December 15, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Christmas Trivia Edition

I've been trying to get all the decorations up, the Christmas cards done (they're not) and the Princess Nagger has been randomly racked with a spiking fever off-and-on since Friday (6-year molars?  Teeth coming in where her two baby ones are loose?  Plague?)  Not sure what, but she's randomly miserable which can make her randomly a handful.

But fear not!  In spite of my brain waves running on fumes from the lack of sleep watching over the tossing, turning and scalding hot coughing Nagger, I have found some quite entertaining Christmas Trivia just for you!


This is not a picture of my living room - but I'm trying to get Kristina P. to come decorate it like this for me... First she'll need to build a nice big fireplace, so she might be busy for a while.


Did you know...

An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place.

As early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. was worried by the amount of extra mail at Christmas time. His preferred solution to the problem was to limit by law the number of cards a person could send. Even though commercial cards were not available at that time, people were already sending so many home-made cards that sixteen extra postmen had to be hired in the city.

Postmen in Victorian England were popularly called "robins." This was because their uniforms were red. The British Post Office grew out of the carrying of royal dispatches. Red was considered a royal color, so uniforms and letter-boxes were red. Christmas cards often showed a robin delivering Christmas mail.

"Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. "Hot cockles" was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.


It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.

Long before it was used as a "kiss encourager" during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.



Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday. This tradition began in 1836.

In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

Although many believe the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year, it's actually the fifth to tenth busiest day. The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the two busiest shopping days of the year.

"Wassail" comes from the Old Norse "ves heill" - to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.


A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbock. Made from straw, it is a small figurine of a goat. A variety of straw decorations are a usual feature of Scandinavian Christmas festivities.


America's official national Christmas tree is located in King's Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the "General Grant Tree," is over 300 feet (90 meters) high. It was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.


Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.

Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.

Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.

Christmas trees are known to have been popular in Germany as far back as the sixteenth century. In England, they became popular after Queen Victoria's husband Albert, who came from Germany, made a tree part of the celebrations at Windsor Castle. In the United States, the earliest known mention of a Christmas tree is in the diary of a German who settled in Pennsylvania.

Cultured Christmas trees must be shaped as they grow to produce fuller foliage. To slow the upward growth and to encourage branching, they are hand-clipped in each spring. Trees grown in the wild have sparser branches, and are known in the industry as "Charlie Brown" trees.


When Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, died on December 4, 1894, he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend who disliked her own Christmas birthday.

Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with "Tinker Toys" in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.


In 1996, Christmas caroling was banned at two major malls in Pensacola, Florida. Apparently, shoppers and merchants complained the carolers were too loud and took up too much space.

The red Christmas kettle debuted in San Francisco in 1891 in the guise of a crab pot. A depression had thrown many out of work, including hundreds of seamen and longshoremen. The campaign proved so successful that by 1900 it was imitated nationwide.


In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring 12 happy months in the year to follow.



Go forth and be Random!


randomtuesday

45 Random Sassy Comments:

Lola said...

Shoot! Where can I get some mince pies and can I eat more than 1 in a day to catch up?

Kristina P. said...

Hey, how did you get a picture of my house at the top?!?!? :)

Marla said...

Those darn Okies. What a bunch of slow-pokes.

Casey said...

Please god, tell me that's not your house in the first picture? IF it is, please come and decorate mine, stat. Beautiful.

I hope PN feels better soon, teething sucks no matter what age you're at. We just took G to check to see if his 6 year molars were coming in WAY early but thankfully, no.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

I sent out 40 cards and got 7 so far.

Vodka Logic said...

Very interesting.. pigs head? No thanks I'll stick with turkey.

I have sent no cards and gotten 2..

I wondered the same about picture 1 as well..very pretty.

Lady Mama said...

Us Brits do have some strange traditions! I adore mince pies! And I didn't know that about the postmen being called robins in Victorian England. Cool facts!

bernthis said...

thank you for htat. I'm now on my way to get a mince pie, I am that desparate for a good year and that whole caroling ban? fantastic idea.

honeypiehorse said...

I knew none of this. And we're not doing cards this year, I have writer's block.

diane said...

My favorite piece of trivia is on the edible pine. You can steep pine needles in hot water for tea too.

mo.stoneskin said...

Some weird person inside my head actually quite likes the idea of a huge pig's head on the table.

otin said...

Very interesting. I however, am not going to dine on my christmas tree! lol.

I have never played "Cockles" before. Do you play "Cockles"? hahaha!

Yea, pigs head sounds tasty! Why eat the head and throw away the good parts?

Brian Miller said...

interesting trivia....dont think the national tree will fit in my house...cockles sounds like a great excuse to pop someone pretty good, my brother might have been a victim, lol...off to find my golden sickle...

Martha in PA said...

I'm guessing eating the artificial tree would not be advised!

I hope PN is feeling better soon.

I will have to tell my mom the mince pie trivia. She loves mince pie.

I will not be serving a pig (or any other)hear for Christmas!

blueviolet said...

Hot cockles doesn't sound like any fun! Who wants to get hit?

I don't like the national Christmas tree. It looks more like a man's pee-pee.

Toni said...

Wow, who knew there was an official Christmas tree? Well, now I know - thanks Stacy! hee great trivia x

Kristen Andrews said...

