10 Fun Holiday Facts That Caught Our Attention

We’re right in the heart of the holiday season. There’s no better time for some holiday facts about Santa, the Christmas elves, snowmen, toys and more. Find out the history behind why we hang stockings over the fire, what Michelangelo has to do with one of our favorite outdoor winter activities, differences in opinion when it comes to Christmas marriage proposals, as well as a look into Christmas traditions from around the world…


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The “Jolly Old Elf”

Clement Clark Moore, author of the famous poem we know as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” was one of the first authors to mention elves in the Christmas tradition. But the elf in his story isn’t who you’d expect. Moore describes Santa as the “jolly old elf.” This early depiction of Santa might be one of the major reasons why elves are such a big part of Christmas today. Find out more about the origins of Christmas elves here.

St. Nick’s Stockings

Christmas stockings are one of the oldest Christmas traditions, dating back to one of the most popular origin stories of Santa Claus almost 2,000 years ago. The story revolves around the Greek Bishop, Saint Nicholas. Even though the events in the story can’t be proven, it also offers insight into our tradition of gift giving during the holidays. Get the details and learn more about Santa hats, sweaters and more in this Lakeside article.

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Crazy Christmas Calories

Santa Claus covers nearly 175 million miles in his worldwide Christmas Eve tour. He also has to consume over 260 million calories from cookies alone, and deliver over 20 million presents that would weigh around 700 million pounds. Santa also has to speak hundreds of languages to read all those notes and say “Merry Christmas” when necessary. Learn several of those Christmas greetings from around the globe right now.

Holiday Birthdays

The traditional Christmas celebration might revolve around the birth of Jesus, but fewer babies are born on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day compared to the rest of the calendar. Christmas Day is the least common birthday in America, second only to Leap Day. Christmas Eve isn’t very far behind, ranking fourth on the list. With Thanksgiving falling on different dates, it’s likely that it takes the top spot regarding holiday birthdays.

Festive Proposals

Year after year, the Christmas season beats out every other for the most marriage proposals. Christmas Eve is the most popular day to pop the question, but in a recent survey, men and women seemed to differ on the popularity of Christmas Eve proposals. Many women agreed on the holiday timing, but a bigger percentage thought Valentine’s Day or anniversaries were better. Get tips on holiday jewelry in this informative article.

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Snowman Renaissance

The tradition of building snowmen during the holidays has been around for quite a long time. Just to get an idea of how old the tradition is, it’s known that the artist Michelangelo was once commissioned to sculpt one of his own design in the courtyard of a ruler in Florence, Italy. The year: 1494; when Michelangelo was 19.

Toy Traditions

Many of the best-selling and most influential toys of all time were dolls. The Barbie doll reinvented the trend in the late 50’s, the G.I. Joe changed the game by giving boys a doll of their own, and action figures climbed in popularity following the release of Star Wars in the 70’s. Dolls have been an important Christmas tradition for centuries, from nutcracker dolls in 17th century Germany to Russian nesting dolls in the 19th century. It’s such an important Christmas tradition in Portugal, that doll hospitals thrive during the holidays, restoring and repairing all kinds of dolls that are cherished and passed down in families from generation to generation.

Gift Wrap Beginnings

Wrapping gifts can be traced back to ancient traditions in Japan, Korea, and more famously to upper-class European customs. However, it was a couple of famous brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City who are responsible for wrapping paper as we know it today. After selling out of tissue paper during a busy holiday season, the brothers replaced it on short notice with fancier paper they had in stock that was meant for lining envelopes. This paper sold out as well, and in the following years, the brothers started producing decorative versions for Christmas gifts. The brothers were Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store was Hallmark.

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We Three Kings

St. Nicholas wasn’t the original Christmas gift-giver. Those familiar with the Christmas story know that The Wise Men started our favorite holiday tradition by bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Although the Bible does not mention the names of the Wise Men (it doesn’t even specify that there were three), many cultures have names for the three men. Three of the most popular are Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. In Latin America, Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day) is traditionally celebrated on January 6th to honor the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus. Traditionally, children put out their shoes the night before, waking up to gifts from the Three Kings. Similar to Christmas Eve, kids set out grass and water for camels instead of reindeer.

