6 Made-Up Holidays to Celebrate This September

This year is hard.

Everything is just too much. My coping skills were maxed out back in early April, so add online school into the mix, and WOOF. My writing skills have clearly taken a hit as well. 

When I am seeking peace and calm in my life, purposeful celebrations that are simple and fun give me something to focus on, something to smile about, and something to do with my family that doesn’t involve arguing about screens. Just because we can’t get together and throw big parties right now, doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate. 

Here are 6 fake holidays to celebrate at home with your family this September.

Pick one, pick a few, or go all out and celebrate them all! Tag @IowaCityMoms and we’ll be celebrating together from afar.

First Day of Fall

September 22

Hawkeye Game Day Tailgate

Any Saturday – but keep an eye out for the TBD Iowa football schedule

  • Get the whole family decked out in all your best black and gold gear.
  • Start your favorite crock pot recipe, fire up the grill, make homemade chips and salsa, or try one of these 5 easy game day recipes.
  • Play some yard games like bags, red-neck golf, or croquet. Or, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, play some family board games inside. 
  • Teach your kids the Iowa Fight Song and the Victory Polka.
  • Put on an old Hawkeye game video and relive the glory days!

National Pancake Day

September 26

Make pancakes.

Eat pancakes.

Enough said.

Here are some great recipes for both homemade pancakes and syrup. Be brave, and see if you can make your pancakes into some fun shapes! This is a fake holiday, after all, so live it up!

National Be A Good Neighbor Day

September 28

Do something nice for a neighbor. Rake leaves, bake cookies, write a note, bring them flowers, make sure your dog doesn’t bark all night . . .

National Coffee Day

September 29

Y’all. This is what we’ve trained for! THIS IS THE DAY!

Corridor-wide coffee date! Take a selfie with your perfect cup, and share it far and wide on your social media channels. No shame in your ‘gram game! Treasure your roasted bean water and celebrate it for all it has done for you. Tag us @Iowacitymoms and we’ll join you in a virtual cheers. Consider supporting local and grabbing some java to go from any of these Iowa City area coffee shops.

National Hot Mulled Cider Day

September 30

Nurse your coffee hangover with some warm and spicy mulled cider. There’s nothing better than apple cider from Wilson’s Orchard, but you can make it extra special by heating it on the stove in a pan with some mulling spices. It will make your whole kitchen smell divine and put you in the fall spirit (if you weren’t there already!). 

Pro-tip: even after you have strained the spices out of your cider, they will still smell great, so throw them back in the pan with some water and use them as potpourri!

Mulling Spices Recipe

To a half gallon of apple cider, add the following spices. (If you like it less spicy, use the same amount of spices for a whole gallon of cider, or just halve the recipe.) 

Heat it all in a pan, and let simmer on low for at least 10 minutes. Strain spices before serving. 

1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice berries
3 peppercorns
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
Optional: A thinly sliced cross-section of orange, lemon, or both.

Happy celebrating! And know that other moms and families around the corridor are celebrating with you in spirit. Snap some pics of your celebrations and tag @iowacitymoms, and let’s celebrate these made-up holidays together.


Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


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