National Sibling Day
has an interesting history, too!
When I was younger, I did not appreciate how great it was to have two brothers. After all, boys sucked and they were kind of gross.
Well, at least that is what my adolescent mind thought, anyway.
I never wanted to hang out with them. They didn't share the same interests as me. Also, I was pretty sure my mother liked them more than she liked me.
Of course, that could have just been my Middle Child Syndrome talking, but I digress.
The only time I really had fun with them as a kid was when I was low-key torturing them. Like the time I put a bunch of gross kitchen ingredients into a glass and put it on a shelf in their closet to rot. Or when my friends and I put shaving cream in their hands during a sleepover, tickled their noses, laughed while they smeared shaving cream on their faces.
Yeah, I was that sister. I'm not sure how I managed to make it to adulthood.
But, I did.
Now that I am adult, I see them in an entirely different light and I actually appreciate them. In fact, I even want to spend time with them occasionally.
Yes, you read that right.
I like my brothers. You might even say, I love them.
If you feel the same way as I do about your siblings, guess what?
I have great news!
There is an entire day dedicated to loving your siblings: National Siblings Day.
That's a real day.
A Day to Show Sibling Appreciation
National Siblings Day is observed on April 10. It is a day meant to make people pause and appreciate their brothers and sisters.
However, unlike Mother's Day and Father's Day, the day of appreciation is not officially recognized by the federal government in the United States.
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton both signed Presidential Messages to honor the day. They did not make it official with Presidential Proclamations though.
That's not all:
First Lady Michelle Obama also recognized the day. In 2014, she tweeted an adorable photo of herself and her brother for the day.
Although not held in the same regard as Mother's and Father's Days by the federal government, 49 states' (all but California) governors have issued proclamations recognizing the day.
You are probably wondering:
"Who the heck thought up this random idea for a day to honor siblings?"
The history behind it is actually kind of tragic. After learning about it, you may appreciate your siblings even more than you did before.
The Tragic History of National Siblings Day
It's the brainchild of a woman named Claudia Evart, who started the Siblings Day Foundation in 1997.
Here's what I found out:
Evart grew up in a loving household with her siblings Alan and Lisette. She loved her big brother and sister.
According to Evart, her sister Lisette, born on April 10, was two years older than her and responsible for teaching her many life lessons. Her brother Alan was five years older than her and taught her as well.
Sadly, that's not the end of the story:
Evart lost both Alan and Lisette in separate accidents when she was younger. Speaking about her brother and sister, she said:
I lost both of them in tragic accidents. Like many, I have these photographs of my brother and sister, who are both gone, but remain with me daily, not just in these pictures, but in my daily thoughts and in my heart, making me understand the everlasting bond we have with our siblings.
Their deaths drove her to begin a foundation and lobby the government to have National Siblings Day recognized as a final tribute to her brother and sister.
Screen capture via Siblings Day Foundation Facebook Page
Evart turned two heartbreaking tragedies into a celebration that we can all cherish.
But, what exactly should you do then?
It's your lucky day:
Fun Activities for Adults
The first thing you should do is find out if there are activities or discounts in your area for sibling activities on April 10. You might get lucky and find some cool activities.
Unfortunately, my area doesn't appreciate siblings, so I have had to come up with fun activities on my own.
Here are some of my suggestions:
What better way to celebrate the day with your siblings than to jump out of a plane and plummet to the ground?
Stay with me:
Skydiving is pretty scary, but it is also exhilarating (so I have heard).
Who better to experience this with than your brother or sister?
What's cool is that you do not necessarily have to skydive over some boring field either. In Florida, for example, there are places that offer skydiving on the beach.
How cool is that?
You can go on a coupon site like Groupon and search for promotional discounts. Oftentimes, businesses will advertise on those types of sites.
I do have one piece of advice if you and your sibling(s) go this route:
Do not tell your mother.
It is entirely possible if you have a mother like mine that she will lose her mind at the thought of her children jumping out of a plane together.
She worked very hard to make sure you all made it to adulthood.
So, if you have an anxiety-ridden mom, just post pictures on Facebook after you've risked your lives, don't discuss it before.
It's just better to avoid her meltdown before you go.
Flash Back to the Past
This is probably the most fun activity on my list.
There was nothing quite as fun when we were kids, and going to an amusement park as an adult can rock just as hard.
A couple of years ago I took my younger brother to Busch Gardens for the day. I don't think I have ever had so much fun.
Well, except the time he took me to a water park for the day.
Amusement parks are a great place to hang out with your brother or sister.
Is there a rollercoaster or some other ride that you have avoided on other trips to the park?
In my case, there was a drop tower that brings guests 300 plus feet into the air, flips them face first, and drops the ride to the ground.
Check out this video:
My brother convinced me to get on the ride with him and I am so happy I did.
It is now my favorite ride.
Siblings are really great at giving you courage when you don't think that you can do something.
You will have fantastic memories, like I do, to look back on.
Make a concrete memory
Have your picture taken together. I know, this one may not seem like fun if you hate photos.
I am one of those people who absolutely hates professional photo sessions, but I learned that they can be a lot of fun.
Speak to a photographer in your area and see if they wouldn't mind taking some funny photos of you and your siblings.
For example, you can think of a theme, dress up, and then get your photos taken.
The best part?
If you made your mom mad when you went skydiving, these photos could make her love you all again.
My aunt recently told me that she is sad because my cousins no longer take photos together for the family holiday card. If my cousins planned a photoshoot, my aunt would be ecstatic.
Throw in some hilarious photos and that holiday card will be something you actually enjoy making. It doesn't matter that National Siblings Day is months in advance of your holiday photos, it's one less thing you have to worry about.
When was the last time you went swimming with your sibling?
