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Everything You Need to Know About January

Margaret loves researching and writing about lesser-known aspects of holidays, traditions, and other things we take for granted.

There's a lot more to the month of January than its premier position on the calendar.

There's a lot more to the month of January than its premier position on the calendar.

Basics About the First Month of the Year

January derives its name from Janu, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. Janu was said to be the protector of gates, doorways, and paths, which is fitting because many of us view January as the doorway to the new year. January is the first month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is also the first of seven months with 31 days. The other six months are March, May, July, August, October, and December. The first day of January is a holiday known as New Year's Day—it follows New Year's Eve (the night of December 31st), during which many celebrate the last day of the year by attending parties or church services.

Interesting Things About January

  • In many places in the Northern Hemisphere, January tends to be the coldest month of the year. So be prepared with coats, scarves, gloves, and boots.
  • January is the month with the highest number of divorce filings in the U.S. Many of those who plan to divorce wait until the holidays are over to begin proceedings, especially if children are involved. Some also do so to simplify their income tax process.
  • There are close to 100 people in the U.S. whose first or last name is January. January Jones is an actress who was born on January 5th, 1978. Interestingly, even though she was born in January, she was not named after the month. She was named after January Wayne, a character in Jacqueline Susann's novel, Once Is Not Enough.

January's Flowers and Birthstone

One of January's flowers is the snowdrop (genus Galanthus). Another is the pink Dianthus. The month's birthstone is garnet. Garnets appear in a wide variety of colors and are said to represent constancy.

People born in January have either Capricorn (left) or Aquarius (right) as their zodiac sign.

People born in January have either Capricorn (left) or Aquarius (right) as their zodiac sign.

January's Zodiac Signs

Two zodiac signs' date ranges include parts of January.

  1. Capricorn: December 22nd to January 19th
  2. Aquarius: January 20th to February 21st

Holidays and Observances in January

  • January 1st: New Year's Day
  • January 6th: Epiphany, or Feast of the Three Kings (celebrates the visit of the magi to the young Jesus)
  • Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Renowned authors Edgar Allan Poe (left) and Zora Neale Hurston (right) were both born in January.

Renowned authors Edgar Allan Poe (left) and Zora Neale Hurston (right) were both born in January.

Celebrities Born in January

If you were born in January, you share your birth month with quite a few celebrities. Some of the most prominent ones are listed below.

  • Elvis Presley
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • J.D. Salinger
  • Zora Hurston
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Morris Chestnut
  • Mel Gibson
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Jason Bateman

Presidents Born in January

  • Millard Fillmore: January 7, 1800
  • William McKinley: January 29, 1843
  • Franklin Roosevelt: January 30, 1882
  • Richard Nixon: January 9, 1913

Presidents Who Died in January

  • John Tyler: January 18, 1862
  • Rutherford B. Hayes: January 17, 1893
  • Theodore Roosevelt: January 6, 1919
  • Calvin Coolidge: January 5, 1933
  • Lyndon B. Johnson: January 22, 1973
Gym memberships become popular in January.

Gym memberships become popular in January.

Things to Buy in January

If you need any of the items listed below, you may be able to save money by purchasing them in January. Shopping for things that are on sale during January is a great way to use any gift cards you might have received for the holidays.

1. Gym Memberships and Fitness Equipment

Retailers usually offer deals on gym memberships and fitness equipment in January because they know fitness is a popular New Year's resolution. During January, there are typically five times as many exercise equipment deals as during other months. Gym memberships and fitness equipment like treadmills, elliptical machines, weights, and exercise mats may be heavily discounted during the first month of each year.

2. Bedding and Bathroom Linens

The best sales for bedding usually come in January. Discounted prices on sheets, blankets, pillows, comforters, and other bedding items can be found at a number of major retailers both in-store and online. Prices may also be discounted on bathroom linens, so be sure to stock up on washcloths and towels as well.

3. Winter Clothes

January is one of the top months of the year to buy clothes, but it’s not the best time to buy all clothes. Most retailers want to clear out their winter stock to make room for spring styles. This means you can get steep discounts on winter coats, sweaters, suits, and other cold-weather apparel.

4. Spring Travel

To get deals on spring travel, schedule your trips in January. January is a slow month for the travel industry. Start looking in January if you want to take a vacation later in the year.

5. Holiday Décor

Many people know that the best time to get bargains on holiday décor is right after the December holidays. Before you take your Christmas trees and other decorations down, go shopping for new items for next year. Once the holidays are over, most retailers offer ridiculous discounts on any Christmas merchandise they have left over.

Things Not to Buy in January

While there are some great bargains to be had during the month of January, there are also some things you should avoid buying. Instead of rushing out to buy the following items in January, wait until later in the year when prices may drop.

1. Toys

The best deals on toys are usually offered late in the year, during November and December, before Christmas. It's a good idea to hold off on buying additional toys in January.

2. Smartphones

The best deals on smartphones are usually offered from September to November. Most new models are released in the fall, and sales will have come to an end by January after the holidays.

3. Computers

Don't purchase laptops or other computers in January unless it is an emergency.
The best time to purchase them is in November—before the holidays. Wait until late summer for back-to-school sales or until November for Black Friday deals to get the best bargains.

4. Video Game Consoles

Purchase video game consoles in November instead of January. Usually, console sales come at the end of the year rather than at the beginning of the year.


Lori Colbo from United States on January 02, 2020:

Loved the trivia especially. Great info.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 02, 2020:

Good information. I especially appreciate the counsel on what not to buy. Thank you.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on January 01, 2020:

Very informative Margaret. Thank you.