Merry Miscellany

Here are just a bunch of interesting facts you probably didn't know about the Christmas season! 

 
 
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Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells was originally written as a Thanksgiving song. Composer James Pierpont write the song in 1857 for his Sunday School class, titling it, "One Horse Open Sleigh." A century later, "Jingle Bells" became the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts, Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, sang it over the radio on December 16, 1965. 


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17% and Legos

Christmas gifts and purchases account for 17% of all annual retail sales int he United States. Bestselling toys over the last century include Mr. Potato Head, Tinker Toys, Yo-Yos, Slinkys, BB guns, Hula Hoops, Barbies, Rubik's Cubes, and LEGO sets. In fact, a recent study reported that nearly 28 LEGO sets are sold every second during the holidays. 


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NO MAN's land

On Christmas Day 1914, during World War 1, German and British soldiers declared a temporary truce and celebrated the day together in the field between their battle lines known as "No Man's Land." They decorated their shelters, exchanged gifts, and played games...all before resuming fighting the following day. (?!)


Christmas Trees

Whose idea was it to bring live trees indoors and decorate them with ornaments? The first Christmas trees, in the 1500s, were actually called "Paradise Trees." They represented mankind's fall in the garden of Eden. Traditionally brought into the home on Christmas Eve, these trees were decorated with apples, symbolizing the fruit Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Paper garlands, ribbons, nuts, round pastry wafers (symbolizing the communion wafer), and even candles were added to dress them up. Eventually, the apples were replaced with round bulb ornaments and the candles with the twinkle lights we're familiar with today. 


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Christmas Sends at least 15,000 people to the E.R.

From hanging lights on ladders to taking roast out of the oven, making merry can prove hazardous. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an average of 15,000 Americans visit hospital emergency rooms each November and December from holiday-related decorating accidents. To top it off, dried Christmas trees spark hundreds of fires, an average of 17 deaths, and $13 million in property damage annually. Be safe, people. 


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The Legend of Christmas Stockings

In Holland, St. Nicholas' feast day is celebrated December 6 by children leaving out shoes overnight and finding little gifts from St. Nicolas in the morning. According to legend, hanging stockings came from the take of a poor man who couldn't afford his three daughters dowries: St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night so that the eldest could wed — but it fell into a stocking that was drying by the fire!