November 28, 2018
Christmas Fun Facts
For starters, it wasn’t always on December 25.
Though Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, there is
no mention of December 25 in the Bible. (Most historians believe he was actually born in the spring.) It didn’t become the official holiday until the third century. Some argue that the date was picked because it coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honored the agricultural god Saturn by celebrating
 and gift-giving.


   
 
You can thank Prince Albert for your Christmas tree.
The origin of Christmas trees goes all the way back to ancient Egyptians and Romans, who marked the winter solstice with evergreens as a reminder of spring, according to History.com. But it wasn’t until Prince Albert of Germany introduced the tree to his new wife, Queen Victoria of England, that the tradition took off. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas tree appeared in Illustrated London News back in 1848, and royal fever did its work.
St. Nick was actually more generous than jolly.
Sure, you probably knew that the idea of Santa Claus came from St. Nicholas. According to legend, the fourth-century Christian bishop gave away his abundant inheritance to help the needy and rescued women from servitude. As his story spread, his name became Sinter Klaas in Dutch, which later morphed into Santa Claus.
Coca-Cola played a huge part in Santa’s image.
According to Coca-ColaSanta used to look a lot less jolly – even spooky. When the company hired an illustrator named Haddon Sundblom in 1931 to create images of Santa for magazine advertisements, the warm and friendly Santa we know today was born.
The tradition of hanging stockings started with an accident.
According to legend, it came from the tale of a poor man who couldn’t afford his three daughters dowries. Apparently St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night so that the eldest could get married – but it fell into a stocking that was drying by the fire!
“Jingle Bells” started as a Thanksgiving song.
James Lord Pierpont wrote a song called “One Horse Open Sleigh” and performed it at his church’s Thanksgiving concert. Then in 1857, the song was re-published under the title it has today, and eventually became one of the most popular Christmas songs. Bonus fact: It was also the first song broadcast from space. On December 16, 1965, the Gemini 6 crew serenaded Mission Control after they reported seeing a “red-suited” astronaut.
Celebrating Christmas used to be illegal.
Although the Jamestown settlers created the first American batch of eggnog, by the time the Puritans settled Boston, Christmas was outlawed. (The word nog comes from the word grog; that is, any drink made with rum.) From 1659 to 1681, you’d face a fine for celebrating the once-pagan day. And after the Revolutionary War, the new Congress found the day so unimportant that they held the first session on December 25, 1789. It wasn’t proclaimed a federal holiday for nearly another century.
Christmas decorating sends nearly 15,000 people to the ER.
From hanging lights on ladders to taking a roast out of the oven, making merry can prove hazardous. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 14,700 people visit hospital emergency rooms each November and December from holiday-related decorating accidents. To top it off, dried Christmas trees spark about a hundred fires, cause an average of 10 deaths, and result in $15.7 million in property damage. Are you convinced to switch to an artificial Christmas tree yet?
Santa has his own zip code in Canada.
Every year, letters to Santa Claus flood post offices across the world. Some Canadian Post Office workers even started answering them – but as more letters arrived, they set up a special zip code for Santa as part of a “Santa Letter-Writing Program” literacy initiative. The zip code? HOH OHO.
The term “Xmas” dates back to the 1500s.
According to From Adam’s Apple to Xmas: An Essential Vocabulary Guide for the Politically Correct, the word “Christianity” was spelled “Xianity” as far back as 1100. X, or Chi, in Greek is the first letter of “Christ” and served as a symbolic stand-in. In 1551, the holiday was called “Xtemmas” but eventually shortened to “Xmas.”
We ship a crazy amount of packages around the holidays.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day last year, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an estimated 850 million packages – in addition to 15 billion pieces of mail.
About 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas.
That explains all those packages the U.S. Postal Service has to deliver. Additionally, the Pew Research Center’s findings found that less people think of Christmas as a religious holiday nowadays. Only 51% of those people who celebrate attend church on Christmas.
And they spend nearly $1,000 on gifts.
According to the National Retail Federation’sfindings in 2017, consumers say they’ll spend $967.13 for the holidays on average. For 2018, total retail sales in November and December are expected to hit $717.45 billion.
Mistletoe was considered an aphrodisiac.
The holiday flora is an ancient symbol of fertility and virility – and the Druids believed it was an actual aphrodisiac. (So thank them at the next awkward holiday function.) The name itself even has a funny meaning: Mistle thrush birds eat the plant’s berries, digest the seeds, and then the droppings eventually grow into new plants. So, the Germanic word for mistletoe literally means “dung on a twig.”
Ham, not turkey, is the festive favorite.
The dinner debate rages on. Searches for “ham” and “turkey” both spike during the month of December, according to Google Trends data. (Though it’s nowhere near how frequently “turkey” is hunted for online in November!) But despite the popularity of both festive entrees, spiral-cut ham remains the more popular choice for a Christmas table.
Candy canes got their start in Germany.
The National Confectioners Association says a choirmaster originally gave the candies to young children so they’d stay quiet during long church services. But when a German-Swedish immigrant decorated his tree with candy canes in 1847, they became popular as a Christmas candy.
And the most popular Christmas song is …
Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You, naturally. (Did you know her then-husband Tommy Mottola plays Santa?) But the best-selling Christmas song of all time is Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.
https://youtu.be/yXQViqx6GMY
FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
Don’t let Christmas ever heat up too much – with fire that is. Did you know that Christmas trees alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage? More importantly, these fires present real risk towards family and friends. When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunction with lights and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.
BUT IF YOUR HOLIDAY IS JUST NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT A LIVE TREE, FOLLOW THESE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO KEEP THREATS AT BAY:
  • Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
  • Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
  • Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
  • Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle.
  • Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
  • Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.
When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year. So this year, follow our guidelines to avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report during the upcoming holiday season.
Structures
Adding a structure to your outdoor living space will allow you to enjoy the seasons a while longer.  Whether you decide on a gazebo, a pergola or a pavilion you will not regret extending your home into the back yard!  Mock Property Services is an Authorized Dealer for Berlin Gardens in Millersburg, Ohio and can provide you with endless options and features to choose from.  Visit their website HERE to build your wood or vinyl structure, and call us for a quote!
Call for a quote today!
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SERVICES

 
At Mock Property Services, our goal is to provide you with a source for “All Your Outdoorzy Needs” to help you “Love Where You Live”.

We offer many products and services, complete project completion, and consider ourselves a “one stop shop”.  Below is a list of services that we offer:
 
Hardscaping
Outdoor Structures
Water Features
Design/Build Consultations
Pond Maintenance
Landscaping
Lawn Care and Fertilization
Commercial Snow Removal
Excavation/Grading
We are currently scheduling projects for the Spring 2019 – Call today to start the process!
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Safe Snow Travel

 
Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for automobile travel. Motorists should know the safety rules for dealing with winter road emergencies. AAA reminds motorists to be cautious while driving in adverse weather. For more information on winter driving, the association offers the How to Go on Ice and Snow brochure, available through most AAA offices. Contact your local AAA club for more information.
AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:
  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
Tips for long-distance winter trips:
  • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
  • Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
  • Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled-up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible, run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
Tips for driving in the snow:
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light turns, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down-hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
Visit AAA’s YouTube page for more videos on winter driving tips.
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