There’s not really any such day as National Chocolate Chip Day, but also there are two of them. It was a thing that went by this morning, in the wakeup batch of SEO trends, National Chocolate Chip Day, May 15, good for a few promotional tweets from brands with cookie offerings. Who doesn’t want a free cookie, or the thought of a free cookie, as a thing to briefly focus on as if it were news?
News is not the same thing as a fact. The fact is, less than three months than now, it will be (or “be”) National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, August 4. Prepare your fleeting news-oid observations accordingly.
Functionally and historically, chipwise, the distinction between National Chocolate Chip Day and National Chocolate Chip Cookie is meaningless. Chocolate chips were invented to put into chocolate chip cookies. There are other applications—the fancy, hearty bakery in my neighborhood makes a chocolate chip brioche that led my seven-year-old to say “I’ve just tasted the second thing in my life that tastes like heaven. Well, technically, why would you want to eat heaven anyway?”—but hardly a full day’s worth; it would be like having Hot Dog Bun Day on the grounds that lobster rolls exist, and are good.
Where did the days come from? Wikipedia does not include either one on its list of the “over 175 days related to awareness of specific foods or drinks” in the United States. The archive at Newspapers.com had a surge of results for “chocolate chip day” in the ’80s but they turned out to be display ads telling potential shoppers at the Albertsons grocery chain “WEDNESDAY IS 4¢ CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY” (or, later, 5¢ cookie day). Poking further, at near random, the archive yielded a classified section from the August 4, 2006 edition of Florida Today, of Cocoa, Florida, with a little blurb saying “TODAY IS…National Chocolate Chip Day.” (It should have been National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.) The August 4, 2006 classifieds in the Iowa City Press-Citizen said the same, in a different spot on the page.
The classifieds in the Green Bay Press-Gazette classifieds declared “TODAY IS… National CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY” on August 4, 2008—after having declared the same thing on May 15 of that year. A year before, from March into May, it had listed a May 15 National Chocolate Chip Day celebration on its events calendar for the local libraries, week after week.
Google Trends shows mostly noise on the subject of “chocolate chip day,” with small spikes in May and for some reason February, until May 2012, when a big spike emerges. The May spike gets bigger in 2013 and 2014, at which point it is followed by a small emergent spike in August. By 2016, August surpasses May, and stays there through 2017, only to see May rally back into the lead in 2018.
Clearly there is a bitter struggle going on between the two events for the public’s attention. Just as clearly, nobody is really paying attention at all.