Holiday Travel Tips

According to this interesting infographic from Travel and Leisure, nearly 100 million Americans travel during the holiday season. Airfare is typically the lowest and least hectic on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for the simple fact that many people aren’t looking to travel on these days. However, airfare usually spikes right after both of these days. And for future reference, if you’re one of the 6 million people who typically fly during the holiday season, booking your domestic flights two months in advance will typically get you the best deal.

Black Friday Survival Guide: Start with Lakeside

Are you ready? The biggest shopping week of the year is almost here. You might be trying to put everything together for Thanksgiving, but you also don’t want to miss out on some of the great Black Friday deals we’re offering at The Lakeside Collection. Next week, you’ll be able to find great gifts for everyone on your list at bargain prices. With so many different kinds of gifts for everyone in the family, you’ll be able to start stacking presents under your tree and fill up your stockings without breaking the bank. Before the savings start, learn more about the biggest shopping week of the year and how to balance it with your busy Thanksgiving Day.

Black Friday Facts & Thanksgiving Advice

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Black Friday: Discover How It All Got Started
The history of Black Friday might be exactly what you suspected, or very different from what you imagined. Learn the real facts behind the biggest shopping day of the year with this brief history on how it got started.

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How to Prevent Losing Your Thanksgiving to Black Friday
Before you ditch family time for a half-priced flat screen or trade your savory dinner for a halfhearted brunch, check out some of these easy tips for preserving your Thanksgiving during all the Black Friday commotion.


Our Black Friday deals kick off next Monday, November 21st. Find discounts on toys for the kids, clothes for winter, festive holiday decorations and all kinds of Christmas gifts to please everyone on your shopping list. We’ll keep you updated right here on the Lakeside Blog regarding daily deals. We’ll also be providing some fun holiday facts to keep you entertained all through the week, as well as gift ideas to help you shop smart.

Come back next week to learn about our daily Black Friday deals!

Turkey Day Countdown: Food, Family & Football

There’s only ten days until Thanksgiving. It might seem like a lot, but if you have a feast to finalize, guests to prepare for and a holiday checklist that seems to keep getting longer as the festivities draw closer, it’s better to get anything and everything you can done so you won’t be too stressed out when the holiday arrives. Get the facts about Thanksgiving, from menu ideas to some Turkey Day history with these Thanksgiving articles.

The Thanksgiving Menu

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Ideas for Thanksgiving Sides
Who you share Thanksgiving with probably won’t change, but you can change the food to spice things up a bit. Turkey is the main dish that everybody wants, but playing with the sides to change up your Thanksgiving spread is a great way to make your dinner unique! Here are some ideas for Thanksgiving sides you can try.

What Was Really on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving
Roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It may surprise you to learn that such traditional foods, with the possible exception of the turkey, were not served at the very first Thanksgiving in 1621. If you are wondering what was served at the First Thanksgiving in America, read on to dig into a helping of history.

Get Cooking on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Dinner Disasters and How to Avoid Them
When you’re cooking a holiday meal for family and guests, there are many hats you have to wear and many mistakes that can be made. But if you know what to do and what to watch out for, you can pull off the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Here are a few tips to avoid some of the most common Thanksgiving dinner disasters.

4 Tips to Pull Off A Perfect Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving dinner is a huge production that requires strength, stamina and coordination. But even if you possess all of those characteristics, something is bound to go off the rails. It’s possible to reduce your risk of dinner disasters if you know what to look out for. Pull off the perfect Thanksgiving with these four useful tips.

The Facts About Thanksgiving Football

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Thanksgiving Football: An American Tradition
American football has been a Thanksgiving tradition since the 1800s. Even though football is a tradition, it looks a lot different now than it did long ago. If you’re wondering why the Lions and Cowboys always get to play on Turkey Day or where the tradition started, take a look at this brief history of Thanksgiving football.

