No matter where you stand on the "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" debate, there's no denying that there are other holidays in December besides Christmas. A lot of other holidays, actually. Because we at DealNews love festivities almost as much as we love bargains, here are 30 more holidays — both secular and religious — that you can celebrate this month.
Note: Sorry this guide comes a little late, but we've been focused on another holiday: Black Friday. You can always celebrate the first days of December next year!
Although there were some great contenders for the first slot (we're looking at you, Greek annexation of Crete!), we're going with a big holiday today: Hanukkah. This Jewish festival lasts for eight nights, and it's actually already half-over at this point, having begun on November 27. We're not suggesting that non-Jews participate in the sacred rites, but there are some great lessons everyone can take away from Hanukkah, like not giving up when things look grim. We think everyone should celebrate this holiday by eating delicious fried foods.
Although it's not a holy day per se, the second day in December is still pretty sweet: it's the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery! Celebrate your freedom today by doing whatever you want. And, if you feel inclined, think about getting involved with a movement that's working to end forced labor.
ALL ABOARD! Today you should celebrate the birth of the one and only Ozzy Osbourne, Prince of Darkness and conductor of crazy trains. However you choose to celebrate, just don't bite the head off a dove. That's gross.
It's the Feast of Shango (or Chango), a god worshipped by practitioners of Santeria and the Yoruban religion. Although you probably won't want to sacrifice a turtle to Shango, you could always set aside a banana or some dry white wine today. Who knows? You may find yourself lucky in love or gambling!
Bust out the booze, for today we drink to the Repeal of Prohibition! Eighty years ago, America finally stopped hating on the lushes and passed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. Don't feel like drinking? December 5 is also the Day of the Ninja.
Because December 6 is the birthday of not one but two excellent Constitutional Amendments (the awesome 13th that abolished slavery and the sweet 25th, which deals with presidential succession), we think you should celebrate the Constitution and America in general all day long. Which is to say, why not set off a bunch of fireworks tonight? Your neighbors will love it.
Not a fun day to remember, but it's super important: On December 7, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, spurring the U.S. to join WWII. If your parents or grandparents are still around, this would be a great day to give them a call and ask them to tell you stories about the war, or anything really.
Happy Bodhi Day! Buddhists celebrate December 8 as the day Siddhartha Gautauma (the Buddha) experienced enlightenment. There are lots of ways to celebrate this holiday, but our favorite is one practiced by Buddhist children: Make tree- or leaf-shaped cookies to represent the tree the Buddha meditated under.
Today marks the Feast of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, the first Roman Catholic indigenous American saint. As the story goes, Juan Diego was a humble Mexican laborer who, while walking 15 miles to church on December 9, 1531, saw the Virgin Mary dressed as an Aztec priestess. We suggest you celebrate this saint of indigenous peoples by feasting on tasty Mexican food and then taking a long walk.
On-This-Day.com swears the first issue of Playboy came out on December 10, 1953, though we couldn't verify the exact date anywhere else. Regardless, go ahead and celebrate the titillating magazine's 60th birthday today by actually reading the articles.
On this day in 630 C.E., the Prophet Muhammad lead an army of 10,000 into Mecca resulting in a bloodless conquest of the Muslims over the Quraysh. This event is extremely important in Islam, not only because Mecca is a holy city, but because Muhammad showed mercy to his enemies. Celebrate this event by making peace with an enemy today. Whether it's the dude in the next cubical who's always stealing your stapler, or the barista who acts like soy milk is a foreign concept, today they get a pass.
For some reason, December 12 still isn't an international holiday, despite being the birth date of Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Today we recommend listening to his records, watching On the Town, and sipping martinis. Or, you know, just celebrate it your way.
If it's not obvious by now, we adore holidays that involve food. In deference to the Swedish observance of St. Lucy's Day, we highly recommend baking up a batch of Saint Lucia buns on December 13. In truth, we have no clue how the buns figure into Lucy's tale, which is kind of gruesome.
With the DealNews headquarters located in Huntsville, AL we'd be remiss if we didn't give you a chance to celebrate Alabama Day. As part of a December 14 tradition we just made up, you can help us celebrate by singing a traditional Alabaman tune should you know the words.
Today, we wish you a merry Consualia! A holy day in ancient Rome, this festival celebrates Consus, the patron of mules and God of storing grain. According to tradition, you should give your mules and farm horses the day off today, and attend a chariot race involving mules. Should you live too far into the future to visit the Circus Maximus in its heyday, then we recommend giving your pets a little extra love and attention.
Held sacred by many a fan of her books, December 16 marks the birth of Jane Austen. While you could obviously spend the day reading her works, we suggest you celebrate this author's life by watching the good Pride and Prejudice movie.
If you liked Consualia, you'll love Saturnalia. This Roman festival is so awesome, it's rumored to be among the reasons Christmas is celebrated in December. In fact, you might already be unknowingly participating in this 7-day festival dedicated to Saturn, the God of the harvest. Starting on December 17, ancient Romans would decorate their houses with greenery, exchange presents ... and let their slaves pretend they were the masters for awhile. Okay, we don't recommend enslaving anyone (for those that weren't paying attention on December 2), but Saturnalia is otherwise probably the easiest holiday to participate in on this list.
