December 16, 2019 | Samuel Ira

People Share The Once-A-Year Events They Never Miss Out On


Everyone has their own special traditions that they look forward to each year. Whether it's a favorite holiday, a birthday ritual or some sort of annual celebration, these events have such high personal value they simply cannot be missed. Here are the once-a-year events people from the internet claim to never miss out on:

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#1 Friends For Life

In college, I had these two "bar" friends. They’re regular life friends too, but the three of us were this specific crew that would go out to the bar every Wednesday no matter what. Well, we all graduated and one of the friends moved a few states away. But every year, he comes to visit and we all go back to that same bar, usually on a Wednesday if we can manage it, and have a reunion. We can go months without talking or seeing each other, but when that yearly reunion rolls around, it’s just like college days again. It’s something I look forward to every year.

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#2 Annual Pizza Date

Take-out pizza on the anniversary of our moving in day. Our first meal in our house was a terrible pizza so we always do the same, every year! I highly recommend it. We still eat the pizza on the floor like we did the first time. Even though six years later we have our chairs and tables readily available! Just don't get pizza by Alfredos.

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#3 Cookies With Grandma

I go to my hometown every year and bake cookies with my grandmother for Christmas. I have never missed a year. I make sure you write down the recipes with as many details as I can. If ever my grandmother isn't able to continue this tradition with me, at least I'll know her recipes so I can still make them. Obviously, it's still not the same as hers, but it's something.

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#4 A Self-Love Day

One day a year, I don't go into work because I just "don't feel like it." Then, I spend the day lounging around the house doing nothing. It's especially nice when an employer offers voluntary time off on a daily basis. It gets tough though when you're going through stuff and workforce is just a call away to make the stuff go away.

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#5 Peeps Forever

I had a buddy bet that I couldn't eat a box of Peeps (the gross Easter marshmallow treats) and he passed away shortly after I tried the challenge and failed. Each year, I go out, buy a box and power through eating the whole thing as fast as I can for him. It's kind of lame, but hey. He was a great friend and coworker. I'll definitely have to try to spice it up this year.

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#6 The Sounds Of Holidays

Hearing "The Monster Mash" on the radio on Halloween. It has to happen organically though. It's not the same if I play it myself and it doesn't feel like Halloween if I don't hear it. And then at Christmas, I have to hear "Christmas In Hollis" by Run DMC. Always organically. I've never owned a copy of either.

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#7 An Online Tradition

My sister and I log on to Gaia Online and do the Christmas caroling thing where you rotate visiting all the shops and get the limited edition Christmas items. Once we unlock all the items, we log off and don't come back until next year. We have been doing this annually since 2006 and haven't missed a year.  I have a lot of fond memories from that site.

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#8 Must-Hear Songs

A local radio station plays "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie every year on American Thanksgiving. My dad and I stop what we're doing every year at 6 to hear it. I don’t think I’ve missed it in at least a decade... if not two. WXPN in Philadelphia. It’s right at noon, and Bruce Springsteen’s "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is right after.

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#9 Columbia Cosplay

My mom's side of the family has gone to Columbia State Historic Park in California every year for the last 12 years to attend the Historic Columbia Lamplight Tour. We dress in pioneer, gold rush era costumes and "participate" in the walking play. It is the weirdest thing ever, but I look forward to it every year.

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#10 24 Hours of Le Mans

Watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans stream live. Preparing my battle station is also part of the event: several screens, tablets with live timing, pillows, blanket, snacks, coffee machine at arms reach, drinks... Someday, I'll go there in person.

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#11 Birthday Cake

The local bakery makes the best cakes I’ve ever had. They’re absolutely terrible for you and I can feel my blood sugar rise every time I eat it but I get one every year on my birthday. It takes a lot to not go get one like once a month, but I don’t. I get a frosted bakery cake for my birthday, even if I celebrate it alone. It's the only thing I care about on my birthday.

