Looking for Something to Celebrate? Everyday Excuses for a Party—and How to Celebrate Them

You don't have to wait until your next birthday or major holiday to throw a big bash.

Photo: Olivia Barr

There are big celebrations you always mark in pen on your calendar—Thanksgiving, birthdays, big milestones like weddings and graduations. But sometimes, those must-celebrate days feel like they're a little too few and far between—and you end up with a too-full calendar in December, and long, empty stretches without a thing to do.

All you need is a little creativity to find something special to celebrate, pretty much every day of the year. These 15 ideas may just inspire you to gather the gang soon—whether you want to plan an epic party for the last day of school or an ice cream social to ring in National Ice Cream Day (July 18).

01 of 15

Half-Birthdays (or Even Quarter-!)

Birthdays are an obvious reason to celebrate, but sometimes, it's fun to celebrate half- or even quarter-birthdays—especially if you weren't able to have the big bash you were planning for the actual birthday.

How to celebrate: For kids, it's the perfect opportunity to have a different-style party than they're used to (i.e. summer birthday folks can have an ice skating or sledding party, while winter birthday kids can finally have that pool party they've been wishing for).

Have fun with the "half" aspect, by serving half sandwiches, Arnold Palmers (half iced tea, half lemonade), and half cookies or a half cake for dessert. (For the half cake, bake a cake in two rounds, cut the rounds in half, and stack the halves with layers of buttercream in between—stick a straw, a skewer or a dowel down through all four layers to help avoid toppling.)

02 of 15

Changing of the Seasons

Summer solstice is a big party in Scandinavian countries in particular—and ancient winter solstice celebrations were the inspiration for many Christmas traditions. But you can celebrate every time the seasons change.

How to celebrate: Theme your get-together to the season. For summer solstice, wear flower crowns and serve new potatoes with dill, herring, shrimp, and strawberries and cream like the Europeans, or make this the day you reintroduce your summer favorites—fire up the grill for a cookout, break out your favorite summer salads, and finish the party with an ice cream sundae bar.

Winter's the perfect time for a hot chocolate bar, cozy soups, and an epic snowman-making contest (use yarn pompoms, styrofoam balls, or clay if the weather doesn't cooperate).

For fall, think pumpkin-spice anything, hot apple cider, and crafting with fall leaves and pumpkins. And the spring equinox is the perfect time to deck your home with tulips and serve fizzy elderflower cocktails to celebrate everything being in bloom.

03 of 15

Meeting a Goal

Finishing something is definitely a reason to party. Whether you've paid off your credit card debt, harvested the first veggies from your garden, finished spring cleaning, or ran your first 5K, it's worthy of celebrating.

How to celebrate: Invite a few (or a few dozen) friends over to celebrate the occasion—when you work hard and you achieve something, it's worthy of a party!

04 of 15

Pumped-Up Minor Holidays

Sprinkled through the calendar are a bunch of holidays that may not usually warrant a huge celebration (unless you're in certain locales)—but why not make Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Arbor Day, or Sweetest Day a bigger deal than you have in the past?

How to celebrate: Get creative! Mardi Gras has its own food and party traditions (think king cake and New Orleans cuisine), but the party menu for the others may require a little creativity—maybe leaf-shaped treats for Arbor Day, hot dogs with all the fixings for Groundhog Day, or an all-sweets dessert party for Sweetest Day.

05 of 15

Other Countries' Celebrations

Some countries have unique holidays that you may want to celebrate—like Singles Day (Nov. 11), a Chinese celebration of singlehood with a gift-giving bent; Mexico's Day of the Dead (Nov. 1) when they honor deceased loved ones with parties and music; or St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6), where people in some European countries put out stockings or shoes for small gifts from St. Nicholas.

How to celebrate: Research how the holiday is celebrated, and follow suit.

06 of 15


Wedding anniversaries may be the most common celebration, but there are other milestones worthy of celebrating—another year in your home, the anniversary of your first date, or even something small, like the anniversary of your first trip abroad. (Look at your favorite photo storage app for "On This Day" ideas that may be party-worthy.)

How to celebrate: You can always re-create the moment (serve the highlights of your reception menu and dance to your wedding song, or go to the same restaurant you enjoyed on your first date), or simply reminisce and have a little treat in honor of the day.

