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National Hugging Day

two-children-huggingJanuary 21 is National Hugging Day! Today is a day to spread love and happiness by embracing the embrace!

National Hugging Day was created in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney. Zaborney published the holiday idea in Chase’s Calendar of Events, and though he was certain his idea would fail to take hold, it has become a widely popular holiday. So many countries across the world now unofficially celebrate this holiday that many have expressed interest in renaming it “International Hugging Day.” He chose January 21 as the celebration date because it falls between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and Valentine’s Day, a time which Zaborney thought most people were not in high spirits. ”American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public,” expressed Zabroney, hoping that the holiday would help Americans to be less self-conscious and more emotive. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School conducted a study in 2003 which proved that French couples touch three times the amount that Americans do.

Not only is hugging a way to greet your loved ones or show affection, but it has also been proven to have some great health benefits. Physical contact between human beings has been proven to benefit both physical and psychological development. Hugging is an excellent way to improve your immune system. A simple embrace between you and someone you care for can help lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease. Women who give and receive hugs can decrease the levels of cortisol in their bodies, which is a hormone that is released in response to stress. Higher levels of oxytocin, a stress reducing hormone, has been found in couples who hug for more than 20 seconds. Stress can have harmful physical effects, and a study done by the American Psychosomatic Society has found that even holding hands with a romantic partner for as little as 10 minutes can quell those harmful levels of stress. Higher blood pressure and heart rates have been found in those who do not enjoy regular physical contact.

hugcalendarIt is recommended by doctors that 4-6 hugs per day can help maintain a good physical and emotional well-being. Nick Vujicic holds the record for most hugs given in one day. In 2010, he gave 1,749 hugs to visitors at an expo center in Oregon.

To help you celebrate today, we’ve compiled a list of some of the many different hugs you can give today (or any day):

  • The Full Hug: This hug is the most common hug, in which both parties participate in equal amounts of embracing and affection for one another.
  • The Back to Front Hug: This hug can be given to a loved one even if they are busy doing something else. It is a great way to show someone you will always be there for them because it is given without expecting a reciprocal hug back.
  • The Side Hug: While this hug may seem like it is not as affectionate as other hugs, it is a good way to quickly express gratitude, love, or simply to tell someone “hello” in a more sincere way.
  • The Bear Hug: Considered the strongest of all hugs, this type of hug is usually given in a moment of excitement or when someone wishes to display strong affection for whoever they are hugging.

No matter what your hugging style is, remember to give a squeeze to those special people in your life today!

Sources: Wikipedia, National Hugging Day, Punchbowl 

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National Hat Day

hatsJanuary 15 is National Hat Day! Is your head feeling a little cold? Are you having a bad hair day? Or do you just want to add an extra something to top of your outfit? There is no better day than today to accessorize your head!

The first recorded incidence of humans wearing hats can be traced back to 3200 B.C. to an ancient tomb in Thebes, where a man is depicted wearing a straw hat. Hats were originally conceived as wearable items to protect people from the elements – glaring sunlight, rain, and snow – and soon after evolved into being used as a symbol of status. Certain groups of people were singled out by the specific headwear they wore. Hats for women especially began to get more elaborate in the Middle Ages. Though some women still wore simple scarves on their heads, women of higher status and nobility wore hennin, which were elaborate cone-shaped hats.

The 18th century brought with it the occupation and term “milliner.” The name came from the city of Milan, where the highest quality of hats were being produced at the time. Millinery was often an occupation held by women, who not only created normal everyday hats, but bonnets which included decorative trim to accessorize the outfit of the wearer. It was at this point, and moving into the early 19th century, that hats began to be worn as fashion statements. Bonnets became larger and more decorative, adding flowers, lace, and other trimmings. Other hats of various shapes and sizes including those with large brims and flat crowns began to appear as well. As flapper style and shorter hair became popular with women in the 1920s, hats began to take on a more snug shape which hugged the head. As society evolved, the hat evolved along with it, taking on more elaborate shapes and styles.

Isabella Blow wearing an elaborate hat designed by Philip Treacy.

