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Okay, so we weren’t really sure at first what a “joy germ” even was, but it’s just another way of describing how happiness is contagious. Yup, that old saying that “you should smile because it’s contagious” has its own day.

The idea behind calling it “joy germ” was because germs and other pathogens spread from person to person so readily. So it seemed a good idea that happiness should also be highly infectious.

History of National JoyGerm Day

Back in 1981, Joan White of Syracuse, New York thought of the idea of holding Joy Germ Day, and the idea has developed a following that stretches across the US as well as around the world. Ms. White is a retired advertising and public relations specialist and it’s little surprise that she’s displayed her creativity and positive thinking to promote the idea of joy germs.

The original Joy Germ Day also fell on White’s mother’s birthday, as it was her energy that inspired White to have the day to honor her. White isn’t entirely sure how she came up with the idea of joy germs. One mention of it came from a piece she wrote one time for a local inn, but the inn owner had asked her to remove mention of the phrase at that time. So she kept it for herself and ultimately came up with Joy Germ Day.

How to Celebrate JoyGerm Day

Happiness is contagious. Go spread it. There are various ways that you can emit the joy bug, so feel free to utilize all of your energy that you can possibly muster doing it. Simple things can include just smiling and generally being nice to people.

More involved things could include going to an old age home and interacting with the residents, who are often bored and lonely. You can probably think of other ideas too, based on what you’ll be doing for the day otherwise. If you work in a job that involves people, try being extra friendly towards them and make an effort to spread joy.

Joan White herself publishes a seasonal newsletter, titled “Infectionately Yours” (keeping with the theme of joy germs), and otherwise sends lots of cards, letters, and phone calls for the day. In the past, she involved herself in a variety of activities for joy germ Day that include parades, speeches in local Rotary clubs, and lots of visits to nursing homes and senior centers in the Syracuse area.

There’s even a mascot for the day; Things like joy germ T-shirts, membership cards, and even a joy germ apparently exist. The most fascinating thing about joy germ Day is not just the day itself, but that it was started more than 30 years ago by a single woman who managed to make the day known far beyond her hometown. Perhaps we should take a lesson from her, with the way that she just expresses positive thoughts all the time. As White herself says, “May a giant jar of jaunty joy germs rest gently on you and yours.”

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