Special Days in December, 2014

3149778_origDecember is packed with  holidays, observances, food themes, awareness days , historic figures and authors birthdays, science and historic based anniversaries,  and more!  Whether you’re looking for something special to study, celebrate, or add to the menu, this listing of special days gives you plenty to choose from.

December Themes, Observances, and Awareness Days:

  • Art and Architecture
  • Basketball (1st played Dec. 1891)
  • Bingo
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Read a New Book
  • Safe Toys and Gifts
  • Spiritual Literacy
  • Tie
  • Universal Human Rights
  • Write A Business Plan
  • Write a Friend

December’s Food Themes

  • Egg Nog
  • Exotic Fruit
  • Food Safety
  • Fruit Cake
  • Pear
  • Quince
  • Root Vegetables
  • Tomato
  • Winter Squash

December’s Daily Specials
(the * means that the special day does not necessarily fall on the same date every year)

Dec. 1

  • Aardvark Week begins
  • Christmas Tree Week begins
  • Civil Air Patrol Day
  • Cookie Cutter Week begins
  • Cyber Monday *(1st Monday after Thanksgiving)
  • Day With(out) Art Day
  • Deaf Heritage Week begins
  • Eat a Red Apple Day
  • First Passenger Balloon Flight 1783
  • Handwashing Awareness Week begins
  • Rosa Parks Day
  • Pie Day
  • Tolerance Week begins
  •  Draft Reinstated 1969
  • World Aids Day

Dec. 2

  • Abolition of Slavery Day
  • Fritters Day
  • Mutt Day
  • Missionary Mary Slessor born 1848
  • Missionary CT Studd born 1860
  • Special Education Day

Dec. 3

  • Disabled Persons Day
  • First Human Heart Transplant 1967
  • Illinois Statehood 1818
  • Make a Gift Day
  • Roof Over Your Head Day
  • Galileo invented the Telescope 1621

Dec. 4

  • Cookie Day
  • Dice Day
  • Monopoly Game Debut 1935
  • Phonograph invented 1877
  • Santa’s List Day
  • Wear Brown Shoes Day

Dec. 5

  • Bubble Gum Day
  • Walt Disney born 1901
  • Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill 1848
  • International Ninja Day
  • Prohibition Ends (21st Amendment) 1933
  • President Martin Van Buren born 1782
  • Volunteer Day (UN)

Dec. 6

  • Earmuff Day *(1st Sat.)
  • Everglades National Park established 1947
  • Give a Secret Gift Day
  • Microwave patented 1945
  • Miners Day
  • Mitten Tree Day
  • Pawnbrokers Day
  • Put On Your Own Shoes Day
  • St. Nicholas Day
  • 13th Amendment ratified 1865

Dec. 7

  • Civil Aviation Day
  • Cotton Candy Day
  • Delaware Statehood 1787
  • Human Rights Week begins *
  • Letter Writing Day
  • Sculptor/Artist Marie Grosholtz Tussand born 1761
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 1941

Dec. 8

  • Brownie Day
  • First Greeting Card printed 1843
  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day
  • US declared War on Japan 1941
  • USSR Dissolved 1991
  • Inventor Eli Whitney born 1765
  • Winter Flowers Day

Dec. 9

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas Debut 1965
  • Christmas Card Day
  • Human Rights Week begins *(2nd week)
  • Pastry Day
  • Petrified Forest National Park established 1962
  • Roller Skates Patented 1884
  • Weary Willie Day (circus clown)

Dec. 10

  • Dewey Decimal System Day
  • Poet Emily Dickinson born 1830
  • Human Rights Day
  • Mississippi Statehood 1817
  • Nobel Prize Day

Dec. 11

  • Apollo 17 Moon Landing 1972
  • Ding-a-Ling Day
  • Germany declared war on US 1941
  • Indiana Statehood 1816
  • International Mountain Day
  • Northern Lights Recorded for First Time 1719
  • Noodle Ring Day
  • UNICEF founded 1947