How to Work Football Into Thanksgiving Without Ruining Family Time
Thanksgiving is a day for family. For many families, it’s also a day for football. While most NFL and college teams have the day off, there’s always a shortlist of squads who have to suit up, storm the field and keep the long-standing American tradition alive. Here are a few tips to balance football with family on Thanksgiving.

National Pumpkin Day: Top 5 Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

Pumpkin pie might be a Thanksgiving staple, but National Pumpkin Day is today–October 26th! Get in the mood for holiday desserts with some of our favorite pumpkin pie recipes. We’ll start you off with the classic pumpkin pie recipe, and then serve up a few pumpkin twists on traditional dessert ideas to get you baking.

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1. Classic Pumpkin Pie
There’s nothing more satisfying around the holiday season than a delicious pumpkin pie. There’s no need to get fancy with special ingredients and toppings. Stick to the original with this recipe from Taste of Home®. If classic recipes are exactly what you’re looking for, check out these Taste of Home cookbooks at Lakeside.

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2. Bite-Sized Pumpkin Pies
Mix up your classic pumpkin pie recipe with an entire plate of bite-sized or mini pumpkin pies. Not only are these delicious little snacks perfect for your holiday dessert trays, they can also be a fun cooking activity to do with the kids leading up to Thanksgiving. Give everyone their own personal pie with this unique recipe.


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3. Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
If that warm pumpkin flavor isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, cool things down with this pumpkin pudding recipe. The great thing about this recipe is it allows you to mix and match the ingredients you want. If you’re not a walnut fan, leave ’em out. If you like the idea of adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, go right ahead.


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4. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Everyone has their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, some of them passed down from generations. The best part about the chocolate chip cookie is you can easily tweak it with a special flavor. Pumpkin is the best ingredient. Check out this simple recipe, and refresh your cookie cooking gear with products from Lakeside.

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5. Pumpkin Brownies
As if we weren’t already prepared to add pies, puddings and cookies to our Thanksgiving dessert menu. It’s hard to pass up this pumpkin brownies recipe. It’s the perfect solution for your sweet tooth, and also satisfies your pumpkin craving. If you’re in the mood for chocolate, check out these chocolaty gifts ideas at Lakeside.

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Fourth of July Front Yard Decor

The biggest holiday of the summer is right around the corner. It’s a special day where we celebrate our nation’s independence and our personal freedom. As the holiday draws near, you may notice bits of red, white and blue popping up all over your neighborhood. If you haven’t already, it’s time to join in and start decorating your lawn or porch. Get into the spirit of the holiday with this Fourth of July front yard décor.

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American Flag Bench
The American Flag Outdoor Bench gives your home a patriotic look. The decorative accent adds some seating to the front porch. Made of colored metal, the back of the bench features an American flag design. Weight capacity, 500 lbs. 40″W x 16-1/2″D x 38-1/4″H. Assembly required; assembly hardware included.

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Patriotic Seasonal Flag
Large, colorful and easy to see from a great distance, this Jumbo Seasonal Flag is a fun way to decorate your yard for the Fourth of July. A sleeve at the top makes hanging easy. It fits on your standard flag pole. Purchase one or get the entire set of 5 for seasonal decorating. 27-3/8″W x 35-1/2″L. Polyester. Imported.

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Patriotic Grill Cover
This eye-catching Printed Grill Cover makes your grill a conversation piece on the Fourth while protecting it from rain, UV rays and preventing frost. Just insert the four included ties through the grommets at the corners to secure it in place. The holiday statement piece fits most large grills. 68″W x 21″D x 35″H. PEVA. Imported.

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American Flag Star
Put this 24″ Americana Star Decor on display in your garden for weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. The large barn star is decorated with a stylish stars-and-stripes design. Use the 7″ stakes to install in the ground, or use the jute rope to hang. 24″W x 2-1/4″D x 24-1/2″H, without stake. Metal. No-tool assembly required.

