Category: December Weeks

  • TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – December 25 to January 5


    While many people automatically think of the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrates the days after Christ’s birth on December 25th. The twelfth day lands on January 5th and this is the date the magi, or the three kings, were believed to arrive in Bethlehem.

    The Twelve Days of Christmas have been celebrated in Europe since before the Middle Ages. Each day celebrates a feast day for a saint.

    The Twelve Days are as follows:

    • 1st Day: the birth of Christ
    • 2nd Day: St. Stephen – the first Christian martyr
    • 3rd Day: St. John the Apostle – one of Jesus’s disciples
    • 4th Day: The Feast of the Holy of Innocents – the baby boys King Herod killed when trying to find and kill baby Jesus
    • 5th Day: St. Thomas Becket – Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century murdered for challenging the King’s authority over the Church
    • 6th Day: St. Egwin of Worcester – A Benedictine monk
    • 7th Day: Pope Sylvester I – one of the earliest Popes
    • 8th Day: Mary, the Mother of Jesus
    • 9th Day: St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen – two 4th century Christians
    • 10th Day: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus – celebrates the naming of Jesus of in the Jewish Temple
    • 11th Day: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint
    • 12th Day: St. John Neumann who was the first Bishop in America

    Traditionally, celebrations took place each day. However, the biggest celebration was held on the Twelfth night. This night is also known as Epiphany Eve. The last night is also when most people take down their Christmas decorations.


    The Twelve Days of Christmas is a predominantly Catholic celebration. However, Christians of every denomination can celebrate these 12 important days. Most Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. To participate in the remaining 11 days:

    • Instead of opening every gift on Christmas day, open one on each of the 12 days instead
    • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or give to someone in need
    • Celebrate the season with someone who doesn’t have family nearby
    • Read the entire Gospel of Luke, which gives a Biblical account of the birth of Christ
    • Since you’re already humming the famous Christmas carol, go ahead and start singing the Twelve Days of Christmas
    • Share this festive time on social media with #TwelveDaysOfChristmas


    The Twelve Days of Christmas were first proclaimed by the Catholic Church during the Council of Tours in 567. It was to be a sacred and festive season. During the Middle Ages in England, the Twelve Days of Christmas were a time of continuous feasting and merrymaking. The early colonists to North America celebrated their own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Today, many denominations choose to only celebrate the first and last of the twelve days. Other days in between that are commonly celebrated include Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.


  • COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION WEEK – Begins Second Monday in December


    Called the largest learning event in history, Computer Science Education Week aims to get K-12 students excited about computer coding. During the second week in December, students are encouraged to take part in an “Hour of Code.”

    Another name for computer coding is programming. Coding involves telling the computer what to do by writing out instructions. Although computer users don’t see it, coding is everywhere. Any type of computer device, such as desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones uses coding. Coding is used to create websites and apps. Computer coding even tells robots what to do.

    Along with coding, this week also promotes the importance of computer science. This is an important subject because it teaches problem-solving and analytical skills. Computer science also benefits society in many ways.

    • It helps charities streamline their donations and help meet the financial needs of nonprofit organizations.
    • Computer science connects people throughout the world through social media, video calling, and chatting apps.
    • It also enables weather forecasters to make better predictions so that people are alerted more quickly, thus saving more lives.
    • The technology creates access to education, where there were once barriers due to location, ability, or finances.

    Another great thing about computer science is that the jobs in this field are expected to grow by 13 percent by 2026. This is much faster than average for all occupations. For this reason alone, students should be taking computer science classes all the way through college.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #ComputerScienceEducationWeek

    More than 200,000 “Hour of Code” events are held during this week in over 180 countries. During this week, schools are encouraged to let their students engage in the “Hour of Code” event.

    If you’re not a student, you can still learn to code. You can even teach yourself. The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out what computer programming language you want to use. Some of these include HTML, CSS, and Javascript. You can learn to code by book, taking an online course, or use an interactive tutorial.

    Don’t forget to share this educational week on social media with #ComputerScienceEducationWeek or #CSEdWeek


    Computing in the Core coalition organized the first Computer Science Education Week in 2009. Many partners, including Google, Inc., Intel, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), helped to fund the special week. The week of December 9th was chosen in honor of Grace Hopper’s birthday. Hopper was born on December 9th, 1906, and is known as a pioneer of computer programming.

    In 2013, Hadi Partovi, founder, and CEO of organized a new idea and theme called “Hour of Code.” Over 15 million students across 167 countries participated in the “Hour of Code” event. In 2015, the “Hour of Code” reached 100 million hours, making Computer Science Education Week the largest education campaign in history. Because of its popularity and widespread participation, the “Hour of Code” continues to be an ongoing theme.


