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Know It All
December 21, 2013, 05:00 AM

Poinsettias are the best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada. 

***

In the classic Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), a man named Kris Kringle claims to be the real Santa Claus, and he gets taken to court over it. The judge rules in the man’s favor, declaring that the man receives mail delivered to Santa Claus, thus the government recognizes that as his real identity.

***

The animated television special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966) was based on the book of the same name (1957) by Dr. Seuss (1904-1991). Boris Karloff (1887-1969) narrated the show and was the voice of the Grinch. Karloff was a silent film actor and became famous with his role as Frankenstein’s monster in the talkie movie “Frankenstein” (1931).

***

The Grinch hated Christmas because his heart was two sizes too small.

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On Christmas Eve, American children leave carrots out for Santa’s reindeer. In Holland, children leave hay for the horse of Sinterklaas. In Puerto Rico, children put out grass and flowers for the camels of the Three Kings.

***

Jean Guy Laquerre is the owner of the world’s largest collection of Santa Claus memorabilia. He started his collection in 1988 and now owns more than 25,000 Santa Claus adorned items. The 76-year-old former teacher from Canada was declared the world record holder in 2011.

***

A world record was made last year for the most people singing “Jingle Bells” (1857) while ringing jingle bells. The record was set in Albany, N.Y., by 488 holiday revelers.

***

The town of Christmas, Fla., has an unexpected attraction. It is the home of the world’s largest alligator-shaped building.

***

The small town of Santa Claus, Ind., has the only post office in the world with the name Santa Claus. Every December, the post office processes more than 400,000 pieces of mail from all over the world. Each letter gets a unique Santa-themed picture postmark used only in December. During the rest of the year, the post office processes about 13,000 pieces of mail every month. 

***

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” Do you know who originally said this joke? See answer at end.

***

The world’s most expensive fruitcake cost $1.65 million. Created by a Japanese pastry chef in 2005, the edible fruitcake is studded with 223 small diamonds.

***

Gene Autry (1907-1998), a radio and film star, found a new niche in the 1940s recording holiday songs for children. His most famous were “Here Comes Santa Claus” (1947) and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949), which sold 2 million copies that year. 

***

The Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was written by American professor Clement Moore (1779-1863) in 1823. The poem is now known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which is the poem’s first line. The last line is “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

***

A copy of “’Twas the night before Christmas,” handwritten by Clement Moore in 1860, sold at an auction for $280,000. An unidentified businessman bought the piece of paper in 2006. The other three handwritten copies in existence are in museums.

***

Answer: Johnny Carson (1925-2005), host of the Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992. After he said the joke on television, hundreds of people sent him fruitcakes.

Know It All is by Kerry McArdle. It runs in the weekend and Wednesday editions of the Daily Journal. Questions? Comments? Email knowitall(at)smdailyjournal.com or call 344-5200 ext. 114.

 

 

Tags: santa, christmas, claus, world, fruitcake, children,


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