Isabella Blow wearing an elaborate hat designed by Philip Treacy.

Starting in the 1980s and moving on into the 21st century, some hats have been exaggerated to a flamboyant state for the sole purpose of the wearer to be noticed. Some celebrities who have adopted this way of wearing hats are Isabella Blow and Lady Gaga, who both commissioned hats by one of the world’s most famous milleners, Philip Treacy. Treacy has also been commissioned to design hats for several of the world’s most famous designers and the royal family of Great Britain. Many other well-known milliners have been based in Britain including Sharp & Davis and David Shilling. Stetson, a famous North American cowboy-hat maker was commissioned to make hats for Canadian Mounties and the Texas Rangers.

Wearing hats has become a tradition and official “rule” at some events including horse racing events like the British Royal Ascot and the Kentucky Derby. There are also general “rules” that exist for hat-wearing men in certain circumstances. For instance, it became a common courtesy among some groups to tip your hat when meeting a lady or elder person. It is also considered disrespectful to wear hats during funerals or when the National Anthem is played.

Celebrate today by wearing your favorite hat (or hats) throughout the day. If you don’t own a hat, today would be a great day to make your first hat purchase. Happy National Hat Day!

Sources: Wikipedia, World’s Special Days, KTBS.com

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Make Your Dream Come True Day

dream1January 13 is Make Your Dream Come True Day! Along with the new year comes a new batch of resolutions, goals, wishes, and dreams we set out for ourselves. Today is a day dedicated to putting in motion whatever you need to in order to make your life dreams come true.

Dreams will forever stay your dreams unless you take some sort of action to make them become reality. Are you following the career path you want to be? Do you want to travel more? Perhaps you would like to move somewhere new? Is there something you have always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to it? Seize the day! Get yourself into gear, and push forward into the new year, fulfilling your desires and making yourself truly happy.

dream2To celebrate today and start following the path you believe you are meant for, we’ve compiled a list to get you started:

  • Create a dream list or board. Your dreams will begin to feel more real and achievable if you get them out of your head and physically put them down on paper. If you have something visual to remind you of your dreams every day, they are more likely to come true.
  • Make a plan. Outline the path you need to take in order to reach your goals. Plan out steps. Break everything down and put together a timeline. If you figure out what steps you need to take in order to reach your dreams, getting there will be a lot easier!
  • Don’t be pessimistic. If you have a dream, you can attain it. Don’t let negativity creep into your thoughts. Share your dreams with people who will support you, and keep clear of naysayers who may have you second guessing yourself and your goals.
  • Find a mentor. It is likely that there is someone in the world who has or had dreams similar to yours. Look up to them and take their advice for attaining what you want out of life. We advise you to not completely follow in their footsteps though, make your dream your own, and find your own way of getting there using tips from those you admire.
  • Inspire others. Everyone has dreams, and by following yours, you can inspire others to do the same. Supporting others, and having them support you, will give you (and them) the energy and empowerment to follow your heart.

Whatever your dreams are, they are reachable as long as you believe in yourself and push yourself to make them happen!

Sources: Work Smart. Live Smart., Bubblews, World’s Special Days

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Old Rock Day

rocksJanuary 7 is Old Rock Day! This isn’t a day meant to celebrate classic rock ‘n roll music; this day’s meaning is much more literal. Today is meant to actually celebrate those geological formations better known to us as rocks. Old rocks, better known as fossils, are not only interesting to look at, but they have taught us much about life on earth before we were here that we would not have otherwise known.

Though the exact origin of this holiday is unknown, people have been searching for and collecting fossils since the beginning of recorded history. Fossils have allowed us to study organisms of the past due to the rocks and minerals which form them, preserving the outer form of extinct and ancient creatures. The existence of all fossils, discovered and undiscovered, and their place in the sedimentary layer of earth is known as the fossil record. The fossil record is what began the human study of evolution, and it is still used to this day as a source for studying the history of life on Earth. Paleontologists use the fossil record to figure out the way various species have evolved over time.