It's probably been years, right?
Well, it is time to correct that:
If you live in an area with a beach or community pool, take your sibling swimming.
Play a pool game, like Marco Polo. Get some pool noodles and whack them with it (do they have any other purpose?).
Ya know, recreate your childhood.
If you are at the beach, maybe bring a volleyball with you and play a game in the sand.
I am lucky enough to live near the Gulf of Mexico, so swimming is just the thing we do.
I have not gone swimming with my brothers since we were kids. It's been so long that this is what I plan to do on National Siblings Day this year, now that I have thought about it.
Another way to hit the water
Do you live in an area that has a river or some other body of water?
If your sibling enjoys outdoor activities, take them kayaking (or canoeing, whatever you want).
Kayaking is a lot of fun and often there are places that rent them for the day. Not only do you get to explore the area in a way that you may not otherwise, but you get to exercise at the same time.
Trust me, it's great.
One of my brothers is really into physical fitness. Me...not so much.
Despite my aversion to exercise, I decided to rent kayaks for us for the day.
It was so much fun.
I definitely recommend it for those of you who enjoy nature.
Go to war!
This one is probably the most fun activity, in my opinion, on the list. If for no other reason than you get to shoot your sibling with some paint.
Yes, paintball shooting is not just for kids!
If you check around there is likely a paintball business in your area. These places are really cool.
Think laser tag for adults.
Don't let the fear of paintballs hitting you, stop you from doing this. You've probably heard that it hurts at some point.
It can hurt if you are hit on your bare skin, but with the right clothes, it is good times all around. Just listen to the instructions when you go to the paintball park and have fun.
Believe me, this is one experience you will never forget.
Take a seat in the best place possible
If you are not big on outdoor activities or if your sibling is unable to participate in activities like that, take them to a movie.
You might not have heard:
But, movies are pretty cool.
If there is a movie that you think your siblings want to see, get tickets, buy some popcorn, sneak some candy in with your purse (just kidding, that's frowned upon) and go enjoy yourself.
These days, there are even movie theaters that offer dinner and drinks as well.
That's even better!
I don't know, where do you want to...
My brother really likes this silly restaurant called The Salty Dog.
It is a restaurant that fries hot dogs in a batter.
I know, it sounds gross, right?
The point is:
Find out if there is a restaurant that your brother or sister really likes and take them there. This is especially nice if it is somewhere that you know they won't treat themselves to.
My brother, for instance, won't go to his favorite restaurant becaue he is incredibly...what's the word?
So, every once in a while I will treat him to it and he is ecstatic.
Take a weekend trip!
That might seem crazy, but stay with me:
There are some places that you can go to that are really affordable.
Find a place that you can get to with a tankful of gas and go there. In my state, I can get to St. Augustine, Florida with a tank of gas. It is the oldest city in the United States and often has cheap hotel rooms.
If you can't get away for an entire weekend, take a day trip.
There is probably a bunch of little hidden gems in your area that you've never been to. Find one of them and take a trip. Spend the day, have a blast, and come home.
If all else fails...
Does your sibling have a favorite sports team?
Take them to a game.
Even if you can't afford the best seats in the arena, the atmosphere at a sports game is fun.
You could even tailgate before the game to make the experience even better.
What to Do If Your Sibling Lives Far Away
Does your sibling live in another state or country?
Celebrating your sibling doesn't necessarily mean you have to be together. Sure, it is a lot more fun, but sometimes that is impossible.
One of my brothers was in the Army and there were times when I did not see him for a couple of years because of where he is stationed. So, I saved all of my celebrating until we were together again.
But, there is other stuff that you can do.
Check it out:
Send your sibling a gift
If you can't be there to celebrate with them, you can always send them something to let them know you are thinking about them.
Here's what you can do:
Send them a flat rate box from the post office filled with a bunch of things that you think they might like.
For instance, you can send them their favorite classic movie, a bag of popcorn, and their favorite shippable candy. Then include a photo of yourself that they can prop on the sofa with them.
If they need to relax more often you can send them aromatherapy stuff, bath bombs, and candles.
Send your sports-loving sibling little trinkets for their favorite team and some tickets for a game.
These little fun gift boxes with definitely make them smile.
Send them a plane ticket
If you haven't seen your brother or sister for a long time, sending them a plane ticket as a surprise would be great.
If this fits into your budget, of course.
You could have them fly in for a weekend and if you live in the same town as your parents, you'll get a bonus for bringing their child home. That will make you their favorite child and basically, it's an all around win for you.
Get them on a video call
If there is just no way you will be in the same town, you can do the next best thing:
Even if you can only make it happen for five or ten minutes, seeing their face will mean a lot to you.
Phone calls are nice, but video chatting with your loved one is way better. Plus, you can do something silly on the chat and make them laugh. When I video chat with my brothers, I am always making weird faces and catching them off guard.
The video call always ends with all of us laughing and afterward we are all happy.
Whatever You Do, Enjoy the Day
Here is the most important piece of advice I have for you:
Enjoy the day.
Just showing your siblings that you love them on National Siblings Day, and every other day of the year, is all you really need to do.
Sometimes you will not have the time or resources to make some grand gesture and that is okay.
Send them a text message and tell them that you love them. Post a photo on social media like Michelle Obama did.
Just have a nice time.
When Claudia Evart envisioned this day, she just wanted it to be a day where everyone can take a breath, look at their siblings, and be grateful to have them in their life.
Because guess what?
Not everyone is lucky enough to still have their brothers and sisters in their lives. Ms. Evart found that out in the worst way possible.
Love them while they are here. Laugh with them when you can. And remember:
No matter how old you get, leaving a whoopee cushion on their seat is still hilarious.