Today is June 13th, 2017. Alternatively, today is also Sewing Machine Day. Well, actually, it’s more like half of Sewing Machine Day, as we’ll also celebrate these blessed inventions again in September before autumn rolls around. How are you planning on celebrating? Throwing a wild pair of fun socks together? Maybe stitching together a nice blanket for when the weather turns? What’s that? You’ve never actually heard of Sewing Machine Day?
Don’t feel too bad about that—it’s certainly one of the more esoteric celebratory days we honor every year in this country. And now that you’ve read this, you at least can crush your trivia night when this question comes up. Oh also, if you are actually into trivia, remember to honor your favorite pastime on January 4th. It is, after all, National Trivia Day.
But how did we get here? Why do we honor “Monkey Around Day” in June (coming up tomorrow, actually), but “King Tut Day” in November? To answer that question, we need to dive into a bit of Congressional history.
Make sure to take notes, though—you’ll need to remember all this for your annual National Trivia Day party!
It’s National Garlic Day—But Why?
Right after we pay our taxes, we honor our health by celebrating National Garlic Day. Seriously, check it out. As this annual celebration rolled around in 2017, NPR host David Greene asked a fairly reasonable question—why garlic, why now, and why any of this?
According to his co-host Kenny Malone, this all got started a few decades ago. Back in the 1980s, Congress was a bit of a “holiday factory” when it came to commemorating random days of the year with even more random causes and notes. The heyday of production for the holiday factory came during the 1985-86 congressional session. At this point, Congress was so enamored with naming holidays that 1 in every 3 laws passed focused on creating a day or week of one kind or another. National Air Traffic Control Day, National Bowling Week, or even Real Jewelry Month—if there was a subject and a small constituent that cared about it, odds are Congress gave it a day at some point.
But at a certain point, the serious people in the room got together and decided that it was a bit beneath the United States Congress to focus a third of their legislative priorities on creating commemorative days for the populace to celebrate. Chase’s Calendar of Events filled the vacuum created by Congressional departure.
Today, editor-in-chief Holly McGuire receives crowdsourced suggestions for commemorative days. She takes the best new concepts and incorporates them into the Chase Calendar of Events. Their annual book boasts “12,500 holidays, historical milestones, famous birthdays, festivals, sporting events and much more.” For the 2017 edition, Chase’s has already created:
- Be Kind to Food Servers Month
- Clean Up Your Computer Month
- Credit Education Month
- Bathroom Reading Month
- Update Your Resume Month
So with all of that commemorative history in mind, which upcoming holidays should you be focusing on (that you have no idea currently exist)?
Men Make Dinner Day: First Thursday in November
The good news? Men have been getting better at handling their fair share of the cooking responsibilities. The bad news? Women still cook over 50% more than men do—7.6 hours per week for women, compared to 5 hours of week per men.
Men Make Dinner Day is here to change that. Keep in mind, if you are one of those progressive men who takes pride in his work in the kitchen, this holiday is not for you. But if you’re one of the men still lost in the wilderness of cutting boards and julienned carrots, this is your time to shine.
Remember, though—there are rules. According to the official website of Men Make Dinner Day:
- National Men Make Dinner Day is always celebrated on the first Thursday of each November.
- Man agrees to participate in National Men Make Dinner day. Bonus points if he does so without mentioning a future “boy’s night out” as part of the deal.
- Man, without outside help, chooses a recipe from any source. He can choose a recipe from cookbooks or other sources within the home, but he gets extra credit if he finds a unique and new recipe to play with.
- The primary course must incorporate a minimum of 4 ingredients and require more heavy-duty cooking utensils than a simple fork.
- Man must shop for all required ingredients.
- Man organizes all the required ingredients on the kitchen counter in the order that they will be required. Again—no outside help is permitted at this stage.
- Man is allowed to listen to the radio, music, or his favorite podcasts while cooking, but he is not allowed within 30 feet of the television remote throughout the entire process.
- After understanding the recipe and acquiring the ingredients, man begins the cooking process. Extra credit for donning a witty apron at this stage.
- Man must adhere to “clean as you go” rule—after he is finished using a utensil in the cooking process, it gets cleaned and returned to its rightful home in the kitchen.
- Man sets table, lights candles, and pours beverages. No condiment containers are allowed on the table—all must be apportioned into appropriate dishes beforehand.
- Significant other and potential family members dig in to enjoy his wares. While pictures are allowed at this stage, man is allotted a firm cap on 3 instances of gloating about his prepared meal.
- Following the meal, man takes care of clearing the table, washing the dishes, and brewing any coffee or desserts his guests prefer. After—and only after—all these stages are completed, he is returned TV remote privileges.
