Offbeat Holidays To Celebrate In January

January might start off with a bang, but let's be honest here — it's really just sort of the month that kicks off the long haul toward spring. It's still winter — in the northern hemisphere, at least — and there's still all the bad weather and long nights without the fun of Christmas to look forward to.

January's actually pretty awful, and since honesty is the best policy, let's just say that it's all right to think New Year's is awful, too. It's a lot of hype for a whole lot of hangover, and unless you're newly 21 years old, it's just kind of "meh."

It turns out that it's not all bad news, though, and there's actually a whole bunch of really fun — or just cool — holidays waiting to be celebrated throughout the month of January. Need something to get through those deep-winter, post-holiday blues? These offbeat holidays are guaranteed to help make the days pass just a little easier.

1: Public Domain Day

This one's for all the writers and artists out there, particularly those who have had a long, deep-seated desire to create a work that pays homage to the great classics of our day. January is your month.

That's because January 1 is Public Domain Day, when copyrights expire on works that have been protected for 75 (or, as Duke University points out, 95 years). Copyright rules are incredibly complicated, but on the first day of every year, tons of works get released to the public for unlimited use. That means writers can write their spin-offs and reimaginations, amateur filmmakers can get filming their masterpieces, songwriters can turn their favorite classic into a musical, and artists can do those book covers they've always wanted to, all completely copyright free.

Just how exciting Public Domain Day is varies by the year, but let's take 2022. That, says The Public Domain Review, is when works like "Winnie-the-Pooh" and Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" become public domain, along with music from greats like Louis Armstrong and Jim Morrison. Get creating!

2: National Sci-Fi Day

It's just a short hop, skip, and a jump from science fiction to science fact. Some of the world's greatest inventions were predicted by great works of sci-fi, and those are things like the internet, rockets, cell phones, and of course, the robots that everyone knows are just waiting to take over the planet.

Sci-fi brings out the best in humankind, it teaches us something about ourselves along the way, kick-starts imagination, and it also makes for some seriously great, big-budget blockbusters. As a genre, it is, after all, pretty limitless, so take January 2 and celebrate National Sci-Fi Day with a great book, movie, or video game. There's no denying that the world is better with a little more imagination in it, and who knows where it'll lead?

Just don't forget to raise a glass to Isaac Asimov, one of science fiction's early (and greatest) writers. As International Business Times notes, January 2 was chosen because it's also his birthday. Why not add some cake and freeze-dried ice cream while you're at it?

4: National Trivia Day

Know a lot of useless information that never gets used in a practical way? Want to show off outside of the local bar's monthly pub quiz night? Add January 4 to the list of holidays to celebrate, because here's a bit of trivia: It's National Trivia Day!

While it's always fun to show off a bit to the competition — and especially that frenemy who doesn't give anyone else nearly enough credit — it turns out that there might be something more to National Trivia Day than just the chance to impress friends, family, and coworkers with your occasionally useful, often useless knowledge.

According to Healthline, trivia is actually good for you. Playing trivia games can give you a serious dopamine rush and help lift your mood — which everyone could use around January. It can also help build self-esteem, it gives people a chance to get together in an old-fashioned, technology-free way, and it's even thought to be useful in exercising the brain and helping improve memory and recall. Maybe every day should be National Trivia Day.

5: National Whipped Cream Day

Wait, there's a National Whipped Cream Day? Seriously, where's the sign-up sheet?

Everyone loves whipped cream, and here's the surprising thing: Humankind has been loving it for a super long time, because according to National Today, the earliest recipes go back all the way to the mid-16th century. It was originally called "snow milk," and there's something to file away for National Trivia Day. Two birds, one stone, and all that.

There are a ton of ways to celebrate this fun and funky national day, and yes, that includes some NSFW ones. No judgments here, though, so let's help you out with another fun suggestion: Give that can of Reddi-Whip a pass and make your own. It's actually super easy — no tree branch, heavy cream, and elbow grease needed anymore. Just whip some heavy cream and sugar together in a bowl — not forgetting to chill said bowl first — and add a dash of vanilla, and voila! Celebrate away!

7: National Pass Gas Day

Everyone has that one friend who thinks passing gas is just the epitome of humor. If you are that friend, then don't worry about the naysayers, because people have been finding gas hilarious since the 17th century. That, says National Today, is when the word "fart" first showed up in the written form, and it was a big, hilarious sort of deal. The Oxford University Press blog says that the verb's root words show up in old Icelandic and Germanic sagas, because if there's anything that's worth preserving for centuries, it's who farted on whom.