Old rocks aren’t just limited to fossils, and trying to go on an archaeological dig for them today may not be the easiest way to celebrate. Going into your backyard and digging up any old rock will do! If you know some children who would like to celebrate today, you can help them create their very first pet rock. Let them find a rock they like, and then start crafting! Help them paint on a face, glue on some googly eyes, and then they’ll have a kooky little pet who will never grow old or die, and will always stay exactly where they leave it. If you’re past your pet rock days, you can celebrate by using small stones to make inexpensive jewelry. You can also spice up the landscaping outside your house by starting a rock garden. Collect as many attractive rocks as you can and arrange them in any shape or design you like for a cheap and easy way to make your yard more beautiful.

However you decide to celebrate today, just make sure it totally rocks!

Sources: National Whatever Day, Days of the Year, Altius Directory

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Cuddle Up Day

cuddlykittensBaby, it’s cold outside. Lucky for you that January 6 is Cuddle Up Day! Time to get cozy. The origins of this day for snuggling seem to be unknown, but who cares! The history of this day isn’t important – the only thing that matters is that you take today to sit back, unwind, and get some good old-fashioned cuddling action going.

The word “cuddle” was first recorded in 1520, though we’re fairly certain that the action of cuddling has existed forever, even in the animal kingdom. Cuddling is technically defined as tenderly hugging or closely embracing someone, but even if you don’t have a special cuddle buddy to nestle up next to, you can still enjoy this day. If you’ve got a pet, you can snuggle up with them! Animals enjoy being close and comfy just as much as we do. Even if you don’t have a animal counterpart, you can get cozy by yourself in your favorite chair, on the couch, or in your bed. Spoon with a soft stuffed animal friend (come on, we know you’ve got one – we do too). Stay warm under the covers with a good book, and perhaps some hot chocolate or other comforting beverage or food? Pop in a movie you love and let yourself melt into relaxation. Forget all your responsibilities and stresses and plump up that pillow. You deserve it.

However you decide to cuddle, just make sure you’re comfortable and your mind is at ease. Happy Cuddle Up Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Days of the Year, World’s Special Days

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Festival of Sleep

sleepingbeautiesJanuary 3 is known as the Festival of Sleep! Though this unofficial holiday’s origins are unknown, we all know how to celebrate it. Unlike other holidays that typically revolve around some sort of active celebration, today is all about doing nothing but resting. The holidays are over, and it’s time to get over the exhaustion they’ve left you with and get some much needed shut eye. Put on those comfy pajamas, cuddle up under the covers, and don’t worry about setting that alarm clock.

Though it seems a bit ironic, sleeping is an important part of living. Your brain and body need to shut off from the world for a while to retain longevity. While you sleep, your body repairs damaged cells, improves your concentration skills, and aides memory formation. Severe lack of sleep can have several negative effects on your health like increase in development of infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Getting the proper amount of sleep will help you to be more alert, reduce your risk of depression, and may even prevent cancer! In the time you spend sleeping, your brain sorts and stores information, solves problems, and replaces chemicals your body needs.

481_NAPSMissing out on sleep is sure to make anyone grumpy, but too much lost sleep can cause much worse side effects like hallucination. In severe cases, your body will stop taking direction from your brain altogether. Humans can live longer without food than they can without sleep!

Whether you’ve been traveling and need to get rid of that jet lag or need to rest up before you head back to school or work, there is no better day than today to catch up on those Z’s! A word from the wise though – if you’re already back at your job or in the classroom, you had better wait to get recharged until your next day off. We wouldn’t want you to wake up to an angry boss or teacher!

Happy Festival of Zzzzzzzz…

Sources: Holiday Insights, Sleep Compass, Wiki How

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Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute

December 30, the day before the last day of the year, is known as the Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute.

The new year is approaching fast. Are you worried you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to this year? Do you want to make your resolutions for next year before it’s too late? Today is a day dedicated to making those big changes before the year comes to an end! Spend the day reflecting on the past year(s) and making those positive life changes a reality.