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Patriotic Pride Garden Décor
Coordinate your outdoor display with the lively colors of the Patriotic Pride Garden Decor. Plant the USA Yard Stake (29-1/2”W x 26”H, including the 8” stake) in the center of your lawn. Metal. Use the Rope Light (3/8”W x 235”L) to highlight a landscape or architectural feature. It has 108 LED lights in red, white and blue.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that means it is time to express your love for the special people in your life. The Lakeside Collection has plenty of gift ideas if you are not sure of just what to get. Personalize a photo frame just for them, or a piece of jewelry they can wear every day. A whimsical mug might make them laugh, or read up on new ideas on how to be romantic. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

Display a cherished moment in a special way with this Personalized Holiday Photo Frame.

Display a cherished moment in a special way with this Personalized Holiday Photo Frame.

This Love Pendant Gift-Boxed Set is the perfect way to show someone how special they are to you.

This Love Pendant Gift-Boxed Set is the perfect way to show someone how special they are to you.

The colorful and fun design of the Whimsical Mason Jar Mug adds a festive touch to any day spent with the girls.

The colorful and fun design of the Whimsical Mason Jar Mug adds a festive touch to any day spent with the girls.

Transform your relationship into a vibrant, exciting love affair with 1001 Ways To Be Romantic.

Transform your relationship into a vibrant, exciting love affair with 1001 Ways To Be Romantic.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

The holiday season is closing in fast, but The Lakeside Collection is loaded with plenty of toys and values to get you ready in a rush. We have toys, books, and clothes for every child in your family from newborn to teen all in one convenient online store. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

Ghosts and monsters don't stand a chance when you track them down with this Scooby Doo Remote Control Mystery Machine.

Ghosts and monsters don’t stand a chance when you track them down with this Scooby Doo™ Remote Control Mystery Machine.

Kids will have fun pretending to construct and build with this 17-Pc. Jumbo Tools Playset.

Kids will have fun pretending to construct and build with this 17-Pc. Jumbo Tools Playset.

Inspire a young musician with this 30" Wood Guitar With Case.

Inspire a young musician with this 30″ Wood Guitar With Case.

 

They'll be entertained for hours, turning page after page of this Licensed Look & Find Book.

They’ll be entertained for hours, turning page after page of this Licensed Look & Find Book.

 

Pinteresting Picks for October

Fall is in full swing, and it is time to get your home ready for the wave of visitors that is on the way. Our Pinterest followers have home decor on their minds, and fresh, unique pieces are getting a lot of attention. The Lakeside Collection has something to add personality to any space from the laundry to the dining room. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for October.

Bring the colors of fall into your kitchen with these Harvest Owl Tabletop Sets.

Bring the colors of fall into your kitchen with these Harvest Owl Tabletop Sets.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

 

Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.

This Laundry Room Wall Hanging is a novel way to give that room some character.

Mount this Set of 2 Solar Fence Lights anywhere to accent garden features high and low.

Mount this Set of 2 Solar Fence Lights anywhere to accent garden features high and low.

 

3 Simple Ideas for Fall Decorating

Thanksgiving dinner is hard to plan for and decorating for the holiday can sometimes turn into a big chore. You know you want your home to have a fall feel, but getting started is tough. Here are 3 simple ideas for fall decorating to make your Thanksgiving a little bit easier.

leaf-wreathLeaves During the spring and fall, trees, shrubs and leaves dominate decor. In the fall, leaves take on warm shades of orange, red and brown. They decorate our landscape and bringing them indoors lets the season permeate our homes. For crafty people, leaves are a great tool, but for people who lack crafting skills, they can be intimidating. You can buy leaf wreaths for your door to welcome guests to your home. But you don’t have to put a wreath on your front door — make a temporary home for it over the mantle or even on bathroom or kitchen doors.