It's also worth noting that sneaky ones don't count, and "fart" has always referred to the really loud ones.

That's food for thought on January 7, when it's time to celebrate the human body's production of methane, CO2, hydrogen, and varying degrees of sulfur. Have the cheese and beans on standby, because anyone participating in these celebrations is going to need to fuel up first. 

8: National JoyGerm Day

By the time the second week in January kicks off, the thrill of the holidays are little more than a distant memory... along with New Year's Resolutions. But there's one resolution that can get a little boost with the help of January 8's National JoyGerm Day, and that's the vow to try to make the world at least a little bit better this year.

National Today says that National JoyGerm Day started in 1981, when New Yorker Joan White decided to make her late mother's birthday a day that would encourage people to spread a little cheer — or joy, as it were.

It's a day that's as big or as little as you want. Volunteer at local hospitals, animal shelters, nursing homes, or community centers, or go small-scale... but no less important. Pick some flowers for a neighbor, bake some cookies to drop off at the post office, or just mail a "thinking of you" card to someone you haven't seen in a while. In other words, plant a JoyGerm.

11: Step in a Puddle and Splash your Friends Day

Remember being a kid, when the grown-ups always said, "These are the best days of your life, enjoy them?" And you scoffed and said, "You can't tell me what to do!"

And now, years later, the truth has sunk in. Those really were some pretty good days, and you can go back there on January 11. That's National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day, and it's a great excuse to recapture those good ol' days of childhood.

Not a fan of wet feet in the middle of winter? The Post says that this holiday is meant to be taken either literally or figuratively, so while splashing through puddles can definitely be in the cards, it can also be a day to do anything that restores a little bit of the joy of being a child, even if it's just for a few hours. Lay on the floor with a coloring book and crayons, pick shapes out of the clouds in the sky, build a snowman or make snow angels, and just channel your inner child. You're welcome!

13: Rubber Duckie Day

Rubber duckies are awesome, and anyone who doesn't think so is a sad sort who probably doesn't get invited to many parties. They're so awesome that they have their own day: January 13.

Why January 13? The Buzz Magazines says it's for a very good reason, and it's actually the birthday of Sesame Street's famous Rubber Duckie, once serenaded by Ernie. (There's a thing you know now... and another thing to file away for National Trivia Day — along with the fact that the originals weren't floating bath toys, they were chew toys.)

Those famous yellow rubber duckies — which the CBC says first showed up in their now-familiar form in the 1940s — aren't the only ones out there now, and there are approximately a million and one different types of rubber duckies available these days. Why not pick up one or two to make any desk, dashboard, or windowsill a slightly cheerier place — it'll make the winter just a little better. Promise!

14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Life can be pretty unforgiving sometimes, but what always makes it better is some quality time with furry, feathered, or scaly friends. Some quality time with a beloved pet is enough to save almost any day from being completely miserable, and January 14 is a great time to — safely — take some hilarious pictures that'll make for a lifetime of better days.

It might be National Dress Up Your Pet Day, but Dogtime says it comes with a few guidelines, including the fact that whatever goofy costumes you might decide to put on your pupper, it shouldn't be dangerous, uncomfortable, or traumatic. Doggo isn't used to wearing clothing? How about a spiffy bandana or bow tie? Whatever the costume and whatever photos come out of a National Dress Up Your Pet Day, the most important thing to remember is that everyone thinks they have the cutest and best pet in the world, and literally everyone is absolutely correct.

16: Nothing Day

Adulthood comes with more responsibilities than anyone was ever prepared for, and it's no secret that there's always something to be done. There's always a little bit more work, laundry, dirty dishes, a muddy floor, shopping that has to happen... it's a never-ending cycle, and for anyone who's ever wished there was a day that dawned with a legitimate reason for doing absolutely nothing, National Nothing Day is perfection.

National Today says that it's exactly that — a day to do nothing. Reportedly started in 1972 by a journalist named Harold Pullman Coffin, it's actually pretty brilliant. Coffin, says CNBC, was sick of hearing about all kinds of national days that only added to the pressure of what people "should" be doing, and wanted to start a day that was only about the R&R. So sit back, relax, and know that out of the 365 days in a year, there's at least one where it's perfectly acceptable to do nothing.

20: Penguin Awareness Day

Penguins are amazing. Not only are the little ones just stinkin' cute, but they also seem to have gotten the short end of the stick as far as the animal world is concerned. They're birds without the benefit of flight, and to add insult to injury, they live in some of the most miserable places in the world. If there are any birds that deserve their own day, it's penguins — and Blue Ocean Network says that day is January 20, and it's Penguin Awareness Day.

