December 26th – National Thank You Note Day

December 26, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning my grateful friends. Today is Tuesday, December 26th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Thank You Note Day

Way back in ancient times, before people became so self-absorbed and developed such an exaggerated sense of entitlement, there used to be a thing called courtesy. People used to actually say “please” and “thank you” – and mean it. National Thank You Note Day, celebrated annually on December 26th, attempts to bring back those days of yore and encourages people to show gratitude for the gifts they received for Christmas.
The presents have been unwrapped and put away. It’s official: the holidays are winding down. It’s time to write those thank you notes. National Thank You Note Day is meant to recognize the importance of expressing appreciation for the effort your friends, family, and loved ones put forth in finding you “that perfect gift”.
Renowned etiquette expert Emily Post offers these suggestions regarding the writing of “thank you” notes.

  • Handwritten notes are more personal than phone calls, text messages, or emails.
  • Write thank you notes for holiday gifts within two or three days of receiving them.

So, sit down with pen and paper and write those “thank you” notes today and encourage your young’uns to do the same – after you finish reading this Blog, naturally.

National Whiners Day

I contrast to the holiday above, National Whiners Day, which is meant to be “tongue-in-cheek, gives you permission to complain about the aftermath of Christmas.
So, you didn’t get what you wanted. Your living room is still a mess. You dipped a little too far into the ‘adult’ holiday eggnog bowl. You ate a few too many of Aunt Betty’s sugar cookies and now you feel like crap. Go ahead and complain about it today; that’s what this holiday is all about. Whine to your heart’s content. Having a little cheese with your ‘whine’ is optional.

Kwanzaa Begins

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to honor African-American heritage. It reflects upon and celebrates seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration observed between December 26th and January 1st.
On each day of the celebration, a candle is lit on the Kinara. Today, on the first day of Kwanzaa, a black candle is lit to symbolize the people. To the left of the black candle are three red candles, representing the people’s struggles. To the right of the black candle are three green candles, symbolizing the people’s hope for the future. The candles are lit from left to right, one candle for each day of the celebration.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day has absolutely nothing to do with any form of pugilism. The roots of Boxing Day date back to the Middle Ages. On this holiday, members of the upper class and the merchant class would take boxes, fill them with food and fruits, and give them to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate. In the case of servants, they would work on Christmas Day, so it was only fitting that immediately after Christmas, they would be given a day off to celebrate. In fact, Boxing Day is an expression of appreciation and thanks. Celebrated in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other former British Commonwealth countries, it is a legal holiday in these countries.
Boxing Day is usually celebrated the day after Christmas unless Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday. In that case, some celebrate it on the following Monday. These days, the giving of boxes includes filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and performing volunteer work. Monetary gifts to charity are also common.

Where the Heck Did I Put that Receipt Day

Many of you probably wonder sometimes if I just don’t just make up some of the holidays I cover on this Blog. Let me assure you that, aside from Make Up Your Own Holiday Day on March 26th, that is not the case — Until now! Where the Heck Did I Put that Receipt Day does not actually exist; I just it made up. However, I think that there is a definite need for a holiday such as this.
Keeping track of the receipts for your holiday purchases is important. For instance, unbeknownst to you, Aunt Millie has taken up Pilates, and no longer needs to buy her wardrobe from “Omar, the tent maker”; Cousin Billy has settled into married life a bit too well and no longer wears a size ‘medium’ but has expanded to an XXL since you last saw him; That new iPhone you bought for your 13-year-old daughter is the same color as the one her worst ‘frenemy’ Tiffani (with an “i”) has, which, naturally, is ‘totes unacceptable’.
If you don’t remember where you put the receipts, it is much harder to return the merchandise when the need arises; such as I illustrated in the scenarios above. Let’s start a campaign to make Where the Heck Did I Put that Receipt Day a National holiday.

