to believers who are not free to live openly as Catholics.

Pepper Pot Day celebrates "the soup that won the war." Pepper Pot Soup was created by Christopher Ludwick, baker general of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, who gathered what he could to feed the soldiers. His creation included tripe, meat scraps, and peppercorns.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Card-Playing Day, Chocolate Candy Day, more

December 28th, 2012, is Card Playing Day, Gone-ta-Pott Day, Childermas, Kullubi, and National Chocolate Candy Day.

Need a break from the glitz and glamour of new holiday toys? Return to a tried-and-true form of entertainment on Card Playing Day.

Gone-ta-Pott Day is celebrated on the 28th of each month, as decreed by the fine people who put together the Gone-ta-Pott website.

Childermas is a remembrance of the many children slaughtered by Herod, King of Judea, shortly after the birth of Jesus. Herod feared the predicted arrival of a new King.

Ethiopia celebrates Kullubi on this date, honoring Saint Gabriel, the patron saint of homes and churches.

The holiday calendar features a plethora of chocolate-related celebrations, and December 28th features the last but not least. Indulge to your heart's content on National Chocolate Candy Day.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Full moon names for December 28th, 2012

Full moon. Image: morgueFile.

The full moon for December 2012 takes place tonight, December 28th. The exact time varies with your location. Following is a list of full moon names for December, ranging from common to surprising.

Winter Maker Moon - Abenaki
Full Cold Moon - Algonquin
Long Nights Moon - Algonquin
Small Spirits Moon - Anishnaabe
Popping Trees Moon - Arapaho
Center Moon's Younger Brother - Assiniboine
Unduvap Poya - Buddhist
Cold Moon - Celtic
Before Yule Moon - Cherokee
Snow Moon - Cherokee
Moon When the Wolves Run Together/Running Wolves Moon - Cheyenne
Bitter Moon - Chinese
Peach Moon - Choctaw
Christmas Moon - Colonial American
Big Cold Moon - Comanche
Evergreen Moon - Comanche
When the Young Fellow Spreads the Brush - Cree
Big Winter Moon - Creek
Twelfth Moon - Dakotah Sioux
Cold Moon - Deborean
Oak Moon - English Medieval
Ripe Berries - Haida
Datta Jayanti - Hindu
Margashirsa Purnima - Hindu
Respect Moon - Hopi
Kaitvitjuitk Moon - Inuit
Oak Moon - Janic
Snow Moon Dark - Janic
Not Bad Weather - Kalapuya
Nachuweenu daawaatra - Keresan
Real Goose Moon - Kiowa
Heavy Snow - Klamath
Little Finger Moon (counting on fingers, beginning in August) - Klamath
Halapisu - Kumeyaay
Time of Cold/Cold Time Moon - Mohawk
Under Burn - Mountain Maidu
Crusted Snow - Navajo
Long Night Moon - Neo Pagan
Oak Moon - Pagan
Frost Fish Moon - Passamaquoddy
Leaves Yellow and Fall - Pomo
Ashes Fire Moon - San Juan
Eccentric Moon - Shawnee
Winter Moon - Shoshoni
Moon of Popping Trees - Sioux
Moon When Buffalo Cow's Fetus Is Getting Large - Sioux
Moon When Deer Shed Their Horns - Sioux
Night Moon - Taos
Unborn Seals Are Getting Hair - Tlingit
Small Spirits Moon - Unknown
Ice Lasts All Day - Valley Maidu
Long Nights Moon - Wiccan
Big Bear's Moon - Winnebago
Her Winter Houses Moon - Wishram
Jesu Cristo Toomtek Meecha - Yaqui
Middle of Winter - Yuchi
Kohtsewets - Yurok
The Sun Has Traveled South to his Home to Rest Before He Starts Back on his Journey North - Zuni
Turning Moon - Zuni

Sources for full moon names:

More about the moon:

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Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day, Visit the Zoo Day, more

December 27th, 2012, is Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day, Visit the Zoo Day, Feast Day of Saint John, and National Fruitcake Day.

Too late for Christmas, today is Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day. Just enjoy your creations for the sake of winter, or save them to use next year.

Everybody thinks about the zoo in the heat of summer, but what about now? Many critters are just plain lethargic in the hot sun, but ready to play in the crisp winter air. In addition, many zoos feature holiday displays. Celebrate Visit the Zoo Day!