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#12 The Grand Hotel

A trip to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (it's a gilded age resort, there are no cars allowed on the island, and yes it's the place they shot Somewhere in Time). There's something wonderful and magical about the place, and it is always a highlight. Also, the around-the-island bike ride was one of the best things I've ever done. Even as great as the dinner at the Grand Hotel.

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#13 Contacts Cleanse

Once a year, I go through the contacts on my phone and do one of two things. Either I delete them because they aren't people I talk to or I make a point to reconnect with them. Often, that results in lots of texts and occasionally short road trips to visit. I'm in the middle of my review for this year so I have a tip for everyone trying this idea. Try not to spread yourself too thin reconnecting with people. You don't want to end up ignoring some and missing an opportunity.

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#14 Take Me Out To The Ball Game

My baseball-oriented vacation. I’ve been to 25 so far and I may do two next month. I still haven’t decided which to visit yet. The last five stadiums are the toughest, especially because I'm traveling from Canada. I plan to finish this in the next few years. My favorite so far is PNC Park! I love the backdrop and Primanti Bros.

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#15 Man Day

"Man Day." A group of 30 of my buddies all comes together at a property owned by one of the group's family. There's a giant in-ground pool, a big yard, and a huge barn where we set up tents if the weather isn't so nice. We play a round of 18 holes of golf in the morning; usually a scramble. As always, there is betting.  Then, meet out at the property around 10-11 am, eat a fantastic barbecue meal, and have a yard games tournament—$100 buy-in, two-player teams.

The tournament takes almost all day. We split the winnings 70/30 between first and second place. After it ends, we get fires going, participate in more shenanigans, and return to our tents to pass out eventually. It's a good time and we always do it around mid- to late-September here in the Midwest where it's usually not hot, not cold, just kind of perfect for yard games and a bonfire.

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#16 Candle Obsession

The $8 candle sale at Bath and Body Works. It usually happens the first or second Saturday in December, their $22 to $26 3-Wick candles are $8 and you can combine and stack coupons. It’s like a mini Black Friday. I  did this for the first time this past year. Wow, great deals. Got plenty of candles for the house and they made great gifts all around. 10/10 will candle again.

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#17 A Mullet Celebration

The Mullet Festival. It's this tiny redneck festival in this tiny town in Florida celebrating the worst fish you can eat in the panhandle. It's not particularly amazing, it's more of a cultural experience if you will.

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#18 Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day. I celebrate the heck out of that holiday. I have a costume, throw a party, and have even seen the Great Punxsutawney Phil live. I also really enjoy Easter. I am all about them magical rodent themed holidays.

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#19 Missing Dad

I watch the movie Tombstone every year on November 18th with a Mr. Goodbar and a Mexican cola. Tombstone was my late father's favorite movie (and has long since been mine). We used to watch the movie and quote the lines back and forth to each other. I had seen that movie nearly 100 times by the time I had turned 10, and I could quote it line for line. He always had a Mr. Goodbar and cola, and every so often I got one too.

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#20 New Year's In The Toilet

New Year’s countdown in the toilet. It sounds sad but it’s become a bit of a lovefest tradition over the years. It started when I was a teen at uncomfortable adult parties, and sneaking off to have a glass of champagne in the john, then evolved to being a ritual of facing my year ahead bravely on my own, flushing last year’s sins, then I started to invite others in for a hot kiss away from the crowd to now inviting a whole crowd into the toilet. Clown-in-car style.

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#21 Nerd Fest

When I was young and unafraid, it was Gencon. My friends and I would show up two days early and stay an extra day, for a solid week of gaming. Now that I'm old and tired, it's a gaming weekend with only about 20 attendees at a friend's cabin in the mountains of northern Georgia. Beautiful scenery, great hiking, and of course, hours and hours of Lords of Waterdeep, Scythe, Dead of Winter, Excaliber, Secret Hitler, BSG, all the nerding a girl could want in the most awesome five days of the year.

