HOW DOES SANTA FIT THROUGH THE CHIMNEY? 3 Possible Explanations for This Phenomenon
The famous beginning of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem resonates with us every Christmas as our minds drift to a tale of St. Nicholas bestowing gifts on the good children of the world. It’s a story we all know, but even with its history, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” fails to answer one very important question. We know why Santa comes down the chimney: to deliver gifts. We know when he comes down the chimney: half past three — according to the song “Merry Christmas Baby.” But how does he come down the chimney? We may never know the actual answer, but here are three of the most widely accepted explanations. Magic, Duh The most commonly accepted explanation of Santa fitting through your chimney is morphing with magic, as famously depicted by Tim Allen’s character in “The Santa Clause,” but the way his body rearranges itself while going down can’t hold all the bones and organs. Most scholars agree that while the comedic method is great for the box office, the reality of such contortion is highly unlikely. Another argument for magic is that Santa actually does a bit of a disappearing act where he transports
himself, much like teleportation. A quick snap of the fingers, and Jolly St. Nick is ready to bring joy to millions of lives. Naysayers argue that if he can teleport, then why use the reindeer? This rationale is why some believe that Santa’s magic has certain limitations, and he can only use so much before it runs out. He’s Actually Tiny Another theory is implied in Moore’s poem. “But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,” reads the line, stating that it’s size that gets Santa through small places, not magic. It would explain why Santa doesn’t use the door, but it still leaves questions unanswered. If he’s small, then the gifts must be small as well. How do they get bigger? How does Santa eat the cookies and drink the milk if he’s so tiny? A popular idea is that Santa uses a combination of size and magic. He shrinks himself down so small that he can remain hidden and also get his bag of goodies down the chimney. Once he’s “‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”
inside, he returns to a normal size, places the gifts, and eats the cookies. He Doesn’t After years of arguing, a new sect believes that St. Nick comes through the window or the front door. The theory gained traction back in the 60’s, but a rise in modern alarm technology and external video cameras has many experts wondering how his movements go unnoticed. The theory hasn’t been entirely ruled out, but it would seem that entering a home through the windows or front door is improbable. People can argue the “how” all they want, but for us, we’re just thankful he does exist and brings joy to the world. Also, if Santa comes into your home and damages the HVAC or furnace upon entry, we can help.
UGLY SWEATER PARTIES A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow! It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are a few things to keep in mind. Your Very Own Ugly Sweater Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up! However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore. What Exactly Is an Ugly Sweater Party? It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure
there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest.
This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT VICTIMS OF HURRICANE MICHAEL
Ways to Donate and Volunteer
The devastation of Hurricane Michael has torn apart more than just our homes. Many families are in the same state as the debris-riddled neighborhoods of the panhandle. Our houses, restaurants, and community centers once provided an avenue to grow closer with one another, but now we’re left to cling onto the one common emotion we all have: hope. We can rebuild structures, and that’s precisely what we’ll do; however, we can’t allow our hope to be broken. Houses are easier to restore than our faith in each other. As cliché as it may seem, these disasters often bring optimism. Americans consistently demonstrate resilience when we’re backed into a corner. Adversity brings out the best in us and unifies us. Our response to Hurricane Michael is what will define us. We will come together for the rebirth of our community, stronger and more dedicated than ever. Here are a few ways you can help:
The Florida Disaster Fund is still accepting donations for relief. While the Red Cross and other organizations are wonderful to donate to, this local agency is the best way to fund those affected by the disaster of Hurricane Michael directly. Volunteer Pet shelters, churches, and local businesses still need help putting the pieces back together. While resources help, one of the simplest ways we can give back is by offering a helping hand. For areas still in need of support, go to VolunteerFlorida.org. With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to help out our neighbors to the east. Let’s show our country that Floridians don’t back down and always rally around each other.
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PUMPKIN SPICE OR PEPPERMINT? Where Does the Social Stigma Come From?
It seems like pumpkin has woven itself into just about everything. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin butter, pumpkin beer, pumpkin Pringles, pumpkin ramen, and even pumpkin spice body wash. Not even Bubba from “Forrest Gump” could list all the varieties of pumpkin-infused products. But while this craze sweeps the nation every fall, somehow, someway, it’s seasonal flavor sister, peppermint, receives very little attention. Why is that? Here are two possible explanations. The War on “Basic” Recent trends seem to dominate America’s youth, and not too long ago, the pursuit of mainstream or popular movements was defined as “basic.” The common connotation is associated with young women who have similar tastes in clothing and general lifestyle — Ugg boots, Instagram selfies, leggings, and pumpkin spice lattes all serving as common stereotypes — but it also applies to men. UrbanDictionary.com, a common resource for modern slang terms, defines “basic” as “used to describe someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or just simply worth devoting time or attention to” and provides examples of a conversation with a man who has the personality of a brick wall.
For contrarians who pride themselves on counterculture — sometimes called “hipsters” — pumpkin spice is at the center of the “basic” stereotype. Its rise in popularity created an equal ascension of animosity. The idea that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” took pumpkin spice from a simple seasonal flavor, like peppermint, and turned it into, for lack of a better word, a movement. Tradition Pumpkin spice is a new player on the scene, having made its debut in 2003. The increase in technology, information sharing, and social media only fueled the growth of pumpkin spice, thus subjecting the new flavor to the same associations as other creations of the time — such as e-scooters or iPods. Peppermint, on the other hand, has always been a widely accepted choice for the holidays. The only negative feelings toward the flavor stem from the fact that it is often lumped in with pumpkin spice as being an overhyped, mainstream, capitalistic money-maker. Regardless of whether you enjoy a peppermint mocha, pumpkin spice latte, or a plain ol’ black coffee, we hope you have a happy holiday season.
BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS
• 2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled • 2–3 sprigs rosemary • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp
knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute.
5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top.
6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.
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3 Ways Santa Gets Into Your House
Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas Stronger Than Hurricane Michael
Pumpkin Spice vs. Peppermint Buttery Roasted Chestnuts
What Do My Symptoms Mean?
Know What to Look For Before They Attack 4 WINTER ILLNESSES YOU’D RATHER AVOID
Influenza The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. Strep Throat A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep. This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Everyone knows that getting sick is no fun and is best avoided at all costs. However, it happens to everyone eventually. Catching a virus or infection in its early stages can help you shake the sickness much faster.
Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether. The Common Cold Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week. Bronchiolitis Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms.
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