December 27th is the Feast Day of Saint John, honoring a pillar of the church following the death of Jesus.

Were you the lucky recipient of a fruitcake this holiday season? If so, don't reject the innocent baked item without giving it a chance. Some fruitcake is actually delicious! Be open-minded on National Fruitcake Day.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Percolator Day, more

December 26th, 2012, is Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, National Whiners Day, National Thank-You Note Day, National Coffee Percolator Day, and Candy Cane Day.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st by many African-Americans. Kwanzaa means "first fruits of the harvest" in the Kishahili language. The principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Boxing Day is a British tradition, observed on the day after Christmas or the first weekday after Christmas. Alms boxes were placed in churches on December 25th, then those boxes were opened for the poor on Boxing Day. Employers also gave boxes to employees who had to work on Christmas. Many celebrate the holiday today with gifts to employees and visiting tradespeople such as paper boys or milk men. Talk show host Craig Ferguson says the day is called Boxing Day because people fight each other.

The ungrateful among us may choose to celebrate National Whiners Day on the day after Christmas. Just remember - Santa may be watching.

The gracious and grateful among us will celebrate National Thank-You Note Day today.

National Coffee Percolator Day honors an old-school method for making coffee. My parents used to bring out their giant 20-cup percolator during the holidays.

Candy Cane Day celebrates an iconic part of Christmas festivities, in terms of both food and decor.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, No "L" Day, Grav-Mass, more

December 25th, 2012, is Christmas, A'phabet Day, No "L" Day, Grav-Mass, and National Pumpkin Pie Day.

Christians around the world celebrate Christmas as Jesus' birthday, although the exact date of His birth is unknown. Chirstmas features a combination of Christian and secular traditions, celebrated by religious and non-religious alike. Whatever your belief system, I wish you a holiday season abundant with family and friends, good health, delicious food, and inner peace. Merry Christmas!

A'phabet Day or  No "L" Day is a pun on "Noel." Get it? Say "Noel" out loud. Celebrate by speaking or texting without using the letter "L."

Grav-Mass is a geek-style, punny Christmas alternative, honoring Sir Isaac Newton. You remember the story of Newton - he discovered gravity when an apple fell on (or near) his head. He was born on December 25th, 1642 (or January 4th, 1643, using the new calendar).

Celebrate National Pumpkin Pie Day if you have a little extra room on your holiday table. It's a nice change from the candy, cookies, and fruitcake.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve, Chocolate Day, Egg Nog Day, more

December 24th, 2012, is Christmas Eve, Silent Night Holy Night, Santuranticuy, Feast Day of Adam and Eve, National Chocolate Day, and National Egg Nog Day.

Christmas Eve is the so-called "Night Before Christmas," brilliantly described in the poem by Clement Clarke Moore. It's your last chance to purchase gifts, wrap gifts, hide gifts, and maybe even open some gifts. After all that, get to bed early so Santa can come down the chimney or through a window undetected. Follow Santa's progress with NORAD via Twitter at @NoradSanta.

Austria celebrates Silent Night Holy Night, commemorating the first live performance of the famous Christmas song in 1818.

Cusco, Peru, celebrates Santuranticuy, literally "saints for sale." Vendors and artists sell Nativity figures and other objects in anticipation of Christmas.

Although Adam and Eve are not considered saints, today's date is celebrated by some as the Feast Day of Adam and Eve.

On the outside chance you need an excuse to indulge in nature's most wonderful sweet, be aware that today is National Chocolate Day. You're welcome.

Many families have a special recipe for egg nog, typically featuring eggs and alcohol. Continue the tradition on National Egg Nog Day. I'll have a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, please.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festivus, Stargazy Pie Day, Pfeffernusse Day, more

December 23rd, 2012, is Festivus, Tom Bawcock's Eve, Stargazy Pie Day, Roots Day, Suez Victory Day, and National Pfeffernusse Day.

Today is Festivus, a holiday made famous in an episode of the TV show, Seinfeld. In fact, the father of one of the show's writers created the holiday many years prior. To celebrate, according to the Festivus website, install a Festivus Pole (devoid of the trappings of the traditional Christmas tree). A good Festivus dinner features meat loaf or spaghetti in red sauce. Finally, practice the Airing of the Grievances and the Feats of Strength. Happy Festivus to all!

