How to Choose a Second-Tier Holiday to Celebrate

Halloween has recently passed, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and before you know it we’ll all be singing along with our favorite Christmas carols. And no sooner than you have your tree down, friends are signing “Auld Lang Syne” and popping champagne on New Years Day! Where does it end?!

A poll showed that Christmas is America’s favorite holiday in a landslide, followed by Thanksgiving and Halloween. No surprises there! Mothers may prefer Mothers Day, veterans may look forward each year to Veterans Day, pyromaniacs may have their sights set on Fourth of July, and laborers no doubt circle Labor Day on their wall planners.

You, however, always like to be different. You want to have some asinine holiday that you make a huge deal of that may not even register on the mainstream public’s radar. Not only does this make you unique, it has its advantages. The holiday you celebrate doesn’t attract large crowds, shut down your favorite venues, or require coming up with the perfect gift.

To find a good mid-tier holiday for you to celebrate, we must first eliminate the “big” ones.

  • New Years Day
  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • MLK Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Presidents Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Halloween
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
  • Your own birthday

We’re also not going to acknowledge the silly holidays like International Donut Day or National Foot Rub Day. That leaves us with a good chunk of mid-tier holidays that are known and acknowledged in the US, but not heartily celebrated. These may include silly national holidays, or major religious holidays in other countries. And, honestly some of these holidays are too mainstream to qualify as well, but you need to be the judge based on where you live and who you know.

  • Chinese New Year, usually sometime in February
  • Groundhog Day, February 2
  • George Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February
  • Mardi Gras, day before Ash Wednesday
  • April Fool’s Day, April 1
  • Major League Baseball Opening Day, usually early April
  • Patriots Day, third Monday in April
  • Earth Day, April 22
  • Easter Monday, day after Easter
  • Flag Day, June 14
  • Juneteenth, June 19
  • Canada Day, July 1
  • Army Day, August 1
  • Friendship Day, first Sunday in August
  • Grandparents Day, Sunday after Labor Day
  • Diwali, late October to early November
  • All Saints Day, November 1
  • Remembrance Day, November 11
  • Giving Tuesday, Tuesday after Thanksgiving
  • Boxing Day, December 26
  • Another country’s national independence day (see full list)

And these are just a few! Other examples may be the births of other presidents, anniversaries of important battles or laws, solstices and equinoxes, holy days for countless world religions, and dates of statehood. This isn’t to offend someone who considers Diwali a major holiday already; but ask your typical American citizen and if it weren’t for that episode of The Office, they probably wouldn’t know what it was.

Now that we’ve acknowledged some of your options, we need to examine the “how to choose one” aspect, the true root of this post.

  • If you really want to sell the idea to your friends, family, and co-workers that this holiday is important to you, it can’t be completely silly like April Fool’s Day. It should be something of meaning that someone could conceivably get behind. If your ancestry traces back to Austria, choose an Austrian holiday like National Day on October 26.
  • If you want your holiday to coincide with a day that you would like to have off for another reason like a big sporting event, you might want to jump on Wikipedia and track down important occurrences for individual dates. “I need August 9 off… hmm… oh look, the Webster-Ashbury Treaty was signed on that date in 1842, establishing the US-Canada border east of the Rockies! And I have family in that area!”
  • If you’re going to claim a little-known holiday as being vastly important to you, you need to do your research. You need to know every last nuance of this day, so if you are questioned by a boss or quizzed by a naysayer, you can prove your true feelings. “I celebrate William Alfred Fowler’s birthday every year, and you can’t take that away from me. Umm… hello, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his work in experimental studies in nuclear reactions!”
  • You also are going to need to celebrate in a BIG way. Just taking the day off to binge Stranger Things 2 isn’t enough. You need to throw a massive party with decorations, food, drinks, and lots of guests.
  • Better yet, start a tradition, much like Frank Costanza’s Feats of Strength on Festivus. Your tradition could be drinking competitions, painting bowling pins, making giant bubbles, singing at orphanages, or dying a cat pink and wrapping it in a robe. Be creative! Because, after all, what the hell does a rabbit hiding eggs have to do with Jesus rising from the dead?
  • Make it very public on social media how much you’re looking forward to this holiday, and make it equally as public how much you’re celebrating. Photos, photos, photos!
  • Even if it’s the first time you’re celebrating your new holiday, never say that. Claim “38th Annual Martinez Family Friendship Day Extravaganza!” everywhere you speak of it.
  • For all other tips on celebrating a holiday that you’re more or less ambivalent towards, just see that aforementioned Seinfeld episode about Festivus titled “The Strike.” Completely fictitious, it now is actually celebrated far-and-wide by show fans.

Products to Help You Celebrate Your Weird Holiday

My Hot Take:
I personally make a holiday out of baseball’s Opening Day. I used to take off each year to go to the Twins game when I lived in Minnesota, or at the very least watch a full day’s slate of games. My friend Brian and his college friends annually celebrate ANZAC Day, a day of remembrances in Australia and New Zealand, with a trip to Outback Steakhouse which involves a root beer challenge. Good stuff!

Celebrate a little-known holiday to show off your creativity, start a new fun tradition, or get out of work.

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