National Candy Cane Day

Candy canes were created in 1670 in Germany, by the choirmaster of the Cologne Cathedral. He created sugar sticks for the young singers in the choir, to keep them quiet during the long Living Crèche ceremony. He bent the sugar sticks to represent a shepherd’s staff.
In the beginning, candy canes were all-white and had no flavoring. They remained this way for more than 330 years. White candy canes can still be seen on Christmas cards dating to 1900. Shortly after then, the first red-and-white-striped candy canes appeared. The name of the innovator of the, now traditional, red and white candy cane is lost to history. At about the same time, confectioners added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to create the “modern” candy cane.
A candy cane can be more than just a treat or holiday decoration. Here are some other uses for them:

  1. Use them as a stirrer for hot chocolate.
  2. Mix crushed candy canes into a brownie batter, chocolate cookie batter, or other favorite recipes.
  3. Make peppermint ice cream. (You can do it from scratch, or soften a container of vanilla ice cream just enough to stir in crushed candy cane pieces).
  4. Make peppermint whipped cream to use as a garnish for hot chocolate, ice cream, chocolate cake or other desserts. (Grind to a fine powder in a food processor or spice mill. Beat cold heavy cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form and fold in the peppermint powder).
  5. Use them as dinner table decor: Fold a candy cane into each napkin or tie it with a ribbon.

Can you think of any other uses for candy canes?

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date: 

  • In 1620 – The Pilgrim Fathers landed at New Plymouth, MA, to found Plymouth Colony, with John Carver as Governor.
  • In 1776 – The British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War.
  • In 1865 – The coffee percolator was patented by James H. Mason.
  • In 1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium. The radioactive element has an atomic number of 88 and is known by the symbol Ra. In its pure form, it is a highly toxic element and is not used extensively for scientific purposes.
  • In 1908 – Texan boxer “Galveston Jack” Johnson knocked out Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, to become the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight title.
  • In 1917 – During World War I, the U.S. government took over operation of the nation’s railroads.
  • In 1921 – The Catholic Irish Free State became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
  • In 1927 – The East-West Shrine football game featured numbers on both the front and back of player’s jerseys.
  • In 1941 – The fourth Thursday of November was set as Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The holiday has been celebrated officially in the United States since 1863. The first Thanksgiving is thought to have been observed by early settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony after their first harvest in 1621.
  • In 1941 – Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.
  • In 1943 – The German battle cruiser Scharnhorst was sunk in the North Sea, during the Battle of North Cape.
  • In 1947 – Heavy snow blanketed the Northeast United States, burying New York City under 25.8 inches of snow in 16 hours. The severe weather was blamed for about 80 deaths.
  • In 1954 – “The Shadow” aired on radio for the last time.
  • In 1956 – Fidel Castro attempted a secret landing in Cuba to overthrow the Batista regime. All but 11 of his supporters were killed.
  • In 1966 – Kwanzaa was first celebrated. The week-long cultural holiday is celebrated among African diaspora in the United States and was created by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies and a key figure in the Black Power movement. The holiday is celebrated annually from December 26 to January 1, and it is a recognition of African culture and heritage.
  • In 1972 – Former President Harry s Truman died at age 88.
  • In 1974 – Iconic comedian Jack Benny died at age 80.
  • In 1982 – The Man of the Year in “TIME” magazine was the personal computer. It was the first time a non-human received the honors. The Man of the Year tradition began in 1927 at Time magazine as a way to identify and showcase those that influenced the year and its events significantly. In 1999, the “Man of the Year” feature was renamed Person of the Year.
  • In 1990 – Garry Kasparov beat Anatoly Karpov to keep the chess championship.
  • In 1991 – The Soviet Union’s parliament formally voted the country out of existence.
  • In 1995 – Israel turned dozens of West Bank villages over to the Palestinian Authority.
  • In 1996 – Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, CO.
  • In 1998 – Iraq announced that it would fire on U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the skies over northern and southern Iraq.
  • In 2000 – Michael McDermott, age 42, opened fire at his place of employment killing seven people. McDermott had no criminal history.
  • In 2002 – The first cloned human baby was born. The announcement was made the December 27 by Clonaid.
  • In 2004 – Under the Indian Ocean, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia sent 500-mph waves across the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The tsunami killed at least 283,000 people in a dozen countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sumatra, Thailand, and India. The earthquake was the third strongest earthquake ever measured using the Richter scale in recorded history. The other two were the Valdivia earthquake in Chile in 1960, with a magnitude of 9.5 and the Prince William Sound earthquake in Alaska in 1964, with a magnitude of 9.2. The Indian Ocean earthquake is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history.
  • In 2006 – Former President Gerald Ford died at age 93.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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December 25th – ♫We Wish You a Merry Christmas…♫