Will has been sick too, so I am right there w/ you. I am still trying to wrap up holiday orders and sadly I don't think I will be sending out xmas cards, this is the first year I haven't, oh well. Hope you are doing well.

Mighty M said...

Thanks for the holiday facts! We sent out about 80 cards this year so I guess we are tipping the average scale! :)

Anne said...

I can't imagine I could get the Small Town Ladies to eat 1 mince pie, let alone 12. So much for good luck. I love the photo you want. If she gets started on the fireplace now, it should be ready for next Christmas.

buffalodick said...

Fun facts to know and yell! Good to know about stirring the pudding..I have to make an old English Christmas treat called "Sailor Duff" this week-end..

smiles4u said...

What fun interesting facts! My little ones are just finally feeling better too. Maybe this means we will all be well for Christmas?! I remember how much fun those tinker toys are. Do they still sell them? If they do, I would like to get some. Now I must go buy some mistletoe for our house! Happy Tuesday!

Rebecca Jo said...

these are awesome!

.. & I love the word "Wassiling"

Otter Thomas said...

Great Christmas trivia! It was all news to me. We far exceeded our 28 card allotment.

I am Harriet said...

Doggone it- I've sent out too many cards this year!

Have a great day!
http://iamharriet.blogspot.com/2009/12/do-we-need-santa-speedo-run-in-boston.html

Julie@Momspective said...

I have not and will not send out a single card this year. I have no excuse, I just forgot! All my friends are online anyway lol. I'll send virtual cards :)

Jan said...

I'm sorry, but when I read about the "hot cockles" game I started laughing like a loon (not a good thing to do at work; it's pretty much a sign that you're NOT WORKING).

But really - what kind of a game is that? Here, let's blindfold some poor schmuck and take turns beating him senseless while we make him guess who is smacking him around (presumably before he loses consciousness).

And they say video games are too violent. Sheesh.

CaJoh said...

I heard it somewhere that Ohio wasn't officially a state until 1950. I always tell my parents (who were both born there) that they are immigrants.

My wife has an old cookbook with a mince pie recipe. I have to laugh because it is so old that it uses f's instead of s's… makes you want some more Chicken Noodle Foup.

Thank you for all your random bits of trivia,

Vesper said...

I loved the Christmas picture in the beginning. GORGEOUS! I love your blog!

Mama Badger said...

Sick kids seems to be the prevalent Christmas theme this year. Yuck. Hope she's on the mend.

I shall now go in search of a straw goat...

Sprite's Keeper said...

How would one smuggle a tree into their room? I know the White House has a lot of rooms, but Ole' Teddy wasn't a stupid man..

Jenni said...

know what I love? trivia! great random.

Mrs Cooper said...

Can you even believe that the first picture of the Christmas tree and fire place is the same exact wallpaper I'm using on my blackberry??? I wish I had a fireplace, because it would look just like that.

Nancy Campbell said...

I bought my aunt a Julbock that looks like a moose. I covet it and seriously considering keeping it for myself.

Seansmoma said...

Awesome post! I love all these little Chrismas facts!

Merry Christmas!

I hope Princess Nagger feels better soon (Actually now, why do we say soon and not now?)

Happy Tuesday!

♥Georgie♥ said...

Oh My goodness that first pic is amazing I want my LR like that too!

I am out making the secret santa rounds with a friendly reminder that today is the SSS shipping date and to remind everyone to please email us your DC# and to remind all participants to blog about their gift if they have received it

have a wonderful day

Maggie said...

Hugs to PN!!

I love the charlie brown pic1 :)

I made my christmas tree out of foam. haha

Medora said...

I love Tinkertoys! I love it when Ralphie tells his mom that he wants Tinkertoys for Christmas when he has blurted that he wants the Red Rider BB gun - in A Christmas Story.

Steven Anthony said...

great facts....seems like they could have come up with a better name than hot cockles?????

lol

Frogs in my formula said...

You are a WEALTH of information. What a fun post. I totally forgot about Tinkertoys. I used to love those.

mommytoalot said...

Mmmm love the letter carrier trivia..dh is a letter carrier..he was so busy yesterday..he had to send me a pic of him amoungst his letters in answer to my question.." can u pick Nick up for 2pm"

mommytoalot said...

Mmmm love the letter carrier trivia..dh is a letter carrier..he was so busy yesterday..he had to send me a pic of him amoungst his letters in answer to my question.." can u pick Nick up for 2pm"

Jenners said...

Hope PN feels better ... now I have something else to dread in a few years ... molars and loose teeth.

Thanks for the trivia ... it was interesting!

MarjnHomer said...

great trivia. learned more than one new thing today...btw I dont celebrate Christmas..

Design it Chic said...

Can you imagine how it would be if the number of Christmas cards would be restricted per household???? less worries for us:):):) haha

Thanks for stopping by!

Kirby3131 said...

Very cool trivia. I have 28 cards times 4 to mail out LOL I make up for others not sending them haha

I had that exact tinkertoy set with the little bucket, too! Gosh I haven't seen that in ages :) Thanks so much for posting that photo. I'm instantly nostalgic.

Kristin - The Goat