Dec. 12

  • Golf Tee Patented 1899
  • Hovercraft Patented 1955
  • Founding Father John Jay born 1745
  • Pennsylvania Statehood 1787
  • Poinsettia Day

Dec. 13

  • Day of the Horse
  • Ice Cream Day
  • Santa Lucia Day (children are to bring parents breakfast in bed)
  • Violin Day

Dec. 14

  • Alabama Statehood 1819
  • Bouillabaisse Day
  • Scientist Tycho Brahe born 1546
  • Children’s Day
  • Deck the Halls Day
  • Gluten-free Baking Week begins *
  • Monkey Day
  • Nostradamus born 1503
  • Raggedy Ann Doll Debut 1914
  • South Pole First Reached 1911
  • World Choral Day *(2nd Sun.)
  • Worldwide Candle Lighting Day *(2nd Sun.)

Dec. 15

  • Bill of Rights Day 1791
  • Bird Count Week begins *
  • Cat Herders Day
  • Architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel born 1832
  • Lemon Cupcake Day
  • Nero born 37AD

Dec. 16

  • Author Jane Austen born 1775
  • Composer Ludwig Von Beethoven born 1770
  • Boston Tea Party 1773
  • Missionary Amy Carmichael born 1867
  • Chocolate-Covered Anything Day
  • Hanukkah (Chanukah) *
  • Vending Machine patented 1884
  • Zionism Day

Dec. 17

  • Aztec Calendar Stone excavated 1790
  • A Christmas Carol first published 1843
  • Missionary Isobel Kuhn born 1901
  • Maple Syrup Day
  • Patriot Deborah Sampson born 1760
  • Saturnalia begins
  • Wright Brother’s 1st successful flight 1903

Dec. 18

  • Bake Cookies Day
  • Coral Reef National Park Established
  • Migrants Day
  • New Jersey Statehood 1787
  • The Nutcracker  Premier 1892

Dec. 19

  • Build a Snowman Day
  • Look For An Evergreen Day
  • Oatmeal Muffin Day
  • Explorer Sir William Parry born 1790
  • Poor Richards Almanac first published 1732
  • Suspenders patented 1871 (Mark Twain)
  • Underdog Day *(3rd Fri.)

Dec. 20

  • Games Day
  • Go Caroling Day
  • Louisiana Purchase Day 1803
  • Re-Gifting Day *(Thurs. before Christmas)
  • South Carolina seceded from the Union  1860 (1st state to secede)

Dec. 21

  • Apollo 8 Blast Off 1968
  • Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered 1937
  • First Day of Winter *
  • Flashlight Day
  • Forefathers Day
  • Humbug Day
  • Look on the Bright Side Day
  • Pilgrims Arrival at Plymouth 1620
  • Winter Solstice *
  • Yule
  • Litha

Dec. 22

  • Date Nut Bread Day
  • Dinofish discovered 1938
  • First Electric Christmas Lights 1882
  • Haiku Poetry Day
  • Lincoln Tunnel completed 1937
  • Thank a Soldier Week *(week before or including Christmas)
  • Thermometer Invented 1714

Dec. 23

  • Federal Reserve System established 1913
  • Festivus
  • Pfeffernusse Day
  • Roots Day (genealogy not turnips)
  • Metric Conversion Act passed 1975
  • Mormon prophet Joseph Smith born 1805
  • A Visit From St. Nicholas  First Released 1823

Dec. 24

  • Christmas Eve
  • Egg Nog Day
  • Great Fire of San Francisco 1849
  • Phonograph Patented 1877
  • Founding Father Benjamin Rush born 1704

Dec. 25

  • Red Cross founder Clara Barton born 1821
  • Christmas
  • Scientist Isaac Newton born 1643
  • Pumpkin Pie Day
  • Washington crossed the Delaware River 1776

Dec. 26

  • Boxing Day (Canada & UK)
  • Candy Cane Day
  • Coffee Percolator invented 1865
  • Kwanzaa begins
  • Thank You Note Day

