This Season in Obscure Holidays

It’s officially the holiday season around here.  I know because I was walking through Macy’s the other day on my way to lunch (thank heavens for the Skyway system in Minneapolis) and I got stabbed in the eye by a hanging snowflake and Harry Connick Jr. Christmas carols followed me through the men’s department, around the shoes, and while I craftily dodged the “perfume ladies” and their spritzing and dashing and grabbing your hands and slathering them with some putrid smelling glittery lotion.

Thanksgiving and Christmas get all the attention this time of year, and perhaps for good reason.  They each come with a fabulous spread of foods.  And, to a lesser extent, some mass media/advertising attention is paid to Hanukkah (and it’s 200 different spellings) and Kwanzaa in an effort to keep the holidays politically correct.  
But there are a lot of holidays going on this time of year that get easily overlooked behind the turkey and the cut-out cookies, the fabulous department store discounts, and the stuffed stockings.  Luckily, we’ve had ourselves a bit of an ice storm and I have nothing but time to bring those holidays to your attention!  Perhaps you can squeeze in one more party and one more turkey loaf for one of these fabulous occasions as well! 
Friday, November 26: Black Friday.  Because nothing says holiday cheer like leaving your family to line up outside of Wal-Mart at 2am only to stampede like a bunch of deal-seeking wildebeest and trample an employee.  To death.  Happy Holidays! 
Saturday, November 27: National Listening Day.  “Huh?  Did you say something?  No no no, I was listening.  I just, uh. . . need you to repeat that for me one more time.”
Tuesday, November 30: Stay Home Because You’re Well Day.  Unless you’re an hourly worker, sans benefits, like some of us who are out there livin’ the dream.  For us, this is a lesser known holiday, “Go To Work Because You Have A Job, Yay!” Day.  
December is National Tie Month.  I expect some much better dressed men in Downtown Minneapolis for this month.  Spruce yourselves up, boys! Especially if you participated in the god-awful observance of No Shave November.  Ugh. 
Wednesday, December 1: World AIDS Day.  Ahem. [steps on to soapbox]  Part of the epidemic of AIDS is biological; it is caused by a nasty virus that can be elusive to the infected individual.  Many people are infected with HIV and don’t know for some time after infection, giving them the opportunity to spread it to sexual partners or between mother and newly born child.  Another part of the epidemic is social.  We’re afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS because it makes us talk about issues that we’re uncomfortable with.  For example, men who have sex with men but don’t identify as homosexual are at a dangerously high risk of HIV infection but we don’t talk about that.  Further, HIV/AIDS is running rampant through parts of the world where sex is used against women and children as a weapon of war and conflict.  But we frame HIV/AIDS infection as the responsibility of the infected person by saying things like “They shouldn’t have sex with someone they don’t know” or “They should have used protection.”  I think we all wish it were so easy.  The last part of the epidemic is the continued need for resources.  There are retroviral treatments that can extend an individuals life with HIV and prevent the onset of AIDS.  They are having mixed, but mostly positive results.  There are drugs that prevent the spreading of HIV from mother to child during birth and these are showing extremely positive results and are greatly reducing the burden of HIV on infants.  But these are not inexpensive treatments and they need continued funding and support along with increasing support for comprehensive sex education in the US and abroad, the continued empowerment of women worldwide to have control over their own sexuality and sexual decision-making, and to further punish individuals who use sex as a tool of violence.  Learn more here.   

Saturday, December 4: National Cookie Day.  I do so love any National [insert something delicious here] Day.  
Friday, December 10: National Salesman Day.  I get it.  This is someone’s job and we should celebrate them just like we celebrate teachers, bosses, secretaries and the like.  But, in all honesty, less than 5% of the teachers I have had were real jerks, but at least 80% of the salesman I have had to deal with (I am looking at you phone companies and internet and television service providers) were real ass-hats.  Maybe this year in celebration, they could try not being that way.  You know, to spice things up.  

Friday, December 10: Human Rights Day.  All humans are created equal.  Unfortunately, some are still more equal than others.  The beauty of the Human Rights Declaration is that it asks for rights to be extended and recognized in many areas of human life.  The right to adequate nutrition, the right to adequate health, the right to a safe place to live, the right to education, the right to make a livable wage doing fulfilling work.  Pick your topic and fight for it on this day and every day.  Learn more here.  

Wednesday, December 15: Cat Herders Day.  Is this for actual cat herders or for people who have professions that are akin to cat-herding?  For example, anyone working with children and their snotty noses and sticky jelly fingers.  
Thursday, December 16: National Re-Gifting Day.  Oh, do not roll your eyes like that and think ‘Gosh, what a tacky holiday!’  We’ve all done it.  And you know it.  
Tuesday, December 21: National Crossword Day.  I, for one, am glad this day falls on a Tuesday rather than a Friday or Sunday?  The Crosswords/Sudokus/Cryptoquips are far and away easier at the beginning of the week.  
Okay, hope that’s sufficient to get you through the holiday season.  I don’t know what kind of baked goods you make for National Salesman Day (arsenic brownies, perhaps), but I am sure you’ll figure something out!
Oh! And Happy Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us) which officially falls on December 23.  
One thing of note: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was on the list of official holidays and I could not agree more.  

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