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Fun Filled Christmas Facts and Sing-along


Enter a word from a Christmas song, like “drummer” and sing along
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blankEach year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

blankToday, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.

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From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.

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Christmas wasn’t a holiday in early America—in fact Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the country’s first Christmas under the new constitution.

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Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.

blankThe first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.

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blankThe Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

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blankChristmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

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Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.


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Calling ‘Em Out: The White House Takes on the Press

Posted by Buellboy

Obama aides say they can't rely on reporters to referee public debates

Obama aides say they can't rely on reporters to referee public debates

Time/Michael Scherer—There was never a single moment when White House staff decided the major media outlets were falling down on the job. There were instead several such moments.

For press secretary Robert Gibbs, the realization came in early September, when the New York Times ran a front-page story about the bubbling parental outrage over President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren — even though the benign contents of the speech were not yet public. “You had to be like, ‘Wait a minute,'” says Gibbs. “This thing has become a three-ring circus.”

For deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer, the more hyperbolic attacks on health-care reform this summer, which were often covered as a “controversy,” flipped an internal switch. “When you are having a debate about whether or not you want to kill people’s grandmother,” he explains, “the normal rules of engagement don’t apply.”

President Barack Obama marks veteran reporter Helen Thomas' 89th birthday

President Barack Obama marks veteran reporter Helen Thomas' 89th birthday

And for his boss, Anita Dunn, the aha moment came when the Washington Post ran a second op-ed from a Republican politician decrying the “32” alleged czars appointed by the Obama Administration. Nine of those so-called czars, it turned out, were subject to Senate confirmation, making them decidedly unlike the Russian monarchs. “The idea — that the Washington Post didn’t even question it,” Dunn says, still marveling at the decision.

All the criticism, both fair and misleading, took a toll, regularly knocking the White House off message. So a new White House strategy has emerged: rather than just giving reporters ammunition to “fact-check” Obama’s many critics, the White House decided it would become a player, issuing biting attacks on those pundits, politicians and outlets that make what the White House believes to be misleading or simply false claims, like the assertion that health-care reform would establish new “sex clinics” in schools. Obama, fresh from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, cheered on the effort, telling his aides he wanted to “call ’em out.”

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