Is there anything you resolved to do in the past year that you didn’t quite get to? You’ve got two days until the new year – do your best to make it happen! If two days isn’t enough time to take the leap and make those big changes in your life you’ve been meaning to, then spend the next two days planning out your resolutions for next year. Don’t wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve to decide on those important changes that will make you feel better about the life you’re living. If you’re pondering what you can resolve to do in the New Year, but are coming up blank, we’ve got a few ideas to get your resolution juices flowing:

  • Get healthy. Whether this means eating healthier, exercising, or doing anything else that will make you a healthier person, this is your year!
  • Get inspired. Go on adventures, challenge yourself, create! Do whatever you can to inspire yourself and those around you!
  • Go green. Show some love to the environment you live in!
  • Get organized. Get rid of those stacks of paper on your desk, make a schedule, and clean up that messy life you’ve been living!
  • Learn a new language. Expand those linguistic skills and make another language less foreign to you!
  • Laugh more. Tell a joke, watch a funny movie, and spend more time with those who bring a smile to your face!

Since today is a “festival,” it makes sense to let your friends and family know about the importance of today. Celebrate together by all coming up with New Year’s resolutions or accomplishing what you haven’t before the year is over!

Sources: Zany Holidays, Giftypedia

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Roots Day

December 23 is Roots Day! Roots Day is all about celebrating your heritage and learning about your ancestors. With the holidays in full swing and many returning to their homes to spend time with their families, it’s the perfect time to find out more about your genealogy.

Ironically, the origins of this holiday are unknown, but that doesn’t mean yours have to be! Delving into your family’s lineage can be a long and interesting journey. You may find out things you never knew before or piece together what you already knew. You may discover that you have relatives from distant and exciting places, or even that you are related to famous historical figures. Often your family tree may branch out several times before coming to a dead end. You may even find that someone else in your family has done the same research you have.

Though a family tree may seem like a clean-cut way to look at your genealogy, it misses some connections your relatives may have and the complex and various ways your family is connected. Your roots, just like the roots of a tree, are tangled and reach deeper than you may ever know. This holiday season, ask your older relatives questions about your family’s past. Stories that are glossed over or untold could come out and you may end up learning more about your family than you would ever know just by connecting the lines in your family tree.

Today, celebrate the underlying connections – your roots – and the history that made your family what it has become!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Punchbowl, Sister Disco

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Mitten Tree Day

December 6 is Mitten Tree Day!

The exact origin of this day is unknown, but many have concluded that it came into existence due to the heartwarming story, The Mitten Tree, by Candace Christiansen. The story follows a woman named Sarah who misses her grown children and therefore watches young children board the school bus near a large evergreen tree every day. One day, she notices that some of the children cannot play in the snow because they don’t have mittens. She knits a basket full of mittens and hangs them in the evergreen tree for the children. Although no one knows that Sarah is the person knitting the mittens for the children, she receives a basket of yarn on her doorstep. In return, she knits more mittens for the children. Every time she runs out of yarn, more magically appears at her door and the cycle of giving continues.

To celebrate Mitten Tree Day, you can share this story with your loved ones and make your own mitten tree by decorating a small tree with mittens you have knitted or some mittens you already have and donating it to those who are less fortunate. If you’ve never knit mittens before, here is a detailed how-to video:

Happy Mitten Tree Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, National Whatever Day

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Santa’s List Day

santas-listDecember 4 is Santa’s List Day! Everyone has deadlines – even Santa Claus.

Today is the day that Santa is finalizing his list and checking it twice. His helpers have been diligently keeping tabs on you and everyone you know and are now reporting back so the man in the red suit himself can make his final revisions. The question now is – have you been naughty or nice?

If you have not been on your best behavior this year, don’t expect much to pop up under the tree for you, aside from maybe some sad looking sticks or a box full of coal. As for all you good kiddos out there, the moment you have been waiting for is fast approaching, so we hope you have been dropping the proper hints about that perfect present you’ve been dreaming of. Hope may not be completely lost for you if you haven’t been the nicest. You’ve still got 21 days until the most anticipated day of the year, so go out there and do as many good deeds as you can! Perhaps you’ll redeem yourself… you never know who is watching!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Fat Wallet, Examiner.com, gone-ta-pott.com

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