Stargazy pie. Image: Krista, Wikipedia Commons.
Tom Bawcock's Eve, also known as Stargazy Pie Day, is a unique foodie holiday. To celebrate, serve up a savory pie with fish heads sticking up out of the crust, stargazing. You heard me - fish heads, stargazing. Seems a fisherman named Tom Bawcock braved the elements to bring in a load of fish during a famine, saving the citizens of Mousehole, a fishing village in Cornwall, England. (Side note: As far as I can determine, there is no corresponding Tom Bawcock's Day.)

Roots Day is a celebration of geneology. Take advantage of the holiday season to learn more about your family tree. Document the stories of older family members before the opportunity slips away.

Egypt observes Suez Victory Day on December 23rd.

National Pfeffernusse Day honors a German cookie featuring pepper and other spices. Surprise your friends by adding this cookie to your holiday spread.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Super Saturday, Haiku Poetry Day, Anagram Week, more

December 22nd, 2012, is Super Saturday, Christmas Tree Light Day, National Haiku Poetry Day, Anagram Week, Teacher Appreciation Day (Cuba), and National Date Nut Bread Day.

If you're reading this, then we managed to avoid the End of the World, expected by some to happen yesterday. We're alive - that's the best reason of all to celebrate!

The Saturday before Christmas is known as Super Saturday. While Black Friday draws crowds and Cyber Monday inspires online sales, Super Saturday is often the most profitable day of the year for retailers. Way to go, procrastinators!

Christmas Tree Light Day is one of those holidays mentioned only on ecard sites. Send a greeting if you wish.

National Haiku Poetry Day celebrates the Japanese poetry form known as haiku. If you write a haiku in honor of the day, please share in the Comments section below!

Not into haiku? How about anagrams? Today is the first day of the first-ever Anagram Week. Find an anagram for your name and ask people to address you as such. Change your name to its anagram on social media sites, and follow the action at #anagramweek. For now, you may refer to me as Malice Frog Lynn (instead of Carolyn Fleming).

Cuba celebrates Teacher Appreciation Day on December 22nd. On this date in 1961, Fidel Castro declared Cuba to be "free from illiteracy."

National Date Nut Bread Day offers the opportunity to eat something healthy and delicious during the decadent holiday season.

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Capricorn the Goat, December 22 to January 19

Capricorn. Image: Salvatore Vuono,

Everyone born between December 22nd and January 19th is a Capricorn, the sign of the Goat, also known as the Sea-Goat. Some say the sun leaves Capricorn on January 20th.
For more information about Capricorn:

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Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World, Humbug Day, Kiwi Fruit Day, more

December 21st, 2012, is the End of the World, Winter and Summer Solstice, Anne and Samantha Day, Yule, Shab-e Yalda, National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, Humbug Day, National Flashlight Day, Underdog Day, Look on the Bright Side Day, Forefathers' Day, Phileas Fogg Wins a Wager Day, and Kiwi Fruit Day.

According to one interpretation of the Mayan Calendar, today brings the End of the World. If you're reading this, we've either dodged a bullet or we're about to go *poof*!

Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, takes place on December 21st or December 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere this year. In the Southern Hemisphere, today brings Summer Solstice.

Anne and Samantha Day is observed on both the Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, in an effort to honor Anne Frank and Samantha Smith on postage stamps. The two girls lived with courage and died as teens.

Yule is also celebrated on the Winter Solstice. Pagans and Wiccans set up yule alters, celebrate goddess rites, and welcome back the sun.

Global Orgasm for Peace Day, also known as GORG, takes place today at Solstice, UTC time, at 11:11. Convert to your local time here. The intent is for everyone to think about peace during the, uh, critical moment.
Shab-e Yalda, celebrated in Iran, commemorates the Eve of the Birth of Mithra, the Sun God.

Since 1990, National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day has been observed on the Winter Solstice. The event, meant "to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless friends who have paid the ultimate price for [the United States'] failure to end homelessness," is sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Consumer Advisory Board, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

Celebrate your inner Ebenezer Scrooge on Humbug Day. Go on, it's okay. All of us embody at least a smidge of Scrooge sometimes.

National Flashlight Day takes place each year on December 21st, despite the fact that many neighborhoods are brightly lit with holiday lights. Oh, well. If someone blows a fuse, that flashlight will come in handy.

