Tag Archives: December Holidays

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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Pepper Pot Day

It’s Pepper Pot Day, a celebration of a thick, spicy soup called pepper pot!

According to legend, pepper pot was first concocted during the Revolutionary War – December 29, 1777, to be exact. It was a cold, harsh winter for the Continental Army in Valley Forge. Food was scarce – farmers in the area sold their food to the British Army for pounds over the Continental Army’s weak currency. Thus, the troops created a soup that included all they could find.

And apparently all they could find were scraps of tripe (aka animal stomach), beef stock,  peppercorn and a few vegetables, as these are the main ingredients of pepper pot.

Though pepper pot may not sound like much to celebrate, the soup got the soldiers through the harsh winter, earning it the title “the soup that won the war.”

Celebrate Pepper Pot Day by making yourself a pot of pepper pot soup (recipe), but don’t eat it yet. Fill your bowl and head out into the cold outdoors to get the full effect of the soup’s warming powers.

By the way, we’ll totally understand if you substitute the tripe with chicken or beef. And if not, we’ll understand that, too.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
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National Eggnog Day

EggnogNot only is today Christmas Eve but it’s also National Eggnog Day! Makes sense, since making a batch or two of eggnog is a common Christmas Eve tradition.

Eggnog is a popular holiday drink in the U.S. and Canada and is made with milk and/or cream, sugar, raw eggs (beaten), spices (particularly nutmeg) and (optionally) liquor, such as brandy or rum. It’s also very tasty…and very high in fat and sugar. Seriously. You might want to pass it up this year if you’re cutting back the calories. However, you can still enjoy eggnog without the high amount of fat and cholesterol by making or purchasing  eggnog with skimmed, low fat, soy or rice milk.

Celebrate National Eggnog Day by making eggnog for your family! (But we won’t be disappointed if you go with commercial eggnog.)

Eggnog drink recipes:

Eggnog

Eggnog Drinks from Allrecipes.com

Alcoholic/Non-alcoholic/Easy/Healthier Eggnog Recipes

If you want to go all out on National Eggnog Day, whip up one of these eggnog-based desserts:

Golden Eggnog Cupcakes

Easy Holiday Eggnog Muffins

Cranberry Eggnog Muffins

Eggnog Drink and Dessert Recipes

 

Note: Commercial eggnog does not contain raw eggs. However, when making homemade eggnog (which includes raw eggs), use pasteurized eggs. Some recipes may also instruct you on how to cook the eggs for additional safety.

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source: Konstantin Ryabitsev, CC-BY-SA-2.O, via Wikimedia Commons
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National Flashlight Day

Flashlight-Tag-GameDecember 21 is National Flashlight Day! Today also happens to be the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year. Though we are not sure if these two days coincide on purpose, you won’t be left in the dark!

Flashlights first became a tool for exploring the darkness at the end of the 19th century. The first dry cell batteries were invented in 1896, which allowed electronic devices to become portable because they used an electrolyte paste instead of liquid, preventing spillage. David Misell, an English inventor who worked for the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, obtained a patent for the first flashlight in 1899.

Misell created an “electric device” which consisted of “D” batteries arranged front to back inside a paper tube with a light bulb and brass reflector attached at the end. Some of the devices created by Misell were given to the New York City Police Department and were met with approval from officers. Because of the zinc carbon batteries used in these early devices, they could not provide a steady current and needed to “rest” periodically to continue working. The lights thus could only be used for short intervals, hence the name “flashlight.”

We’ve come up with a couple of ways you can celebrate National Flashlight Day:

  • Make shadow puppets on the wall.
  • Play a rousing game of flashlight tag.
  • Plan a nighttime scavenger hunt.
  • Stay up reading a book under the covers.

Today is also the perfect day to make sure your family knows where your flashlights are in the case of a power outtage or other situation which may cause you to need your trusty flashlight to find your way. Be sure to test all your flashlights and make sure the batteries are all working.

Happy Flashlight Day!

Sources: Giftypedia, Holiday Insights, National Whatever Day

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National Sangria Day

sangria-3December 20 is National Sangria Day! Sangria is a fruity wine punch which typically consists of red wine, seasonal fruit, spirits, and simple syrup.

This beverage is usually enjoyed in the summertime in the United States, so why are we celebrating its intoxicating effects in the winter? To answer this question, we can turn to the origin of this widely popular concoction. “Sangria” is derived from the Spanish word “sangre” meaning blood, likely due to the beverage’s usual crimson color. In Spain and most other Spanish-speaking countries, where the beverage as we know it today first gained popularity, sangria is enjoyed year-round. The drink was first introduced to America in 1964 during the World’s Fair in New York.

The key to making a delicious sangria punch lies in the fruit. It’s important to use fruits that are in season, and to let the fruit marinate for several hours so your sangria will have an optimal flavor. The most commonly used spirit in sangria is brandy, but any of your favorite liquors may be substituted, depending on the flavor and how alcoholic you would like your sangria to be. Some sangria lovers opt for adding in soda water for carbonation. Sangria blanca is sangria made using white wine and complementing fruits rather than the standard red wine.

Since sangria involves many different ingredients and is often made in large batches meant for sharing, it’s a great drink to make for holiday parties or get-togethers with family and friends. Check out the following recipes we’ve found, and whip up a batch to enjoy with your loved ones!

Red Sangria

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 orange (ends cut off), thinly sliced
  • 1 red apple, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 bottles well-chilled dry red wine, such as Rioja or red Zinfandel
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

In a large pitcher, stir together brandy, orange and apple slices. Let stand 15 minutes. Add wine, club soda, and orange juice. Serve over ice.

