Submitted by Dr. Patt Schwab with Dorothy Wilhelm.
I enjoy Advent, which takes place on the four Sundays before Christmas. In our home the children loved to take the figures from our Nativity Set on an Advent Journey. The shepherds stood on a high bookshelf, waiting for the angels to come. The Wise Men were carried to different back bedrooms and each day the children would move the figures closer to the manager, talking and speculating about the journey and what the people in the beloved story were feeling. One year one of the Wise Men got lost. We found him three years later in the bottom drawer of the buffet with a happy smile on his face.
Don’t miss out on the chance to feel the joy that comes with this season. Get a good start with 12 Days of Pierce County, a really useful website. Great ideas for family activities from The Ugly Sweater Fest at Point Ruston to The Elf Hunt in University Place, and plenty more. Find it at https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7514/12-Days-of-Pierce-County
Here are a few ideas for your own December celebration from Dr. Patt Schwab, humorist, professional speaker, and author of The Obscure Holiday eBooks. We’re looking at a few days in the rear view mirror but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. These first day’s ideas could be celebrated any time in the season.
Here’s Dr. Patt:
December is the month for showing off the fun, thoughtfulness, and clever ideas this season brings out in all of us.
Feel free to draw from this list.
Feel even freer to add to it.
Operation Santa Paws: Celebrated all month long
Look up your local Animal Shelters and bring over some cat and dog treats as Christmas Presents. (Maybe even bring treats for the staff, too.) Most shelters are delighted to get unopened boxes, bags, and cans of cat and dog food, and, in some places, even rabbit food. Boxes of litter, newspapers, towels and fleece blankets are also useful. It helps to call ahead and confirm you are bringing desirable, healthy animal treats. You will make both Animals and Shelter staff happy.
December 1: Giving to Others Day
Recipe Greetings for the Holidays — Send out Christmas cards with your favorite holiday recipes crafted into them. Your Card’s cover could attract the receiver by saying: “Here’s A Recipe for Keeping Everyone Happy All Month long.”
Your card then opens to your tasty recipe. You can hang favorite recipes in a small tree and hand them out to guests – with perhaps, a sample of the cookies.
Dec. 4: Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day
If you are lucky enuf to be working on a great team that laughs hard and works hard, stop everything and celebrate today! Fact is, you can do it any day.
Team Building Note: In 2007, the UC San Diego Student Affairs staff gave up holding a Christmas Party because the staff members had too many other holiday conflicts.
Luckily, someone saw a calendar where the last Friday in January was titled: “Have Fun at Work Day.” Since they really wanted the party as a team-builder, this was a perfect fit! At the end of January the holidays are over, Staff are bored and would like to have a little “pick-me-up.”
“Have Fun at Work Day.” has become a regular team-building event for the department. Remember, the Christmas party will be just as much fun if you hold it in January – or July!
Dec. 4 – The phonograph was born (1877), with the help of Thomas Edison
It was Edison’s favorite invention, perhaps because he had lost much of his hearing as a boy.
Dorothy says: Get out those old vinyls and give them a listen.
Dec. 5 – was a really big day.
Too bad you missed it. Tell you what, December 12 is a pretty dull day. Why not scoot these events ahead a bit and celebrate then.
International Volunteer Day — to celebrate the work volunteers do
National Rhubarb Vodka Day
International Ninja Day – first ninja was descended from the spirits and appeared as a half-man, half- crow. International Ninja Day — According to Japanese mythology, the
Today they have a website willing to give you birthday info. https://mybirthday.ninja
Walt Disney Born (1901) — Disney probably brought more smiles to American faces than any other entrepreneur, animator, writer, film producer or vocal actor. He was both creator of Mickey Mouse (1928) and Mickey’s voice in the initial years. He also brought us the likes of the first feature length cartoon, Snow White, followed by Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, and more. He opened Disneyland in 1955. Along the way he collected 22 Oscars from 59 nominations, and the most Academy Awards ever won by an individual. Alas, lung cancer brought on by heavy smoking, resulted in an untimely death. (December 15, 1966)
December 6 – St Nicholas Day
St Nick, also known as Nicholas the Wonder Worker, was praised for his thoughtfulness and his ability to cleverly involve, and provide for, many people during his lifetime.
I like to think that he reached out from Heaven to inspire Holiday Zoom Parties a few years ago — or at least he inspired my friend Francis to develop one. Her family is spread all over the map. Last Christmas, COVID inspired them to hold a Zoom Party. It was such fun that they polished and expanded their routine for this year.
If you’d like to join them, Here are their 4 steps for this year’s event:
- Decide on a date for the Zoom party.
- In November, each person draws someone’s name to give a gift to. No gift is allowed to be more than $10. It is wrapped and mailed ahead of time and unwrapped only in front of the whole group.
- Everyone brings something Christmassy to eat.
- Participants randomly get into break-out groups where they can play games, solve problems, or just visit with each other.
(Special Notice: Think about doing this with your work team. It turns out that Virtual Business Christmas Parties often qualify for tax exemptions!)
December 12 – gift cards for the tree.
A “blank card” gift. Put a blank card in the tree for each family member. Everyone randomly picks a card and writes a “gift” or “play date” for the other person or a “this is why I love…” note in the card. For example: A card could read “take mom bowling” or “take dad to a game” or “free baby sitting” or ” I love my sister because…” and so on., etc.
December 18 – National Re-Gifting Day
The nationally most popular items to regift are: candies, clothing, electronics, and houseware.
How can you re-gift without hurting someone’s feelings?
- It’s a Duplicate of an item the Receiver already has.
- It’s a Clothing gift that doesn’t fit.
- They just don’t like your gift.
- It’s a book the receiver read before — HOWEVER, keep the new copy if is autographed! (It might be worth something if the author becomes famous!) Pass your old copy along to someone new.
Etiquette books all say the same thing, there is only one thing to do when someone says “no thank you” and that’s to accept the gift’s return with an apology and without a whimper.
December 19 – Build a Snowman Day
There are wonderful videos with Snowman Building tips. Some use real snow, others make paper snowmen for decorations or games in the house. If you are hungry, bake a snowman cake, or make marshmallow snowmen.
December 26 – National Whiners Day — for those who didn’t get what they wanted.
Get together with some equally upset folks. Have some wine and cheese and complain dramatically about not getting the present you wanted, trade unwanted gifts and maybe give a prize (or a bottle of wine) to the biggest whiner.
December 31 – Auld Lang Syne Day
The phrase translates to: “the good old times,”
The first known use of the term was in a poem in 1666.
Robert Burns is credited with writing the song in 1788. Its message is: Let us bid farewell to auld lang syne and welcome in the New Year.
It is sung at the stroke of midnight on December 31st in almost every English-speaking country in the world.
PLUS China enthusiastically sings it, calling it “The Friendship Forever Song.” The goal of all is to welcome in the New Year in a positive way and to say a fond farewell to the old year.
Dr. Patt Schwab will be back with more Red Letter Days in January.
You can find Patt Schwab’s Obscure Holiday eBooks on Amazon. Just look for her name. You can hear Patt Schwab and Dorothy Wilhelm on the Swimming Upstream Radio Show.
A new edition of the podcast on the first Monday of every month, and she’ll be back next month with more great Red Letter Days to celebrate.