03/05/2012 01:59 pm ET Updated May 05, 2012

Celebrate Leap Day, or Any Other Minor Holiday

One of my resolutions is to celebrate holiday breakfasts. However, I've realized that resolution should actually be framed as a subset of more general resolution, something like "celebrate minor holidays" or "find occasions for festivity."

In any event, I followed this resolution on Leap Day this year. I'd been feeling oddly thrilled by the approach of Leap Day, but it hadn't occurred to me to celebrate it, until I heard someone else's plan.

At an event in Dallas a few weeks ago, a woman told me that she was taking her four kids out of school on Feb. 29 for a day of fun. I was enchanted by this idea, but I'm too much of a Hermione to pull my daughters out of school. Instead, I picked them both up and swept them away for an afternoon of special adventures.

First, we went to Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium in Times Square. I figured that was an appropriate thing to do: Ripley's celebrates the unusual and rare, and Leap Day is fun because it's unusual and rare.

Then we went to Dylan's Candy Bar (a giant candy store). My husband doesn't enjoy that kind of thing, so my daughters hadn't been there before, and if you like that sort of place--my daughters and I do--it's tremendously fun. The girls spent a very long time making their candy choices.

Truth be told, as adventures go, this wasn't very ambitious. We barely left our neighborhood, and the entire outing lasted less than three hours. Still, it felt special, like a "treat." Also, I know myself; I have to keep my resolutions manageable, or I can't keep them at all. One of my most important Secrets of Adulthood... Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

One of the main themes of my happiness project is memory. Time is passing so quickly; I worry that I won't remember this time of life, what it's like to have children this age. My shorthand for this worry is, "The days are long, but the years are short." (Of everything I've ever written, my one-minute video, "The Years Are Short," is the thing that resonates most with people).

Celebrating minor holidays is one way to make time stand out. Because this day was unusual, it's more memorable.

Another theme of my happiness project is light-heartedness. Instead of marching around checking things off my to-do list all the time, I want to take time for silliness, for fun, for adventures. Something like Leap Day is a good hook.

Did you celebrate Leap Day? Do you do anything to celebrate other minor holidays?

* I'm a huge fan of Bob Sutton's work, both his blog Work Matters and his terrific books. I was pleased to see that Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst has just come out in paperback.

I'm working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone's project will look different, but it's the rare person who can't benefit. Join in--no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday's post will help you think about your own happiness project.

* Want to start or join a group a happiness-project group, for people doing happiness projects together? Email me at to ask for the starter kit. To learn more about the groups, or to see if there's one in your area already, check here.

For more by Gretchen Rubin, click here.

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