December 25, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Happy 

Holly-daze 

Everyone!

Good morning my weary Santas. Today is Monday, December 25, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Christmas:

At long last, the hustle and bustle are over. Christmas has arrived whether you like it or not. It’s time to relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones. If you aren’t prepared, don’t worry, it’s too late to do anything about it now anyway. What’s done is done.
Contrary to the beliefs of some in our society, Christmas is still a Christian holiday, marking the birth of Jesus. It is a joyous occasion celebrated with loved ones near and far. The festivities often include a Christmas feast, gift exchanges, church celebrations, a visit from Santa Claus, and holiday parties. Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, and it is celebrated in most countries around the world.  It has both a strong religious and traditional meaning. No matter how “commercialized” Christmas becomes, we should never forget the true meaning of the holiday. In case you have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, use this link, or your bible, to refresh your memory.
Factoid:  Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas carols and parties in England from 1649 to 1660.  He thought that Christmas should be a solemn holiday and the only celebrations should be church services. Obviously, it didn’t last too long as Christmas soon became a secular holiday.

No “L” Day or A’phabet Day

Although the origins of No “L” Day or A’phabet Day are obscure, this holiday is almost certainly inspired by a Christmas card sent by film director and noted punster Alfred Hitchcock to some of his friends in 1973. In his now famous Christmas card, Mr. Hitchcock merely wrote the words “A Very Happy”, then listed the letters of the alphabet in order; except omitting the letter “L”. Hence the card could be read as “A Very Happy Noel” (no “L”).
No “L” is obviously a pun on the word noel and No “L” Day or A’Phabet Day is a way of celebration for people who do not want to send traditional Christmas cards, but who still want to acknowledge the holidays and send greetings to their friends and family.
To celebrate this holiday, learn more about orthography – the part of language study concerned with letters and spelling.

National Pumpkin Pie Day  

National Pumpkin Pie Day, oddly enough, celebrates pumpkin pie. Pumpkin itself is a symbol of harvest and comes into season in the early fall. Pumpkin pie recipes were found in seventeenth-century English cookbooks and a century later pumpkin pie recipes began to appear in American cookbooks as well. Pumpkin pie became a familiar addition to holiday tables in the early seventeenth-century when early settlers brought it to America.
Pumpkin pie is one of America’s favorite pies and a perennial favorite around the holidays season; especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is also prominently featured at Halloween, although not in the form of a pie.
The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard baked in a single pie shell. The pie is generally flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date:

  • In 0800 – Charlemagne was crowned first Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III.
  • In 1066 – William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.
  • In 1223 – St. Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy.
  • In 1643 – Christmas Island was discovered. Captain William Mynors on the East India Company ship Royal Mary did not stop at the Australian island, which owes its name to the date of its discovery by Europeans. It was not until 44 years later that the first Europeans stepped on the Island. Sparsely populated, the Indian Ocean island is rich in phosphate, which is mined from the guano – bird droppings.
  • In 1776 – Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, NJ.
  • In 1809 – The first abdominal surgery was performed. American physician Ephraim McDowell became the first person in recorded history to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. He is known as the father of ovariotomy and abdominal surgery. The procedure took about 30 minutes and was performed without any anesthesia.
  • In 1818 – “Silent Night” was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.
  • In 1868 – President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
  • In 1894 – The University of Chicago became the first Midwestern football team to play on the west coast. U.C. defeated Stanford, 24-4, in Palo Alto, CA.
  • In 1896 – John Philip Sousa finally titled the melody “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
  • In 1914 – During World War I, British and German troops observed an unofficial truce and even playing football together on the Western Front.
  • On 1917 – The play “Why Marry?” opened at the Astor Theatre in New York City. “Why Marry?” was the first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize.
  • In 1926 – Hirohito became the 124th emperor of Japan after the death of his father Emperor Taisho. Hirohito was the Emperor of Japan for 62 years, making him the longest reigning Emperor of Japan.
  • In 1930 – The Mt. Van Hoevenberg bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York opened to the public. It was the first bobsled track of international specifications to open in the United States.
  • In 1931 – Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera was “Hansel and Gretel” and was heard on the NBC network of stations.
  • In 1939 – “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was read on CBS radio for the first time.
  • In 1941 – Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese.
  • In 1946 – W.C. Fields died at the age of 66.
  • In 1971 – The longest pro-football game to date finally ended when Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal in the second quarter of sudden death overtime. The Miami Dolphins defeated Kansas City, 27-24. The total game time was 82 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • In 1972 – The Nicaraguan capital Managua was hit by an earthquake. Over 10,000 people were killed.
  • In 1979 – The USSR invaded Afghanistan in a bid to halt a civil war and protect USSR interests. The airlift of Soviet troops into Afghanistan started a 9-year long war. The anti-Soviet insurgents, the mujahideen, received support from the United States and other western allies.
  • In 1989 – Former baseball player and manager Billy Martin died in a truck crash in Fenton, NY.
  • In 1989 – Dissident playwright Vaclav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia.
  • In 1989 – Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu and wife Elena were executed. The communist leader and his wife were deposed after a revolution. Their trial lasted for about an hour and then they were summarily executed by a firing squad.
  • In 1991 – Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as leader of a Communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
  • In 1998 – Seven days into their journey, Richard Branson, Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden gave up their attempt to make the first nonstop round-the-world balloon flight. They ditched near Hawaii.
  • In 2000 – Over 300 people were killed and dozens were injured by fire at a Christmas party in the Chinese city of Luoyang. The incident occurred at the Dongdu Disco.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.  

December 24th – Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning my exhausted elves. Today is Sunday, December 24, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, by definition, is the evening, or the entire day, before Christmas. It is a time of reflection and anticipation for the biggest holiday in Western culture. Every family has their own individual way of celebrating Christmas Eve. Some use it to visit extended family members and close friends because they will be spending Christmas day with their immediate family. Some attend church. Some gather the family and sing Christmas carols. Others don’t do anything special to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve is far more than just the day before Christmas and a time to celebrate with family. It has deep religious meaning to some, mostly in Western cultures. The details are far too extensive to cover in this Blog. For the full explanation, click this link.
Author’s Note: Christmas Eve holds a special meaning to me because it was also my mother’s birthday – R.I.P. (1910 – 1989).

Last-Minute Shopper’s Day

Last-Minute Shopper’s Day is exactly what the name implies – one last chance to finish your Christmas shopping. It is celebrated on Christmas Eve each year. Actually, this holiday is a big shopping day for some people who are hoping to get last-minute deals on Christmas gifts. Many malls and shopping centers have extended hours and great deals to lure these procrastinating purchasers into their stores.
If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, what the heck is wrong with you? Get off your procrastinating posterior and finish your shopping. It’s Christmas Eve you moron!

