And you thought the holidays were over! The good news is that while all the high-pressure ones have come to an end, the fun ones never stop — unless you want them to, that is. But with everything from Science Fiction Day to Dress Up Your Pet Day, why would you? Here are 10 extra holidays to celebrate in January.
January 2: World Introvert Day
Even over Zoom, the holidays can be exhausting — especially for introverts. If you’re still feeling drained by all the social interactions that come with Christmas and New Year’s Eve, take World Introvert Day to recover by your lonesome. German psychologist Felicitas Heyne came up with the idea in 2011, making this the 10-year anniversary of the rare holiday that’s solitary by design. Celebrate by reading a book, going for a long walk, or studying up on some of the world’s most famous introverts. That list includes everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Albert Einstein, so those who prefer time alone to the company of others are in, well, good company.
January 2: Science Fiction Day
Jules Verne, Ursula K. Le Guin, H.G. Wells — these are just some of the innovative minds who helped make science fiction so bold and imaginative. Their work is celebrated on the second day of the year, which was chosen for a reason: Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920, and the I, Robot author looms as large among the giants of sci-fi as any other writer. These days the genre is best known for its forays onto screens big and small, with everything from Star Wars and Black Mirror to Alien and The X-Files making this once-rarefied realm of fiction a global sensation that shows no signs of slowing down — even as the real world slowly catches up to its ideas. And if you’re having trouble deciding between finally reading The Martian Chronicles or binge-watching Battlestar Galactica, fret not: You can always do both.
January 5: Screenwriters Day
Actors and directors tend to get most of the credit, but there’s no movie without a script. Whether it’s all-time giants like Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard) and Nora Ephron (Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally…), or contemporary heroes like Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee, screenwriters rarely get their due in moviegoers’ collective imagination. If you’ve never actually read a screenplay before, there’s no time like the present to try it — thousands of them are readily available online, and you don’t have to be an aspiring scribe to appreciate this highly specialized art.
January 10: Save the Eagles Day
Known as the king of all birds, the mighty eagle actually consists of some 60 different species, most of them in Africa and Eurasia. And while America's national symbol was removed from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007 thanks to successful conservation efforts, many other species haven’t had the same luck — hence Save the Eagles Day, which endeavors to do just that. Even the most majestic bird of prey is no match for the encroachment of human civilization, but hope springs eternal. Read up on these efforts, watch some cool videos, and perhaps complement the experience by listening to some tunes by some other famous Eagles.
January 14: Dress Up Your Pet Day
They may not like it, but everyone who sees the pictures certainly will. And while it’s important to only celebrate Dress Up Your Pet Day with dogs, cats, and other furry friends who actually enjoy being in costume, some might argue that it’s a moral imperative to make sure that pets who don’t mind are photographed in said outfits for all the world to see. Dragons, superheroes, royalty, tacos — all are fine choices that emphasize the fact that, when it comes to pets in costume, there’s really no non-adorable option.
January 18: Thesaurus Day
The dictionary’s less popular cousin is just as useful, especially when you need to fill out a long term paper or just abhor repeating the same words over and over again. Whether you celebrate by buying a new thesaurus or signing up for a fine service like Word Genius, use World Thesaurus Day as an opportunity not only to appreciate Peter Mark Roget of Roget's Thesaurus fame, who was born on January 18, 1779, but also to expand your vocabulary by fitting as many alternate words into casual conversation throughout the day as possible.
January 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day
The word “rodent” doesn’t exactly have positive connotations, and yet so many members of that family — prairie dogs, beavers, even capybaras — are nothing short of adorable. Perhaps the most ubiquitous rodent in this part of the world, squirrels may also be the most beloved. Remember that on Squirrel Appreciation Day, which is just the excuse you’ve been looking for to get a feeder for these tiny neighborhood critters; some even look like picnic tables, which is somehow even more precious than it sounds. Squirrels famously love nuts, of course, but pumpkin and sunflower seeds are the best options when it comes to filling their feeders.
January 24: Peanut Butter Day
Peanut Butter Day falls early on the calendar, which is fortunate for anyone who chose “try new kinds of peanut butter” as a New Year’s resolution. There really are more varieties than you might realize: not just crunchy and creamy, but also the natural kinds that need to be stirred and refrigerated, and, more recently, powdered variants. If you’re feeling especially bold, try putting PB on something new — it’s surprisingly good on burgers!
January 27: Library Shelfie Day
Selfies are old hat, but shelfies are where it’s at. As physical media continues to be replaced by its digital counterpart, there’s never been a better time to show off your actual books. Library Shelfie Day has been providing just such an occasion for eight years thanks to the New York Public Library, which first thought of the literary holiday. It’s the perfect time to honor not just books but the lovely cover art that adorns so many of them — while it’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, there’s no denying that an evocative one can pique your interest and perhaps introduce you to a new favorite.
January 29: Puzzle Day
Even if you've done enough jigsaw puzzles in 2020 to last a lifetime, National Puzzle Day serves as a timely reminder that there are other mind-twisters out there, including crosswords, Sudoku, and Rubik’s Cubes, to name a few. With so many of us indoors, it’s never been more important to stave off boredom and stay mentally sharp — especially with 11 more months of semi-official holidays on the horizon to prepare for.