December 23, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning alternative holiday fans. Today is Friday, December 23rd. Today’s holidays are:


If you were a regular viewer of the popular TV show “Seinfeld” you probably think that Festivus is a contrived holiday created by one of the writers of the show – and you would be partially correct. In fact, Festivus is a contrived holiday, but it was created around 1966 by Daniel O’Keefe; over three decades before that “Seinfeld” episode, (titled “The Strike”), aired on December 18, 1997. Dan O’Keefe, Daniel’s son, wrote the script for that episode.
Mr. O’Keefe created Festivus as a way to celebrate the holiday season without buying into its commercialism. A traditional Festivus celebration includes a plain aluminum pole in lieu of a Christmas tree, the annual “Airing of Grievances,” the Festivus dinner, and “Feats of Strength.” The traditional Festivus greeting is “Happy Festivus” and the slogan of the holiday is “A Festivus for the rest of us!” For the complete details of this holiday, click this link.


HumanLight is a Humanist holiday celebrated on December 23. Like Festivus and Kwanzaa (which begins on December 26th), HumanLight is a modern invention. It was created as a specifically Humanist celebration centered around the northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice and within the western world’s holiday season.
HumanLight was established by the New Jersey Humanist Network in 2001. Humanists cast HumanLight as a celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.” They celebrate a positive approach to the coming new year, generally through the spectrum of Humanist (and particularly secular humanist) philosophy—secular as opposed to religious. The December 23 date allows HumanLight to connect itself to the December holiday season without interfering with other winter holidays which many Humanists may also celebrate.
HumanLight began with a single event in Verona, New Jersey in 2001. In 2006, there were twenty American events listed on the holiday’s homepage, and the American Humanist Association became HumanLight’s first national sponsor. In 2007, the first HumanLight celebration outside of the United States took place in Chester, England.

Roots Day

Although the reasons for Roots Day are obvious, the ‘roots’ of Roots Day remain a mystery. No information is available in any of my sources regarding who created this holiday, or when it was created.
The holiday season is full of family functions and gatherings, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate your roots. Many people take their family history and ancestry for granted, and/or never learn about the struggles and triumphs of their ancestors and the history of their family name.
It is our genealogy that makes us who we are today, so sit down with your older relatives and talk to them about the past. You may hear some funny stories and learn a few things about your family that you never knew before. Who knows, you may discover a few famous people perched in the branches of your family tree – but you might also find a few skeletons hidden in the family closet as well. No matter what you discover, I hope that your family tree resembles a spreading oak tree – and not a totem pole.
To celebrate this holiday, start a family tree. There are several free websites that can assist you in starting your journey through the branches.

National Pfeffernuesse Day

Pfeffernuesse cookies are a traditional cookie in Central Europe. According to Wikipedia, the name Pfeffernuesse “translates to “pepper nuts” in German. The “pepper” part comes from the small amount of pepper used to make them spicy. The “nuts” part comes from their texture; which is hard and crunchy like a nut. There are no actual nuts in the recipe; which includes gingerbread spices (anise, cloves, nutmeg), pepper and citron. The small amount of black pepper adds to the spiciness without adding heat.
From what I can glean from my sources, these cookies are often dunked in wine when eaten. However, if allowed to sit for a few days, they do become softer.
To celebrate this holiday, try baking a batch of these unique cookies. Recipes are all over the internet.

On this date in

  • 1783 – George Washington returned to his home in Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army after the Revolutionary War.
  • 1788 – Maryland voted to cede a 100-square-mile area for the seat of the national government. About two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
  • 1823 – The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (” ‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) was published.
  • 1834 – English architect Joseph Hansom patented his ‘safety cab’, better known as the Hansom cab.
  • 1852 – The Theatre of Celestial John opened on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, CA. It was the first Chinese theater in the United States.
  • 1888 – Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe.
  • 1893 – The Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Hansel und Gretel” was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
  • 1913 – The Federal Reserve Bill was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The act established 12 Federal Reserve Banks.
  • 1919 – The first ship designed to be used as an ambulance for the transport patients was launched. The hospital ship was named USS Relief and had 515 beds.
  • 1922 – The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.
  • 1930 – Ruth Elizabeth Davis, an unknown actress, arrived in Hollywood, under contract to Universal Studios. Universal changed her name to Bette Davis for the movies.
  • 1941 – During World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
  • 1942 – Bob Hope agreed to entertain United States airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional USO Christmas shows.
  • 1943 – “Hansel and Gretel,” the opera, was televised on New York’s WRBG. It was the first complete opera to be televised.
  • 1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William Shockley invented the transistor.
  • 1948 – Former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo. They had been found guilty of crimes against humanity.
  • 1951 – A National Football League championship game was televised nationally for the first time. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-17. The DuMont Network had paid $75,000 for the rights to the game.
  • 1957 – Dan Blocker made his acting debut on television in the “Restless Gun.”
  • 1965 – A 70-mph speed limit was introduced in Britain.
  • 1968 – Eighty-two crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.
  • 1972 – The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders 13-7 in an NFL playoff game on a last-second play that was dubbed the “Immaculate Reception.” Pittsburgh’s Franco Harris caught a deflected pass and ran it in for the winning touchdown.
  • 1986 – The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
  • 1987 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.
  • 1990 – Elections in Yugoslavia ended, leaving four of its six republics with non-Communist governments.
  • 1995 – A fire in Dabwali, India, killed 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near the children’s school.
  • 1997 – Terry Nichols was convicted by a Denver jury on charges of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. The bomb killed 168 people.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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