  • OLDER DRIVER SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK – First Full Week in December


    Older Driver Safety Awareness Week highlights the vital role that mobility and transportation play to keep older adults active in their communities. The observance recommends that during the first week in December, loved ones of older drivers express concern for their safety.

    Remaining active for as long as possible is essential to the independence of older adults. Driving a vehicle helps them to do this. As adults age, however, they experience vision and hearing loss. They may also experience a decline in cognition. These health issues make it unsafe to drive. Older drivers are twice as likely to have a medical problem that makes it difficult to travel.

    According to recent statistics from the CDC, there are 44 million licensed drivers over the age of 65. In one year, nearly 7,700 drivers 65 and older died in motor vehicle accidents. More than 257,000 older drivers sustained injuries that required a trip to the ER. Drivers over the age of 75 have an even higher risk of dying or getting injured in a car accident.

    Despite these statistics, seniors don’t have to be afraid to drive. They must exercise caution and good judgment. To stay safe while driving, older drivers should always wear their seat belts.

    They should also follow these tips:
    • Obey all traffic rules
    • Never drive in inclement weather
    • Avoid driving at night if possible
    • Never drink and drive
    • Plan the route in advance
    • Get vision checked at least once a year

    Seniors should also discuss with their doctor how their medical issue might affect their driving. They should also be aware of how the side effects of prescription medications affect their driving. Some medications cause drowsiness or confusion. Older drivers should never feel embarrassed to discuss these matters with their doctor and their loved ones.

    A doctor or loved one may determine that it’s no longer safe for them to drive. In this situation, a senior will need to look for alternatives, such as taking public transit or getting a ride from friends and family. Some signs it might be time to quit driving include having too many near-crashes, getting lost while driving, slower reflexes, and difficulty seeing road signs. Knowing when to stop driving keeps everyone safe.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #OlderDriverSafetyAwarenessWeek

    This is the perfect week to talk to your aging loved one about driver safety. Take a ride with them in the vehicle to ensure they are driving safely. If you notice them struggling as they drive, talk to them to see what they can do differently. Maybe all they need is to have their eyeglass prescription updated. Or they might need to make some adaptations to their vehicle. If necessary, you can advise them to take a driver improvement course specifically designed for older drivers.

    Be sure to share this week on social media with #OlderDriverSafetyAwarenessWeek


    The American Occupational Therapy Association initiated Older Driver Safety Awareness Week in 2009. The month of December was chosen as a way for families to discuss driver safety with their older loved ones during holiday get-togethers.




    National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccinations through the holiday season and beyond. It’s not just the holiday season; it’s flu season. Flu activity usually increases in October but peaks between December and February. Flu activity sometimes occurs as late as May.  If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, the first week in December is a great time to do it.

    During a recent flu season, there were 49 million flu illnesses. This is more than the combined populations of Texas and Florida. Of those who got the flu, 960,000 people were hospitalized as a result. Another 79,000 people died from the flu or flu-related complications.

    The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccination. Getting vaccinated is especially important for those who are at a high risk of experiencing flu-related complications. These groups of people include:

    • Adults over the age of 65
    • Pregnant women
    • Young children
    • Children with neurologic conditions
    • Those with asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
    • Those with heart disease

    If these people get the flu, they are at a high risk of getting other illnesses. These include pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections. The flu makes chronic health problems, such as asthma and heart disease, even worse.

    The flu vaccination comes in either a shot or a nasal spray. The flu vaccination also comes in different forms. For example, there is one that is made just for adults over the age of 65. Anyone who gets the flu vaccination is at a lower risk of getting influenza. They are also less likely to miss school or work. Since flu viruses are constantly changing, it’s important to get a flu vaccination every year.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalInfluenzaVaccinationWeek

    If you haven’t already, the best way to observe this day is to get your flu vaccination. If you are a parent, make sure your children have had their vaccinations. If you take care of your elderly parents or other loved ones, take them to the clinic or pharmacy to get their flu shot.

    • Know the symptoms of the flu, which include fever, aching muscles, chills, sweats, fatigue, and headache.
    • Learn how to prevent germs from spreading, such as proper handwashing techniques.
    • Learn more about misconceptions of the flu shot, such as the flu shot gives people the flu, those with egg allergies can’t get the flu shot, and the vaccine causes severe side effects.
    • Watch Influenza 1918, a documentary about the worst epidemic in American history, when the flu killed over 600,000 Americans in 1918.

    Don’t spread the flu! Instead, spread awareness by using #NationalInfluenzaVaccinationWeek.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week in 2005.




    National Pet Suffocation Awareness Week reminds us of the risks food packaging poses to our pets. Each year during the week after Thanksgiving, take time to learn the preventative measures to keep your pets safe.

