Holiday Fact or Fiction

Use this for your Christmas get-togethers or family reunions! Holiday Fact or Fiction:

- Mariah Carey recorded "All I Want For Christmas" in August of 1994. So they brought Christmas trees into the studio to make it feel like Christmas, even though it was summer.

- Elvis' never recorded a Christmas album, because he secretly hated Christmas. 
(FICTION! His best-selling album ever was "Elvis' Christmas Album". It's sold more than 10 million copies.)

- Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording job was singing the lead vocals on a song called "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on a "Star Wars" Christmas album in 1980. 

- "White Christmas", "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas" were all written by Jewish composers. 

- Lyrics to the song "Frosty The Snowman" were written by a 12-year-old.
(FICTION! They were written by a couple of professional songwriters who also wrote, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail".)

- "Jingle Bells" was originally written to be a Thanksgiving song, not a Christmas song. 

- A priest wrote "Silent Night" for the guitar when he found out the church organ would be broken at Christmas mass. 
(FACT! Austrian priest Joseph Mohr wrote it on Christmas Eve, 1818.)

- "White Christmas" is the best selling Christmas single of all-time.

- In the "Twelve Days of Christmas", my true love gave me six drummer's drumming on the sixth day.
(FICTION! It's six geese a laying) 

- The movie "A Christmas Story" is based on some short stories that were originally published in "Playboy". 

- Jack Nicholson wanted to play Ralphie's dad in "A Christmas Story". 
(FACT! But producers couldn't afford him.)

- After being reduced to nothing but a puddle, Frosty the Snowman is brought back to life by a kid's Popcicle. 
(FICTION! Santa Claus brought him back to life.)

- The reason given for the Grinch's crankiness is that his shoes were two sizes too small. 
(FICTION! It was his heart)

- Santa Claus is never mentioned in the holiday classic ''A Charlie Brown Christmas''.
(FICTION! Lucy mentions him while trying to get Schroeder to play ''Jingle Bells''.)

- Peter Billingsley . . . a.k.a. Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" . . . was an executive producer on "Iron Man".

- Producers of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" altered Boris Karloff's voice so that his lines as the Grinch would sound harsher than his narration of the story.

- The guy that sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was also the voice of Tony the Tiger.
(FACT! His name was Thurl Ravenscroft.)

- Charles Dickens wrote a new Christmas story every year, but "A Christmas Carol" is the only one people remember. 

- It was Tiny Terry who said, "God bless us, everyone" in "A Christmas Carol".

- Before he settled on Tiny Tim, Charles Dickens considered naming the boy in his classic story "A Christmas Carol" Small Sam or Little Larry.
(FACT! Also Puny Pete.)

- George Bailey contemplates suicide in "It's A Wonderful Life" after his wife catches him in an affair with a showgirl.
(FICTION! His mortgage business is being foreclosed on after his uncle loses $8,000)

- You can't make snowballs at the South Pole because the snow is too dry.

- It's colder at the South Pole than at the North Pole.
(FACT! Average winter time temperatures: -76 degrees at the South Pole; -22 at the North Pole. It's because the South Pole is about two miles above sea level.)

- In Australia, Santa's sleigh is often said to be pulled by six white kangaroos.
(FACT! Or "boomers" as they call them down there.)

- Almost half of the 17 million trees Americans will buy for Christmas this year were grown in Mexico.
(FICTION! They come from either North Carolina or Oregon.)

- The official date of Jesus' birth is December 25th.
(FICTION! In the fourth century, Pope Julius the First chose December 25th as the day to celebrate his birth. But most historians agree he was probably born in the spring.)

- Santa doesn't have 24 hours to deliver all his presents, he has 31.
(FACT! As long as he travels east to west, he has 31 hours because of time zones and the rotation of the Earth.)

- Kwanzaa wasn't a holiday until the 1960's.
(FACT! It's a celebration of African heritage that was first celebrated in 1966.)

