The holiday season is upon us! December is a great time of family gatherings, celebrations, gift buying, and end of year business decisions. Hopefully, most of those important strategic plans are already laid for the coming year. If not, this month is a busy time of nailing down last minute details before the Christmas and New Year’s holidays bring most things to a halt.
Whatever your pursuits this month, spend some time in reflection and thankfulness. If you own your own business, celebrate that fact. Reflect on the year the changes it brought. There may have been struggles, but you are stronger. There may have been victories, and they, too, added to your overall company vitality. As the final days of 2017 wind to a close, give thanks for everything that has made you who you are and gotten you to your present place. Rejoice, and be glad. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
December 1: World AIDS Awareness Day
HIV/AIDS is one of the world’s largest medical crises. It is estimated that approximately 40 million people in the world currently suffer from AIDS. About one million are in the United States. Each year, over 40,000 new cases are reported in the U.S. alone. On this day, promote education about this disease, and protection against it. Encourage others to help people with AIDS and donate to the fight to end this disease.
December 3: Advent
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It is a holy season in the Christian calendar and the beginning of the liturgical calendar. Christians wait and prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas. In the early days of the Christian church, Advent was a time of prayer and confession. Today, Advent is more a time of preparation and expectation of the coming of the Lord. Various symbols are used in celebrations, such as wreaths and candles.
December 7: Pearl Harbor Day
Pearl Harbor Day commemorates the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack began at dawn December 7, 1941. It crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet and propelled the U.S. into active participation in World War II. During the attack at Pearl Harbor, over 2,400 American serviceman and 68 civilians were killed. Five of the eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, and virtually all ships were damaged. On Pearl Harbor Day, U.S. flags are flown at half-staff. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in a speech to Congress it was “…a day that will live in infamy.”
December 12: Chanukah
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, (commonly called Hanukah) celebrates victory from Greek religious persecution. The Jewish victory was led by the Macabees in the year 167 B.C. Upon returning to the temple to rededicate it and relight the Menorah, the Macabees found only one small flask of oil, enough to light the Menorah for just one day. However, the flask of oil lasted eight days. Therefore, the celebration lasts eight days. This is also why it is called the Festival of Lights. Small gifts are given to family and friends each of the eight days of Chanukah.
December 21: Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter and is the shortest day of the year. At the North Pole, the sun never rises on this day. It is not the coldest days of winter, as the northern hemisphere continues to lose more heat than it gains. This will continue until late in winter, as the longer daylight hours at that point begin to have a net warming affect. For thousands of years, Winter Solstice has celebrated the new solar year. It celebrates the return of the sun, as every day now will see more sun. The sun is at its southernmost point, and now begins its long, six month journey north.
December 25: Christmas
Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas has both a strong religious and traditional meaning. It has a certain feel, all to itself, that you usually do not feel at any other time of the year. It creates within most a sense of kindness and concern for fellow man. At no other time are we more generous and giving. It creates a sense of family and belonging. Merry Christmas!
December 26: Boxing Day
Many will celebrate this day on the first weekday after Christmas. If Christmas falls on a Friday or a Saturday, Boxing Day is the following Monday. It is celebrated in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and other former British Commonwealth countries. It is a legal holiday in these countries. Boxing Day was an expression of appreciation and thanks, much like Christmas tips are today.
The roots of the holiday goes back to the Middle Ages. On this day, members of the merchant class would take boxes, fill them with food and fruits, and give them to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate. Today, the giving of boxes includes filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and performing volunteer work. Monetary gifts to charity are also common.
- December 1, 1949 – Pablo Escobar, Columbian drug lord
- December 2, 1981 – Britney Spears, singer
- December 5, 1901 – Walt Disney, American entrepreneur and entertainer
- December 8, 1936 – David Carradine, actor
- December 9, 1916 – Kirk Douglas, actor
- December 12, 1915 – Frank Sinatra, singer and actor
- December 13, 1967 – Jamie Foxx, actor
- December 13, 1989 – Taylor Swift, singer
- December 16, 1770 – Ludwig van Beethoven, composer
- December 17, 1936 – Pope Francis
- December 18, 1878 – Joseph Stalin, former dictator of Russia
- December 18, 1946 – Steven Spielberg, filmmaker
- December 18, 1963 – Brad Pitt, actor
- December 21, 1948 – Samuel L. Jackson, actor
- December 22, 1962 – Ralph Fiennes, actor (Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies)
- December 24, 1905 – Howard Hughes, inventor, philanthropist
- December 25, 1899 – Humphrey Bogart, actor
- December 25, 1949 – Sissy Spacek, actress
- December 28, 1856 – Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States
- December 28, 1954 – Denzel Washington, actor
December 3-9 is National Handwashing Awareness Week
Get ready to be clean with National Handwashing Awareness Week! Promote the proper way to wash hands to eliminate germs and facilitate clean eating and living. For more information, visit https://www.henrythehand.com/news-events/national-handwashing-awareness-week/.
December 4-8 is National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
It is a fact of life that people grow older every day. With increasing age come changes in physical, mental, and sensory abilities that can challenge a person’s continued ability to drive safely. But there are a variety of safe travel options for people of all ages. The real need is a broader awareness of the solutions, rather than a narrow focus on the problem. For more information, visit https://www.aota.org/Conference-Events/Older-Driver-Safety-Awareness-Week.aspx.
December 26 is National Candy Cane Day
The history of the candy cane is long and interesting. Considered a seasonal item, 90% of candy canes are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Candy canes are the number one selling non-chocolate candy in the month of December. The biggest single week for candy cane sales is the second week in December. This is likely attributable to that fact that most people decorate their Christmas trees that week. For more information, visit Candy Canes.
What special days or observances grab your interest in December? Are there holiday events or happenings that will attract customers or impact your business? Share them in the comments and of course, share them with your readers! Until next month (and next year), stay warm, enjoy your gifts, and as always, keep writing!