National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is observed annually on the last Monday in January. Its primary purpose of course is to protect fragile items, like the leg lamp in A Christmas Story. But, the act of popping it is irresistible and fun.

Bubble Wrap is a trademark of Sealed Air Corporation and is widely available in Central New York--at Walmart, Target and various UPS outlets. Having a bubble wrap-popping party at work is just ONE of the many ways to have fun on National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. Here are some other ideas:

-Hang out at the Hutt. The great Utica College sports facility is essentially one big bubble, using similar technology as the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

-Bubble gum. It just comes down to picking your favorite.

-Bubble Bath. Probably great deals on the stuff at Dollar General, Dollar Tree or some other Dollar stores.

-Michael Bublé. Enjoy a whole play list of his hits.

-Bubbly. Huge hit from Colbie Caillat.

-Bubble ball. Get a buddy, step inside a couple of these and run around like human hamsters, slamming into each other. What could possibly go wrong?

-Boy in the Bubble. The real-life story of a young Texan named David Vetter, whose auto-immune system failed and confined him inside a bubble for his entire 12-year life. Paul Simon wrote a great song about it:

The history of bubble wrap is interesting. A couple of New Jersey engineers stumbled upon their creation in 1956 after they sealed two shower curtains together. The result of their experiment was an odd collection of air bubbles. Their first thought: Hey, this would make great wallpaper. But, sales for the wallpaper never materialized, so they switched the product to greenhouse insulation.

Bubble wrap wasn’t utilized for shipping until IBM first used it in 1961 to protect computers.