25 Weird Holidays You Can Celebrate in January

iStock.com/patrickheagney
iStock.com/patrickheagney

Though the official end-of-year "holiday season" may be over, January is chock-full of very fun, very specific, and sometimes very weird holidays to help you ease your way into 2019.

1. January 1: National Hangover Day

Two young women passed out after partying too hard
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If you find yourself nursing a serious hangover on New Year’s Day you can at least rest easy in the fact that someone has made an official day dedicated to your misery.

2. January 1: Z Day

This holiday is intended to give recognition to all persons, places, and things that begin with the letter Z, and thus are often listed or thought of last. Go ahead—drink a Zima!

3. January 1: First Foot Day

A Scottish New Year tradition, the first person to step into someone’s home is called the first-footer and is thought to represent good fortune entering the household by bringing a handful of goodies including coal, whiskey, cash, cheese, and/or bread. Sorry ladies and blonde men: In order to be considered “lucky,” the first-footer should always be a dark-haired man—and flat feet are a no-no.

4. January 2: Happy Mew Year For Cats Day

This punny day is basically just another occasion to honor and fawn all over our feline friends. What more do we need to say?

5. January 3: Fruitcake Toss Day

A sliced fruitcake covered in candied fruits sits on a stone cutting board.
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Although it may sound like a culinary Olympic event, Fruitcake Toss Day just marks the time when it is finally socially acceptable to trash all of the holiday fruitcakes you received. Though, technically, a few of those boozy loaves have been known to last for a century or more. So getting rid of them right away really isn’t necessary.

6. January 3: Memento Mori Day

Memento mori is Latin for “remember you will die.” And what better way to get a fresh start on a new year than to consider this inevitability. The event’s founders swear it wasn't meant to be morbid; it’s more of a “seize the day” thing.

7. January 4: National Trivia Day

Obviously, we are all for—and about—National Trivia Day. So feel free to steal any of these essential bits of trivia and share them with a friend.

8. January 7: National Old Rock Day

Have you thanked a veteran rock today? Though no official creator has stepped forward, we’re guessing that it was either a geologist and paleontologist who came up with this holiday that honors fossils and rock formations that are as old as time.

9. January 7: National Thank God It’s Monday! Day

'Hello Monday' text on a display lightbox on blue and pink bright background
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Apparently there are people who like Mondays? This offbeat holiday is all about the possibility that comes with a fresh start … we guess we can get behind that.

10. January 8: National Argyle Day

A pattern for every season—isn't it time you celebrated argyle?

11. January 9: National Static Electricity Day

Grab your balloons and sweaters! It’s time to build up your static charge and conduct some electrons. This is the perfect holiday to occur in the dead of winter, when the air is extra dry—the optimal conditions for storing up those negative charges that shock you at the most unexpected times.

12. January 14: National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Though some studies have concluded that a messy desk could be a sign that you’re a genius, National Clean Off Your Desk Day—which occurs on the second Monday in January—is a time to embrace the new year with a new attitude toward clutter. (If only for this one day.)

13. January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Dog in a sequin fedora and sunglasses
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Your pet may not love the fact that there’s an entire day dedicated to making them look extra fancy, but your Instagram followers will thank you for it.

14. January 16: National Nothing Day

Clear your calendars! We have San Francisco Examiner columnist Harold Pullman Coffin to thank for this "un-event," which Americans have been celebrating since 1973 by, well, doing nothing.

15. January 18: National Thesaurus Day

British lexicographer Peter Mark Roget—who is most famous for publishing The Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (aka “Roget’s Thesaurus”) in 1852—was born on January 18, 1779. As such, this is a day to honor, celebrate, extol, laud, praise, revere, salute, etc. his contributions.

16. January 20: Penguin Awareness Day

Not to be confused with World Penguin Day (which happens on April 25), Penguin Awareness Day encourages you to cultivate even more knowledge of the Spheniscidae family. (Here are 20 fascinating facts to get you started.)

17. January 21: National Hugging Day

Two girlfriends embrace each other
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In 1986, Reverend Kevin Zaborney—a pastor from Clio, Michigan—founded Hugging Day as a small event in his hometown. Today, it’s celebrated around the world. “People do need positive human interaction," Zaborney told The Christian Post of the impetus for creating the holiday. "Hugging is a safe way to do so." (Though he likes to make it clear that you should always ask first!)

18. January 22: Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

If your feline isn't forthcoming with his or her inquiries, take the opportunity to ponder the following: “What would a cat have questions about?”

19. January 23: National Handwriting Day

Get out the old pen and paper and weep at how bad your penmanship has become … or you know, write someone a nice letter. (Cursive is making a comeback, after all.)

