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.

Daily Deal: Defeat Desk Clutter with a Computer Organizer

Don’t miss out on Day Three of our Black Friday Deals. With all the online holiday shopping we’re doing at home, it’s hard to ignore the disorganization or holiday mess we accumulate around our desks or computer areas. Defeat desk clutter with the efficient Computer Organizer. The stand raises your monitor 4-inches for comfortable viewing, adding storage underneath and on both sides. It also has a built in drawer underneath for keeping notes, pens and supplies out of sight and within reach. Don’t wait for New Year’s to start getting organized around the house. Find storage for Christmas, and gifts for everyone on your list with Lakeside’s Black Friday deals, available right now. And keep reading for facts about Santa’s worldwide Christmas trip.


Lakeside’s Deal of the Day (November 23rd)

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DAY THREE Holiday Fun Fact:

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. Read on to learn several of those Christmas greetings from around the globe.


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Christmas Greetings from Around the World
Over 160 countries officially celebrate Christmas. With so many nations celebrating Christmas in so many different languages, it follows that a typical Christmas phrase like Merry Christmas is only one of hundreds of greetings from around the world. Take a quick trip around the globe and impress your friends during the holiday season with these unique Christmas greetings from every one of our planet’s seven continents.

Put Family First with Tomorrow’s Deal of the Day!

Daily Deal: Preserve Holiday Memories with a Photo Organizer

Day Two of our Black Friday Deals reminds us what the holiday are all about — creating amazing memories with our friends and family. Preserve all your holiday photos and stay organized throughout the year with the 1,600-Photo Organizer Case. This durable case includes 16 acid-free photo cases that each hold up to one hundred 4″ x 6″ photos. The case has a sturdy handle for carrying and snap closures to keep photos secure. Make sure you’re dressed for holiday photos and the winter ahead with markdowns on apparel and more at Lakeside. And keep reading to learn holiday facts about Santa, stockings and the odd ugly sweater tradition.


Lakeside’s Deal of the Day (November 22nd)

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DAY TWO Holiday Fun Fact:

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, ugly sweaters and more in the article below.


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Fun Holiday Fashion from Sweaters to Santa Hats
It doesn’t quite hold a candle to the costume craziness of Halloween, but the holidays do play host to a wide variety of unusual fashion trends. From the classic Santa hat to the strange tradition of ugly sweaters, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the holiday season is the best time of year to play dress up. Get to know a little more about some of the Christmas attire you can’t help but wear with this fun holiday fashion overview.

Come Back Tomorrow for Another Lakeside Deal of the Day!

Daily Deal: Brighten Your Home with Holiday Lampposts

It’s the first day of our Black Friday deals on Lakeside, and we’re starting you off with a fun way to get going on your Christmas decorations. The Lighted Holiday Lampposts are the perfect way to illuminate your home for the holidays. Feature them on the stairs in your entryway to welcome holiday guests, or add them to your existing decorations in the family room or dining area. Use your savings to stock up on even more Christmas decorations available now at Lakeside. And get into the Christmas spirit with the Day One Holiday Fun Fact.


Lakeside’s Deal of the Day (November 21st)

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DAY ONE Holiday Fun Fact:

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 Moore’s story isn’t who we’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 below.


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Holiday Traditions: The Origins of Christmas Elves
Most of us grew up never questioning why elves are such a big part of the holidays. Santa’s little helpers are everywhere, from adorable Christmas elf decorations to some of our favorite characters in classic Christmas movies. Elves became a huge part of the Christmas tradition fairly early, and much like the reason behind why we decorate with holiday lights during the winter season, their part in the Christmas story can be traced back to ancient myths and folklore. Find out how elves first fit into the Christmas tradition with these fun facts.


Come Back Tomorrow for Another Lakeside Deal of the Day!

Santa’s Helpers: 9 Curious Facts About Reindeer

reindeerSanta and his eight tiny reindeer will soon be dancing and prancing on rooftops from the beaches of Hawaii all the way to the Maine shoreline. They’re responsible for getting presents to all the boys and girl around the country, but there’s so little we know about Santa’s hooved helpers. We did a little bit of research on our flying furry friends to share with you. Here are 9 curious facts about reindeer.

That Coffee You’re Drinking… Could be called “Reindeer Coffee.” Caribou and reindeer are the same thing.

Everyone Sounds Off Reindeer are the only species of deer in which both male and females have horns.

Light My Way Reindeer is the only mammal that can see ultraviolet light. The UV light helps them find food in the winter when there is little daylight. This is also why their eyes change color from golden brown in the summer to blue in the winter.

reindeerLadies Lead Male reindeer shed their antlers in early winter — before Christmas. Female reindeer keep their antlers until the snow starts to melt in the spring. That means those tiny reindeer who haul a sleigh full of presents is an all-girl posse.

Water Sports Reindeer are excellent swimmers which is due to their special hooves which are very different regular deer hooves. Reindeer hooves are big, cloven and spread out. When they swim, their hooves act like paddles to help them move. On land — specifically snow-covered land — because the hooves are wide, they act as snowshoes.

Winter Coats Reindeer found in North America spend most of their time in Alaska and the Canadian Rockies so they have specially designed coats to weather the cold of the deep north. They have two layers of fur to keep them warm. There is a soft under-fur and on top of that is the “guard hair.” The texture of the guard hair is rough and each strand is hollow. This helps trap their body heat as well as help reindeer float when they swim. But their coats don’t end on their bodies — they extend to cover their noses as well! This helps filter out the cold air when they breathe in and keeps their muzzles warm when they root for food in the snow.