National Eggnog Day

Eggnog is one of the most popular beverages served during the holidays, so it is very appropriate that this occasion is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Eggnog also may be added as a flavoring to food or drinks such as coffee, tea, bread, pies, cakes or puddings.
The origin of eggnog is often debated. Some believe that eggnog was originally developed in East Anglia, England, while others believe it originated as a medieval European beverage made with hot milk.
The traditional recipe for eggnog is milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs, spices, and sometimes alcohol. The type of alcohol depends on the country where it is made. In Europe, eggnog is traditionally made with white wine. Americans drink it with bourbon or rum while Peruvians use pomace brandy and Germans use beer.
There are a few theories about how eggnog actually got its name. One story claims that eggnog was first called “egg n’ grog,” which was eventually shortened to “eggnog.” According to other sources, the name comes from the Old English word for “strong ale” – “nog.” This theory suggests that the combination of the words “egg” and “nog” refers to any drink that contains both eggs and strong alcohol.
Regardless of how eggnog got its name, it has been a favorite holiday beverage for centuries.

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date: 

  • In 1814 – The War of 1812 between the United States and Britain was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.
  • In 1818 – Franz Gruber of Oberndorf, Germany composed the music for “Silent Night” to words written by Josef Mohr.
  • In 1826 – The so-called “eggnog riots” began at the United States Military Academy in West Point. Also known as the Grog Mutiny, these riots began on Christmas Eve after cadets consumed copious amounts of eggnog made with smuggled whiskey. The riots lasted well into Christmas Day.
  • In 1851 – A fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, destroying about 35,000 volumes.
  • In 1865 – Several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, TN, called the Ku Klux Klan.
  • In 1906 – Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio, from Brant Rock, MA.
  • In 1914 – The Christmas Truce began. A much-studied event in war and peace studies, the Christmas Truce was a brief unofficial ceasefire between British and German troops along the Western Front of World War I. During the truce, soldiers from both sides sang carols, shared food, exchanged gifts, and played football (soccer). Subsequent attempts to hold similar cease-fires around Christmas time failed.
  • In 1914 – In World War I, the first air raid on Britain was made when a German airplane dropped a bomb on the grounds of a rectory in Dover.
  • In 1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord.
  • In 1944 – A German submarine torpedoed the Belgian transport ship S.S. Leopoldville with 2,235 soldiers aboard. About 800 American soldiers died. The soldiers were crossing the English Channel to be reinforcements at the battle that become known as the Battle of the Bulge.
  • In 1948 – For the first time, a midnight Mass was broadcast on television. It was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
  • In 1948 – The first completely solar-heated house became occupied in Dover, MA.
  • In 1951 – Libya achieved independence from Italy. The North African country, the United Kingdom of Libya, had been ruled by Italy since 1912. After independence, it became a constitutional monarchy under King Idris. King Idris was overthrown in a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969.
  • In 1955 – NORAD’s Santa tracking service began. The event is now a Christmas tradition where the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus as he travels around the world delivering presents to children. The event began after a printing error in a Sears catalog asking children to call Santa Claus. The number that was printed was the number of Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.
  • In 1965 – A meteorite landed on Leicestershire. It weighed about 100 pounds.
  • In 1966 – Luna 13 landed on the moon.
  • In 1967 – Joe Namath (New York Jets) became the first NFL quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards.
  • In 1968 – The crew of the United States Navy ship, Pueblo, was released by North Korea. The Captain of the Pueblo, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, and 82 of his crew had been held for 11 months after the ship was seized by North Korea because of suspected spying by the Americans.
  • In 1968 – Three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman, reached the moon. They orbited the moon 10 times before coming back to Earth. Seven months later man first landed on the moon.
  • In 1979 – Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in support of the country’s Marxist government.
  • In 1981 – Reggie Jackson announced that he would join Gene Autry’s California Angels for the 1982 season.
  • In 1985 – Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, announced that he was a non-smoker.
  • In 1989 – Ousted Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega took refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Panama City.
  • In 1992 – President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.
  • In 1997 – Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as “Carlos the Jackal,” was sentenced by a French court to life in prison for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national.
  • In 1998 – At Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, a tourist was hit by a piece of flying metal while waiting to board a ride. The man’s wife and a Disneyland employee were also injured. Luan Phi Dawson died December 26th from his injuries.
  • In 1999 – An Indian Airlines plane was seized during a flight from Katmandu, Nepal, to New Delhi. In Afghanistan, the 150 hostages were freed on December 31 after India released three Kashmir militants from prison.
  • In 2000 – 36 minutes after the end of a game, both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins were called back to the playing field. The teams had to play the final 3 seconds of the game which the Dolphins had won 27-24. The end result did not change.
  • In 2000 – The “Texas 7,” seven convicts that had escaped a Texas prison, robbed a sports store in Irving, TX. The suspects killed Officer Aubrey Hawkins, stole $70,000, 25 weapons and clothing. The men had escaped on December 13.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