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#22 Birthday All-Nighter

Every year on my birthday, I stay awake until 2 a.m. in the morning (the time I was born). It doesn’t matter if I have to work or get up early the next day. My mom was suffering for 24 hours straight to give me my life so I do it out of solidarity. I’ve been doing it since I was 10, and I’m turning 24 soon. She has no idea about it. Also, watching Love Actually every year at Christmas.

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#23 Reading Material

There's a three-day book sale that happens every year that a church near my house hosts. It's where I get a good supply of reading material. They collect books year rounds and it's a really good source of classic books with minimum wear and tear. That gives them more feeling, in my opinion.

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#24 That Time Of Year

The period from the start of October through (approximately three seconds after) Thanksgiving (when Christmas music starts playing nonstop) is the absolute best time of the year. I guess it depends on where you live, but in my area, the weather is beautiful, the foliage looks amazing, and there’s just something magical about it. Days are gorgeous; nights are comforting. I live for the fall.

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#25 Horror Holiday

Homemade hot apple cider around Halloween while we watch a spooky movie (Think Hocus Pocus, Goosebumps, The Mask, etc.) bundled in blankets. Halloween is my favorite holiday and we started this tradition when husband and I got our first apartment together. It's just a good fun way to get in the spirit. Also, I have to go see the Spirit Halloween stores. I never buy anything, but I love seeing all the over-the-top animatronic things.

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#26 A Religious Tradition

I’m an Orthodox Christian. My favorite tradition is going through the weekend of Easter, from the 12 passion gospels on Thursday night to Pascha midnight service in the early hours of Sunday. Even at college, I would watch live streams for everything I couldn’t get to and do my own abridged services if I could.

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#27 The Best Book Sale

A giant once-a-year charity book sale. Books cost $2. I've acquired a collection of old books just from that sale: I think my oldest was published in 1853. I adore the old books of poetry, especially, as well as books that lend themselves to more personal notations. A seventh grader's science book from the 1920s, full of doodles of flappers and little poems about how very boring they find biology.

A book from 1919 that had an ex libris (basically 'this book belongs to') of a family motto and crest, as well as an inscription giving the book to a woman, signed by a man. I managed to find info about the family online (and that woman was not his wife!)

Bibles and Books of Common Prayer, full of newspaper clippings of recipes and silly pieces of poetry, and family births laid out in fountain pen. Once, I found a very old novel with flowers pressed between the pages. I love history, and my old books contain these small bits of individual lives. That book sale is indescribably wondrous.

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#28 Going Off The Grid

Camping. I feel like people, myself included, take civilization for granted and only look at the bad. After the first day of the cool breeze on a hot day and being with blissful silence, I start remembering that nature doesn't have electricity, water, wifi, or anyone to talk to.

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#29 The Town Parade

Our town has a parade the weeks before the summer holidays. They bring in rides and the get all the town's shop owners, clubs, girl and boy scouts and primary schools to join in. I usually stand at the side and look my little sister in crowds. Afterward, my family and family friends have a party after it as it is an excuse to have a get-together.

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#30 Pretzel Day

Pretzel Day. I wake up every morning in a bed that's too small, drive my daughter to a school that too expensive, then I go to work a job for which I am paid too little. But on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel Day.

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#31 Racing Goats

The Goat Derby. It’s kind of like the Kentucky Derby but instead of highly trained horses racing on a track, it’s a bunch of goats in a field in Ohio racing to their food buckets while everyone gets drunk on wine and cheers them on. I can’t miss it!

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#32 The Fourth Of July

The Fourth of July! My hometown always does the exact same activities year after year, but I have to celebrate there every year. I meet up with one of my friends from high school and we ride our bikes around town all day, even though we're adults with cars and real jobs and that nonsense. It's my favorite day of the year.

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#33 The Ridonkuthon

Every year, my buddies and I get together to play a curated list of video games. They can be games from any system or era, but they have to have a level of ridiculousness to them. Whether it's a ridiculous concept or gameplay or even if they're just so ridiculously bad that they're good or funny. We call it the Ridonkuthon. We even send each other official invitations beforehand.

