Fun Facts For The Holidays

By Debra Semans, Senior Vice President, Polaris Marketing Research

It has fallen to me to write our December newsletter. While I am sure many of our readers would be delighted with another piece on sample size, or significance testing, or online research, I just can�t bring myself to write it. So here are some fun facts for the holidays � because you never know when you might need an obscure tidbit to spice up the conversation!

Did you know that Washington, D.C., features two famous Christmas trees: the Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Christmas Tree?

The Speaker of the House lights the Capitol Christmas Tree (which, obviously, stands outside the Capitol Building). The President and First Lady traditionally light the National Christmas Tree outside the White House. There are also 56 smaller Christmas trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 5 U.S. territories. In 1856, President Franklin Pierce decorated the first White House Christmas tree.

Did you know Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681?

The Puritans of New England shared radical Protestant disapproval of Christmas. The Christmas ban was revoked in 1681 by English governor Sir Edmund Andros, however it wasn't until the mid-1800s that celebrating Christmas became fashionable again in the Boston region.

Did you know that �It�s a Wonderful Life� was considered a flop for its high production costs and low box office numbers?

It is now on the list of the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Films Ever Made and also No. 1 on AFI's list of Most Inspirational American Movies. Another interesting fact about this movie is that a clerical error prevented its copyright from being renewed properly in 1974, allowing the film to enter the public domain, which may be why this movie appears on television more than any other holiday movie.

Did you know that the North Pole has a zip code?

Canada's Postal System assigned the zip code H0H 0H0 (referring to Santa's traditional exclamation "Ho, ho, ho!") to the North Pole.

Did you know that poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant?

They are also the number one flowering potted plant in the United States. Originally grown in Mexico, where it is also known as the 'Flower of the Holy Night', Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829. And contrary to common belief, they are non-toxic. (Unlike holly berries, which are poisonous!)

Did you know that Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states?

Christmas trees are even grown in Alaska and Hawaii, although California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states. Oregon tops the list as the leading producer of Christmas trees. The best selling Christmas trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.

Did you know that Christmas trees are edible?

Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C and pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition. (Thanks, but I�ll stick with the turkey and pumpkin pie!)

Did you know Candy Canes weren�t always red and white?

Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate the Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral decided to 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.

Did you know Christmas wasn�t always a legal holiday?

In 1836, Alabama was the first state in the U.S. to declare Christmas a legal holiday. Christmas was declared a national holiday in 1870. In 1907, Oklahoma became the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

Did you know Santa�s suit was branded?

The Santa Claus suit was developed in the 1930s, when The Coca-Cola Company hired American artist Haddon Sundblom to redesign Santa Claus. Sundblom chose the official colors of Coca-Cola, red and white, for Santa�s attire. And of course, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created as a holiday promotion by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930s.

And what about the Twelve Days of Christmas?

For the past 27 years, PNC Financial Services Group calculates the cost of the 364 gifts you would receive if someone gave you the gifts from the song, �The Twelve Days of Christmas.� This year? It�s $23,439, that's $1,974 or 9.2% more than last year.

Thanks to, , and

Debra Semans is the Senior Vice President for Polaris Marketing Research, with responsibility for Account Management, Marketing and Business Development. With more than 25 years of marketing experience, Debra brings rich and varied experience to her clients.

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