Underdog Day honors the little guy, the second banana, the unsung hero.... You get the idea. This holiday, always the third Friday in December, was founded by the late Peter Moeller in 1976. He used to crown an "Underdog of the Year." So-called winners included Lee Iacocca, Harry Reasoner, Dennis Kucinich, and Phyllis Schlafly. Who would you select as this year's "Underdog?"

Look on the Bright Side Day is easy to celebrate today, given the plethora of glowing holiday lights and shining flashlights.

Forefathers' Day commemorates the Pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth Rock in 1620 on December 21st.

Today is Phileas Fogg Wins a Wager Day, the day when the fictional Fogg collected on his $20,000 bet that he could travel Around the World in Eighty Days.

On Kiwi Fruit Day, enjoy a fruit that's not only good for you, but is also delicious and looks beautiful served in slices or quarters. Add some kiwi to your holiday buffet!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ursid Meteor Shower 2012

Stargazing bench. Image: suphakit73, FreeDigitalPhotos.

The 2012 Ursid Meteor Shower will be at its peak near Winter Solstice, December 21st and 22nd. Perhaps the End of the World is also at hand, according to one interpretation of the Mayan Calendar. The shower is visible in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

City lights, called light pollution, can interfere with viewing. So can reflected moonlight. The current first quarter moon will limit visibility somewhat.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation they appear to be near. The Ursid Meteor Shower appears near the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper.

Check out these sites for more information about the Ursid Meteor Shower, including recommended viewing times for your corner of the globe.

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Regifting Day, Mudd Day, Sangria Day, more

December 20th, 2012, is National Regifting Day, Mudd Day, Go Caroling Day, Cathode-Ray Tube Day, International Human Solidarity Day, Sangria Day, and National Fried Shrimp Day. 

On National Regifting Day, we are urged to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... Regift." You may not appreciate the Chia Obama your cousin gave you, but perhaps your neighbor will love it! You can even print out a custom Regifting Day gift tag at the the Regifting Day website. Some celebrate this holiday on the Thursday before Christmas.

Mudd Day is the time to consider the case of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, convicted to life in prison for setting the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, after Booth assassinated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. In defense of Dr. Mudd, Booth was wearing a disguise at the time. Dr. Mudd was later pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. On Mudd Day, consider the possible ramifications of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly....O come, all ye faithful....Dashing through the snow, on a one-horse open sleigh....On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...." You get the idea. Today is Go Caroling Day! Find many lyrics here.

Cathode-Ray Tube Day celebrates the technology that used to light our television screens. Do you remember watching the little dot gradually disappear after turning off the TV?

The United Nations supports International Human Solidarity Day, intended to celebrate unity in diversity.

Sangria Day offers an excellent excuse to drink. Celebrate Spanish culture - you need more fruit in your diet, right?

National Fried Shrimp Day is the perfect time to enjoying an appetizer or entree from the sea, breaded and deep fried to succulent perfection. Hungry now?

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Look for an Evergreen Day, Hard Candy Day, more

December 19th, 2012, is Look for an Evergreen Day, A Christmas Carol Day, United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, Oatmeal Muffin Day, and National Hard Candy Day.

It's easy to celebrate Look for an Evergreen Day anywhere Christmas is celebrated. Behold the tree lots, the malls, the homes of friends and family. Come to think of it, look for evergreens in their natural habitat - the great outdoors! If you celebrate Christmas but haven't chosen a tree this year, today could be your lucky day.

Only the greeting card sites seem to mention A Christmas Carol Day, so it's origin and meaning are a mystery. Nevertheless, send an ecard if you're so inspired.

The United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation is meant to "promote and implement technical cooperation among developing countries."

If you and your body yearn for some healthy food - specifically fiber - during this appetizer-and-cookie season, celebrate Oatmeal Muffin Day.

Nothing quite says "it's the holiday season" like a crystal bowl overflowing with old-fashioned hard candy. It's colorful, shiny, beautiful, and delicious, whether in the shape of ribbons, buttons or other shapes. Find a candy store that sells retro candy and buy a bag! Happy National Hard Candy Day.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Flake Appreciation Day, Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day, more

December 18th, 2012, is International Answer the Phone like Buddy the Elf Day, Flake Appreciation Day, Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day, International Migrants Day, National Roast Suckling Pig Day, and Bake Cookies Day.

