National Do Nothing Day: A Nonevent to Not Celebrate a Thing!

Jan 16, 2024 | Main Blog | 0 comments

If you miss National Do Nothing Day on January 16th, you can blame me because I was practicing for the “do nothing” instead of writing this article. One needs to practice for special days and this one was news to me! But my editor may not be in the “do nothing” mode so there’s still hope!

Suggestions for how to celebrate Do Nothing Day include putting “nothing” in a glass and setting it on the dining room table, leave the day blank in your calendar, send an email to friends and relatives that is blank meaning “nothing,” and if you have a friend with a birthday on January 16th, give the person a wrapped box with “nothing” in it.

Basically, any questions or statements require a response of “nothing.” For example, “What are you reading?” – “Nothing” or “What are you drinking?” – “Nothing” or “What’s for dinner?” – “Nothing.” The most important question dictating a response of “Nothing,” is “What are your plans for today?”

It will take some practice, but it’s a very doable assignment. But can one really do nothing? Many think it doesn’t work. So, a half-hearted attempt at nothing appears to be the most useful solution.

National Do Nothing Day appears as an annual holiday; the assignment is to “do nothing” including not celebrating the holiday! The date of this important event follows a very busy holiday season usually spanning from November or even October until early January. This allows a welcome break after all the hectic brouhaha of the various celebrations.

The only problem with a January 16th celebration is that it could be a clash with Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day and this could mean having to skip “Do Nothing Day” to do something in memory and pay it forward with MLK Day volunteering. But our “Do Nothing Day” is not an official public holiday and thus life must go on.

The conception of this important day began in 1972 by San Francisco Examiner journalist Harold Pullman Coffin who became tired of so many groups and individuals vying for a space on his calendar. He wanted a holiday involving people not having to do a thing. The inclusion of National Do Nothing Day in Chase’s Calendar of Events, which is a yearly American publication that includes all events and observances, presents the validity of the holiday. Since the day never passed through Congress, it remains  a “non- public holiday.” However, Coffin created a National Nothing Foundation to assist with acknowledging his dynamic noneventful day.

The important message from founder Coffin states simply that one does not need to celebrate anything after several months of celebrating almost anything. That’s refreshing.

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