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#34 The Masters

The Masters. It's the greatest golf tournament in the world and I watch every event from the practice rounds, par-3 tournament, and every round all day. Luckily, a couple of years ago I was able to attend after entering the lottery and it was amazing. I will never miss it, that is certain. I'm going again next month, only for Wednesday practice round and par-3 tournament. But just getting to see Augusta National in person is something I never thought I'd get to do.

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#35 Gamers Unite

E3 is fantastic and I hope it never leaves. I know people say it is "obsolete" but I disagree: No amount of digital news can replace the feeling of loading up a live stream to see a massive crowd of people waiting for the year's best gaming news... and, of course, getting to watch the cringy, hilarious things that happen every year. None of the charms would still be there if every single presentation was cleanly presented and pre-recorded.

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#36 Giving Back

Feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving with my mom. We've been doing it for 30 years now (I was put in charge of dessert when I was 8... that was fun). We give out over 1,000 meals to home-bound elderly and the street homeless and it always provides perspective and good feelings on a holiday noted for mass consumption.

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#37 Orange Chocolate Balls

Terry's orange dark chocolate ball every December. For some reason, it's the only time of the year that they come out or that I've seen in my region. So I buy a couple to stock up and to eat throughout the year. If I feel a little splurgy, I get the off brands one too.

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#38 Elf Therapy

I watch Elf in July. My friends think it’s a great tradition with a sort of quirky tinge, but really, it’s to cheer me up. I have nasty bouts of PTSD in July every year, and watching the movie gives me something to look forward to. And if I have any of THOSE nights, I pop on Elf and get into the rhythm of the movie rather than focus on my mindset. Just a beautiful reminder of good, happy times and better, happier times to come.

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#39 The Grinch

My sister and I watch the 2000 version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas together during the holidays. About 10 years ago, my sister was sick. To cheer her up, I brought in this small 15 inch, cube-shaped TV into her bedroom and put on the VHS tape of The Grinch. So every year we do the same tradition. We use the same tape, the same TV, and we lay on her bed and watch The Grinch, quoting every line and every joke we made about the commercials.

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#40 Wrestlemania Marathon

Wrestlemania. We’re not in America, so every year we book the day after Wrestlemania off, get in a ton of good junk food, and spend the day mocking or cheering, depending on how the show is.

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#41 A Starry Night

Starry Nights in Memphis, TN. There isn't much on the website since it's out of season, but every Christmas Shelby Farms Park (an enormous 4,500-acre public 'farm') decorates a part of the park with Christmas lights. I don't remember the exact figures, but it's hundreds of thousands of lights and other holiday decors. You stay in your car, turn your headlights off and follow the road through a bunch of different themed areas all made of Christmas lights.

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#42 Mini On The Mack

Ours is every other year. Mini on the Mack. It's held in Mackinaw City, Michigan every odd-numbered year. It only started in 2015, but this is the third consecutive event we'll make it to. It's a Guinness world record attempt of Minis crossing a body of water. It doesn't sound like much, but the UK currently holds the record at over 1400 Minis. Michigan came in at over 1300 the last two times.

Can you imagine over 1300 customized versions of the same car driving in a single line, crossing the Mackinac bridge? It's a sight to behold! I even bought my first Mini so I can register as a driver this time instead of as a passenger in my sister's Mini.

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#43 Strawberry Love

The strawberry harvest. I've been making jam since I was in grade 9. Did it for fun one day then my mom started to sell my jam by the caseload at her work. Made a few extra bucks through the jam trade in high school. I still make it with my kids every year.

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#44 Live To Rave

Music festivals. It's one of the only times that I feel I can truly be myself, relax, and have fun. I can hang out in a field with my friends for three days, wear funky shirts, and listen to my favorite music. It's what I wish I could do all year round.

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#45 Desert Bus Marathon

Desert Bus. Once it starts, I'm tuned in for the whole week. It's a charity stream where internet celebrities play games for an absurdly long time and people donate to make it longer. Special guests, prize giveaways, etc. are all a part of it.

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