The hustle & bustle of Christmas shopping

christmas presents

A few years back, the Philips Corporation in the US released a list of facts surrounding the holiday season. Here’s what the average person has to look forward to when shopping for Christmas:

  • Five miles of walking around stores, parking lots and malls
  • Spending at least 90 minutes waiting in line to pay
  • The average person will buy 22 presents and they will only receive 14 from others
  • Expect to spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes wrapping presents
  • Getting elbowed or pushed three times.
  • Six hours and 38 minutes of shopping online.
  • Most people will have their shopping done by December 20
  • Most people will shop in eight stores which they will visit in 6.5 days

Here are some other shopping facts about this time of year:

  • In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70% of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas.
  • Although many believe the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is not. It is the fifth to tenth busiest day. The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the two busiest shopping days of the year.
  • During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States.
  • During World War II it was necessary for Americans to mail Christmas gifts early for the troops in Europe to receive them in time. Merchants joined in the effort to remind the public to shop and mail early and the protracted shopping season was born.

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Here’s to a Punny Christmas

  • What did Adam say the day before Christmas? – It’s Christmas, Eve!
  • What is a typical elf greeting? – “Small world, isn’t it?”
  • You better get spruced up if you’re going to sell Christmas trees.
  • Some children call him Santa Caus since there is Noel.
  • How do Santa and Mrs. Claus travel? – On an icicle built for two.
  • What do Christmas trees and bad knitters have in common? – They both drop their needles.
  • If a reindeer lost its tail, where could he get a new one? – At a retail store.
  • What do you call a reindeer who wears ear muffs? – Anything you want. He can’t hear you, anyway.
  • What is green, covered with tinsel and says, “Rabbit, rabbit?” – A mistle-toad.
  • Who delivers Christmas presents to little sharks? – Santa Jaws.
  • What do monkeys sing at Christmas time? – Jungle Bells, Jungle bells.
  • Where does Santa Claus go swimming? – The North Pool.
  • What would you get if you ate the Christmas decorations? – Tinselitis.
  • What do you get when you cross a Christmas tree with an apple? – A pineapple.
  • What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? – Claustrophobia!
  • What do you call a letter that is sent up the chimney on Christmas eve? – Blackmail.
  • What do reindeer use to decorate their Christmas trees? – Horn-aments.
  • Who makes toy guitars and sings, “Blue Christmas?” – Elfis.
  • What name does Santa Claus use when he takes a rest from delivering presents? – Santa Pause!
  • Where does Santa hide the presents he’s giving to Mrs. Claus? – In the clauset.
  • Why will Santa go down your chimney on Christmas Eve?- Because it soots him.
  • What does a reindeer say before telling a joke? – This one will sleigh you!
  • What do you call Santa when he goes to the beach? – Sandy Claus.
  • How long are an elf’s legs? – Long enough to reach the ground.
  • Do reindeer go to public school? – No, they’re elf taught.

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

These make a total of 40 Christmas facts

By George presents yet another 10 facts about this Christmas Season that you may have not realized.

31. In the Thomas Nast cartoon that first depicted Santa Claus with a sleigh and reindeer, he was delivering Christmas gifts to soldiers fighting in the U.S. Civil War. The cartoon, entitled “Santa Claus in Camp,” appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 3, 1863.

32. The real St. Nicholas lived in Turkey, where he was bishop of the town of Myra, in the early 4th century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early fourth century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.

33. The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century, but didn’t immediately replace the traditional fare of goose, beef or boar’s head in the rich households. (Today, it is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.)

34. Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang “Stille Nacht” for the first time.

35. The popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

36. The poem commonly referred to as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” This poem was written by Clement Moore for his children and some guests, one of whom anonymously sent the poem to a New York newspaper for publication.

37. In 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy youngsters.

38. In 1996, Christmas caroling was banned at two major malls in Pensacola, Florida. Apparently, shoppers and merchants complained the carolers were too loud and took up too much space.

39. The U.S. Postal Service delivered a total of 19 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. The busiest delivery day was December 17, with more than twice as many cards and letters being processed that day compared to any other given day.

40. The day after Christmas, December 26, is known as Boxing Day. It is also the holy day called The Feast of St. Stephen. Some believe the feast was named for St. Stephen, a 9th century Swedish missionary, the patron saint of horses. Neither Boxing Day or St. Stephen have anything to do with Sweden or with horses. The Stephen for whom the day is named is the one in the Bible (Acts 6-8) who was the first Christian to be martyred for his faith.

[Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Even more interesting Christmas facts

By George is continuing its Christmas postings, presenting another 10 facts about this season that you may have not realized.

21. Jesus Christ, son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable. Caves were used to keep animals in because of the intense heat. A large church is now built over the cave, and people can go down inside the cave. The carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters. Wood was not used as widely as it is today. So whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable — that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

22. The abbreviation of Xmas for Christmas is not irreligious. The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi, which is identical to our X. Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation that was used in tables and charts.

23. Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin which oozes from gashes cut in the bark of a small desert tree known as Commifera Myrrha or the dindin tree. The myrrh hardens into tear-dropped shaped chunks and is then powdered or made into ointments or perfumes. This tree is about 5-15 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter. Legend says Caspar brought the gift of myrrh from Europe or Tarsus and placed it before the Christ Child. Myrrh was an extremely valuable commodity during biblical times and was imported from India and Arabia.

24. The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night.” It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

25. Long before it was used as a “kiss encourager” during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.

26. The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.

27. The northern European custom of the candlelit Christmas tree is derived from the belief that it sheltered woodland spirits when other trees lost their leaves during winter.

28. Originally, Christmas decorations were home-made paper flowers, or apples, biscuits, and sweets. The earliest decorations to be bought came from Nuremburg in Germany, a city famous for the manufacture of toys. Lauscha in Germany is famous for its glass ornaments. In 1880, America discovered Lauscha and F.W. Woolworth went there and bought a few glass Christmas tree ornaments. Within a day he had sold out so next year he bought more and within a week they, too, had sold. The year after that be bought 200,000 Lauscha ornaments. During the First World War supplies of ornaments from Lauscha ceased, so American manufacturers began to make their own ornaments, developing new techniques that allowed them to turn out as many ornaments in a minute as could be made in a whole day at Lauscha.

29. One notable medieval English Christmas celebration featured a giant 165-pound pie. The giant pie was nine feet in diameter. Its ingredients included 2 bushels of flour, 20 pounds of butter, 4 geese, 2 rabbits, 4 wild ducks, 2 woodcocks, 6 snipes, 4 partridges, 2 neats’ tongues, 2 curlews, 6 pigeons, and 7 blackbirds.

30. In an effort to solicit cash to pay for a charity Christmas dinner in 1891, a large crabpot was set down on a San Francisco street, becoming the first Salvation Army collection kettle.

[Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 more interesting Christmas facts

11. Historians have traced some of the current traditions surrounding Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, back to ancient Celtic roots. Father Christmas’s elves are the modernization of the “Nature folk” of the Pagan religions; his reindeer are associated with the “Horned God,” which was one of the Pagan deities.

12. Frankincense is a sweet smelling gum resin derived from certain Boswellia trees which, at the time of Christ, grew in Arabia, India, and Ethiopia. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba. The frankincense trade was at its height during the days of the Roman Empire. At that time this resin was considered as valuable as gems or precious metals. The Romans burned frankincense on their altars and at cremations.

13. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.

14. Animal Crackers are not really crackers, but cookies that were imported to the United States from England in the late 1800s. Barnum’s circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.

15. Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.

16. Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with “Tinker Toys” in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.

17. “Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. “Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

18. In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a holy day, to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.

19. A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

20. George Washington spent Christmas night 1776 crossing the Delaware River in dreadful conditions. Christmas 1777 fared little better – at Valley Forge, Washington and his men had a miserable Christmas dinner of Fowl cooked in a broth of Turnips, cabbage and potatoes.

[Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Tis the Season for an E-book

e-book_5When sending your e-mail well wishes in the weeks leading up to Christmas, why not add an e-book to your merry missive? It is easy and inexpensive to attach a By George publication to your electronic greeting.

We have seven e-book publications available as PDF files and offer on-line payment through PayPal. For as little as a toonie, or as much as your Starbucks’ double-whipped cream specialty coffee, here are the gifts you can pull off the By George e-bookshelf.

ORDER ONLINE: Our E-Bookshelf

Say “Merry Christmas, the best of the season…” with:

A Day in the Life of Man – Sustenance for the Soul is a moving collection of verse, thoughts and quotes to inspire and motivate a person through their day. From dawn to dusk, the reader is encouraged to reflect on their daily activities – and challenged to a reach for a new level of understanding about man and about life.

