The idea for National Ding-A-Ling Day came in 1971 when Franky Hyle of the Chicago area was at home with friends. "Some husbands and wives were sitting around my house, talking and drinking and thinking people ought to be friendlier to one another," he said. They looked up what "ding-a-ling" meant in a dictionary, and they found one of the definitions said it was "one who hears bells in his head." Hyle decided to create a day where celebrants would call people they haven't seen in years, in order to rekindle old friendships. He wanted to encourage people to be natural and let their guard down. Perhaps the idea of having a phone be involved in the day had to do with the fact that it rings, just like a ding-a-ling is associated with ringing.
In 1972, Hyle began placing an advertisement in Chase's Calendar of Annual Events saying December 12 was National Ding-A-Ling Day, and that a ding-a-ling was a "wonderful, friendly, intelligent, loving, responsible and desirable person." By 1975, almost 900 people had answered the ad and joined the Ding-A-Ling Club. They paid one dollar to become members, and received a bumper sticker which said: "Be a Bell Ringer."
I had some great choices for today's holiday! It's also Gingerbread House Day, but that sounded too time-consuming for one person, and less fun than it would be as a group effort. And then I read the description of National Ding-a-Ling Day, and knew that had to be it.
Now, I love the idea of going outside my comfort zone and making new friends, but those who know Jo know that calling anyone on the phone is not on my list of favorite things to do. So I may or may not pick up the phone and call someone, but I am definitely going to meet some new neighbors outside for a COVID-style visit.
I love making things. I love learning how things are made, and mastering new skills. So I have been looking forward to this holiday all week, my mind brimming with ideas for what to make and for whom. I posted a challenge to share memories of handmade gifts on my Facebook page, and there were so many precious gifts, made by kids and parents and grandparents and partners. We’ve downsized holiday giving quite a bit since over the years; one year we even shared a “Little House” Christmas with a neighbor family. All the gifts were handmade and the food came from the Little House Cookbook.
For today’s celebration, I turned to an old favorite, a craft I photocopied decades ago from a library book. It’s an origami picture frame, just the right size for a wallet-sized picture. I add a ribbon or string and it’s a tree ornament. We have a complete set of school photo ornaments for each kid, and most Christmases they are the only ones I use. This year, we aren’t sure where to put a tree so I hung the ornaments on our apartment door. Our neighbor loved them, so I made her a set of six for her grandchildren’s pictures. Just a few hours work, and I am still smiling,
It’s National Mutt Day! I am a lifelong fan of Team Dog (though I do not disparage cats) and 4 of the 7 dogs my families have owned were mixed breed. (The rest were beagles, in our beagle rescue period.) I am going to celebrate by sharing photos and memories of my mutts, and encourage you all to turn this post into a virtual dog park!
December 1 is Rosa Parks Day, celebrating the day when Ms. Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. This year, Rosa Parks Day falls on a Tuesday, AKA Giving Tuesday, when every nonprofit I have donated To since the Internet began sends me five emails just because they have missed me soooo much. I knew I wanted to connect the two holidays, but how?
Enter the awesome Crooked Media podcast, What a Day and the hostesses with the mostestest Akilah Hughes and Erin Ryan. (The very best way to start my day!) Erin Ryan dropped the brilliant suggestion to go to DonorsChoose and search for a teacher who has a birthday today. I did just that, and also filtered for first-time proposals. And there she was: a first grade teacher in North Carolina who wanted to get reading materials about unity and diversity for her students. I fully funded her project, and dedicated my donation to Rosa Parks.
Thank you, Crooked Media!
My Gender Mystique blog focuses on my work on clothing, sex, and gender. That's not all I do, so this blog is about everything else.