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Did You Know? December 2022

Did you know that Christmas spending this year is experiencing the effects of inflation? According to PNC Bank’s Christmas Price Index (CPI), which is an annual tradition that shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” this whimsical look at the economy shows a 9.8% increase over last year, topping out at $45,523.27! However, if the zero rise in the Seven Swans-a-Swimming price is removed from the index, then we are looking at a whopping 15.4% rise.

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was the one who first proposed the idea of Daylight-Savings Time (DST) in 1784? In my opinion, old Ben must have spent too much time standing in lightning storms. Critics claim that the time changes might have been useful for some during a bygone era, but it provides little if any real benefit now. One US state legislator referred to these time changes as “government induced biannual jet lag.” So, why use DST at all? At present, three US states do not use DST, and nine states have taken legislative steps to stay permanently on DST. Less than 40% of the countries in the world use DST.

Did you know that people born in South Korea could become two years old overnight? Evidently, if you were born in South Korea, you were one year old at birth. Another year is added on January 1st of each year. If you were born on New Year’s Eve, you are 2 years old one day after you are born. But evidently, those things are going to change in June of 2023, when regulations concerning the use of the international (western) method of calculating ages goes into effect. Does that mean that if you had reached the legal drinking or driving age by the traditional age calculating system, you could lose that privilege overnight?

Did you know what famous American actress and comedian was quoted as saying “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”

Here are some facts about Santa’s reindeers that you might not know:

Did you know the first time that flying reindeer surfaced, or should I say, “took off,” was in an 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore “A visit from St. Nicholas”? But reindeer getting high goes back to ancient Siberian mythology which describes a “heavenly hunt” with shamans riding reindeer pulling sleighs through the air. Evidently, reindeer which were sacred to the Siberians, really did get “high.” They were known to seek out and eat psychedelic mushrooms that caused them to prance about, and when consumed by humans, they gave the feeling of flying.

Did you know that the “most famous reindeer of them all” didn’t join the herd until 1939 when he was written into story by Robert May for the then department store chain Montgomery Ward?

Did you know, according to a team of professors at the University of Edinburg, who obviously had too much time on their hands, the reindeer were probably females? The main driver of their conclusion was the fact that the reindeer coerced by Santa had antlers. Evidently male reindeer shed their antlers during the winter whereas the females do not. Both male and female caribou deer have antlers.

Did you know that the day after Christmas Day is often referred to around the world as Boxing Day? This is in no way related to the fights that beak out over imbibement or family stress caused by the chaos of the whole celebration, but rather after a European, British and colonial tradition. There are many theories of the name but one of the most believable is the European tradition of giving gifts or money to those in need or those providing services. Alms boxes were placed in churches to collect money, and they were opened on the day after Christmas and distributed to the needy.

Did you know that, although Christmas is usually only celebrated by Christians, there are other holidays observed around that time of year, and this year is approaching the perfect storm? The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah this year starts on December 16th and ends on “Boxing Day,” the day after Christmas Day. Kwanzaa, which is a celebration of African American culture, runs from the day after Christmas until January 1st, which is part of the ancient Celtic/Druid observance of the new year which in Scotland and parts of Ireland is known as Hogmanay.

So, my friends, Have a Happy Hanakwanaxmas.

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