Welcome to the 2013 Christmas Celebration!Each Christmas, 51313 Harbor Street offers these stories, jokes, recipes, songs, photos, and more as our way of brightening your holiday. There will be a new posting every hour until midnight.
Let's get started!
Factoids about Christmas
(Some of which could be true)
Excerpted from Floozy and Other Stories
Kissing under the mistletoe dates back to a 17th century English kissing game. Back then, a berry was removed from the mistletoe every time a kiss was made, which meant no more kisses when all the berries were gone, and then everyone would laugh and laugh. Yeah, I know, but you have to remember that they didn’t have TV so they had to fill their time as best they could.
Mistletoe, by the way, was used by the druids in their secret ceremonies. The druids, a happy-go-lucky group, used to place mistletoe wreaths around the necks of their victims before the victims were sacrificed by having their entrails nailed to an oak tree. You don’t see that on a lot of Christmas cards, do you?
Christmas trees started in Germany in the 16th century. On Christmas Eve, Martin Luther was walking home under a starry sky, which was so beautiful he wanted to recreate its beauty for his children. He decorated a large evergreen with lit candles. He followed his creation of the First Christmas Tree with the development of the First House Fire Caused by a Christmas Tree.
Since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway, have given a Christmas tree every year to the city of Westminster, England. The gift expresses Norway’s gratitude for Britain’s help during World War II, despite the fact that the tree is never on Britain’s Christmas list. Britain would prefer a gift card.
The first president to decorate the white house Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce. This is the only notable thing Pierce did while in office and as such should be remembered, but not by me. I’ve already forgotten it. Franklin who?
Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany or whenever the husband has been nagged beyond human endurance.
“The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet and was used by the Chinese to break the wills of political prisoners. It is outlawed by the Geneva Convention as is the playing of “Jingle Bells” more than 1,754,322 times during the holiday season.
If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would receive 364 presents, none of which you could return. By the way, why are there so many birds in that song? Doesn’t it seem fowl?
Holly berries are poisonous, which does explain why holly berry cookies aren’t popular even though there was a heavy marketing push for them during the 1950s. It joined the ranks of other failed food products: stone ground hemlock bread, foxglove fajitas, poop pie, and of course, green tea.
In 1843, A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in only six weeks. Many of us feel he should have taken more time with it and added some spaceships and several hot alien females.
The first state to recognize the Christmas holiday officially was Alabama. Afterwards, Alabama had to lie down and wasn’t able to recognize other things for years, which is one of the reasons they lagged so far behind in civil rights.
Christmas became a national holiday in America on June 26, 1870. When the news was announced, many retailers swooned.
Coca Cola was the first beverage company to use Santa for a winter promotion. This would be the beginning of a lucrative career as Santa signed endorsement contracts for all sorts of products, including gardening tools (Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!), dynamite (Hole, Hole, Hole!), laser removal of facial disfigurements (Mole, Mole, Mole!) and even Viagra (Pole, Pole, Pole!).
The government actually banned a Christmas tree decoration. Tinsel was once made of lead. (It’s now made of plastic.) The tinsel maker’s jingle – “Decorate your tree with silver rain; You’ll be happy as you damage your brain” – was remade into a hip-hop hit in the ‘90s.
Rudolph was created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930s for a holiday promotion. The rest is sheer greed and marketing history.
The Christmas card was created in England in 1843. Louis Prang, a Massachusetts printer, printed the first Christmas card in the United States in 1875. There’s more to the story, but I got bored. Feel free to look it up.
Excerpted from Floozy and Other Stories. Copyright 2010 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying without express permission from the publisher and author.
Here's a quick and delicious recipe from my sister.
1 lb. box of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of chopped pecans or crushed peppermint and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Prepare an eight inch square pan by lining with foil and then buttering the foil. In a microwaveable container, mix the sugar and cocoa. Place butter on top of the powdered sugar/cocoa mix. Pour in milk. Microwave on high for two minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir and mix well. This mixing process will take a few minutes. When it begins to thicken, add chopped pecans and vanilla. (This recipe can be adapted using crushed peppermint instead of nuts and adding 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint flavoring.) Pour mixture into pan and let harden. Delicious!
If you had to work in retail this holiday season, God bless you! Here are some hints to help you.
From The Anti-Customer Service Training Manual
Customer Service Tip #13: Not only is the customer not always right, sometimes they are batweasel crazy. When this happens, take a deep breath and remember they're not worth you going to prison.
Customer Service Tip #56: It's not your customer's fault he/she is loathsome. That's what happens when first cousins marry. Be kind.
Customer Service Tip #87: I don't care what Willy in Receiving says; drinking when you're busy on your job is a bad thing. For one thing, you might get fired ... Wait, let me think about this some more.
Customer Service Tip #134: In most social circles, it's considered impolite to leap the service counter and snatch your customer baldheaded. Remember this, and you'll be welcome everywhere.
Customer Service Tip #159: If the customer has money and you'll do anything to get it, this means conventional wisdom is wrong: Customer service IS the oldest profession in the world.
Customer Service Tip #176: Bad breath and body odor will only drive away the most sensitive customers. It's not worth the risk of tooth decay and disease. So go ahead and brush your teeth and shower once in a while. Deodorant is, of course, optional.
Customer Service Tip #211: Bitterness is never attractive. Learn to fake sincerity, and your customers will love you until you turn on them like a mad badger and gnaw their legs off.
Customer Service Tip #236: Never tell a customer you're going to have him/her hunted down and killed in the street like a dog. It will upset them. No, let it be a total surprise when it happens.
Copyright 2013 by Stephen B. Bagley. Excerpted from The Anti-Customer Service Training Manual. All rights reserved. No copying without express permission from the author and publisher.
We'll be back next hour!