For that politico friend:

Keep ‘em Laughing – classic political jokes delivered on the campaign trail and atop the soapbox is a wonderful collection of funny guffaws, zingers, “shaggy-dog” stories and sideways jokes by politicians, who are always looking for a few laughs to break the ice on the rubber-chicken circuit. These political jokes are classic. Those in the business of politics will know many of these gems as they are heartily received on the campaign trail and at party functions.

Or our own By George Journal collections make thoughtful reads:

By George Treasury is a collection of the very best articles from By George from its launch in the mid-1990’s to 2008. This compilation offers a potpourri of information on effective communication to help at your workplace and with your social affairs.

By George Treasury II picks up where the first treasury collection ends. This e-book is a compilation of five years from By George Journal postings of 2009 through 2013. Page after page, you will find useful and interesting materials you will want to share at work or with your friends.

Visit Our E-Bookshelf to place your on-line order.

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

With Eggnog, you know the holiday season is upon us!!

eggnog2

It’s an eggnog bowl! Let the festivities begin!

Here’s a recipe for traditional – real eggs and cream – eggnog.

Enjoy! Cheers!

 

Ingredients

12 eggs, separated
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 cups bourbon
1+ 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Directions

  • In a large bowl and using a mixer, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar for approx 10 minutes (you want the mixture to be firm and the colour of butter).
  • Very slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy – just a little at a time.
  • When bourbon and brandy have been added, allow the mixture to cool in the fridge (for up to 6 hours, depending on how long before your party you’re making the eggnog).
  • 30 minutes before your guests arrive, stir the milk into the chilled yolk mixture.
  • Stir in 1+ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the cream with a mixer on high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
  • In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  • Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
  • After ladling into cups, garnish with the remainder of the ground nutmeg.
  • Serves: 8

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Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 interesting Christmas facts

1. Christmas was once a moveable feast celebrated at many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by Pope Julius I, in the 4th century A.D., because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.

2. Christmas Day in the Ukraine can be celebrated on either December 25, in faithful alliance with the Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar, or on January 7, which is the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian calendar), the church holy day.

3. During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, the log burned was called the “Yule log.” Sometimes a piece of the Yule log would be kept to kindle the fire the following winter, to ensure that the good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule log custom was handed down from the Druids.

4. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored.” This meant the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

5. After A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original. Before settling on the name of Tiny Tim for his character, three other alliterative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam. And Dickens’ initial choice for Scrooge’s statement “Bah Humbug” was “Bah Christmas.”

6. During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made. Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorated the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes acquired their red stripes.

7. Christmas caroling began as an old English custom called Wassailing. “Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill” – to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

8. Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.

9. Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company. More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.

10. Greeks do not use Christmas trees or give presents at Christmas. In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzari (gremlin-like spirits) sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. According to the legend, to get rid of them, you should burn either salt or an old shoe. Apparently the stench of the burning shoe (or salt) drives off the creatures. Other effective methods include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney. A priest may throw a little cross into the village water to keep kallikantzari hiding in dark, dusty corners, he goes from house to house sprinkling holy water.

[ed. – Source: Christmas Facts at corsinet.com]

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our elves will be serving Christmas cheer daily!

Be sure to follow our By George Journal for countless posts celebrating the Christmas season. Our wordsmith elves will be busy providing remarkable quotes, the best of Christmas humour, seasonal facts and articles – all guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit. Follow the By George Facebook page and our Twitter @byGeorgeJournal to drink in a steady stream of creative yule time content.

 

It is a very social time of year. So, let us provide you with merry sayings and helpful information. Our content will ensure you suffer no awkward silences with your family and friends, or at office parties. We encourage you to use our bons mots and share the posts widely – spread the joy!

 

Join the merriment on Facebook

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We hope to have a little fun through December. We ask that you take up a glass and join the party. Enjoy the By George Virtual Eggnog Bowl!

 

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and the very best

of the season to you and yours!!

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Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day,

encircling all our limited world like a magic ring,

left nothing out for us to miss or seek;

bound together all our home enjoyments,

affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone

round the Christmas fire, and make the little picture

shining in our bright young eyes, complete.

– Charles Dickens

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