Did You Know...

from December 22, 2013 Society Page

*~ Every year since 1984, a group of economists at PNC Wealth Management have figured out how much it would cost to actually buy all the things on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” list. The so-called Christmas Price Index indicates inflation and the increasing costs of certain goods. This year, for instance, if you were really going to buy everything on that list—which includes hiring drummers and dancers (per performance) and milking maids (per hour), and, presumably, a group of men who are willing to leap for pay—it would run you $114,651.17. Compare that to 1990, when you could get away with the whole shooting match for a cool $15,231.70. At today’s prices, a performance of twelve drummers drumming would set you back an average of $2,854.50, while seven swans will run you a whopping $7,000.

*~ Unless you become a Grinch and deny yourself of a day of Christmas excess, you can expect to consume around 7000 calories. Considering the recommended daily calorie intake is 2000 for women and 2500 for men, this is a big leap. Egg nog, nuts, chocolates, smoked salmon and a turkey dinner all add up to make December 25 one big binge-fest. Don't worry - you can always make joining a gym one of your New Year's resolutions.

*~ Myrrh - one of the three gifts said to be given to the baby Jesus - comes from a small bushy tree, cultivated in ancient times in the Arabian peninsula. The resin used raw or crushed and mixed with oil to make a perfume.


Did You Know...

from the December 15, 2013 Society Page

*~ How magical is Santa?  There are 2.1 billion children under age 18 in the world. If there are on average 2.5 children per household. Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. To reach all 842 million stops, Santa would need to travel between houses in 2/10,000 second, which means he would need to accelerate 12.19 million miles per second on each stop. The force of this acceleration would reduce Santa to “chunky salsa.”

*~ In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.

*~ The Viking god Odin is one precursor to the modern Santa Claus. According to myth, Odin rode his flying horse, Sleipnir (a precursor to Santa’s reindeer), who had eight legs. In the winter, Odin gave out both gifts and punishments, and children would fill their boots or stockings with treats for Sleipnir.

*~ Mistletoe is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings.

*~ In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.

*~ Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.