International Answer the Phone like Buddy the Elf Day requires you to channel your inner Will Ferrell. He played Buddy the Elf in the 2003 film, Elf.

Flake Appreciation Day is a time to celebrate dantruff, if you choose, but most of us will choose to admire crystalline, six-sided wonders that fall from the sky in cold weather. Here's a tutorial to help you create stunning paper snowflakes:

Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day is a holiday to celebrate at your own discretion. At least use a new plunger, please, and be sure to duck through doorways.

The United Nations supports International Migrants Day on December 18th. In 2011 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote: "When their rights are violated, when they are marginalized and excluded, migrants will be unable to contribute either economically or socially to the societies they have left behind or those they enter. However, when supported by the right policies and human rights protections, migration can be a force for good for individuals as well as for countries of origin, transit and destination."

I don't know about you, but I'm too intimidated to celebrate National Roast Suckling Pig Day. If you do roast a pig today, especially a suckling pig, please invite me to sample! I'll bring dessert.

Today is Bake Cookies Day. If you took my advice back on National Cookie Day, all you have to do today is pop some dough in the oven. Sweet!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Talk with a Fake British Accent Day, Reconciliation Day, more

December 17th, 2012, is National Talk with a Fake British Accent Day, Wright Brothers Day, Pan American Aviation Day, Reconciliation Day, and Maple Syrup Day.

Blimey! Today is International Talk with a Fake British Accent Day. 'ave you 'eard of it? Jolly good. This colourful day was founded by Big Apple Brits - blokes and birds with real British accents living in New York City. Try out your accent - it's a doddle!

Wright Brothers Day commemorates the first successful heavier-than-air flight by Orville and Wilbur, back in 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Continuing in the aviation vein, today is Pan American Aviation Day, celebrating the importance of air travel in the Western Hemisphere.

Day of Reconciliation has been celebrated on December 16th - or the Monday after if the 16th falls on a weekend - every year in South Africa since the end of Apartheid in 1994. The holiday is a time for ethnic groups to come together in peace and harmony. Under Apartheid, December 16th was known as Day of the Vow, Day of the Covenant, or Dingaan Day. Apartheid comes from the Afrikaans words "apart" and "heid," meaning "aparthood."

On Maple Syrup Day, don't use the fake stuff! Enjoy your pancakes, waffles, or other breakfast treats with real maple syrup. Or add maple syrup to your dinner repertoire with these recipes.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Barbie and Barney Backlash Day, Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

December 16th, 2012, is Barbie and Barney Backlash Day and National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

Barbie and Barney Backlash Day recognizes many people's visceral dislike of Barney and/or Barbie. Celebrate or ignore, as best suits your inner child.

Today is National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day. Hard to imagine anyone disliking this holiday, unless the chocolate-covered item in question is a favorite sweater, a white sofa, or perhaps garlic.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cat Herders Day, Cupcake Day, more

December 15th, 2012, is Cat Herders Day, Bill of Rights Day, National Cupcake Day, and National Lemon Cupcake Day.

If the whirlwind of activity leading up to the holiday season causes you stress, consider something more relaxing, like cat herding. That's right - today is Cat Herders Day. Cat herding, an all-but-impossible task, can be compared with organizing the minutae of your crazy job or getting everything done in time for Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa.

Bill of Rights Day honors amendments to the U.S. Constitution that guarantee citizens certain rights. Read the Bill of Rights for yourself, to understand and appreciate the power of those amendments.

Like things that are portable? Love cake? Then today is your day - National Cupcake Day. Cupcakes are perfect for holiday parties, by the way.

Perhaps the vast array of cupcake flavors and decorating options is too overwhelming, especially given the general atmosphere of holiday stress in December. Narrow down your options and celebrate National Lemon Cupcake Day instead.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Monkey Day, Salesperson's Day, Bouillabaisse Day

December 14th, 2012, is Monkey Day, National Salesperson's Day, and National Bouillabaisse Day.

Monkey Day was created in 2000 by comic strip artist and blogger Casey Sorrow. Sorrow writes, "Monkey Day is an annual celebration of all things simian, a festival of primates, a chance to scream like a monkey and throw feces at whomever you choose....(note: for legal reasons, the publishers of the Monkey Day website in no way endorse throwing feces in any manner at any time.)" Ditto for The Holiday Whiz, okay, people?