Dec. 27

  • Fruit Cake Day
  • Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
  • Scientist Johannes Kepler born 1571
  • Scientist Louis Pasteur born 1822
  • Radio City Music Hall opened 1932

Dec. 28

  • Card Playing Day
  • Chewing Gum Patented 1869
  • Chocolate Day
  • Iowa Statehood 1846
  • Pledge of Allegiance recognized by Congress 1945
  • President Woodrow Wilson born 1856

Dec. 29

  • President Andrew Johnson born 1808
  • Pepper Pot Day
  • Battle of Wounded Knee 1890
  • Texas Statehood 1845
  • Tick Tock Day

Dec. 30

  • Bacon Day
  • Bicarbonate of Soda Day
  • Author Ruyard Kipling born 1865
  • Author Mercer Mayer born 1943
  • Take a Walk Day

Dec. 31

  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
  • Make Up Your Mind Day
  • Artist Henri Matisse born 1869
  • New Years Eve
  • No Interruptions Day
  • Universal Hour of Peace Day
  • Watch Night

I make my monthly special days calendars by using several sources including old calendars,  holiday books, newspapers, and the web. If you know of a special day that I do not have listed, please comment and let me know what it is so I can add it in.   Below are the links to my favorite online calendars.






Have a wonderful December!

betty jo

Thanksgiving – Been There, Done That


As we move along on our “special days” studies through November, I see Thanksgiving looming coming up in the not so distant future.  I thought seriously about not teaching Thanksgiving lessons this year.   How could I not want to teach Thanksgiving?  We’ve always had wonderful Thanksgiving lessons in November.  Yes, that’s it.  For 17 years – 17 Novembers, I’ve been teaching a week or two or three of Thanksgiving.  The who, what, when, why, and how of those Mayflower pilgrims and the natives that they encountered, Lincoln’s proclamation to make a Thanksgiving holiday,  Bible studies that focus on giving thanks and gratitude, nutritional studies of squash, pumpkins, turkeys, sweet potatoes, and corn, Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, tons of cooking projects, and craft activities to go along with it all – we’ve been there and done that over and over again.

In addition to my grumpy mood about Thanksgiving lessons,  our primary history focus of the year is Modern World History so the Pilgrim/Indian theme just doesn’t seem to fit or apply.   I look over the recent additions to our timeline and see WW1, the stock market crash of 1929, WW2 – hard and fearful times, but still were thankful times, too.  Hmmm …

Below are some of the online resources we’ll be using as we begin a new Thanksgiving  study with a modern history twist, and the cure for my Thanksgiving lesson planning grumpiness.  I’m actually getting excited about these lessons now!

During WW1, food was rationed and that had quite an impact on that Thanksgiving dinner.  This article does a terrific job explaining American Thanksgiving during WW1.   I love the photos of the newspaper ads from 1917 and 1918.   http://blog.genealogybank.com/rationing-thanksgiving-dinner-during-world-war-i.html

And what of the troops on Thanksgiving 1918?  Read about the football, feasts, and entertainment the Red Cross planned in this old Stars and Stripes magazine article  http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Thanksgiving_in_WW1_France#.VGRLisnbGi0

Macy’s Department Store held their first parade in 1924.  Read about the history of this famous parade here  http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade1.htm

Watch a short video of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history with some actual film footage from the first parade  http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving/videos/history-of-the-thanksgiving-day-parade

View this Macy’s Thanksgiving Day photo gallery from Time  http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2100160_2324105,00.html

Recording of Benny Goodman’s radio show Thanksgiving 1937   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed5fwtlb-xA

And with that fantastic swing music, some swing dance instructions may be in order  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTF9eXiYxXc

A wonderful account of the Thanksgiving that came early  http://www.farmcollector.com/farm-life/thanksgiving-during-the-great-depression.aspx#axzz3IpQaEi9v

And more about that early Thanksgiving which became known as “Franksgiving” from this historic letter collection  http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/11/unhappy-franksgiving.html

