Category: January 31



    Each year on January 31st, National Hot Chocolate Day warms up people across the country by celebrating the timeless cold-weather beverage.


    Hot chocolate is a warm beverage made with ground chocolate, heated milk or water, and sugar. In America, we often use the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa interchangeably. However, the two beverages are different.

    Cocoa vs Hot Chocolate 

    We make hot cocoa with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar. We’re able to do this thanks to a process developed by father and son chemists. For the thicker, more flavorful beverage, we make hot chocolate from ground chocolate containing cocoa butter. It is also called drinking chocolate. Hot chocolate has also been around longer than hot cocoa. In the early 1800s, Casparus van Houten Sr. developed a process to separate the cocoa solids from the butter. His son, Coenraad Johannes made those fats more soluble in water. Together their processes made cocoa powder possible.

    But before then, everyone drank hot chocolate. This thicker, creamier beverage often offered medicinal benefits for stomach ailments during the 19th century. In fact, long before the beverage’s popularity in Victorian times, it served in ceremonial culture. 

    However, humans have been drinking chocolate for a long time. The Mayans likely created the first chocolate beverage 2000 years ago. The Aztecs also included a cocoa beverage as an essential part of their culture by 1400 AD. When Europeans began exploring Central and South America, explorers brought chocolate and the beverage back with them to Europe from Mexico.

    Make it and Benefit

    Hot chocolate can be enjoyed in a variety of combinations, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows. Sometimes a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dash of peppermint makes the chocolate extra special. In the United States, many people enjoy an instant form of hot chocolate. It is made with hot water or milk and a packet containing mostly cocoa powder, sugar, and dry milk.

    There are health benefits to drinking hot chocolate. Cocoa contains significant amounts of antioxidants that may help prevent cancer. Studies have shown the flavonoids in chocolate may have a positive effect on arterial health and memory.


    • Make some hot chocolate.
    • Add a variety of toppings.
    • Invite a friend to join you for hot chocolate.
    • Sample different flavors of hot chocolate.
    • Taste the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa.
    • Take a photo and use #NationalHotChocolateDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this chocolatey beverage holiday.

    Hot Chocolate FAQ

    Q. Is hot chocolate thicker than hot cocoa?
    A. Yes. Hot chocolate is made by melting high-quality chocolate into the milk. It’s almost like syrup but slightly thinner. You can thin it down further by adding more milk, though.

    Q. Will I like hot chocolate if I like hot cocoa?
    A. Both are delicious but hot chocolate is a little more luxurious than hot cocoa. Some prefer one over the other and many people enjoy both equally.

  • NATIONAL PLAN FOR VACATION DAY – Last Tuesday in January


    National Plan for Vacation Day, on the last Tuesday in January, reminds us to plan our vacation at the start of the year for the rest of the year. The early bird gets to pack their bags and fly away to a little fun and relaxation!


    With the frigid temperatures and growing snow piles, it’s easy to start daydreaming of sunny skies. Who else is dreaming of sandcastles and the vacation days to come? But, for many Americans, those vacation dreams turn out to be just that: a dream.

    Each year, Americans leave more than 600 million vacation days unused. Our work martyr attitudes combined with a culture of silence in the workplace is keeping workers at their desks instead of using their time off.

    To change this, National Plan for Vacation Day reminds us to plan our vacation at the start of the year for the rest of the year. When it comes to taking a vacation, it is the planners of the world who get the job done. Planners are more likely to take all their vacation time in a given work year and take more extended vacations than non-planners. They are also happier with their jobs, relationships, and health. So don’t knock the planners who get out the door to vacation! Get planning!!


    Three Easy Steps to Planning a Vacation

    Planning a vacation does not have to be a monumental task. Here are three easy steps to make it happen:

    1. Determine how much time off you earn. Look up the number of vacation days you earn by checking with your finance or HR team. Don’t forget to make a note of any office closures.
    2. Coordinate calendars. Plot out your year—enter the number of days you earn, put your vacation dreams on the calendar, and use your custom link to get your family and friends involved in the planning.
    3. Share your plans. Once you have your days determined, use the calendar to export your plans to Outlook, Gmail, or other electronic calendars to share with your boss, co-workers, and family.

    As we close out a month of resolutions, make this the year you focus on your bucket list—not your to-do list.

    Get ready to plan your vacation and use #PlanForVacation on social media.


    National Plan for Vacation Day, celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year at the start of the year. Launched by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative in 2017, National  Plan for Vacation Day provides an opportunity to come together at a single moment to rally around the importance of planning for a  vacation. In its inaugural year, more than 600 organizations, representing all 50 states, came together to encourage Americans to plan for vacation.

    The registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed National Plan for Vacation Day to be observed annually in 2018.

    About the Founder
    Project: Time Off has uncovered an alarming trend over the last 40 years: Americans are taking fewer and fewer vacation days. To reverse this trend, we aim to prove that vacation travel is valuable and necessary for strengthening personal relationships, inspiring creative thinking, improving professional performance, and promoting better health.