    Most pet owners are unaware of the dangers of food packaging poses for their pets. That’s why this day is so important. Any type of plastic wrapping or bags poses a danger. Our pets are drawn to the smell and flavor of our food as well as the lure of their snacks and kibble. We all do it. During a commercial, we leave a bag of popcorn on the coffee table. We set the groceries on the counter. The garbage can is also an easy target while we take a shower.

    Our pets by nature wait for their opportunity to pounce. And it’s dangerous! Regardless of the size or breed of animal, they can suffocate in 3-5 minutes. The average commercial break is 4 minutes. Our average shower is 8 minutes long. Even the closed snack and cereal packaging left on countertops lure our pets while we are not at home.

    Pet owners can protect their furry companions.

    • Store packaged food in high cabinets or in pantries
    • Use a locking garbage can or store under the sink
    • Gates provide separation from food areas and pet areas during family gatherings
    • Store snacks and cereals in plastic containers
    • Eat snacks from bowls instead of from the bags
    • Cut bags along both sides to prevent an animal from being trapped in the bag
    • Become diligent about returning packaged foods to their storage areas
    • Learn pet CPR
    • While exercising our pets, watch for litter. This includes bags that may have blown into our yards as well.

    The week is also an opportunity to share the stories of our pets – those we’ve lost due to suffocation and those who’ve been saved thanks to increased awareness. Our pets bring joy to our lives. They improve our health and are a part of our family.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #PetSuffocationAwarenessWeek

    Take time this week to make your home pet safe. Share information with your pet-loving friends and family. Let your veterinarians know of these risks so they can share with their clients, too.

    To learn more, visit and use #PetSuffocationAwarenessWeek to share on social media.


    In 2015, Prevent Pet Suffocation and Preventive Vet founded National Pet Suffocation Awareness Week to bring awareness about this preventable issue for pets.


  • KWANZAA – December 26 – January 1


    Kwanzaa is a celebration that honors African heritage in African-American culture. Every year from December 26 – January 1, Kwanzaa brings people together for feasts, gift-giving, and the celebration of family, community and culture.

    The name Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. On each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa, families gather and light one of the seven candles on the Kinara, which is a candle holder. Once this is done, one of the seven principles of Nguzo Saba are discussed among the family. These principles are values of African culture.

    Believe it or not, Kwanzaa is actually a fairly “new” holiday. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga who was a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University at the time (1966). Dr. Karenga was looking for a way to bring the African-American community together, so he founded “US,” a cultural organization, and began digging into African harvest celebrations. He then put several of those together, and Kwanzaa was born.


    Learn more about Kwanzaa, and partake in the celebrations if you wish! Everyone is encouraged to celebrate. Use #Kwanzaa to post on social media. The holiday is based around these seven principles.

    1. Unity
    2. Self-determination
    3. Collective work and responsibility
    4. Cooperative Economics
    5. Purpose
    6. Creativity
    7. Faith

    This month, do your own research on the history and meaning of Kwanzaa to learn more and appreciate the reason it came about in the first place. Whether you are African-American or not, you are encouraged to take part!


    Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966.


  • SATURNALIA – December 17 – 23


    Saturnalia in mid-December honors the agricultural god, Saturn. As one of the most popular of Roman festivals, its influence spread across the Western world for hundreds of years.

    It derives its traditions from old farming rituals of mid-winter and the winter solstice. These rituals included offering sacrifices or gifts to the gods during the winter sowing season.

    The history of Saturnalia is incredibly interesting. During this holiday, work and business all stopped, schools were closed, and all norms were essentially thrown out the window. The ancient Romans decorated their homes with wreaths and replaced their traditional clothes with bright, colorful togas. Perhaps the most interesting part was that even slaves were not completely relieved of any of their duties during Saturnalia. They joined everyone in participating in the festivities, in fact, they often sat at the head of the table while their masters served them. The holiday was spent singing, eating, socializing, gambling, and gift giving. It’s written in ancient Roman poetry as “the best of times.”

    HOW TO OBSERVE #Saturnalia

    If you want to know the best way to observe this one… it’s simple. Celebrate Saturnalia! Get friends and family together for a feast, games, and joyous celebration, and of course, use #Saturnalia to post on social media and show others how you choose to mark this week. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you celebrate Saturnalia.

    1. Wear green and gold, as these are the official colors of the holiday.
    2. Decorate, and don’t go light on the ornamentation! Cover doorways, walls, and even staircases with twinkly lights or streamers.
    3. Make cookies in the shape of moons and stars.
    4. Drink the festive drink of Saturnalia – a mixture of honey and wine.
    5. Invite all friends and family to join.
    6. Hand out small goodies as your guests come and go.
    7. Have a great time!


    The exact year is unknown, but Saturnalia is said to have been celebrated since around 217 BC.