The second Friday in December is National Salesperson's Day. Do something special for the talented salesperson in your employ, or for the insightful salesperson who helped you find just the right item.

I'm not sure which is tougher - preparing bouillabaisse or spelling it. Nevertheless, celebrate National Bouillabaisse Day!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Violin Day, Ice Cream Day, Cocoa Day, more

December 13th, 2012, is Violin Day, St. Lucia Day, Republic Day (Malta), Ice Cream Day, and National Cocoa Day.

Violin Day celebrates a stringed instrument that is equally at home playing classical, country, or pop.

St. Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland today, with children spreading cheer through hospitals, nursing homes, and such, singing the "Santa Lucia Song." The girl chosen to portray Lucia wears a white robe and a headpiece with candles.

Malta observes Republic Day on December 13th, commemorating the formation of its republic in 1974.

If you don't mind the cold, embrace Ice Cream Day today. Otherwise, wait until the third Sunday in July, for National Ice Cream Day.

If the thought of ice cream in December gives you the shivers, how about an alternative? December 13th is National Cocoa Day. Celebrate with your biggest mug and several marshmallows.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Geminid Meteor Shower 2012

Stargazing bench. Image: suphakit73; FreeDigitalPhotos.

The 2012 Geminid Meteor Shower, potentially visible from December 7th to December 17th, will be at its peak on the night of December 13th through December 14th. The Geminid, visible in both hemispheres, is the final major meteor shower of the year. It is known as Winter's Fireworks, because the meteors appear in a variety of colors.

City lights, called light pollution, can interfere with viewing. So can reflected moonlight. Happily, the new moon allows optimal viewing of this year's light show.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation they appear to be near. The Geminid Meteor Shower appears near the constellation Gemini the Twins.

Check out these sites for more information abou tthe Geminid Meteor Shower, including recommended viewing times for your corner of the globe.

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12-12-12, Poinsettia Day, Gingerbread House Day, more

December 12th, 2012, is 12-12-12, Poinsettia Day, National Ding-a-Ling Day, Unmentionable Thoughts Festival, Bonza Bottler Day, Virgin of Guadalupe Festival, Neutrality Day (Turkmenistan), Independence Day (Kenya), National Ambrosia Day, and Gingerbread House Day.

Today is 12-12-12, a great day for number geeks and OCD types. (I'm one of them!) Don't miss today's 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief, the world's largest music event, to benefit the survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

UPDATE: Today is World Hoop Day, promoting "peace, community and healthy living." People on six continents are hula-hooping for fun and exercise.

Poinsettia Day is celebrated on December 12th, marking the death anniversary of politician Joel Robert Poinsett, for whom the flower is named. The holiday also honors Paul Ecke, Jr., the father of the poinsettia industry. Surprisingly (to me at least), poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the U.S. and Canada. That's a lot of holiday cheer!

National Ding-a-Ling Day is probably a tribute to Chuck Berry and his famous 1972 song, "My Ding-a-Ling." The lyrics mention two bells on a string, along with a lot of innuendo.

The Unmentionable Thoughts Festival is mentioned on many holiday sites, but with no details given. Too unmentionable, I suppose.

The twelfth and final Bonza Bottler Day of 2012 is here at last, celebrating the orderliness of a matching month number and date - 12/12.

The Virgin of Guadalupe Festival honors the patron saint of Mexico. Thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and fiestas are held throughout Mexico.

Turkmenistan observes Neutrality Day on December 12th.

Kenya observes Independence Day today, celebrating independence since 1963.

Ahhhh....the food of the gods! Even the well-known Sims of simulation game fame enjoy their ambrosia. Gather your citrus, chill your cream, celebrate National Ambrosia Day.

Today is Gingerbread House Day. Some are quite elaborate, as at the White House in Washington, D.C. Since most gingerbread houses are used more as decoration than as dessert, feel free to begin your construction project today, thirteen days before Christmas. Alternatively, do as I do - buy a kit or set up a ceramic gingerbread house display.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mountain Day, Noodle-Ring Day, more

December 11th, 2012, is International Mountain Day, Proclamation of the Republic (Burkina Faso), and National Noodle-Ring Day.