20. January 24: Global Belly Laugh Day

This holiday is more of a challenge than a commemoration.

21. January 24: National Compliment Day

Person holding a rock that says 'You are amazing!'
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National Compliment Day? You’ve got this. You’re fabulous. And you look amazing. Keep up the great work!

22. January 24: National Beer Can Appreciation Day

January 24, 1935 was a momentous day for suds lovers: It’s the day the first canned beer was sold in America. Since then the beer can has become a barbecue staple, a collector’s item, and a maligned receptacle for some beer snobs (though craft beer connoisseurs have brought cans back in a major way). So today, pause before chugging, shotgunning, or crushing and take a moment to reflect on what your beer can means to you.

23. January 25: National Opposite Day

January 25 is definitely not National Opposite Day. (See what we did there?)

24. January 27: Thomas Crapper Day

Plumber repairing a toilet
iStock.com/abbesses

Often incorrectly credited with inventing the toilet, Thomas Crapper was a plumber and businessman who did, in fact, champion the modern wash closet and also invented the ballcock—that floating ball in the body of your toilet. His apropos surname was just a coincidence: The word crap already existed in the English language at the time of his birth.

25. January 28: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Celebrated on the last Monday of January, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is a day to give thanks for the many hours of joy this beloved packing product has brought us all. And to share all that you know about it with others (like how it was originally meant to be wallpaper, and could potentially offer real-life health benefits). And if you don’t know much, here are 25 facts for you.

15 Scientific Ways to Relax for National Relaxation Day

iStock/anyaberkut via Getty Images
iStock/anyaberkut via Getty Images

Today is National Relaxation Day, so you have a great excuse to take it easy. Here’s how science can help you have the most laid-back day of the year.

1. Get a house or office plant.

Spending time in nature improves your overall wellbeing, but it turns out even just a little greenery is great for your health. Studies have shown patients in hospital rooms with plants report lower stress. Even just stepping into a lush space can reduce your heart rate. Plus, plants are effective at increasing oxygen and clearing out toxins, which should help you breathe easier—literally.

2. Avoid screens before bedtime.

Artificial light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms, which messes with your sleep. Studies have found that young adults were more likely to suffer from sleep disorders, high stress and even depression if they reported intensive use of cell phones and computers at night.

3. Eat a banana.

Potassium helps your body regulate blood pressure. Keeping that under control should help you bounce back more quickly from what’s got you stressed.

4. Indulge in some citrus.

Still hungry after that chocolate and banana? Try citrus. Recent studies show that vitamin C helps to alleviate the physical and psychological effects of stress.

5. Listen to classical music.

Portrait of a beautiful young woman lying on sofa with headphones on and closed eyes, relaxing
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Any music you enjoy is bound to make you feel better, but classical music, in particular, has been shown to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and even decrease levels of stress hormones.

6. Drink green tea sweetened with honey.

Green tea contains L-theanine, which reduces stress, and honey—unlike cane sugar—has been shown to counteract free radicals and reduce inflammation, which is sometimes linked to depression.

7. Give yourself a hand massage.

Especially if you spend all day typing, hands can get really tense. A quick massage should be doable at your desk and if you incorporate some lavender-scented lotion, you’ll get extra relaxation benefits.

8. Lock lips with someone.

Romance is relaxing! Kissing releases oxytocin, a chemical that is shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

9. Chew some gum.

No matter what flavor it is, the act of chewing gum has been proven to lower cortisol and improve reported mood.

10. Blow up a balloon.

Young woman blowing up a blue balloon against a yellow background
Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images

Reacting to stress with short, shallow breaths will only exacerbate the problem—your body needs more oxygen, not less, to relax. Blowing up a balloon will help you refocus on your breathing. No balloons around? Just concentrate on taking a few deep breaths.

11. Mow the lawn.

Research shows that a chemical released by a mowed lawn—that fresh-cut grass smell—makes people feel happy and relaxed. Plus, knocking it off your to-do list will give you one less thing to stress about.

12. Find something to make you laugh.

Watching a funny video online does more than just brighten your afternoon, it physically helps to relax you by increasing the endorphins released by your brain.

13. Grab some chocolate.

What’s also good at releasing endorphins? Chocolate. Studies show that even just 40 grams of dark chocolate a day can help you de-stress.

14. Focus on relaxing all of your muscles.

Take a break from whatever you’re doing and, starting at your toes and working upwards, spend a few moments slowly tensing, and then releasing, the muscles of each part of your body.

