When someone asks you whether you’re celebrating National Cherry Tart Day, it might be difficult to know how to react. Did you know National Cherry Tart Day — typically celebrated June 17 — was sneaking up on you? You might immediately judge the person asking for knowing about this specific day — one of more than 1,000 unofficial national holidays. Or you might just roll with it and figure out a way to find a cherry tart.
Still, questions fill your mind. Who the hell came up with this? Why is it on this specific date? And when will the madness end?
For most unofficial national holidays, there aren’t easy answers. While we have our official national holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Independence Day, several fake holidays fill each and every day on the calendar. Most of them you’ve never heard of. And the reason many of them exist is to get you to spend money.
One place where you can learn more about all of these made-up holidays is the National Day Calendar. You can select any day and see what you should be celebrating. While National Doughnut Day or National Hoagie Day might make you stoked, other holidays, such as Pick A Pathologist Day, are less exciting.
But what about those days specifically designed to get you to spend more money? Here are 15 of those fake national holidays.
1. National Splurge Day
National Splurge Day might not be familiar to most Americans. And it’s designed for one purpose: to get you to splurge, even if you don’t want to. NPR’s Planet Money team recently did a radio story about the holiday’s origins and purpose and found it was pretty much invented by some random PR lady. Seriously. And this is more or less how many other unofficial holidays come to fruition.
2. Small Business Saturday
Just because industry specialists made up a national holiday doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Take Small Business Saturday, for example. The idea is to get people to spend money at small, local businesses. It’s a holiday that was born of the PR team at American Express.
But there’s nothing wrong with the holiday’s goal of infusing some cash into local economies. But still, at its core, the goal is to get you to spend more money. It started in 2010 and is celebrated on the Saturday following Thanksgiving — a time frame we’ll revisit later in the list.
3. Record Store Day
Another example of an industry day that isn’t necessarily bad or stupid, Record Store Day is meant to get you off of iTunes and Spotify and into dusty bins of vinyl or CDs. This April holiday began in 2007. Now that streaming is the norm, record and music stores are struggling like never before. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to try and dig up some physical copies of your favorite albums.
4. National Eat Your Beans Day
We go from music of one kind to music of another, gaseous type. Buying vinyl is fun, but eating a bowl of beans isn’t always a blast. But they’re cheap, nutritious, and need to be purchased. That’s how we ended up with National Eat Your Beans Day, celebrated at the beginning of July. It’s unclear who came up with this holiday, but you can bet your beans it has its roots in the agricultural sector.
5. National 7-Eleven Day
It doesn’t get much more corporate than this. National 7-Eleven Day is a day meant to celebrate everything about your neighborhood 7-Eleven. That usually means free Slurpees and other promotions. In case you didn’t pick up on it, this day is celebrated on July 11 — you know, 7/11. The company’s holiday can be traced back to 1989.
6. National Garage Sale Day
National Garage Sale Day is rooted in entrepreneurship but not necessarily by corporate or organized businesses. As you might have guessed, this holiday is reserved for the holding and celebrating of garage sales nationwide. If you have a bunch of junk (or treasures, whichever) that are taking up space, National Garage Sale Day is the day to haul them out to the curb and see whether you can get rid of them.
7. National Thrift Shop Day
A thrift shop is a lot like a garage sale, with the exception that it’s been packaged into a formal business. So if you don’t feel like cruising your neighborhood looking for deals, you might want to head to your local thrift shop. And there’s no better time to do so than on National Thrift Shop Day. Cruise into Goodwill or any other thrift shop for deals on deals on deals.
8. Department Store Day
If thrift shops or garage sales simply aren’t going to cut it for you and your shopping needs, you can hold out for Department Store Day. Department stores, as most of us know, are in trouble. They’re closing left and right. So Department Store Day is meant to get customers in the door and spending money in order to breathe some much-needed life into these stores.
9. National Boss Day
You have to buy your significant other something for Valentine’s Day. And Christmas. And their birthday. But don’t forget to buy something for your boss for National Boss Day, too. In an interesting switch (your boss usually transfers wealth to you, not the other way around), National Boss Day on Oct. 16 is meant to celebrate the jerk in charge.
10. National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day
This one seems a little transparent, doesn’t it? Could the PR teams at companies that rhyme with “Bepsi” or “Boca-Bola” perhaps have invented it? No matter the origin, National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day is held to celebrate caffeinated beverages — with bubbles. Celebrate the next one on Nov. 19 with a red or blue can — whichever you prefer.
11. National Thank-You Note Day
Now we have a national holiday dedicated to thank-you notes. Why? Presumably it’s to get you out to Hallmark or CVS to purchase thank-you cards and send them to everyone you forgot to thank. It’s not really a terrible idea — getting in touch with someone and letting them know you appreciate them. But does that concept deserve its own holiday? That’s for you to decide.
We all know what 420 is. But few of us know what it really means. In short, it’s basically a stoner holiday held April 20. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, then you might out to your local dispensary in preparation. The story of how this unofficial holiday became a celebration of cannabis culture is a lot less interesting than you’d think.
13. Sweetest Day
A regional holiday, Sweetest Day is celebrated in certain parts of the United States — mostly the Midwest and Northeast. It’s observed on the third Saturday in October and isn’t necessarily all about sweets. Instead, it’s about being sweet. It’s sort of like Valentine’s Day if anything. And also like Valentine’s Day, it’s more or less a ruse to get you to spend money on candy and knickknacks.
14. Cyber Monday
And finally, there are the two best known shopping holidays. First up, we’ll tackle Cyber Monday — a new holiday spawned out of Black Friday, much like Small Business Saturday. It’s basically an unofficial holiday for selling things online. If you’re into it, you can get some good deals from all kinds of retailers without leaving the house. It was created by marketing teams to get you to spend even more in the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.
15. Black Friday
The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday as it’s come to be known, is the day for deals. If you’re feeling up to it, you can go camp out in front of a store and then rush in and fight other patrons for great deals on just about anything. It’s become a holiday tradition. Though it’s not really a holiday, it’s definitely marked on the calendar of millions of Americans.