470px-Freedom_From_WantThat famous Norman Rockwell American family portrait of Thanksgiving dinner is still a popular work of art today.  But back in 1943 it was a political statement.  Find out more about that here  http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/what-norman-rockwells-thanksgiving-pictures-really-about

Details of WW2 Thanksgiving in a pdf from  America in WWII Magazine http://www.americainwwii.com/files/2012/11/thankful-anyway-dec-2009.pdf

A delightful article about Thanksgiving at home and at war  http://www.sarahsundin.com/thanksgiving-in-world-war-ii/

Thanksgiving writings from WW2 veterans along with some pictures from  Time Magazine 1940’s Thanksgiving photo album  http://www.skylighters.org/thanksgiving/

And back in those days, math was practical and so are these Thanksgiving themed math lessons  http://www.yummymath.com/?s=thanksgiving

The common thread of Thanksgiving celebration during these times seems to be making the most with whatever resources were available and finding blessings in any circumstance.  With this in mind, our Thanksgiving Bible studies will focus on contentment.

  • Philippians 4:11-12   I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
  • 1 Timothy 6:8   But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
  • Hebrews 13:5   Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Just for fun and a little about the mindset of the times here’s a  Classic Thanksgiving cartoon  playlist.  One of these is from 1933 and one from 1945.  The rest are a little more recent, 1950’s-70’s.  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRgLrYQQYdPr9xb8HiRXaJZAWiKmp4wQ6

What about science?  How about human anatomy and the digestive system?  Seems to fit the theme of “Thanksgiving dinner”, right?

Digestive System Facts – http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/humanbody/digestivesystem.html

Human Body Interactive Map of the digestion system – http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/digestive-system/male

Label the Digestion System  printable with a vocabulary and definition list  http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/digestive/label/

This National Geographic video is NOT for the squeamish!  It is actual footage of the digestive process filmed by a scope procedure.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QYwscALNng

A little more pleasant to watch,  an animation of how the digestive system works  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwrsL-lCZYo

There is even a digestion song!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sDMVgw9d-c

Online Digestive System Quiz  http://www.lrn.org/Content/Quizzes/Qdigestive.html

I thought we’d skip over any crafting with this Thanksgiving study since we’ll be crafting like crazy over the Christmas season, however I saw this awesome digestion system craft project/game photo passed around the homeschooling groups on Face Book…



Hopefully our appetites will still exist after this science study!  We have a lot of cooking to do.  We’ve invited guests for Thanksgiving dinner.

I wish you happy learning this Thanksgiving!

betty jo

Learning Resources for November’s Special Days

novemberThere are wonderful opportunities for learning something special everyday from the November calendar.  This link will take you to the list of themes and special days throughout November http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/10/25/special-days-in-november-2014/

Learning Resources Links for November Themes

Aviation is one of the themes repeated throughout the year.  The study resources we used during August’s “Aviation Week” were great and will work just as well in November.  http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/08/17/aviation-week-learning-resources/

World Communication  – communication course  http://www.e-learningforlife.org/Courses/EK-8057/8057start.html

Diabetes Awareness  – A fun and silly thing to do, but important too  http://blog.thediabetessite.com/sock-it-to-diabetes/?utm_source=social+&utm_medium=dbsaware&utm_campaign=sock-it-to-diabete&utm_term=20141101

Music – (Shouldn’t music be a theme every month)  “SQUILT” is a super way to learn music and composers  http://www.homegrownlearners.com/squilt/   We also go to this site often for theory and free sheet music printables  http://makingmusicfun.net/

NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) – http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

Nov. Holiday Themed Art Projects – http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/craftsbyholidays.html

Nov. Themed Math –  http://www.yummymath.com/2012/timely-links/  and  http://www.yummymath.com/?s=thanksgiving

Nov. Prayer Calendar – http://cherilynngamble.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/november-prayer-calendar-for-children/

Nov. Science Calendar – http://thehomeschoolscientist.com/november-science-calendar-2/#.VFZQtsnbGi0

Nov. Writing Prompts – http://www.theteacherscorner.net/daily-writing-prompts/november/

