I've always thought of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the biggest, busiest holiday season of the year. I was wrong. Day for day, February may be the heaviest holiday hitter, with nearly 40 monthly observances and over 40 in-week observances. If that's not enough, the documented daily observances top out at more than 100, all according to one very fun website that coalesces into one location zany monthly holidays (www.brownielocks.com).
While the kids might be sad we missed Bubblegum Day on Feb. 1, Dad was downright chagrined that we missed Man Day on Sunday, Feb. 10. (All the while I thought Super Bowl Sunday was the official end of Man season.) Still, I've marked my calendar for the observance for Spunky Old Broads Day, also celebrated on Feb. 1. I plan to be chewing bubblegum.
Not surprisingly, there are a fair number of holiday observances that piggy-back on the Valentine's Day theme, like Love Makes the World Go Round, But, Laughter Keeps Us from Getting Dizzy Week, being celebrated "round the world" now. Some holidays take a contrarian approach, like Dump Your Significant Jerk Day (Feb. 3) or National Call In Single Day (Feb. 14). So, if chocolate and roses aren't your cup of tea, don't despair, consider celebrating instead National Diesel Engine Day on Feb. 23, or International Sword Swallowers Day. Apparently always observed on the last Saturday of February, assuming of course the pastime does not preclude you from making it to the following year. We can't forget to celebrate all manner of marmots, from groundhogs to hedgehogs, including Groundhog Job Shadow Day (Feb. 2), a perfect play on words.
This week however is an uncanny confluence of holidays that seems to be a holiday vortex. While Ash Wednesday is always certain to follow Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday for those pancake lovers out there), it is rare indeed that we have the trifecta, with Valentine's Day falling in the same week, and President's Day trailing right behind. This week also marks Random Acts of Kindness Week (or RAK Week for those in the know) that coincides, quite coincidentally with the start of the Lenten Season. Whew.
There's just no way to properly celebrate all of these events, although it might be fun to decorate the house for Liberace Day (Feb. 4). Instead, I am intrigued by that common February theme, gifts of the heart.
At the dinner table recently the girls were prompted as part of a Lenten lesson to ask us parents to share when we last went out of our way to help someone else. I confess when I think of being asked to help more often than not it involves writing a check. Pondering their question made me realize how much I've lost by thinking of giving as a matter of dollars and cents. While I give lip service to the fact the most valuable gifts don't come with a hefty price tag, this month - this season - affords me an opportunity to act on the fact. During Lent I generally try to think of something to give up. Maybe instead it's just the giving part that matters.
Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.