15. Take a mental vacation.

Man takes a break from work to meditate at his laptop
AaronAmat/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, take a moment to close your eyes and picture a particularly relaxing scene. It may sound cheesy, but numerous studies show that just a few minutes of disengaging from your stressors rejuvenates your ability to tackle the work.

5 Fascinating Facts About Middle Children

francisgonsa/iStock via Getty Images
francisgonsa/iStock via Getty Images

Full House's perpetually neglected Stephanie Tanner, The Brady Bunch's embittered Jan Brady, Downton Abbey's tragedy-prone Lady Edith Crawley: For many people, these are the images that pop into their heads when thinking of the stereotypical middle child. In TV shows and movies, they’re often used as comic relief, always stuck in the shadow of their other, seemingly more important siblings. But the reality is far more generous to middle children.

Studies have shown that middle children are exceedingly independent and creative, with certain leadership qualities that their firstborn and last-born counterparts can’t match. Some of our most important world leaders, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs occupy this oft-mocked middle spot, but from most accounts, it’s a breeding ground for success. Here are five fascinating facts about middle children.

1. Middle children may be endangered.

There was a time during the first half of the 20th century when having three to four children was seen as the ideal number for parents, with 35 percent of moms between 40 and 44 having four children or more. Those numbers have been reversing for several decades—and now, the average American family consists of 3.14 people. On top of that, only 12 percent of women in their early forties have four children or more.

More people are going to college, taking longer to become financially settled, have easier access to birth control, and are embarking on demanding careers that put family life on the back burner. In addition to having children later in life, the average cost of raising a child has increased dramatically over the generations, so one or two kids might be all some couples can afford. These factors all add up to create smaller families, which means we’ll likely see fewer middle children throughout the country in future decades if these trends continue. And without them, we’ll lose out on all of the remarkable traits seen below.

2. Middle children can have first-rate negotiation skills.

Despite the common perception of middle children being resentful of their siblings and never getting enough attention from their parents, Katrin Schumann, co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, has done extensive research on the subject that found the plight of middle children may actually be a positive thing later in life. One such trait is their ability to negotiate.

“Middles are used to not getting their own way, and so they become savvy, skillful manipulators,” Schumann told Psychology Today. “They can see all sides of a question and are empathetic and judge reactions well. They are more willing to compromise, and so they can argue successfully. Since they often have to wait around as kids, they’re more patient.”

3. Their low self-esteem might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Yes, the middle child may suffer from low self-esteem when compared to their siblings, due to their “their lack of uniqueness and attention at home,” according to Schumann. However, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing as it helps keep their ego in check.

“Also, self-esteem is not as critical as our society believes,” Schumann explained. “Having an accurate sense of your self-esteem is more important than having high self-esteem. Surprisingly, new studies show that high self-esteem does not correlate with better grades in school or greater success in life. It can actually lead to a lack of perseverance in the face of difficulties.”

4. Middle children tend to be faithful in their relationships.

Dr. Catherine Salmon, Schumann's co-author on The Secret Power of Middle Children, found that 80 percent of middle children claimed they have never cheated on their partner. This is compared to 65 percent of firstborns and 53 percent of last-borns who said they were never unfaithful to their long-term partner or spouse. This, of course, led to separate studies confirming that middle children, and their spouses, were happiest in marriage when compared to other birth orders.

There is a catch, however: Schumann said that while middle children may be the happiest and make for satisfied partners, two middle children might not make an ideal match: "An Israeli marital happiness survey shows that middles are the happiest and most satisfied in relationships, and that they partner well with firsts or lasts—but less well with other middles, because they may both avoid conflict."

5. Some of history's most important leaders were middle children.

Though the conventional numbers have established that most U.S. presidents are firstborns, Schumann contends that half of our Commanders-in-Chief are actually middle children. In an interview with NPR, she revealed that the connection between the presidency and middle children was obscured for years because of one strange quirk: firstborn girls weren’t traditionally counted as older siblings. Instead, firstborns were only taken into consideration when it came to males.

In general, it's difficult to nail down certain presidential birth orders, as the middle child blog SmackDab puts it: "George Washington’s father had four children with his first wife before the first President was born. Washington was the first of six children from his father’s second marriage. So was he the first born or the fifth born?" Still, if we're to take conventional wisdom and a loose definition of what a middle child is (basically anyone not the oldest or the youngest), then it turns out that 52 percent of presidents were born in the middle, including Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Abraham Lincoln.

It's JFK in particular, Schumann concluded, who displayed many of the traits typical of a middle child during his years in office, citing his ability to communicate and negotiate even under the most stressful of conditions.

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