Every day of the year is a holiday somewhere for someone. If you think about all of the holidays of all of the world’s religions, the holidays of every country, plus all of the festivals and celebrations put on by villages, towns, schools, churches, fire departments, and advertising agencies, you’ll see that there are plenty of holidays to go around. If one person tried to celebrate every holiday in the world, he would get so tired of celebrating that an ordinary day would seem like . . . well, a holiday. So why would anyone want to create another holiday?
There are plenty of reasons. Each person, each family, neighborhood, school, and community has its own personality and needs. Each group has its unique things to celebrate, and its own way of doing it. If you want to create a holiday, go ahead. Here are some things to think about.
It’s easy to create your own private holiday. You just pick a day and then do something special. But it’s more fun when you do special things with other people. Who would you like to invite to join you? Would your family like to celebrate with you? How about your school class? Maybe you belong to a club, a scout troop, or a church youth group that would like to join in. You could talk to the people in your neighborhood. Maybe they would like to be involved.
Remember, more people can get more done. The more people who celebrate your holiday, the bigger it will be. But each of those people will have their own ideas about what they would like to celebrate and how they want to do it. Once you invite other people to celebrate your holiday, it’s not your private holiday any more. You won’t be able to control everything. But don’t worry. Sometimes other people surprise you with their wonderful ideas. Include others and see what happens.
What do you want to celebrate? It needs to be something that matters to the people you are celebrating with. Your family might want to celebrate The First Hike of Summer or hold a special Snow Day celebration whenever schools are closed due to snow. Some schools hold “Wacky Hair” days or “Wear Your Pajamas” days. If you can tie your holiday to what your class is studying, your teachers might let you work on it during school. Perhaps when the fourth grade studies state history, they could hold a State Fair. Or you might hold a Pioneer Day or a Geography Day. In case you haven’t already thought of something you want to celebrate, here are more ideas.
We all know the four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. But there are other seasons.
There is mitten season and sandal season. There is strawberry season, peach season, apple season, and pumpkin season. Think about the seasons that matter to you
and plan a holiday to celebrate YOUR favorite season. Or perhaps you should plan a holiday in your least favorite time of
year to cheer everyone up. That's why Mrs. Muddle celebrates Summer in the middle of Winter. The year is full of things to celebrate.
We all have people we admire and appreciate. Mothers and
fathers already have their own holidays, but your family might want to hold a
celebration to honor some of your other relatives. Ask your parents about their parents and grandparents.
You may discover exciting people in your own family that you want to honor.
Is your school named after a person?
My kids have attended schools named after an astronaut, a poet, a town councilman,
and a school superintendent. If your school is named after someone, perhaps you
could find out why and hold a celebration in their honor.
Do you have a favorite invention? Mrs. Muddle chose to
honor the inventor of the roller-skate. Perhaps
you could honor the inventor of the game Monopoly, or the inventor of Ramen noodles,
or the inventor of the television (he’s a distant relative of mine.) Of course,
finding this information will take a little research, but think how happy that will
make your teacher.
Many people celebrate days with interesting numerical dates. For example, many schools now celebrate the 100th day of school. Other kids celebrate “Pi Day,” on March 14. (That’s 3.14. If this doesn’t make sense to you, look it up.) People under the age of 13 can celebrate their age day--October 10th, or 10/10, for someone who is ten, or April 4, or 4/4 for someone who is four. My nephew was born on Friday the 13th, so his family celebrated every Friday the 13th as his “almost birthday.” If you have a favorite number, find a way to celebrate it.
Many favorite holiday traditions are fun partly because we do them only once a year. They don’t have to make a lot of sense. For example, a number of different traditions involve dyeing or painting eggs. This doesn’t make the eggs taste any better, and sometimes the eggs are never eaten anyway. Another common holiday tradition is building things out of food--building houses out of gingerbread, castles out of sugar cubes, and practically anything out of chocolate. It's hard to say why we do these things, yet people really enjoy doing them at a special time of the year with special people. A good holiday tradition is fun and unusual without being too difficult or expensive. Here are some ideas.
