Sunday, January 16th, 2011 is the eighth annual Appreciate a Dragon Day.

I assure you, dear reader, that I share your complete disdain for silly made-up holidays synthesized by a committee and fabricated from some unholy admixture of boredom and profit motive. In this particular case, however, 1) Dragons, 2)  the holiday was invented by an actual person, to promote a book (and not to enrich a greeting card company), plus 3) Dragons.

A little background: Appreciate a Dragon Day (or AADD as one might call it in this age of initialisms) is the invention of author Donita K. Paul, who created it to shill "celebrate the release of" her book DragonSpell. (I have not read this; I gather it is meant to be sort of a Narnia-lite for pre-teens who want a little dragon flavor -- and medial capitals -- in their Christian allegory.)

Mrs. Paul's website has a well-meaning list of suggested activities, which are (by design) kid-centric (though in many cases deserving of praise for encouraging said kids to Make Stuff).

That's all well and good, but I have a modest proposal:

Let's subvert this for our own nefarious purposes establish our own traditions for this fine holiday, perhaps involving a bit more sophistication and introspection, and a shade less combining glitter and macaroni noodles. I don't pretend to be especially skilled at working with the raw stuff of the human subconscious so important in meaningful holiday traditions. It also strikes me that, just as dragons are many different things to different people and cultures, so too should this be a holiday for doing one's own individual thing. Even so, I see no harm in throwing out my list of random ideas as a starting point for discussion:

  1. If you're lucky enough to live in a place that has some nice dragon-oriented public art, go oogle it. (Bonus points: Take pictures and post 'em.)
  2. Reflect on dragons in literature. (Which of your favorites do you think is less-widely-known than he should be? Which new-to-you dragon this year made the biggest impression?) Discuss with a loved one, cell-mate or the guy sitting next to you on the bus.
  3. Enjoy a movie with dragons in, either one you've never seen or one you've not seen in a while. (Schlock is acceptable but not required.) (Alt.: Celebrate by not watching the execrable Dragonheart sequel. In fact, do this every day!)
  4. Have a dragon picture sitting in storage? This is a great day to get it matted, framed and/or hung on the wall. (Don't have one? There are loads of mostly-unknown but really talented artists on these modern Intertubes of ours. Find one whose style you like and ask if they're accepting commissions.)
  5. Write an unabashed squee-ing fanboy letter to an author or artist who has created a dragon you like. Bonus points for a real physical letter, as in "on paper".  PSA: Gifts are cool, but for the love of whomever you swear stuff to, please read and heed The Fabulous Lorraine's Top Ten Things Never to Send Your Favorite Writer (via Neil Gaiman).
  6. Go fly (or enjoy the closest approximation you can). Been thinking about trying skydiving or hang-gliding or bungee-jumping? Maybe taking flying lessons? Might as well do it on AADD.
  7. Fire up one of the various video games where the viewpoint character is a dragon. (I should do a list of these as a whole post by itself.)
  8. Traditional holiday foodstuffs? Dragonfruit, Y Fenni (Red Dragon Welsh cheese), Copper Dragon IPA.

Please reply by comment if you have ideas of your own to share. Links to online documentation of your AADD festivities are warmly welcomed.