Each week, Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or email@example.com.
It is true that in 1925 Albany’s postmaster announced that, for the first time in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, there would be no mail delivered on Christmas Day. Are the following statements true or false?
- A favorite stocking stuffer for all ages, the Slinky (the original), takes 50 feet of wire to make.
- On Dec. 9, 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was seen in more than 15 million homes. It was second only to “I Love Lucy” that week.
- Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.
- Child singer Jimmy Boyd was 15 years old when he recorded “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in 1952.
- Famous people born on Christmas Day include Clara Barton, Anwar Sadat and Rod Serling.
- In Puerto Rico, children leave grass under their beds for the Christmas Camel.
- Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.
- Christmas lights were invented in 1855 by Edward Johnson.
- In 1907, Oklahoma became the last state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
- There are three towns in the United States, including one in Georgia, named Santa Claus. The other two are in Michigan and Ohio.
- In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.
- Expected holiday spending for November and December 2014 is $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, an increase of 4.1 percent over 2013.
- The Queen of England’s Christmas Day speech was first televised in 1962.
- Due to international time zones, Santa Claus actually has 31 hours to deliver presents to all the children of the world.
- Christmas is the busiest time for Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan. So popular is fried chicken on Christmas Day that KFC orders are placed as early as two months in advance.
- About 15 percent of Americans admit to re-gifting.
- In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree. She decorated a tree placed in the oval Blue Room with ornamental toys, birds and angels modeled after Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” ballet.
- In 1958, Mamie Eisenhower had 18 decorated Christmas trees in the White House.
- Christmas Island is located in the Pacific Ocean.
- It was Christmas Eve 1926 when the first singing commercial aired on radio.
- The name of Rudolph’s father is Dasher.
- In Greece, some people burn their old shoes during the Christmas season to prevent misfortunes in the coming year.
- Approximately 20,000 Santa suits are rented out each year.
- The Mighty Tonka Dump Truck was a big hit for Christmas 1964. If you have one of the originals, it is still under warranty.
- The price advertised in The Albany Herald for a Howdy Doody marionette in 1953 was just under $8.
- The first president to decorate a Christmas tree at the White House was Franklin Pierce.
- It took Charles Dickens just three months to write “A Christmas Carol” in 1843.
- Sears Roebuck and Co. in downtown Albany (1945) had many gift selections for Christmas, one being a thumb-indexed King James Bible for $6.96.
- Gene Autry recorded “Here Comes Santa Claus” in 1947, again in 1953 and once more in 1957.
- The first Toys for Tots drive was organized in 1955.
It is true that Helen Keller said, “The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” In the following quotes, is it true that the person credited actually spoke the words?
- “Christmas, my child, is love in action.” — Dale Evans
- “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- “The two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” — George Carlin
- “Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.” — Johnny Carson
- “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” — Winston Churchill
- “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” — Andy Rooney
- “That’s the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me.” — Jerry Seinfeld
- “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” — Bing Crosby
- “A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” — Dave Barry
- “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” — Charles Schultz
QUIK QUIZ answer
c) To soldiers fighting in the Civil War. It was called “Santa Claus in Camp” and appeared in Harper’s Weekly on Jan. 3, 1863.
TRUE / FALSE ANSWERS: (1) F - 63 feet; (2) F - second only to “Bonanza;” (3) T - 1836; (4) F - He was one month short of his 13th birthday; (5) T - 1821, 1918, 1924, respectively; (6) T; (7) T; (8) F - It was 1882; (9) T; (10) F - The other two are Arizona and Indiana; (11) T; (12) T; (13) F - It was 1957; (14) T; (15) T; (16) F - It was 28 percent; (17) T; (18) F - It was actually 27 trees; (19) F - It is in the Indian Ocean; (20) T -The product was Wheaties; (21) F - His name is Donner; (22) T; (23) T; (24) T; (25) F - In Albany, the toy was $3.39; (26) T - 1856; (27) F - It took only six weeks; (28) T; (29) T; (30) F - It was 1947; (31) T; (32) F - Calvin Coolidge; (33) F - Alice Cooper; (34) T; (35) T; (36) T; (37) T; (38) F - Bob Hope; (39) F - Garrison Keillor; (40) T