17 Fascinating Hobbies to Start Over the Holidays

From Word Genius

Scutelliphiles, noodling, and gongoozling, oh my! These days, we’re all looking for ways to fill our time at home. Here are some fascinating hobbies with even more out-there names to add to your list of what to do if you get really, really bored with Netflix.


“Cartophily” is the collecting of cigarette cards. In the late 19th and early 20th century, cigarette makers used to give away artistic cards in packs of cigarettes. Eventually the cards evolved into multi-card reference books with fine illustrations and detailed texts. The cards fell out of popularity during World War II when the British government outlawed them for being a “waste of vital raw materials.”


“Fusilately” is the collecting of phone cards. For those of you born after 1990, phone cards are credit card-sized, prepaid cards used at payphones. Some phone cards used a number to dial, while others were inserted into a card reader. Collectors of these cards look for interesting and artistic small-release batches to add to their collection. Who wouldn’t want David Hasselhoff staring at them every time they used the phone with their Baywatch Phone Card?

Distro Hopping

“Distro” is short for “distribution” and refers to Linux distribution platforms. The act of distro hopping is when a Linux user continuously switches from one Linux distribution to another, chopping and reconfiguring each distribution, often trying to find the perfect combination to fit their needs. If you’re aren’t an avid techie, this probably isn’t the hobby for you.


“Lapidary” is the art of forming stones, gemstones, or minerals into works of art. “Lapidarists” use cutting, grinding, and polishing to achieve their finished product. 


“Deltiology” is the practice of collecting postcards. Some people collect postcards simply because they find the cards attractive. Other deltiologists specialize in certain areas of postcard art, such as townscapes or ballet. If you love sending postcards from all your travels, this is the hobby for you!


Noodling” is an activity in which the noodler wades into shallow water, usually in a lake or river, and sticks their hand into underwater holes in hopes of catching the attention of a catfish. Once the catfish bites their hand, the noodler hooks their fingers in the fish’s mouth and pulls the catfish out of the hole. Noodling isn’t legal in every state, so make sure you check your state’s laws before taking up this (potentially dangerous) hobby.


Philately” isn’t just the collecting of stamps, but the study of everything about stamps. Philatelists study the design process, the paper used, method of printing, gum, method of separation (perforated or rouletted?), overprints, security marks, and fake or forged stamps. These people are really into stamps.


While geocaching has become more popular in recent years, it’s still a fairly obscure hobby. “Geocaching” is a game where players use GPS to track down a container, or cache. These caches can contain anything from buried treasure to a logbook for players to sign. If you love adventure, travel, and getting your hands dirty, this could be the hobby for you.


“Lotology” is the study and collection of lottery tickets. Some tickets are winners, most tickets are losers, and some tickets are just pretty. For whatever reason, lotologists just love their scratchers.

Herp Keeping

Herp (short for herpetology) keeping is the act of keeping and caring for reptiles. Herp keepers provide shelter and food for their scaly friends and are often involved in online communities about the best way to care for their reptiles. Lizard lovers, this is the hobby for you.


“Phillumeny” is the collection of match-related items, such as matchbooks, matchboxes, matchbox labels, and any other type of match-y item. As with most collectors, phillumenists value rare and interesting collectibles, often buying decades-old treasures from all around the world.


Mycophiles love mushrooms. Mycophiles hunt, gather, study, find uses for, and eat all kinds of mushrooms from all over the world. Some mycophiles are career mycologists: scientists that study mushrooms. 


Scutelliphiles are collectors of souvenir badges, pins, and stickers. Not to be confused with falerists, who only collect military badges, pins, and stickers.


Taphophiles love everything related to the cemetery. Taphophiles often visit cemeteries, copy down epitaphs, take pictures of gravestones and tombs, and even collect rubbings of headstones. It might sound a little spooky, but taphophiles love the beauty and serenity of the cemetery.


“Dowsing” refers to the centuries-old practice of using a forked stick, rod, or pendulum to search for underground water, minerals, or other hidden substances. While dowsers swear by their methods, the United States Geological Survey has debunked dowsing as a hoax. Regardless, dowsers still practice all over the world.


Gongoozlers are those who enjoy watching activity on various canals in the United Kingdom. (We have leaf peeping in the U.S., so don’t judge too harshly.) More generally, the term can be used to describe people who are interested in canals and canal life but do not actively operate a craft on the canal. Wouldn’t you like to spend an afternoon gongoozling?

Ephemera Collecting

“Ephemera collecting” is the study and collecting of any memorabilia that was intended for a short-term purpose. The word comes from the Greek word emphemeros, meaning short-lived. Usually ephemera items are paper based. If you can’t decide between philately, deltiology, or lotology, ephemera collecting means you can have it all!


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