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Scandinavian Roots The eight tiny reindeer that haul Santa’s sleigh are likely from Svalbard — a Norwegian archipelago. They’re about 70 lbs lighter than standard caribou and have shorter legs.

Santa’s Originals The eight tiny reindeer — Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen — were introduced to us in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) but Rudolph didn’t get his big break to work with the big guy for another 100 years. The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was published in a booklet in 1939.

Santa Speed One of the reasons Santa probably chose reindeer to haul his sleigh to every house in one night is because they’re speedy! Reindeer are faster than wolves who are much smaller and have to carry less. They can run up to about 50 miles an hour! That’s fast delivery if you’re waiting on special gifts from our jolly friend from the North Pole!

gift-appLook to the The Lakeside Collection for all your special deliveries this holiday season! We may not have the charm of eight tiny reindeer to present your gifts, but we do have thousands of items at discount prices for just about everyone on your holiday shopping list. And if you’re stumped on what to get someone, check out our Perfect Present Gift App to steer you to the right present.

 

23 Ways to Get on Santa’s Nice List

SantaWe’re just three weeks away from Christmas! While Norad is tracking Santa’s super sleigh, Santa is tracking who has been naughty and and who has been nice this year. December 4 is Santa’s List Day and if you’re not sure which column you’re on, here are 23 ways to get on Santa’s nice list so you can get everything on your holiday wish list!

  1. Say good morning to a stranger.
  2. Wave and smile at the driver stuck in traffic who clearly hasn’t had his coffee yet.
  3. Write a nice letter to slip into the Christmas card you’re sending to your aunt or uncle who you rarely see.
  4. Bring your elderly neighbor a casserole.
  5. Post 5 things you are grateful for on Facebook.
  6. Leave a generous tip for the barista who got up at 4am so you could have your morning cup of ambition.
  7. Compliment the next three people you talk to.
  8. Call that good friend you don’t talk to anymore to tell her how much she means to you.
  9. When someone does something you don’t like today, don’t get mad and don’t dwell on it.
  10. Invite your new neighbor over for coffee.
  11. Hug your kids.
  12. Let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store.
  13. Hold the elevator door for that person who is running late to the meeting.Santa
  14. Tell the people you love why you appreciate them.
  15. Call your mother-in-law.
  16. Give your employees small gifts as tokens of your gratitude for all their hard work.
  17. Make someone’s day easier.
  18. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk.
  19. Ask your child’s parents over for game night.
  20. Pet the next dog you pass.
  21. Pick up litter you see on the street and don’t mention it.
  22. Bring donuts to your local fire station.
  23. Back a project you believe in on Kickstarter, even if it’s only $5.

You don’t need Santa’s nice list to be an incentive to do good deeds, do nice things because it’s the season of giving. Everything you do affects someone — make it a positive effect.

5 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy on Thanksgiving

girl-helping-thanksgivingYou will soon be welcoming friends and family to your home to share your Thanksgiving feast. Putting together a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is ten times as much work as your regular weeknight dinners and loads more people walking in and out of the kitchen eating, drinking and chatting. With all the kitchen chaos, keeping an eye on the kids and making sure they’re happy is tough as you juggle all the elements for the perfect holiday dinner. Here are 5 ideas to keep kids busy on Thanksgiving.

Reindeer Games Have a few games and puzzles pulled out for the kids to play. Don’t give them too many options — three or four games you know they like (not one you have to teach) is plenty to keep them distracted from their rumbling tummies as you put the finishing touches on the meal. If there are kids coming that your kids don’t know well, games are a good ice breaker and will get everyone interacting with each other. If you’re lucky, they’ll enjoy the games enough that they’ll return to them after dinner.

Thanksgiving-Table-topDuty Calls Give each child a job to do. For the younger children, assign them simple tasks like folding napkins or making sure the spoons are shiny. For older kids, give them the big duties that require critical thinking — put them in charge of the checklist of all the things that need to be done and have them make sure everyone is staying on task. For children of ages in between, have them set the table, greet friends and family at the door and take their coats. Giving kids a hand in the event makes them feel part of the production while giving them something to focus on rather than watching TV while you work.

Letters to Santa Thanksgiving is the perfect time for the kids to write their letters to Santa. Set aside plenty of paper and pens and catalogs (for inspiration) so they can put together their wish lists. For young guests, it will get them excited and distract them from the idea of being in an unfamiliar home. For the kids who no longer write letters to Santa, have them help the younger kids craft the perfect letter to old St. Nick.

Clever Crafts If there are a lot of kids coming over to share your holiday, set up a craft table with Thanksgiving themed projects to work on while the adults socialize and get the turkey on the dinner table. Have the older kids help the younger kids to make it a family activity. A craft table might seem like too much to take on, but giving kids something to pay attention to and work on will save you the headache of coming to the rescue when they get bored.

kids-craftingLast Resort The TV can be tricky when there are a lot of kids with different personalities — you don’t want any clashing over what to watch. Let them turn on the TV, but only give them a few, non-negotiable options for watching TV. Limit the programming to holiday movies or specials. If you have to turn it on, it should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Planning activities or crafts for kids during Thanksgiving is a big task to add to your Thanksgiving plate, but reducing the risk of boredom and tears makes the overtime worth it.  If it’s not doable, pass the job off to one of your guests a few days in advance. Anyone who’s hosted a big Thanksgiving will jump at the chance to help out.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!