December 23rd – Festivus

December 23, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning alternative holiday fans. Today is Saturday, December 23, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Festivus

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.

Super Saturday/Panic Saturday

Prudent shoppers do their Christmas shopping early to avoid the long lines and large crowds associated with the holiday season. However, fortunately for retailers, many Americans aren’t very prudent. Super Saturday (aka Panic Saturday) is an unofficial holiday that takes place on the Saturday before Christmas each year. It is your last chance for many shoppers with full-time jobs to finish their Christmas shopping.
Many shoppers intentionally wait for Super Saturday to finish their shopping due to the availability of discounts. Some people wait until the Super Saturday to do their Christmas shopping because they are on a tight budget and want to take advantage of the savings offered on Super Saturday.
Retailers often use Super Saturday to target last-minute shoppers and typically offer one-day sales in an effort to accrue more revenue. They often offer extended hours to lure shoppers into their stores. Super Saturday accounts for a significant portion of the holiday sales for retail stores and some businesses do as much as 60 percent of their sales on this day. Many retailers increase their staffing during Super Saturday to handle the increased demand.

HumanLight

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.

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date: 

  • In 1783 – George Washington returned to his home in Mount Vernon, after the disbanding of his army after the Revolutionary War.
  • In 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.
  • In 1823 – The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (” ‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) was published.
  • In 1834 – English architect Joseph Hansom patented his ‘safety cab’, better known as the Hansom cab.
  • In 1852 – The Theatre of Celestial John opened on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, CA. It was the first Chinese theater in the United States.
  • In 1888 – Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe. It is now believed that the Dutch painter was suffering from a psychotic break at the time of the event. After cutting off his left ear, van Gogh bandaged his head and took the severed ear to a prostitute for safekeeping.
  • In 1893 – The Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Hansel and Gretel” was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
  • In 1913 – The Federal Reserve Bill was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The act established 12 Federal Reserve Banks.
  • In 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.
  • In 1922 – The British Broadcasting Corporation began daily news broadcasts.
  • In 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.
  • In 1941 – During World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
  • In 1942 – Bob Hope agreed to entertain United States airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional USO Christmas shows.
  • In 1943 – “Hansel and Gretel,” the opera, was televised on New York’s WRBG. It was the first complete opera to be televised.
  • In 1947 – John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain, and William Shockley invented the transistor.
  • In 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.
  • In 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.
  • In 1957 – Dan Blocker made his acting debut on television in the “Restless Gun.”
  • In 1958 – The Tokyo Tower opened to the public. At 1,093 feet (333 meters) tall, it is world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower. It is based on the Eiffel Tower and is used for communication purposes.
  • In 1965 – A 70-mph speed limit was introduced in Britain.
  • In 1968 – Eighty-two crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.
  • In 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.
  • In 1975 – The Metric Conversion Act was signed by President Gerald Ford. The act made the metric system the preferred system of weights and measures in the United States. Today, the metric system is predominantly only used by scientists and academics in the United States. Common people tend to follow the customary units that were developed before American Independence. The United States is 1 of 3 countries in the world that do not use the metric system. Liberia and Burma are the other two.
  • In 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.
  • In 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.
  • In 1990 – The Slovenian referendum on independence from Yugoslavia left four of its six republics with non-Communist governments. The Eastern European country had joined the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a socialist republic state in 1945. Actual independence for the country did not occur until June of 1991, when the Slovenians rejected Yugoslavian interference in the form of a 10-day war that ended on July 7, 1991. A new constitution for the country came into force on December 23, 1991.
  • In 1994 – Organized crime boss Whitey Bulger went into hiding. The convicted murderer stayed out of sight for 16 years causing great embarrassment to the American Federal Bureau of Investigations. He was finally arrested in 2011.
  • In 1995 – A fire in Dabwali, India, killed 540 people, including 170 children, during a year-end party being held near the children’s school.
  • In 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