- Festivus from "Seinfeld" was actually invented in 1966, the same year as Kwanzaa. 
(FACT! A guy named Dan O'Keefe came up with it. There wasn't an aluminum pole at that point, but there were wrestling matches and an "airing of grievances". O'Keefe's son was a writer on "Seinfeld", and he wrote the Festivus episode.)

- The Feast of Winter Veil is the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. 
(FICTION! It's a fake holiday in the video game "World of Warcraft".)

- Hanukkah is about the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt.
(FICTION! That's Passover. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C. It started at sundown last night.)

- The Saint Nicholas associated with Santa Claus is the patron saint of prostitutes.

- Donner and Blitzen are German words that mean stoned and drunk.
(FICTION! It means thunder and lightning.)

- Kids in Jamaica traditionally leave Santa a treat called Shamshuku . . . and a joint.

- Since all of Santa's reindeer have antlers, they're all males.
(FICTION! Both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Males usually lose theirs in November, so all of Santa's reindeer are actually female.)

- The word reindeer comes from the fact that they're the only species of deer that can be harnessed and led with reins. 
(FICTION! The Scandinavian word 'hreinn' means 'reindeer.' Adding the word "deer" at the end was redundant.)

- Hanukkah is the only Jewish holiday mentioned in the Torah.
(FICTION! They never mention it, because the event it commemorates took place after the Torah was written.)

- A real menorah only has room for seven candles.
(FACT! The thing non-Jews call a menorah is actually called a Hanukkah, and it has nine candles. It's used during the eight days of Hanukkah to celebrate the fact that a seven-candle menorah stayed burning for eight days, when Jews only had enough oil to last one day. The ninth spot is for the candle that lights the other ones.) 

- Jews are supposed to put their lighted candles in a window or outside their front door.
(FACT! The idea is to let people passing your house see them.)

- The fact that the oil lasted eight days is important, because it was the only source of heat for Jews under siege in the temple.
(FICTION! The oil kept the temple's eternal flame lit until the Jews could prepare more olive oil to keep it burning for longer. If it went out, the temple would have been desecrated.)

- There was a heated Hanukkah debate in early Judaism about whether to start with one candle on the first day and work up, or start with all eight and work down.
(FACT! The House of Hillel wanted to start low and work up to eight, and they won out over the pro-countdown House of Shammai.) 

- Rabbis are not allowed to play dreidel because it's considered gambling.
(FICTION! Most rabbis would probably crush you at dreidel and take all your chocolate coins.)

- Dreidels sold in Israel have a different character on one side than dreidels sold in the rest of the world.
(FACT! The characters stand for the Hebrew phrase "A great miracle happened there." In Israel they say "A great miracle happened HERE".)

- Jimmy Carter was the first sitting president to take part in a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony. 
(FACT! And Bill Clinton was the first to hold the ceremony in the White House.) 

- Because of a quirk with the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah can never start or end on Christmas day. 
(FICTION! It started on Christmas in 2016.) 

- American colonists refused to drink eggnog at Christmas, because they considered it a "drink for the King."
(FICTION! They were psyched to drink it, and American colonists are the ones that made it popular. In England, only the rich could afford eggs and milk, but most colonists had their own chickens and cows, so they could make their own royal drink.)

- A drink only needs to contain 1% egg yolks to legally be called eggnog.
(FACT! And "eggnog flavored milk" only needs to be a half a percent yolk.) 

- Two cups of eggnog without alcohol has as many calories as a Big Mac.
(FACT! Two cups also have as much fat and cholesterol as a Big Mac.)

- A cup of eggnog has as much sugar as a can of Coke.
(FICTION! Most brands of eggnog have NO sugar, so feel free to drink up.) 

- You don't need to worry about using raw eggs in eggnog, because the alcohol will kill all the germs.
(FICTION! The FDA says that will NOT work, and you run the risk of getting salmonella.)

- Early eggnog was served hot. 
(FACT! Like cider, hot toddies, and other holiday drinks, it was often heated.)