Turkeys are not an official theme for November,  but are still an appropriate study for the month  http://www.franw.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-turkey-games-and-activities.html

Last November we had a fabulous study all month long learning about the people, times, events, and foods leading up to the first  “Pilgrim/Indian” Thanksgiving.  http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/11/08/thanksgiving-unit-study-ideas-and-resources/

This November we’ll be taking a peak into what American Thanksgiving was like during WW1, The Great Depression, and WW2 years.  http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/11/15/thanksgiving-been-there-done-that/

 Learning resources for November’s special days

Presidents Birthdays:

  • Nov. 2 – Warren Harding 1865
  • Nov. 2 – James Polk 1795
  • Nov. 23 – Franklin Pierce 1804
  • Nov. 24 – Zachary Taylor 1784


Statehood Anniversaries

  • Nov. 2 – North and South Dakota1889
  • Nov. 8 – Montana 1889
  • Nov. 16 – Oklahoma 1907
  • Nov. 21 – North Carolina 1789

State facts video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyYy7dmAnM8  and state unit study and lapbook printables  http://www.homeschoolshare.com/connections__usa.php

Nov. 2 – Alternate birth date for Daniel Boone 1734  http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/10/22/daniel-boone/

Nov. 4 – Common Sense Day – Read the Thomas Payne Publications  http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Thomas_Paine/Common_Sense/  and watch this episode of Liberty’s Kids  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awlBeITstkE

Nov. 5 – Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/guy-fawkes

Nov. 7 –  Evangelist Billy Graham born 1918  Facts and timeline  http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/11/us/billy-graham—fast-facts/

Nov. 7 – Tongue Twister Day  How fast can you say these?   http://www.funenglishgames.com/funstuff/tonguetwisters.html

Nov. 11 – Origami Day  http://www.franw.com/2013/12/holiday-and-winter-origami.html

Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day (US)  http://www.franw.com/2013/11/veteransremembrance-day.html

Nov. 12 – Suffragist/Reformer Elizabeth Stanton born 1815 – http://www.franw.com/2013/11/womens-suffrage-research-resource.html

Nov. 16 – Geography Awareness Week begins – this is our “go to” site for all things geography and country information  http://www.mapsofworld.com/  and interactive games  http://sheppardsoftware.com/Geography.htm

Nov. 16 – Fast Food Day  lesson plans and nutrition study  http://www.fastfoodnutrition.org/lesson-plans.php

Nov. 17 – Explorers Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean 1805  Try this interactive game and find out if your family can succeed  on the trail with Lewis and Clark  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west/  and a Lewis biography with printables  http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdlewis.htm

Nov. 18 – Mickey Mouse Debut 1928  Watch the first Mickey Mouse cartoon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6c_WgxTsMo

Nov. 19 – Explorer George Rogers Clark born 1752 (see Nov. 17 above)

Nov. 21 – First Hot Air Balloon Flight 1763 – Learn about hot air balloon history, engineering, activities and videos   http://www.franw.com/2014/06/hot-air-balloons.html

Nov. 25 – Author/Illustrator Marc Brown born 1946 cross curricular lesson plans and activities http://marcbrownstudios.com/school/educators-faq/

Nov. 25 – Woody Woodpecker debut 1940  Watch the old cartoons http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vCbkwSS-qE

Nov. 26 – Cartoonist Charles Schulz born 1922 – Peanuts resources http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/10/02/peanuts/

Nov. 29 – Author CS Lewis born 1898 – Huge list of resources http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2014/04/chronicles-of-narnia-free-printables-and-unit-studies/

Nov. 30 – Advent begins  http://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/12/06/countdown-to-christmas/

Nov. 30 – St. Andrews Day  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/st-andrews-day

Nov. 30 – Author Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) born 1835 Biography and printables  http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdtwain.htm ,  tour Hannibal, MO  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaZsjG1bork , and  literature study resources  (you’ll need to scroll down towards the bottom) http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/index_author_t.html

Happy November Learning

betty jo