What do you like to do in your spare time? Every January, during National Hobby Month, thousands of Americans celebrate their favorite hobbies and try out new ones. From outdoor activities like swimming or hiking, to artsy projects like painting or knitting — most of us have go-to pursuits. During this month, don’t just stick to your regular routine. Expand your list of hobbies and share the ones you love.
History of National Hobby Month
The etymology behind the word hobby can be traced back to the 16th century word “hobyn” meaning “small horse and pony.” The term “hobby horse” was a toy horse purchased in Reading, England in 1557. Originally called a “tourney horse,” this toy horse was made of a straight stick with a small horse’s head made also of wood or stuffed fabric. Hobbies are often referred to as a “pastime,” derived from the use of hobbies to pass the time. From “hobby horse” came the expression “to ride one’s hobby horse” meaning “to follow one’s favorite pastime.” Over several centuries the term “hobby” grew to be associated with recreation and leisure. While in the 17th century it was generally perceived as a childish pursuit, with the growth of the industrial society, hobbies took on greater respectability by the 18th century. Over years, hobbies are now an activity that is a regular practice serving a worthwhile purpose to individuals. Hobbies can be practiced for pure enjoyment or interest, and sometimes even financial reward.
Today hobbies are embraced all over the world and people’s passion for their hobbies has taken them places they never would have thought possible. From reading, writing, and collecting, to art and video games, whatever it is that gets your gears going, this January is your opportunity to kick it into full swing and let your inner hobbler out!
National Hobby Month timeline
Netflix began releasing new episodes of popular TV shows all at the same time — ushering in the era of binge-watching as a hobby.
Home consoles for video games
Odyssey, the first video game home console, went on sale in 1972.
Great Britain issued the first postage stamp
Stamp collecting peaked as a hobby in the mid-20th century.
Knitting's "purl stitch" method invented
Knitting, as a hobby, fell out of favor in the late 1980s, but rebounded as the 21st century dawned.
National Hobby Month FAQs
What defines a hobby?
Anything you enjoy doing in your spare time is considered a hobby! From yoga, to music, from beer brewing to knitting, the world is your oyster!
Are video games a hobby?
Yes! It can even be a lucrative one. There are tons of online and local competitions and championships to go head to head with others that are passionate about gaming.
How do I find a Hobby?
Well we won’t tell you what to like, but your options are endless! Lots of people collect and craft but the idea is just to find something you love doing.
National Hobby Month Activities
Share one of your favorites
Whether it's hiking, tennis, or yoga — find a friend to share your hobby with and teach them something new.
Try out a new one
Get out of your comfort zone by trying out a new hobby. If you're a little scared, bring a friend!
Take a class
Or start a Meetup group. There are probably people nearby who share your passion. It's a great way to find new friends with similar interests.
5 Celebrities And Their Favorite Hobbies
When she's not slaying on stage, Beyonce enjoys reading a good book.
You may have noticed this already, but the celebrity soccer star loves getting new tattoos.
The "Harry Potter" author turned her writing hobby into an empire.
The superstar is really a video game nerd at heart.
The late NBA great enjoyed playing other sports in his free time — including soccer.
Why We Love National Hobby Month
They enrich our lives
We all have hobbies we already love. These activities keep us multi-dimensional and well-rounded. They also bring experiences to our lives that we wouldn't normally get from work or at home.
There are so many
No matter how many hobbies you have, you can always add more. Each one gives you different experiences.
They aren't binding
Hobbies are low maintenance. If you need to take a break, it will still be there for you to enjoy down the road.
National Hobby Month dates