07 of 15

Fun Dates

You may have already missed 2/22/22 and Pi Day (3/14) this year, but there are other fun days you could consider—like Star Wars Day (5/4—as in May the Fourth be with you).

How to celebrate: Pi day is typically celebrated by serving actual pie (perhaps with the sign for pi crafted out of pie crust on top). And obviously, Star Wars Day deserves a binge-watching session and perhaps themed treats from a galaxy far, far away. With straight-up number dates (i.e. 2/22/22), get creative—serve double burgers, double popsicles, or foods that are often served as a pair (like PB&J).

08 of 15

Kids' Milestones

Kids are always up for a party, and fortunately, they're always doing something that's worthy of celebrating. Whether it's a great grade on a tough test, scoring in a game, getting braces on (or off!), or the first or last day of school, plan something fun to commemorate the day.

How to celebrate: For the first and last day of school, stock your kids up with the gear they need—chalk, water guns, and flip-flops for the last day of school, and fun school supplies for the first. (And plenty of ice cream works for either day!)

Other things may be worthy of a smaller celebration, like a small gift or another special treat. (Though if you're looking for a pick-me-up, a party with a crew of their friends probably wouldn't hurt either!)

09 of 15

A TV Show You Love

If you have a new season of your favorite show to binge (or the big finale), a watching party is definitely in order.

How to celebrate: Create a killer snack bar with plenty of popcorn and other goodies—or go above and beyond and serve up dishes themed for the show—like a champagne high tea for Bridgerton.

10 of 15

National Food Days

Just Google your favorite food or beverage, and you'll likely find a day on the calendar dedicated to it—whether you're partial to rosé (June 11) or tacos (Oct. 4).

How to celebrate: Have a feast dedicated to your favorite goodie. If it's something that's more ingredient that meal (like avocados), consider basing the whole meal around it (think guacamole or avocado-chocolate truffles). You could also serve up a tasting menu, like a variety of chocolates for National Chocolate Day (July 7) or an epic cheese board for National Cheese Day (June 4), or host a competition among your guests for bragging rights for the best chili (Feb. 24) or cupcakes (Dec. 15).

11 of 15

Pet Birthdays or Adoption Days

Pet parents can celebrate their favorite furry friends' birthdays or gotcha days in style.

How to celebrate: With treats, of course. You can load your furry friend up with their favorites, or if you're feeling extra, whip up (or commission) a pet-friendly cake. For the humans, you can deck cupcakes (or pupcakes!) to look like your favorite pet, or even shape cookies to look like treats you'd serve your dog or cat.

12 of 15

Good News

It sometimes feels like good news is in short supply, so feel free to celebrate any time that happens—whether it's good news from the doctor, a nice raise at work, or you got your tax refund.

How to celebrate: Make this celebration as big or as small as you're feeling about your good news—whether you opt to have a big bash or just indulge in a favorite dessert or give a sweet gift to your loved ones.

13 of 15

The Weather

Snow days, rainy days, that first warm day of spring—no matter what the weather, it's a reason to celebrate.

How to celebrate: Indulge in activities that embrace the weather. Sledding, snowball fights and snowman making (followed by a cup of cozy hot chocolate) makes for a perfect snow day. Opt to splash in puddles, or cozy up with a good book for a rainy day. And head outside to enjoy the sunny weather, whether you opt for a hike, a bike ride, or just lazing the day away in a hammock. (And the more, the merrier for any of these activities.)

14 of 15

Just Back From Vacation

Keep the fun going even when you're back to reality by planning a party to celebrate your return.

How to celebrate: You probably don't need to break out the slideshow of all your photos (you have Insta for that!). Instead, let your guests enjoy a little taste of your destination by theming your party after your vacation locale. (You can even bring back a few cool decor items or ingredients to make it even more authentic.)

15 of 15

Make Up Your Own Day

No matter what the day, there's always something to celebrate. So make up your own. It can be your annual Family Extravaganza, a Yes Day where you do everything your kids request without saying no (a la the kids' book and Netflix movie), or a "Skip Out Day," where everyone calls in sick and enjoys a free day at home.

How to celebrate: When you make up the holiday, you get to make up the ways to celebrate!

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