Late last year, The Atlantic’s Family section asked readers to share some of the unique traditions they take part in during the year-end holiday season. The rituals you shared were fun and inspiring, and they made us think: Wouldn’t it be fantastic to celebrate them, or events like them, in a broader way? Wouldn’t it be great to have—in addition to, of course, upcoming microholidays such as National Frozen Food Day, Middle Name Pride Day, and If Pets Had Thumbs Day—another festivity to look forward to?
We put out a call for holidays that you want to bring into existence, or simply that you wish were celebrated more widely—and you responded in force. We received hundreds of nominations, running the full range from the meaningful to the whimsical. (By far the most popular suggestion was to make Election Day into a federal holiday; it’s a long-standing idea, and we were flattered by the implication that we have the power to make it happen.) Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in.
And: Now’s the time to vote! Below are 12 finalists, selected from the nominations you sent us; please tell us your favorite, using the head-to-head bracket below. [Voting has now ended; stay tuned for the announcement of the winning holiday!] Based on your selections, we’ll crown a winner, and celebrate the new festival accordingly.
Here are the finalists:
1. This Is Just to Say Day
Like Thanksgiving, but even more personal: This is a day to say thank you to the people you’re most grateful for (and the people you might sometimes forget to share your appreciation with).
Thanks to: Marc Edwards of Arizona and Rex of Washington, D.C.
2. Lend a Hand Day
This is a day dedicated to going out of your way to do something nice—for a stranger, or for the people you see all the time.
Thanks to: Richard Cooper of Nevada; Robin of Florida; Diane King of California; Bev of Vancouver; Jean Ann Linney; Lee Bee; Lucille Tures of Rhode Island; Keith of Washington, D.C.; Ed Weldon of California; Grandpawlee of Arizona; and Bobbie Ponis of Colorado
3. Step Away Day
This is a day to take stock, take a breath, and put down the screen(s). A “tech sabbath,” celebrated collectively.
Thanks to: Laurie Dewitt of California; Keita; Jennifer of Iowa; and Tessa of Toronto
4. Get Back in Touch Day
Is there someone in your life you’ve lost touch with? Do you regret not keeping up with someone who is only a phone call or email or text away? Today’s the day to do something about it.
Thanks to: Deb Reardon of North Carolina and Robyn Meslin of Ottawa
5. Tell Their Stories Day
This is a day to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones lost—especially through the telling of their stories.
Thanks to: Eamonn Fitch Morris of Colorado
6. Bravery Day
This is a day to put aside the fear: about telling that person how you feel, about taking on that big new project, about whatever might be holding you back. It’s a time dedicated to taking a leap, literally or otherwise.
Thanks to: Dan Lynch of Massachusetts
7. Animal Appreciation Day
Animals are the best, whether they’re at home or in the wild. This is a day to celebrate that—through the sharing of pictures, through pet parades around your neighborhood … anything that puts animals in the spotlight they deserve.
Thanks to: Leah Williams of Ohio
8. Deadline Day
The chore that’s been hanging over you for [amount of time redacted]? The thing you’ve been putting off, and then stressing about putting off, and then putting off some more because the whole thing has gotten so stressful? Today’s the day to stop procrastinating and get it done.
Thanks to: Lynn Chi; Katie B of California; Tawd of Washington; Jan; and Rene of Colorado
9. Oops! Day
This is a day to recognize your failures and mistakes—the missteps that have helped make you who you are. (The ceremonial consumption of burnt cake may or may not be involved with the celebrations of this one.)
Thanks to: Joseph Newton of California
10. Cozy Day
This is a holiday, set in the stretch of late winter, dedicated to the simple joys of warmth: cuddling up with a book, making a batch of cocoa, whatever brings you a sense of coziness.Thanks to: Swati Anand of Ontario; Nancy Rodenborg of Minnesota; Ira H Gessner of Florida; Marti Schwartz of Rhode Island; and Katie of Utah
11. Crafter All Day
This is a day to get crafty, in a good way: a holiday to celebrate making things—art, food, gifts—by hand.
Thanks to: Angela of California; David R. Koenig of Minnesota; and Barbara Bogue
12. Just Kidding Day
A day of Halloween-style mayhem, in the spring: adults acting (within reason, please) like children. Tag in the park, feasting on favorite snacks from childhood, revisiting the books you loved growing up—whatever brings you back to your youth.
Thanks to: Jal Parakh of Washington; John A Daly; Diane of Greece; and Kim of California