    Vacation FAQ

    Q. What is a stay-cation?
    A. Stay-cation is a vacation you take but you stay home during your time off. You may choose to work on projects that you find enjoyable, sleep in, or tour your cities sights. It’s an excellent opportunity to pamper yourself. Sometimes these stay-cations or simply a long weekend. Other times, they incorporate some serious time off.

    Q. Can I plan a stay-cation on National Plan for Vacation Day?
    A. Yes! Even though a stay-cation may be less detailed than a get-away vacation, it still requires planning. You’ll need to request time off from work. Schedule lunch dates with friends and family. Check the hours of the local museums, book stores, and historical sights. Either way, get planning!



    Always observed on January 31st, Inspire Your Heart With Art Day encourages us to ponder how art affects our hearts. Art is valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons. 


    Of the broad spectrum of art created in the world, the pieces that move us to tears or cause us to burst out into joyous laughter remain with us for a lifetime. Whether we are touched by music or see into an artist’s soul through their work, art has the power to change us, to inspire our hearts.

    The day encourages us to explore the many genres of art and let it inspire us.

    Be sure and check out our featured Artist for Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, Pam Nielsen.


    • Visit an art gallery.
    • Attend a live theatre performance.
    • Read a good book.
    • Listen to music.
    • Attend a ballet performance.
    • Start your masterpiece.
    • Teach someone how to play an instrument.
    • Attend an art lecture.
    • Explore a new technique.
    • See an inspirational film.
    • Share your art with others.
    •  Use #InspireYourHeartWithArtDay to post on social media.


    National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this national art celebration. 

    January 31st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


    The Social Security Administration issues the first Social Security check in the amount of $22.54 to Ida May Fuller.


    Chicago’s NBC affiliate WNBQ begins broadcasting the first television soap opera. These Are My Children aired for 15 minutes a day, five days a week until March 4,1949.


    NASA launches Mercury 2 on a suborbital mission with a chimpanzee on board. The chimp, named Ham, survives the 16-minute 39-second flight.


    The Misfits directed by John Huston and starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift premiers in Reno, Nevada. The intense love story was the last completed film for both Gable and Monroe.


    Doug Williams became the first African American to start and win a Super Bowl. Playing for the Washington Redskins, he led Washington to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.

    January 31st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

    Zane Grey – 1872

    The popular author wrote about the American frontier and was one of the first widely-read western novelists. He wrote over 80 books, but some of his most popular were Riders of the Purple Sage, The Last Trail and The Lone Star Ranger.

    Ella Cara Deloria – 1889

    The Dakota Sioux educator dedicated much of her career to recording and translating the dialects, texts, myths, and ethnography of the Sioux culture and languages. She also wrote several books including Iron Hawk, Speaking of Indians, and Waterlily which was published posthumously.

    Don Hutson – 1913

    The professional football player played 11 years as a receiver with the Green Bay Packers.

    Jackie Robinson -1919

    In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played 10 seasons with the MLB.

    Norman Mailer – 1923

    The prolific award-winning writer was known for his novels, plays, and films. He won two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Award.

    Honorable Mentions

    Freya Stark – 1893
    Norm Prescott – 1927
    Ernie Banks – 1931
    Nolan Ryan – 1947
    Dov Charney – 1969



    .yad doog a si sihT

    January 31st honors everything backward with National Backward Day. The day provides an opportunity to reverse our ways, our direction or simply our shirt.  Dessert for breakfast, perhaps? There are many ways to celebrate this fun day, so just let your imagination be your guide.


    This day is very popular with school-aged kids, but there is no age limit on who can participate in all of the backward fun. So EVERYONE, let’s have some fun!! 

    FUN FACT:  Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward. Not only did the artist and inventor write from right to left, but he also wrote his letters backward.


    • Go out the back door.
    • Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner.
    • Instead of coming unglued when you’re upset, get glued.
    • Add coffee to your milk.
    • Add ice cream to your chocolate.
    • Do your work in reverse order.
    • Say, “Goodbye,” instead of “Hello,” when answering the phone.
    • Twiddle your pinkies, not your thumbs.
    • Wear your sweatshirt backward.
    • Write your name backward.
    • Write an entire sentence backward.
    • Run the bases in baseball backward.
    • Watch a movie backward.
    • Read a book starting with the last page.
    • Play a record backward.
    • You can also explore backward language by reading 5 Backward Ways to Use Words.
    • Do things backward and use #NationalBackwardDay to post on social media.


    We’ve looked up, down, and all around for the creator of this day. Now, we’re going to retrace our steps, backward.

    Backward FAQ

    Q. Are other directional words celebrated on the calendar?
    A. Yes. Besides National Backward Day, you can celebrate National Opposite Day, International Left Hander’s Day, Global Pay It Forward Day, Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day and Play Outdoors Day are just a few of the days with direction words in them.

    Q. Can anyone participate in National Backward Day?
    A. Yes. Besides the list up above, there are many other ways to participate in the day.