What week is it? A breakdown of everything you could be celebrating, December 6-12

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For about the next two weeks, the daylight hours will continue to get shorter, leaving little to do but contemplate the existential despair that comes with the gathering darkness, and maybe try to get some Christmas shopping done. Unless you're Jewish, in which case it's day six of Hanukkah, which means you get to eat pancakes made out of hashbrowns and gamble with a spinning top -- but even if you're not, there's still plenty more stuff you could be celebrating this week to ward off the dread.

For example, this week is Nobel Week, which means it's time to celebrate the now-less-obscure-than-they-previously-were recipients of various Nobel Prizes; the six categories are physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics and peace. You won't be winning any of those, true, but we can still raise a toast to, uh, Richard F. Heck, for example, who won in Chemistry this year. Huzzah! The prizes get dispensed on Friday.

Speaking of Nobel Prize day, this year it happens to coincide with Human Rights Day, a holiday created by the United Nations to raise awareness of, you know, human rights. Each year, the U.N. selects a theme for the holiday; this year's is probably something like "foisting bike-sharing programs upon an unsuspecting populace who does not know that they are also instruments of mind-control," or something like that.

Tomorrow is international civil aviation day, which if you're hyper-rich, you can celebrate by flying around in your private plane -- only counts if you fly it yourself. If you're not hyper-rich, maybe you could celebrate it by staring really hard at one of the Hyde Park billboards and trying to figure out the logical sequence between posing John Travolta as a "professional pilot" and selling a watch.

But the best holiday this week by far is National Pastry Day, the celebration of which is a no-brainer: gorge on pastries. And while you're at it, you might as well grab a bucket of ice cream, too. Nothing like a stun-inducing caloric intake to ward of that existential despair.


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