So, how the heck is that celebrated, aside from being aware that penguins are, in fact, a thing? Aurora Expeditions suggests that for Penguin Awareness Day, join a fun penguin-related activity. Citizen scientists are needed to count the penguins that are photographed from satellites, and anyone who likes to knit might find a new hobby in knitting little penguin sweaters.

Don't knit? Just look at the pictures: It's enough to make anyone want to learn, and if not, it'll be the best hour of internet browsing you'll experience all year.

21: National Hugging Day

It doesn't really matter how tough, cynical, or world-weary a person is, sometimes, a hug just makes everything... well, if not better, then at least tolerable. The idea of reaching out to people through the power of the hug is the idea behind National Hugging Day, and it's pretty awesome stuff. (Although, those behind National Hugging Day point out that if you're unsure as to just how a hug is going to be received, it's important to ask and explain first. Consent is key!)

National Hugging Day isn't just another weird holiday, as Healthline says that a good hug can have some major impacts on how we feel. Researchers — and yes, hug researchers are a thing — say that regular hugs have been proven to help reduce stress, which not only helps people get through tough times, but it's also been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health overall. Hugs can boost happiness levels and have even been found to reinforce the immune system, and it's no wonder that therapist Virginia Satir has been quoted as saying, "We need four hugs a day for survival."

So, start a trend for the new year and hug away!

22: National Answer Your Cat's Questions Day

Cats are wonderful, complicated, and loving animals, but here's the thing: They don't speak the same language as humans do, so sometimes, barriers in communication break down and things get... challenging. It's why cats have a bit of a reputation as being not-so-loveable, and here's where January 22 and National Answer Your Cat's Questions Day comes in.

Catster explains this oddly-named holiday as a day when cat owners can sit down and take a good, long look at any problems that they may be having with their cat. Is Fluffy scratching furniture, relentless about getting on the kitchen table in spite of being told, "No!" or is there a conflict between pets? On this day, take a step back from being human, and imagine your cat asking a question, like: "Why do you not want me to scratch on the sofa?"

If it's easy to imagine your cat just wanting some more places to scratch, give her acceptable scratching posts. Look at things from your cat's point of view, and see if there's anything you can change to make a happier home for everyone.

23: National Pie Day

January 23 is National Pie Day, and no, there's no surprise math equations coming here. This is the good kind of pie: apple, blueberry, cherry... the sky's the limit for pie, and who wouldn't like a day that's just an excuse to eat pie.

National Pie Day has probably the best origin story of any national day, too. According to The Denver Post, a Boulder teacher named Charlie Papazian really liked pie. He liked it so much that he decided there needed to be a whole day devoted to it, and here we are. That's the kind of ambition the world needs to see more of.

In the years since, Pie Day has only gotten bigger and better, and honestly, is that surprising? Bake a pie, buy a pie, better yet, buy several pies and enjoy them for National Pie Day. Should every day be National Pie Day? Probably.

24: National Compliment Day

It's easy to get so wrapped up in the problems of the day that we forget we're all stuck on this big blue space rock together, and just a few simple words can completely change the course of someone's day... for better or for worse. And that's where National Compliment Day comes in.

National Days Today says that January 24 is the chance to start a brilliant habit, which is simply saying something nice to someone. Tell a coworker when you see them go out of their way to do a great job, thank the barista at your favorite coffee shop for always doing that amazing latte art, tell your neighbor how nice their flowers look. It could literally be any little nice thing that you notice, and mentioning it — in a sincere way — could make a huge difference in someone's day, and that just makes everyone feel good. Never underestimate the value of a good compliment: It was Mark Twain, after all, who said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

The last Monday in January: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Some things in this world are just universally satisfying, like the smell of fresh-cut grass or a really nice sheet of bubble wrap. There's just something about squeezing and popping bubble wrap that feels so good it seems like it should be something taboo, but it's not — and in fact, the last Monday in January is all about bubble wrap.

CNN says that's Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, and here's one of the most important pieces of life advice ever given: If anyone is ever in need of an excellent, weird, and offbeat birthday present, a roll of bubble wrap will get some odd glances at first, but it'll be the gift that just keeps on giving. Seriously! Ever get a package and found yourself more excited about the bubble wrap than whatever else was in the box? That's the kind of excitement everyone needs more of.

Sealed Air claims that one minute of bubble-popping fun has the same stress-relieving effects of a half-hour massage, and while it might seem tough to get on board with that... Everyone wants to try it now, right? Bottom line? Get a roll and get popping, because it's good for the soul!