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

December 22nd – Forefather’s Day

December 22, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning American history buffs. Today is Friday, December 22, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Forefather’s Day

I know that we just celebrated Forefather’s Day yesterday, and it was listed in some of my sources for that date. This holiday is basically the same holiday and is sometimes also known as Old Colony Day. Both commemorate the date on which the first settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The difference seems to lie in a mistake in the translation of the Julian Calendar.
This Forefather’s Day was established in 1769 by the Old Colony Club and is celebrated annually on this date, except when it falls on a Sunday, in which case, it is celebrated on the following Monday. There is some good-hearted dispute between the Old Colony Club and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. The simple fact of the celebration falling on separate days permits members of both societies to participate in both celebrations. In adjusting the date to the Gregorian calendar, the anniversary was erroneously established on December 22 instead of December 21.
To review, this is what the holiday celebrates:

Forefathers Day is celebrated every year by the Old Colony Club, established in 1769 “to honor the forefathers.” The celebration begins at 6:00 AM with a march by members to the top of Cole’s Hill next to Massasoit’s statue, followed by a reading of a proclamation honoring the forefathers and a ritual firing of the club’s cannon.
The Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society both include a succotash dinner as part of their celebration. Sauquetash was recorded as a part of the first Thanksgiving. Unlike later versions of succotash, in Plymouth succotash is served as a broth containing large pieces of fowl and meat that are sliced at the table.

Abilities Day

Abilities Day is the celebration of disabled people and their caregivers. I could find no information regarding the origins of this holiday, but from what I can glean from the text of the article, you are supposed to wear a white ribbon on this date to show your support for people with disabilities. Other ways of celebrating Abilities Day are putting white ribbons on Christmas trees or putting white ribbons around a wreath.
According to the article, about fifteen million people and a number of organizations celebrate Abilities Day annually, mostly at Independent Living Centers. About 60 percent of hospitals in the United States will celebrate this holiday as well.

National Date Nut Bread Day:

Date nut bread is the perfect treat for the holiday season. It is delicious, healthy, and easy to make.
The first date nut bread recipe appeared in print in 1939, but dates are one of the world’s oldest fruits. Date seeds have been found in archaeology excavations of sub-tropical areas around the world. Historians believe that the ancient Moors brought the date to Spain; who later introduced it to America. Dates are notorious for their high sugar content, so it is no surprise that most date nut bread recipes do not call for any additional sweeteners.
To celebrate National Date Nut Bread Day, try your hand at baking a homemade loaf of this festive treat. Enjoy it plain, or if you prefer, top it off with a little cream cheese frosting.

