Happy Valentine’s Day.

I feel a bit obligated to extend that wish now because I noticed that no sooner had Christmas Day passed than some retail outlets cleared their shelves of yuletide knickknacks, gewgaws and thingamajigs and started replacing them with their Valentine’s merchandise — greeting cards, gifts and enough assortments of chocolates to put me into a diabetic coma.

Hey, it would taste mighty good and I could use the sleep.

I have nothing against merchants getting a jump on the holidays down the line, though I think that if I saw Halloween merchandise out on shelves around the summer solstice I might object. And there are a couple of other reasons that I would have delayed the Valentine’s Day display for at least a fortnight or two after Christmas.

First of all, there’s that 12 Days of Christmas thing. And no, it has nothing to do with the 12 days before Christmas Day. The 12 days actually start on Christmas and extend through Jan. 5, which means that officially and liturgically Christmas didn’t end until last Sunday, meaning that those of you who still hadn’t taken down your decorations had a valid excuse — at least through the weekend.

After Sunday, you no longer did, so I hope you took those decorations down before you start embarrassing the neighborhood.

I would also note that if you’re Eastern Orthodox and still use the Julian calendar for all things liturgical, Christmas will be celebrated on Jan. 7 for the rest of this century, so you should’ve felt free to keep those decorations up through Tuesday past.

The point, I guess, is that putting out Valentine’s Day stuff on the day after Christmas seemed just a smidge premature.

What’s more, there’s also a smattering of lesser-known holidays that are on the January calendar that will be overlooked if we start preparing for Valentine’s Day too soon.

Bear with me on this one. And no, I’m not making these up.

Monday, Jan. 6, for example was both “Bean Day” — a day to celebrate the production and subsequent consumption of beans, that musical fruit, as the saying goes — and “Cuddle Up Day.” My guess, however, is that if you eat too many beans, the cuddling will be less likely to take place. Just sayin’.

Then I came across a run of really strange days that ought not to be overlooked, though good luck finding a greeting card.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, was Old Rock Day, billed as “an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate old rocks and fossils” — and no, I don’t mean me.

If you are looking for a day to appreciate me — and who isn’t? — you have several options to mark on your calendar, including but not limited to Male Watcher’s Day (Jan. 8), Peculiar People Day (Jan. 10) or Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day (Jan. 12).

Jan. 11 is designated as Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day — a day that clearly did not originate in Minnesota. First of all, splashing a friend hardly fits in with the whole Minnesota Nice concept, y’betcha. But it also falls in mid-January, where every Upper Midwesterner knows that puddles, lakes and any other body of water, including Rover’s fire hydrant deposit, is likely to be frozen. Try splashing a puddle in Minnesota on Jan. 11 and you’re likely to end up on your keister.

Jan. 13 is Make Your Dreams Come True Day, the 14th Dress Up Your Pet Day and the 15th National Hat Day. I suppose you could combine the entire weekend if your dream is to put a pork pie on your schnauzer.

And, no, that’s not dirty. Get your mind out of the gutter, you filthy animal.

There are several appreciation days on the calendar, including Appreciate a Dragon Day (Jan. 16), Squirrel Appreciation Day (Jan. 21), Beer Can Appreciation Day (Jan. 24) and Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, which apparently always the last Monday of the month every January. (That’s Jan. 27 this year, for those of you who are waiting until February to purchase a calendar on clearance.)

I should note that Squirrel Appreciation Day — a blatant contradiction as far as I’m concerned — falls on the same day as National Hugging Day and just a day after Penguin Awareness Day. I’m sure there are those among us who like hugging squirrels after becoming aware of penguins, but frankly, it sounds disgusting and I don’t want to hear about such quirks and peccadilloes.

Chinese New Year’s falls on Jan. 25 this year, which also happens to be National Seed Swap Day and just one day removed from Global Belly Laugh Day and three days before National Kazoo Day.

Then there are the days I won’t even attempt to explain, such as Measure Your Feet Day (Jan. 23, formerly Jan. 30), National Inane Answering Message Day (still on Jan. 30), Opposite Day (Jan. 25), which is not to be confused with Backward Day (Jan. 31), and my favorite holiday of the month, National Nothing Day (Jan. 16), a day to do, well, nothing.

Interestingly enough, the day was created back in the 1970s by Harold Pullman Coffin, a newspaper columnist. Figures.

So let me take back that Valentine’s greeting and wish you a happy nothing — and that’s something.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People’s Press and the Waseca County News. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com. Follow him on Twitter.com at OPPJeffrey.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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