- The average Christmas tree has 150,000 needles on it.
(FACT! That's according to research by the Forestry Commission.)

- Teddy Roosevelt banned Christmas trees from the White House.
(FACT! He thought cutting down evergreens for Christmas was bad for the environment.)

- Only one out of 50 Christmas trees are cut in the wild . . . instead of on tree farms.
(FACT! 98% of trees come from tree farms.)

- About half a billion dollars' worth of real trees were sold last year.
(FICTION! It was just over a billion . . . which is about 31 million trees.)

- The phrase ''Merry Christmas'' was once frowned upon by the church, since the word merry implied that you were happy because you were drunk.
(FACT! Priests in Australia still encourage you to say ''Happy Christmas'' instead, and most people in the UK say "Happy" instead of "Merry.")

- Candy canes are cane-shaped so that they can be hung from Christmas trees.
(FICTION! They were bent to look like shepherd's staffs for a church pageant.)

- Standing under mistletoe should only get you a kiss if you're a virgin.
(FACT! It comes from a Druid religious ceremony involving priests and virgins.)

- John Goodman never played Santa Claus in a TV show, cartoon or movie.
(FICTION! He was in 2006's remake of ''A Year Without a Santa Claus'', 1998's ''Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie'' and an episode of ''Futurama''.)

- George Wendt . . . Norm, from ''Cheers'' . . . never played Santa Claus in a TV show, cartoon or movie.
(FICTION! He first did it in Jenny McCarthy's 2006 movie "Santa Baby", then played Santa for last year's "A Colbert Christmas" and is now starring in this year's straight-to-video dog flick ''Santa Buddies''.)

- Kevin James from "The King of Queens" has never played Santa Claus.
(FICTION! He played the big guy in 2007's TV special ''Elmo's Christmas Countdown''.)

- Bill Cosby never played Santa Claus in a TV show, cartoon, or movie.

- Two of the New Testament Gospels indicate there were only two wise men.
(FICTION! The Gospel of Matthew is the only one that mentions them, and it doesn't specify how many there were.)

- In order to visit everyone on earth on Christmas Eve, Santa would only be able to spend half a second at each house. 
(FICTION! He would have to visit 20,000 homes a second, so a half a second is about 10,000 times too long.)

- Scrooge's deceased partner Jacob Marley was the inspiration for Bob Marley's stage name. 
(FICTION! He was born Robert Nesta Marley.)

- Eggs are added to eggnog, because their high protein makes your body feel the alcohol faster.
(FICTION! They are added to give the drink its thick, frothy texture.)

- The average fruitcake has the same density as mahogany wood.
(FACT! According to a 1991 Harper's Index.)

- Hanukkah must be timed to fall during a full moon. 
(FICTION! It takes place four days before the new moon.)

- A popular Christmas tradition in Victorian England had blindfolded children guess who was hitting them.
(FACT! It was called hot cockles.)

- Bavarian children in Germany are terrorized during the holiday season by adults dressed as goat-headed Christmas trolls. 

- Contrary to the popular myth, there are actually fewer suicides during the holiday months than the rest of the year.

- Druid priests believed that mistletoe was sent from heaven and would only allow it to be harvested with a golden sickle.
(FACT! They also would not allow it to touch the ground.)

- Fig Newton cookies do not actually contain any figs. 

- One of the more popular soft drinks in Denmark is reindeer-flavored soda.

- A clothed snowman melts more slowly than a "naked" snowman.
(FACT! The clothes help trap the cold, keeping the snowman from melting as fast.)

- Traditionally, it is the oldest child who gets to open the first gift on Christmas.
(FICTION! It is the youngest.)

- In Australia, one of the traditional Christmas Day foods is watermelon.
(FACT! Christmas is in the middle of summer down there.)

- In Holland, instead of cookies, kids leave carrots out on Christmas Eve.
(FACT! It is for the horse that St. Nick rides in on there.)

In other news

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