Fall-Floral-ArrangementsIf you want to use nature’s bounty to decorate the table, you can create a fall centerpiece using small gourds, branches and freshly fallen leaves. Tie together whispy, bare branches and colorful fall leaves to create an arrangement in a vase. If you don’t have the time, there are artificial fall floral arrangements to create a fall atmosphere or look for leaf-shaped decor and harvest colors — bowls, platters, flatware holders — to add a fall accent to the table.

pumpkin-dishesPumpkins Carving pumpkins is a messy tradition, but you don’t have to carve them to make them part of your decor. Outside, you can create a cute narrative on the porch — stack them using leaves or moss to keep them steady, or line the stairs with them to guide your guests to the front door. But leaving pumpkins unadorned, may not be quite cute enough for you. If you draw well, you can etch scenes into the pumpkins to make them unique. Painting them or decoupage may satisfy your need to make a mark on your pumpkin. If you’re looking for something to bring out year-after-year, pumpkin-shaped planters are an option. Real pumpkins aren’t always an option for indoor decor, but there are plenty of pumpkin products to dress up the living room or dining room to make it feel like fall.

Harvest-LED-Candle-Lighted-DecorCandles Candles make any season more festive — making them unique to fall is where the challenge comes in. To make a pillar candle uniquely fall, repurpose a jar by filling it halfway with popcorn kernels and put a small pillar candle in it — the corn will help keep the candle steady. Pumpkins (not jack-o-lanterns) also make great candle holders! Carve out the top of mini pumpkins and gourds to hold tea lights.  To keep them safe, use LED tea lights — they’ll last longer, too!

You don’t have to be crafty to give your Thanksgiving dinner a fall feel; knowing what you like and what your options are can be enough to put together your fall decor without having to put in too much thought. Shop The Lakeside Collection for easy decor ideas — you’ll need the extra energy to make a spectacular holiday meal!

The Case for Febgiving

Dinner-partyAs we enter the latter half of winter, it can be kind of discouraging to know that there’s not much holiday-wise to look forward to. All of the big ones have already passed, and the “fun factor” of Valentine’s Day isn’t quite as universal as we’d like to believe. Thus, it may be good for our collective mental health to consider a new holiday that’s been catching on: Febgiving!

At its core, Febgiving is a holiday for gathering up your friends and family to have a day of warmth and celebration despite the bitter cold. Consider it as a sort of pre-party for the end of winter and a surefire way to combat the season’s blues. Modeled on the luxurious feast that defines Thanksgiving, Febgiving, like most good holidays, is simply an excuse to eat and drink well in the presence of people you care about.

Not sold yet? Though the benefits to Febgiving are literally unending, here are a few choice reasons for you to jump on the bandwagon.

You don’t have to deal with tradition
Am I alone in my hostility toward whole roast turkey? It’s one of my least favorite dishes, but having a Thanksgiving dinner without it would invite endless scoldings and complaints from people who are devoted to it for the sake of tradition. That’s why Febgiving is so great: there aren’t centuries of tradition to deal with, so you can do it up however you want! Cook up a nice porchetta, some brisket, or quiche as your main dish instead — it’s all up to you!

You don’t have to invite everyone
One drawback to the major winter holidays is the feeling that hanging out with not-so-nice family members is mandatory. It’s sort of the price you pay for eating all of that good food. Since no one’s heard of Febgiving, you’re freer to decide who gets to come over and celebrate with you. You can make it a friends-only affair, or dine with a few close cousins instead of the whole clan.

Traveling is easier in February
Anyone who’s flown or driven to relatives’ homes during the winter holidays knows that it can often balloon into a huge expense. You have to budget for inflated airfare, airport snacks to eat during the inevitable delays, and extra gas for bumper-to-bumper traffic. The good thing about February is that it’s one of the slower times for interstate travel: you’ll get where you’re going faster and cheaper than in November.

It makes February a little less lonely
Though Valentine’s Day can be a lot of fun for couples, the flipside of it is that it tends to leave unpartnered people in the lurch. And since Valentine’s is really the only holiday in February, it can make the whole month feel like kind of a bummer. With Febgiving, you can extend the spirit of love to everyone in your social group, regardless of whether they’re coupled or not. Everyone wants to feel loved; especially in February.

Leftovers!
Do I even need to explain this one?

Soleil is a former chef, with an encyclopedia of recipes floating around in her head. Nowadays, she applies her culinary expertise to the wonderful world of fancy picnic baskets.