Christmas Tree-- Strange And Wacky Christmas Food Facts
For many of us, the biggest day of the holiday season is Christmas, and after all the presents are opened, that day’s main event usually involves food. We bet that there are a lot of things you didn’t know about classic Christmas fare.
- Candy Canes were invented to keep kids quiet
Legend has it that candy canes were invented in 1670, when the choirmaster of the Cologne Cathedral commissioned candies shaped like a shepherd’s crook so they could be handed out to children attending the church’s crèche scene in order to keep them quiet. The stripes came later.
- Sugar Plums had nothing to do with plums
From the Sugar Plum Fairy to visions of sugar plums dancing in children’s heads, sugar plums definitely have a place in Christmas lore. But what are they, exactly? You might not have guessed by their name, but these sweet treats are a type of candy. When they first came around in the 1600s, the term “plum” denoted any dried fruit, and typical sugar plums are made with a combination of dried fruit and spices that are rolled into balls, then coated with a hard candy shell.
- Animal Crackers were originally a Christmas treat
Animal crackers were first introduced around Christmastime in 1902. The string on the box was originally intended to be used to hang the boxes on Christmas trees.
- Fruit Cake was intended to last all year
If you’ve ever received a fruitcake as a gift, you probably know that those suckers can last for a long time without ever going bad, thanks to the preservative properties of the sugar and the booze they contain. Actually, that’s a part of the design: they were originally intended to be baked at the end of the harvest season and saved to be eaten at the beginning of the harvest season the following year, for good luck.
- Mince Pie was originally topped with a Jesus effigy
The earliest mince pies date back to medieval times if not earlier, and typically included minced meat, suet, fruits, nuts, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The pie was originally crustless, but over time a crust was added, and a pastry effigy of the baby Jesus was traditionally laid on top. Today, thankfully, meat usually isn’t an ingredient.
- Turkey wasn't the main dish at Medieval Christmas feasts
Roast turkey or another type of poultry is the main protein in a typical British Christmas dinner today, but back in medieval times the preferred poultry was actually peacock! Boar was also a Christmas mainstay. It wasn’t until Henry VIII had turkey for Christmas in the sixteenth century that it became the norm.
- Australians usually grill on Christmas
It’s funny to think that Christmas falls right in the middle of summer Down Under, but it does. The meal is still based on traditional English and North American traditions, but in order to avoid the hot oven most Australians actually prepare their Christmas dinner on the barbie.
- Christmas Dinner usually contains over 7,000 calories
Between the wine, mixed nuts, multiple helpings of turkey and sides, pie, cheese, and booze, the eating and drinking done during Christmas Day alone can add up to more than 7,000 calories per person, according to one study. Maybe skip that second piece of pie this year.
Christmas News-- How to Avoid Being a Bad Houseguest
Wet towels on the floor, signs of snooping in your bathroom cabinet, and letting your kids run wild through your friend's house: if you’re guilty of these, you're probably a bad houseguest, even if your hosts are too polite to say so. Don’t make them run and hide the next time you show up on their doorstep. Use our tips to keep the welcome mat out each time you visit.
What’s the biggest sin a houseguest can commit? HomeAdvisor, a website that matches customers to local, pre-screened plumbers, remodelers and other service professionals, conducted a survey of 2000 Americans about the behaviors that are the most offensive. The biggest pet peeve, they learned, was with houseguests who stay indefinitely. Don't linger after you said you'd leave. Set a date for your departure and stick to it.
Another etiquette mistake: bringing extra guests along without telling your hosts beforehand. It's worse when freeloadering friends leave a big mess for the hostess to clean up. Survey respondents said guests from the millenial generation were the most likely to do this.
And that medicine cabinet? The survey found that hosts really resent someone who rummages around in their personal belongings, whether it’s in the bathroom, bedroom or other area.
Nobody likes undisciplined children running around either. If your kids are visiting with you, make them behave. Don’t wait until your hostess is on her last nerve.
Watch yourself around the refrigerator and the home bar. Your hosts will probably invite you to make yourself at home, and they wouldn't say it if they didn't mean it. Up to a point, that is. Use moderation, so you don't seem greedy.
Today's News-- The Joy of Giving is a High That Lasts Longer Than Receiving: Study
The true gifts are the ones we give!
That’s not just a trite Christmas-ism, either. A new study has found that the happiness levels of people who give gifts is much higher than those who receive gifts.
In fact, while the happiness from getting gifts quickly diminishes over a few days, the joy from giving sticks with us for days after, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
To put the concept to the test, the researchers gave 96 participants $5 gift cards that they either spent on themselves or spent on charities or tip jars.
Upon reflection, the people who spent money on themselves were initially pretty happy, but over the course of those five days, their bliss faded. Meanwhile, the ones who gave the money away remained content for five days.
In a larger experiment of about 500 people, the same researchers challenged people online to a puzzle game, in which they could win 5 cents per round, and could either keep or donate to a charity. Then they asked the participants how happy they were.
Again giving prevailed: those who chose to donate their winnings had sustained happiness for days after they won, compared to those who kept their winnings.