The word “celebration” conjures up images of fun, festive occasions with friends and family featuring delicious food, upbeat music, and plenty of joy and laughter. While the past year may have curtailed big parties and gatherings, every day still offers a reason to celebrate the joys of life, with hundreds of opportunities ranging from the whimsical to the wacky: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, National Find a Rainbow Day, National Wildlife Day, and much more.
Most of us know the origins of the major holidays in the United States, such as Independence Day and Memorial Day, but where do the lesser-known observances – such as the nearly 1,700 that populate the National Day Calendar or the set of savory celebrations on the Foodimentary calendar – come from?
The Salvation Army created National Doughnut Day to honor volunteers who prepared the tasty treat for soldiers on the front lines in France during WWI. National Ice Cream Day has its origins in a 1984 presidential proclamation. National Avocado Day was concocted by a food-delivery service in 2017. Many of the smaller observances, however, were devised by everyday Americans. Sweetest Day originated in the early 1920s when a candy company employee decided to spread joy by delivering candy and other small gifts to orphans, homebound individuals and others who might otherwise be forgotten. One of the most prolific “holiday-makers,” who happens to be a Chicago native, said she has invented nearly 2,000 holidays, including Ant Appreciation Month and Lost Penny Day. Fun fact: anyone can submit a celebration for possible addition to the National Day Calendar; the calendar administrators select about 30 a year from among more than 20,000 applications!
Some celebrations, like National Doughnut Day, lend themselves perfectly to business giveaways and promotions. Others, such as World Social Work Day or National Certified Nurses Day, can be the perfect opportunity to show appreciation to those who are making a difference in our world. Many of these mini-holidays are just plain fun, providing opportunities – particularly during the pandemic – to liven things up and take a break from the daily routine.
Taking time to celebrate – whether it is a major observance or simply treating a child to ice cream after they score the winning run in their Little League game – confers numerous benefits. A celebration is not only a wonderful opportunity to savor the present, it also fosters feelings of gratitude and connection, amplifies the impact of the good things in our lives, and creates memories to look back on and savor.
That is exactly why staff at Lexington Square senior living communities in Lombard and Elmhurst break out the balloons, decorations, and most importantly, treats for the residents on countless holidays, including Grandparents Day, National Root Beer Float Day, National Coffee Day, and most recently, National Pi Day. While Pi Day technically honors mathematics, many people celebrate by enjoying the delightful dessert of the same name, and Lexington staff and residents were no exception. Staff signed on to bring delectable cream and fruit-filled desserts to share, and naturally this was a big hit!
As we begin to move back towards gathering with friends and family, we may be able to once again check out some of the many wonderful local celebrations such as the Elmhurst Park District’s summer Park-a-Palooza or Lilac Time in Lombard in early May. In the meantime, why not pick a day (or two, or three) and plan a fun celebration of your own? This year’s National Old Stuff Day is already in the past and National Ferris Wheel Day won’t circle around again until next February, but it’s not too late to plan an observance of, say, National Pet Day (April 11), National Animal Crackers Day (April 18), National Picnic Day (April 23) or National Star Wars Day (May 4). There truly is something for everyone, so seize the day – and turn it into a celebration!