Christmas Sangria

  • 2 bottles Zinfandel
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 8 oz. Orange juice
  • 8 oz. Cranberry juice
  • 12 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 bottle Cava
  • Cranberries (optional)

Muddle fruit, then combine all ingredients except Cava. Mix in the Cava at the end and serve in a wine glass over ice, garnished with cranberries.

White Sangria

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 shots Calvados or other apple liquor
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 3 ripe green apples seeded and cut into wedges
  • 1 bottle white Rioja Spanish wine or other dry white wine
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Sparkling soda water, for topping off glasses of sangria at table

Combine sugar, Calvados, lime, lemon, peaches and apples in a large pitcher. Cover with 1 bottle of Rioja wine and chill sangria several hours. To serve, spoon fruits into glasses or goblets, adding a few fresh raspberries in each glass, pour wine over top of the fruit. Top glasses of sangria off with a splash of soda water and serve.

Sources: National Sangria Day, Examiner.com

 

 

 

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Bake Cookies Day

cookieDecember 18 is Bake Cookies Day!

In the midst of the holiday season, today is the perfect day to escape from your holiday stress and that winter weather, and spend your day in a warm kitchen baking sweet treats!

Though the origin of this day remains unknown, the origin of the cookie dates back to Persia in 7th century AD after the use of sugar became more prevalent. The cookie quickly spread through Europe and then to America because of the popularity of global travel, and the treat’s easy traveling capabilities.

Spend the day baking cookies and trying new recipes. Better yet, host a cookie exchange with your friends. A cookie exchange is a great way to find new recipes (and indulge in even more new delicious sweets).

Looking for new cookie recipes? Browse through the recipes below!

Or, be healthy and make over your cookies!

Sources: holidayinsights.com, Wikipedia, Examiner.com

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First Airplane Flies

On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, made the first successful flight of a gas-powered, self-propelled airplane. Although the plane only stayed aloft for 12 seconds and flew only 120 feet, it was still considered a successful first flight.

However, on the last of the three flight tests made that day, the plane flew 852 feet in 59 seconds. This historic flight in airplane history was even captured on film. Check it out!

If you happen to be traveling by plane today, take a moment to appreciate how quickly that plane gets you from point A to point B and to thank the Wright Brothers for making it happen.

 

Sources: History.com, Wikipedia, About.com

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Boston Tea Party Day

Boston Tea Party-1973 issue-3cHappy Boston Tea Party Day!

On December 16, 1773, colonists in Massachusetts protested against the East India Company’s monopolization on American tea importation, as granted by Parliament, by boarding three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumping 342 chests of tea into the harbor.

Click here to find out why!

Did You Know…that the Boston Tea Party was one of several tension-building events that lead to the American Revolutionary War between the North American colonies  and Great Britain? The Boston Tea Party was the turning point in which colonists started to consider forming a united resistance against British rule.

 

Sources: punchbowl.com, osmh.org, wikipedia.org, history.com
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Bill of Rights Day

On December 15, 1791, the United States adopted the Bill of Rights, enshrining in our Constitution the protection of our inalienable freedoms, from the right to speak our minds and worship as we please to the guarantee of equal justice under the law.”

- President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation, Bill of Rights Day 2011

On this day in 1791, the United States adopted the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments of the U.S. constitution.

Written and introduced to the first U.S. Congress by James Madison, who later became the 4th U.S. President, the Bill of Rights protect the individual rights of U.S. citizens by limiting the federal government’s power and granting some power to the states and the public.

Bill of Rights Day was created not only to commemorate the establishment of this significant symbol of freedom but to remind us of that freedom, which we sometimes take for granted.

Celebrate Bill of Rights Day by reading, understanding, and appreciating the Bill of Rights. If you’ve got a little more time, read the U.S. constitution while you’re at it.

Having trouble understanding the Bill of Rights or looking for fun yet effective ways to teach kids about the Bill of Rights? You’ll find plenty of educational resources at the Bill of Rights Institute.

 

Sources: Holiday Insights, Wikipedia, Bill of Rights Institute

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National Bouillabaisse Day

Flickr - cyclonebill - Bouillabaisse med rouilleHappy National Bouillabaisse Day!

Celebrating Bouillabaisse Day, Part I: Learn about bouillabaisse

1. Bouillabaisse = fish stew/seafood soup/fish soup.

2.  Bouillabaisse contains various types of cooked fish and shellfish (at least five kinds) and vegetables, such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. It’s flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, such as garlic, orange peel, basil, bay leaf, fennel and saffron.

3. Bouillabaisse originated in Marseilles, France around 600 B.C. but was referred to as “kakavia,” which is Greek because the people living in Marseilles at the time were Phoceans (aka Ancient Greek people), not French people. The Phoceans founded Marseilles in 600 B.C.

4. Bouillabaisse is rarely made for less than 10 people. More people = more fish = yummier bouillabaisse.

Celebrating National Bouillabaisse Day, Part II: Now that you know a little more about bouillabaisse, make enough bouillabaisse for at least 10 people…

Summer Tomato Bouillabaisse with Basil Rouille (by Bon Appetit)
Bouillabaisse (by Food & Wine)
Bouillabaisse (by Simply Recipes)

Celebrating National Bouillabaisse Day, Part III: Find 10 people to eat it…

 

Sources: holidayinsights.com, punchbowl.com, wikipedia.org
Photo Source: cyclonebill, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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