Today we celebrate the birth of a giant: Sixteen years ago, the World Wide Web Consortium named HTML 4.0 as the publishing language of the World Wide Web. If you don't understand the significance of that, it's okay. You can celebrate this day by clicking here to watch a completely unrelated YouTube video, and spending the rest of the day grappling with the knowledge that, without HTML 4.0, there'd be no YouTube. Or DealNews. Or anything from the Internet that you know and love.
Today we celebrate December 19, 1843 as the only time anyone heard the story of A Christmas Carol for the first time. Charles Dickens' masterpiece has been made and re-made so many times that it has its own TV Tropes page; if you haven't heard Scrooge's tale by now, you're lying. Celebrate this ridiculously popular story today by downloading the Kindle version for free.
Speaking of overdone Christmas movies, today you should celebrate the release of It's a Wonderful Life on December 20, 1946. It's one of the holiday season's most aired movies, but we doubt anyone's actually sat through the whole thing. That's because this film, which boasts a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, is totally about suicide, guys! Celebrate this odd choice for family entertainment by watching it from start to finish. Alone. In the dark.
Although December 21, 2012 dropped the ball on the whole apocalypse thing, the winter solstice has been a major holiday for just about everyone since just about always. Among the many groups celebrating this day are modern Pagans and Heathens, who often call the holiday Yule, or Yuletide. Traditions vary, but one thing you can do to celebrate Yule is to go wassailing. Make a mulled hard cider and then take to the streets, singing and generally having a merry old time.
Although the solstice only occurs once, we figured there's no harm in stretching it out a bit for our purposes. Another big winter solstice holiday is China's Dongzhi Festival. Although you probably won't be able to snack on a traditional rice flour dumpling, you should try to spend this day with your relatives. In China, this holiday is all about family, living and dead. So if you're close enough to a cemetery, why not visit the graves of your ancestors, too?
Today, it's a Festivus for the rest of us. In case you're not familiar with the parody holiday made popular by the sitcom Seinfeld, there are several traditions to observe. First, erect an unadorned aluminum pole. Then have Festivus dinner (usually meatloaf or spaghetti), and participate in the Airing of Grievances. Afterwards, the head of the family and a guest perform Feats of Strength. Finally, a completely explainable and ordinary event should be dubbed a Festivus Miracle. Also, make sure you serve some cake after the meal. Who doesn't serve cake after a meal? What kind of people? Would it kill you to put out a pound cake? Something!
It's everyone's favorite holiday to pronounce, Aðfangadagskvöld! The Icelandic Christmas Eve is the last day children can be visited by a Yule Lad. Who are the Yule Lads? These 13 sons of the ogres Grýla and Leppalúði started out as menacing figures, but over time became more friendly. December 24 belongs to Candle Beggar, who stops by at 11 am, like all his brothers. Put your shoe in the window, and he may leave you a present! (Or steal your candles.)
Everyone knows what today is: It's Quaid-e-Azam's Day, the birthday of the founder of Pakistan! Oh, also there's an obscure ritual involving a large man in a red suit that delivers presents to children in celebration of the birth of a religious leader. You probably haven't heard of it — "Christmas?" Just kidding! We suggest you spend this day resting up for the after-Christmas sales.
Happy Boxing Day! This post-Christmas day off is a lot like Black Friday in Britain, Canada, and some parts of Australia, making it DealNews' favorite non-American holiday. Assuming you don't have to work, we suggest you celebrate this holiday like our neighbors across the pond: Go shopping! (And check with us for the best after-Christmas sales, obviously.)
It was on this day 182 years ago that Charles Darwin first set out on the HMS Beagle, a voyage that would eventually lead him to formulate the theory of evolution several years later. We suggest you celebrate this day by setting out on a journey of your own. Who knows? That trip to the store for milk could be the genesis of your Nobel prize!
The Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28 marks a disturbing Christian tale, involving a not-very-nice king killing a bunch of kids. Rather than dwelling on that, we'd like you to celebrate this day the way the residents of Ibi, Spain do — by overthrowing your town's government for a day and starting a war with bombs made of flour and eggs. No one knows exactly why the town celebrates the holiday, which they call Els Enfarinats, in this manner, but it sounds like a lot more fun than infanticide.
Today we're celebrating the first airing of "The Trouble with Tribbles," a classic Star Trek episode adored by fans the world over. With their chirping, purring sounds and cuddly nature, tribbles get along with everyone but Klingons (who declared them a "mortal enemy of the Empire" and an "ecological menace"). Today, you should celebrate the advent of these adorable/horrible critters by taking one home.
Today is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, so ... hooray for baking soda? This useful compound traces its roots all the way back to Egypt, which is more than we can say. To celebrate this holiday, why not get a head start on your post-holiday cleanup? You can use baking soda to clean just about everything, so get to work!
We'll round out our list of December celebrations with Scotland's New Year's Eve holiday tradition, called Hogmanay. Not content to merely kiss at the dropping of a giant glowing ball, the Scots go from house to house, trying to be the first to cross a neighbor's threshold in the new year. To celebrate this holiday, bring a gift of whiskey and shortbread to the folks next door at midnight. (You can also bring salt and coal, but who wants to be that guy?) And don't forget to sing "Auld Lang Syne!"
There you have it, folks! From now on, when someone wishes you "Happy Holidays!" you can refer them to this exhaustive list and tell them to take their pick. Did your favorite holiday make the list? What are some of your beloved December traditions? Tell us all about it in the comments below!