Tuesday, May 25, 2010


  • "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. (Lets bring this one back into fashion!)
  • "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.
  • Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.  This tradition began in 1836.
  • Although many believe the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is not.  The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the two busiest shopping days of the year.
  • An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.   A spider web found on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck.
  • 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 card 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.
  • Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character in "A Christmas Carol," three other  alternative names were considered by Charles Dickens.  They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam.


  • Orange and black are the colors of Halloween because orange is associated with the fall harvest and black is the color of darkness.
  • Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
  • Halloween candy sales average over 2 billion dollars per year.
  • The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night, so they began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Some people believe that if you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  • According to superstition, if you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, you will see your future spouse.
  • Samhainophobia refers to an abnormal and persistent fear of Halloween.  This time of year may also stir up other phobias such as the fear of cats, witches, ghosts, spiders, the dark and cemeteries.