16 Holiday Fun Facts for Party Small Talk

16 Holiday Fun Facts for Party Small Talk

1. Given the different time zones, Santa has 31 hours to deliver gifts, but his reindeer really have to fly, since that means visiting 823 homes per second.

2. Household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In the United States, trash from wrapping paper and shopping bags totals 4 million tons.

3. This year marks the 34th year that the National Chanukah Menorah – the world’s largest – will be lit in Washington, D.C. during a ceremony televised internationally.

4. The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for the US Postal Service. Last year, over 20 billion cards, letters, and packages were sent, causing the USPS to hire nearly 40,000 temporary workers and put thousands of additional trucks, trains, and planes in service.

5. The word “Kwanzaa” is derived from Swahili and translates to “first fruits of the harvest.”

6. The Löschner family of Neuhausen, Germany, owns the biggest nutcracker collection: 4,334. It is said that German craftsmen made the first decorative nutcrackers around 1800 as a way of mocking authority figures, leading to the phrase “a hard nut to crack.”

7. Despite their bad reputation, poinsettias aren’t deadly. Latex in the stems and leaves can be irritating, but not much more, to humans and animals.

8. The largest gingerbread house in the world was built inside the largest mall in the United States, the Mall of America. It was constructed by Roger Pelcher and his crew on November 22, 2006. The gingerbread house measured more than 67 feet tall; it took Pelcher and his team nine days to construct the 1,496-square-foot confection.

9. The first candy cane dates back to 1670 in Germany. According to holiday lore, a choirmaster distributed sugar sticks bent into the shape of a shepherds’ crook to quiet his young singers during Christmas services. Today more than 1.76 billion candy canes are made for the holidays, enough to stretch from Santa Claus, Indiana, to North Pole, Alaska, and back again 32 times.

10. Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” between October and November of 1843. The story was a hit, selling 6,000 copies by Christmas Day.

11. Run by U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots began in 1947, when 5,000 toys were collected outside Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles and given to local children. Since the nonprofit’s launch, more than 500 million holiday gifts have been donated and distributed to underprivileged kids throughout the country.

12. The largest gingerbread man in the world weighs in at a whopping 466 pounds, six ounces. The Gingerbread House, in Rochester, Minnesota, baked the giant cookie on February 21, 2006.

13. The first American mention of a Christmas tree was in 1747, and, strictly speaking, it wasn’t a tree at all but a wooden pyramid covered with evergreen boughs and decorated with apples. Once the tree idea caught on, it grew by leaps and bounds. More than 34 to 36 million Christmas trees are now produced each year in the U.S. The industry employs over 100,000 people, and over 1 million acres of land have been planted with Christmas trees.

14. An average of 5,800 people end up in the ER each year after suffering injuries from holiday decorating.

15. Artificial Christmas trees were on the market by 1900. They were available by mail from Sears, Roebuck and Company, and cost 50 cents for 33 limbs, or one dollar for 55 limbs.

16. Hershey’s started wrapping their Kisses in red, green, and silver foil for the first time in 1962. Hershey’s now wraps up to 1,300 Hershey’s Kisses a minute. That gives them the capacity to make approximately 33 million Hershey’s Kisses a day, or more than 12 billion a year.

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