Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holidays and Observances for December 3 2014

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

United Nations' (UN) International Day of Persons with Disabilities is annually held on December 3 to focus on issues that affect people with disabilities worldwide.

People from many countries worldwide participate in various ways to promote the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Events may include art exhibitions promoting artwork by people with disabilities. Other events take the form of protests to highlight the difficulties disabled people have in playing a full role in society.

The United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was held from 1983 to 1992 to enable  governments and organizations to implement measures to improve the life of disabled persons all over the world. On October 14, 1992, as this decade drew to a close, the UN General Assembly proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Disabled Persons. This day was first observed on December 3, 1992. On December 18, 2007, the assembly changed the observance's name from the "International Day of Disabled Persons" to the "International Day of Persons with Disabilities". The new name was first used in 2008.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is coordinated by United Nations Enable, which works to support and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The symbol of Enable is the blue UN symbol and the word "enable". The UN symbol consists of an azimuthal equidistant projection of the globe centered on the North Pole surrounded by olive branches. The word "enable" is written entirely in lower case letters. The letter "e" is red and the other letters are blue.

National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day

Each year on December 3rd National Roof Over Your Head Day is celebrated across the United States.

National Roof Over Your Head Day was created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head.  There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them.

All across our nation there are many that do not have  the things that, to us, are a normal part of our everyday life, such as the roof over our heads, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and etc.  There are people who do not even have the roof of a shelter, they are living in the streets, in cardboard boxes or in alleys.

National Roof Over Your Head Day is about remembering to always appreciate what you have.  This day follows closely after Thanksgiving; a day to be thankful.  So just like Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you do have and always remember, that it is a better feeling than worrying about what you do not have.

To celebrate National Roof Over Your Head Day you can pick a name or two off of a Christmas Giving Tree,  volunteer at a homeless shelter near you or make a contribution to a homeless shelter in your area and maybe someone else will be able to have a “roof over their head” tonight.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Tonight marks the 82nd annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. This year’s tree is a 76-foot-tall, 12-ton Norway spruce. A family from Shelton, Connecticut, donated the 75-year-old tree, which was grown in their front yard. Find out more about the history of the world-famous Rockefeller Center tree tradition, and find out how this year’s tree stacks up against those from Christmases past.

Rockefeller Center, a 22-acre complex of commercial buildings in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, was developed in the 1930s by John D. Rockefeller Jr., whose father co-founded Standard Oil and became one of the world’s wealthiest men. Construction on the site began in 1930 and was completed in 1939. Workmen erected the first Christmas tree there in 1931; it stood about 20 feet tall.

The first official tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center was organized two years later by a publicist for the still-under construction complex and held in 1933. The event was broadcast by radio, and that year’s tree stood 50 feet tall and glittered with 700 lights. Three years later, the lighting ceremony included a skating pageant at the newly opened Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice rink (erected as a temporary feature designed to attract visitors to the plaza, the rink wound up becoming permanent). In 1944, with America in the midst of World War II, no trees were lit in New York City, in accordance with a wartime blackout.

The first televised Rockefeller lighting ceremony took place in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show”; in the mid-1950s, the ceremony was featured on “The Howdy Doody Show.” Another milestone took place in 1966, when Canada donated a 64-foot white spruce in honor of its centennial; it was the first Rockefeller Christmas tree grown outside of the U.S. Another noteworthy occurrence came in 1971, when that year’s tree was turned into mulch and recycled after the holidays. In terms of size, the largest tree to date was the 100-foot-tall, 10-ton Norway Spruce that went up in 1999.

The Rockefeller Center tree has come a long way since 1931. This year’s tree is decorated with 45,000 energy-efficient, multi-colored LED lights and will be topped with a 9.5-foot wide, 550-pound star made of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. The tree will remain on display until January 7, 2014. Afterward, it will be milled into lumber to be used for Habitat for Humanity projects.

Special Kids Day

Started in 1990, Special Kids Day began as a holiday event that provided an opportunity for children with special needs and their families to visit Santa Claus without having to face some of the obstacles that they might encounter when trying to experience a visit with Santa in a mall.
Over the years, through a combined effort among local businesses and community organizations, the Department of Education at Elmhurst College and dedicated individuals, Special Kids Day has grown to serve hundreds of families in the western suburbs.
Today, Special Kids Day has evolved into a not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to providing celebratory events for children with disabilities and their families in environments designed to accommodate their special needs.