The United Nations supports International Mountain Day on December 11th, to raise awareness of the importance of mountain forests in a Green Economy. The theme for 2012 is "Celebrating Mountain Life."

Burkina Faso observes Proclamation of the Republic today.

What's a henway? About 3 pounds. Wbat's a noodle-ring? A firm noodle casserole baked in a ring pan, then unmolded to serve. Happy National Noodle-Ring Day  to all.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Nobel Day, Human Rights Day, Lager Day, more

December 10th, 2012, is Green Monday, Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales, Dewey Decimal System Day, Nobel Day, Human Rights Day, and National Lager Day.

THIS JUST IN: The second Monday in December is known as Green Monday, traditionally the biggest shipping day prior to Christmas. Have you mailed your holiday gifts yet?

Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales is a phantom holiday floating around on many holiday sites. The holiday, supposedly an Inuit tradition, is unknown to Inuit experts. It's an intriguing idea for a festival, however, and for the sake of completeness I'm including it here.

December 10th is Dewey Decimal System Day, honoring the birth date of Melvil Dewey. He created the numerical classification of books used by libraries, known as the Dewey Decimal System.

Nobel Day brings the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

The United Nations promotes Human Rights Day on December 10th. Follow the action on Twitter at #VoiceCount.

If you're worn out from this season's holiday prep, prop up your feet and have a cold one in honor of National Lager Day. Cheers!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Choral Day, Candle Lighting Day, Christmas Card Day, more

December 9th, 2012, is World Choral Day, Worldwide Candle Lighting Day, Weary Willy Day, Christmas Card Day, International Anti-Corruption Day, Independence Day (Tanzania), and National Pastry Day.

The International Federation for Choral Music sponsors World Choral Day. The event was proposed by Alberto Grau during the 1990 2nd World Symposium on Choral Music in Helsinki, Finland, to foster "solidarity, peace, and understanding."

December 11th is Worldwide Candle Lighting Day, created by the Compassionate Friends. At 7:00 p.m., your local time, "light a candle for all children who have died...that their light may always shine."

Weary Willy Day celebrates the clown character created by the beloved Emmett Kelly. Kelly was born on December 9th, 1898.

Christmas Card Day is, presumably, a subtle kick in the pants for those of us who haven't started working on our Christmas cards yet.

The United Nations supports International Anti-Corruption Day. In 2011 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote: "On this International Anti-Corruption Day, let us pledge to do our part by cracking down on corruption, shaming those who practice it and endangering a culture that values ethical behaviour."

Tanzania observes Independence Day on December 9th.

National Pastry Day offers a great excuse to indulge. Enjoy your pastry sweet or savory - or both!

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hanukkah, Santa Speedo Run, Lemon Squeezer Day, more

December 8th, 2012, is Hanukkah, Santa Speedo Run, International Shareware Day, Day of the Horse, Take It in the Ear Day, Winter Flowers Day, Mother's Day (Panama), Feast of the Immaculate Concepction, Lemon Squeezer Day, and National Brownie Day.

The first menorah candle is lit at sundown today, commemorating the first day of Hanukkah in 2012. The Festival of Lights is spelled many different ways, including Chanukkah.

Today brings Boston's annual Santa Speedo Run - yes, it's what you think it is. Check out the photos on their site, if you dare! The runners brave the cold to raise money for children's charities.

The second Saturday in December is International Shareware Day. Shareware is software offered on the honor system - if you use a program and choose to keep it, you're expected to make a donation to the programmer. Today, in the spirit of giving, send a check to a programmer and make their day.

The second Saturday in December is the Day of the Horse, celebrating the role horses have played in the history and economy of the United States.

December 8th is Take It in the Ear Day, but no one seems to know what we're supposed to take in the ear, or how to take it, or why. This holiday should just go in one ear and out the other.

Winter Flowers Day could be a tribute to the flowers in your yard or your local botanical garden, but at this time of year poinsettias are my flower of choice.

Panama celebrates Mother's Day today, with great fanfare.

December 8th honors the Virgin Mary with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Lemon Squeezer Day commemorates a patent granted to John T. White on this date in 1896, for an improvement to the lemon squeezer. Not sure why the original inventor isn't remembered instead. Just go make some lemonade and don't worry about it.

National Brownie Day - yum! You know what to do!

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