National Pepperoni Pizza Day: September 20
When Gennaro Lombardi applied for his first license to make and sell an arcane Italian dish called “pizza” in 1905, he didn’t envision creating a national culinary phenomenon. But after the immediate success of “Joe’s Tomato Pies” became apparent in 1912, several other pizzerias were founded in communities of Italian immigrants—Anthony Pero in Coney Island, Frank Pepe in New Haven, and John Sasso in Greenwich Village highlight the early movers in this space.
Over a century later, pizza is devoured by Americans of all walks of life. In particular, pepperoni pizza remains king as it is preferred by 36% of Americans. Over 3 billion pizzas are sold each year in the United States, with Super Bowl Sunday representing more demand than any other day of the year. Yet the Super Bowl comes but once a year, and we could all use a reason to incorporate more pizza into our lives. When the fall rolls around in September, remember your excuse and indulge in some pepperoni!
Ear Muff Day: March 13
Let’s be real—March is a bit of a drag. Particularly if you live on the East Coast, this is the time that it always seems like spring should arrive at, yet consistently fails to do so. Darn groundhog.
For many of us, this is a time when we look in the closets and dream about the day we can switch over those sweaters and long johns for our shorts and polo shirts. Yet Chester Greenwood knew better. Back in 1877, Chester had grown tired of the earaches and incessant pain resulting from the brutal northeast winters. As such, he put patented the “Champion Ear Protector” on March 13 to guard against such disturbances. His invention carried the moniker of “ear muffler,” which was eventually whittled down to the “ear muff” we know and love today. If you’re looking to keep your sensitive ears warm without messing up that hair, consider honoring Chester next March 13!
National Underwear Day: August 5
The 13th Century wasn’t the kindest of times for human history. The Crusades were revving up, the Mongol Empire was clashing with Russian principalities, and the Song dynasty came to a bitter end. Fortunately for us, however, our ancestors did find time in this period to invent underwear. Their iteration of leather loincloths may not be as appealing as a nice pair of boxer briefs sounds today, but we still owe them a debt of gratitude for this novel invention.
Freshpair, a burgeoning Internet company, recognized this debt when they founded National Underwear Day on August 5th, 2003. Each year the company stages a massive “underwear show” in New York City to celebrate the centuries that have led us to our current state of underwear-ness. So the next time August 5th rolls around, open that top drawer of the dresser up and acknowledge that it may be time to honor our 13th Century ancestors with a new pair or two.
Festival of Sleep Day: January 3
Sleep is important. Really important, actually. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep plays a considerably vital role in our health and well-being. The benefits of a good night of sleep include:
- Healthy brain functioning
- Emotional well-being
- Physical health
- Daytime performance and safety
January 3rd is an ideal day to recognize the importance of sleep. After all, it’s immediately following the holidays, so our annual feasts of turkey and red wine are still flowing through our collective bloodstream. Take some time after your holiday binge to get a full 8 hours, a cat nap, or a quick Costanza-esque snooze under your desk at work. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
How to Celebrate?
This much is clear: we have an inordinate amount of celebrations to carry out each year on the calendar. While we may not have the ability (or desire, in some cases) to acknowledge and honor each and every one of these esoteric holidays, they represent novel opportunities to send and receive notes and gift cards to friends and loved ones. After all, who wouldn’t love to get a Whole Foods gift card for Bittersweet Chocolate Day, or maybe a Lids gift card for National Hat Day?
The evidence shows that Americans overwhelmingly prefer gift cards as their chosen present, and these crazy holidays represent a really fun way to tell your recipient that you’re thinking about them in a lighthearted manner. Unfortunately, however, a massive amount of our annual gift cards goes to waste—nearly a billion dollars of gift card balances go unused every single year!
At EJ Gift Cards, we think that’s absurd. Why should you lose the value on that Trader Joe’s gift card just because you didn’t see anything you wanted for National Cheese Day there? Okay, poor example—there’s always good cheese at Trader Joe’s to celebrate that day.
But the point remains; wasted gift card balances are a slap in the face to our gift givers and receivers. We’re here to make sure none of that humor and generosity gets wasted. Our model works in three simple steps:
- Let us know what merchant your card is for.
- Tell us how much value is left on the card.
- Instantaneously see our offer to buy that card from you and decide what you’d like to do.
It’s an easy model with no pressure from start to finish. You can choose to sell that gift card to us, or perhaps hold onto it for later use. Either way, we just want to make sure those gift cards don’t go to waste and that your National Kazoo Day celebration wasn’t all for naught. The funds will be sent your way via paypal and you can decide how best to spend them. Heck, maybe even just reinvest them in a Barnes & Noble gift card for National Children’s Book Day (April 2nd will be here before you know it)!
So give us a try and see if you can sell your gift card and get some quick cash. After all, you may need to replenish the wallet for some roses for Mother-In-Law Day—don’t forget, that’s the fourth Sunday in October!