Many wonderful holiday traditions involve lights. Sometimes these are candles set in windows, on cakes, or in vegetables. Sometimes they are strings of electric lights. Sometimes they are torches around a picnic or fireworks in the sky. There are many ways to use lights in celebrations.
You can put candles on a cake, but you can also put them on a pie or a sandwich. Pumpkins aren’t the only fruit or vegetable that can serve as a candle holder. Scoop out the insides of a watermelon with a melon baller. Eat the watermelon and put a candle inside the shell. Buy a string of lights when they go on sale after that big holiday in December. Put them up in your house or yard, turn them on, and then everyone will know you’re celebrating. Flashlights and tiny pen lights can be a lot of fun, as can glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark rings. Use lights to make your holiday special.
WARNING! Any kind of flame could start a fire. Only use candles or matches when there is a responsible adult around to supervise.
Many holidays are celebrated with music. Does your holiday need a special song? Maybe the perfect song already exists. Ask your friends and family for ideas. But you may have to write your own words to a song you already know, or make up a new song entirely. Don’t worry if you’re not very good at music. Get someone to help you. It’s no fun celebrating alone anyway. It would be wonderful to have a marching band to play your music, but you don't need one. Try the kazoo. Everyone can play that, so no one will be left out.
We all have to eat. Many of us love to eat. That's why food is a part of nearly every holiday. Think of food that will fit your holiday. Is a certain type of food “in season” during your holiday? How many different ways can you use it? Look in the grocery store for fruits or vegetables you have never eaten before. Make food into edible decorations. Try something new. Maybe it will become a tradition.
Sometimes it will be obvious what you should wear to your celebration. If you are running through the sprinkler you will wear a swim suit. If you are raking leaves, you will wear work clothes.
But there will be times when you want to wear something special. You could ask everyone to wear a certain color, or to wear a hat. You might decide to do something silly, such as having people wear their clothes backwards, or wear mittens in the summertime.
You may decide that you need costumes so that you can represent the people or things you are celebrating. Check the library for books on making your own costumes. Find something special that fits your holiday.
Make cards in honor of your holiday and send them to your family and friends. Even if they've never heard of your holiday, they'll love hearing from you. Use your card to tell them about your holiday. Besides paper or card stock, you could use glitter, stickers, buttons, hole punches, and whatever else you can find around the house.
It's fun to decorate for special occasions. Look around. You can decorate with things from nature, such as flowers, colored leaves, pinecones, acorns, and berries.
Put them in a vase or bowl, or glue them onto a wreath.
Crepe paper streamers, paper chains, and balloons are inexpensive and look festive. Try to create decorations that will be as special as your holiday.
Use your imagination and have fun.
Speeches are a traditional part of many holiday celebrations--especially
national holidays. If you must have them, keep them short. If this is the most fun
you can think of, you don’t need a holiday, you need a vacation!
Stories are more interesting than speeches. Tell a story about the person,
season, or event you are celebrating. If you act it out, it becomes a play. If you act it out to
music, it’s a dance. If you take your show on the road, it becomes a parade.
You are always welcome to give other people presents on your holiday. But if you
invent a holiday and then expect other people to give you presents, they will think you're very greedy.
A holiday is a day designated for some special remembrance. When a holiday
comes off the calendar and into people’s lives, that is a celebration! But, as Katie points out in Mrs.
Muddle’s Holidays, planning a celebration takes a lot of work. Ideas aren’t enough. You need
plans. You will need someone to be in charge, and that person will need helpers. You will need to
invite people to your celebration through school announcements, posters, fliers, or email. You
will need a place to hold your celebration, and you may need to make reservations or ask permission. If
you are holding your event outside, you should have a backup plan in case of rain. Your activites and
food will need to be planned, and after it is all over, you will need people to clean up. This sounds
like a lot of work. It is. But if you plan carefully, it will also be a lot of fun!
For a planning form to help you keep track of your plans,
follow this link.