  • LAS POSADAS – December 16-24


    Las Posadas, (in English, “The Inns”) is a 9 day Mexican Christmas tradition based on the story of Mary, Joseph, and their search for a safe place to stay before Jesus was born. This has been a tradition in many Latin countries for more than 400 years, and since many Mexican holidays include dramatizations of events or stories, this particular holiday is a new-aged re-enactment of the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph. Each of the 9 days of Las Posadas represents one month that baby Jesus was carried in Mary’s womb.

    Hispanics who observe the holiday come together for all nine days and nights to decorate their homes and cook traditional food for each other. Every year, entire communities come together for this event and are filled with song and prayer to honor it… But the festivities don’t stop there. In fact, that’s just the beginning. The main attraction of this holiday tradition is the group of people who act out and relive the nativity scene to remind their people of the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the stable where the Bible says they stayed on Christmas Eve. The celebration begins with a procession at night, where participants carry candles, sing, and act out the nativity… And the kids even get piñatas!

    The Catholic Christmas tradition came to these countries in the 16th century as Spanish Augustinian friars evangelized the new world. The tradition remains just as strong today.


    Learn the history and beauty of Las Posadas and use #LasPosadas to post on social media. This 9-day commemoration wouldn’t quite be complete without the traditional food that comes along with it. So, even if you’re not in a Latin community that celebrates it every year, you can still honor it by cooking up some delicious Mexican recipes.


    Las Posadas started with the Spanish Augustinian friars over 400 years ago.


  • GLUTEN-FREE BAKING WEEK – Week Before Christmas


    Warning: reading the following article will do the following…

    1. Make you drool onto your shirt
    2. Have you dropping what you’re doing to go straight to the grocery store
    3. Have you overindulging in delicious pastries
    4. Make you cheat on your diet

    We just had to make that admission, because whether you’re allergic to gluten or not, we’re positive you will OBSESS over gluten-free dessert.

    The week before Christmas is observed as Gluten-Free Baking Week every year. This special time brings awareness to the predicament that is dealing with gluten allergies around the holiday season. More and more people are becoming allergic to gluten, and they should not have to go without the savory deliciousness of all kinds of desserts!


    Turn on your favorite holiday playlist, throw on a cute red and green apron, invite over some friends and get baking! Use #GlutenFreeBakingWeek or #GlutenFreeBaking to post on social media. The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year to bake. In today’s world, many people are either gluten intolerant, or choose not to consume gluten for health reasons. So if you’re going to partake in holiday festivities with friends and family, chances are, a handful of them will prefer treats that don’t contain gluten. And since they taste so good… Why not dedicate an entire day to ONLY gluten-free baking?! We hope to see your photos of homemade cake, cookies, candy and more floating around social media this week. A few delicious recipes are listed here if you want to check them out.

    “Everyone should try no gluten for a week! The change in your skin, physical, and mental health is amazing. You won’t go back!” -Miley Cyrus


    In our research, we were unable to find the creator of Gluten-Free Baking Week.




    The first week of December is National Hand Washing Awareness Week… You know what that means?! It’s time to get hygienic, people! Making a habit of good hand hygiene is an easy, effective way to prevent infections and sicknesses. If you’re someone that chooses to skip the hand washing once in a while, read these mind blowing statistics and you might think again next time!

    • 80% of communicable diseases can be transferred by touch (person-to-person contact).
    • Washing your hands a few times a day can reduce diarrhea rates by 40%.
    • Touching your face with dirty hands spreads sicknesses pneumonia, a cold, and the flu.
    • Pneumonia is the number one cause of childhood death, and is preventable by regular hand washing.
    • The two most important times to wash your hands are before and after preparing food, and after going to the bathroom.
    • Less than 75% of women and less than 50% of men wash their hands after using the bathroom
    • When you flush a toilet with the seat up, a mist containing bacteria is spread over about 6 square meters. Even worse… Sinks in public bathrooms are 90% covered in this bacteria.
    • The ideal amount of time to wash your hands is 30 seconds, but 15 is recommended at the very least.
    • Most bacteria on our hands is under our fingernails, so when you’re washing, be sure to scrub underneath them.
    •  Damp hands are 1,000 times more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands, yet only 20% of people dry their hands after they wash them.
    • Reusable cloth towels have millions of bacteria in their fibers. Using disposable paper towels is the cleanest way to dry your hands.
    • Studies show that people who wash their hands have 24% less sick days because of respiratory illness, and 51% fewer sick days due to a sick stomach.

    Are you grossed out yet!? Sorry, but we had to let you know.


    Make it a point to wash your hands several times a day, and use #NationalHandWashingWeek to post on social media to spread the word (but not the germs)! This is a great one to post about on social media because the more your friends and family wash their hands, the safer from illnesses you’ll all be!


    National Hand Washing Awareness Week is sponsored by Henry the Hand Foundation, and reminds us to be vigilant about hand-washing, especially this time of year because it’s cold and flu season!