National Cookie Exchange Day

With Christmas just a few days away, most of us probably have already baked our Christmas cookies — but what good are cookies if we don’t get the chance to share them and their recipes? National Cookie Exchange Day was created so that cookies and recipes could be shared and swapped at home and office parties. The day was created by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, “the Queen of Holidays” in 2015.
Christmas cookies date back to Europe in the Middle Ages, when biscuits with ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and dried fruit were made. By the seventeenth century, different types of Christmas biscuits were popular in different European countries. The Dutch brought Christmas cookies to the United States in the seventeenth century. Many cookie cutters were being imported from Germany by the end of the nineteenth century, which led to the proliferation of cookie recipes in cookbooks. Christmas cookies made with cookie cutters often depict candy canes, angels, stars, Santa, and Christmas trees.
If you want to host a cookie exchange event, here are some guidelines to follow: According to Jace-Shoemaker Galloway, the creator of this holiday, a few rules should be followed when planning for and celebrating National Cookie Exchange Day:

  • A guest list should be made, and invitations sent out.
  • Cookies should be homemade, and the recipes should be brought to the party.
  • Packaging materials should be brought by guests so that cookies can be shared with other guests.
  • Bake your own cookies if you haven’t yet done so; use an old cherished family recipe or try a new one.
  • During the party: play holiday music, have something to drink available, and encourage guests to wear ugly Christmas sweaters to add to the festivity of the occasion.
  • Have a sampling, swapping, and cookie packaging area at the party.
  • When guests arrive, have them put folding cards that list their name and the name of the cookie in front of each cookie platter, and have them place a stack of their recipes next to their cookies as well.

Historical Events

Below is a list of significant historical events that occurred on this date: 

  • In 1775 – The first Continental naval fleet was organized in America under the command of Ezek Hopkins.
  • In 1807 – Congress passed the Embargo Act, designed to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.
  • In 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia. The message read, “I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah.”
  • In 1877 – The “American Bicycling Journal” went on sale for the first time.
  • In 1882 – The first Christmas tree to be illuminated by electric lights was displayed. Edward H. Johnson, an associate of inventor Thomas Edison and the Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, became the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights at his home in New York City.
  • In 1891 – The first asteroid using astrophotography was discovered. Asteroid 323 Brucia was discovered by Max Wolf and was named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patron of astronomy.
  • In 1894 – The United States Golf Association was formed in New York City.
  • In 1894 – French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.
  • In 1910 – U.S. Postal savings stamps were issued for the first time. They were discontinued in 1914.
  • In 1937 – The Lincoln Tunnel opened. The 1.5-mile-long tunnel passes under the Hudson River and connects New Jersey to New York City.
  • In 1939 – Gloria Jacobs became the first girl to hold a world pistol record when she shot 299 out of a possible 300 points. She was 17 years old at the time.
  • In 1943 – Sporting goods manufacturers received permission to use synthetic rubber for the core of baseballs.
  • In 1941 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington D.C. for a wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt.
  • In 1956 – Colo, the first gorilla to be born in captivity, was born at the Columbus, Ohio zoo.
  • In 1956 – The last British and French forces evacuated Egypt.
  • In 1961 – James Davis became the first United States soldier to die in Vietnam, while U.S. involvement was still limited to the provision of military advisers.
  • In 1984 – New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot four black youths on a Manhattan subway. Goetz claimed they were about to rob him.
  • In 1989 – Romania’s hard-line Communist ruler, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown in a popular uprising. The Communist President was ousted after widespread demonstrations in the country. Ceausescu and his wife Elena tried to flee the country but were captured, tried and executed by a firing squad. The Romanian Revolution was the only violent overthrow of a communist government in the 1980’s.
  • In 1990 – Lech Walesa was sworn in as Poland’s first popularly elected president.
  • In 1991 – The body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage murdered by his captors, was found along a highway in Lebanon.
  • In 1996 – A car bomb exploded in Belfast, injuring a known IRA supporter. Police suspected that Protestant loyalists were responsible for the attack.
  • In 1998 – A unit of RJR Nabisco pled guilty to attempting to smuggle cigarettes into Canada.
  • In 2001 – Thirty Afghans, including two women, were sworn in as part of the new interim government in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai was the head of the post-Taliban government.
  • In 2010 – President Obama signed the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that governed the recruitment and service of LGBTQ members in the United States military. The policy had been put in place by President Clinton in 1994.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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