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Humor, Facts & Stats, Trivia and More

Beatles’ Rare Fan-Club Christmas Records: A Complete Guide

Band’s brief, whimsical holiday discs – released from 1963 through 1969 and newly reissued – offer a glimpse into their stunning evolution

In honor of a new reissue, Rolling Stone takes a detailed look at the Beatles’ whimsical series of fan-club-only Christmas records.


Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve

New England oyster stew
Photo courtesy of willapa-oysters.com

Early Americans were absolutely oyster crazy. When the first English settlers arrived at Plymouth Rock, oysters were a reliable and tasty source of nutrition. Coastal American Indian Nations had already been harvesting them for at least 3,000 years. As the young colony’s population grew and spread to cover much of the East Coast, folks along the shores devoured oysters. In stuffings, chowders, pan roasts and on the half shell, both rich and poor enjoyed as many oysters as they could eat. America’s oldest still operating restaurant, the Union Oyster House of Boston, opened in 1826 to showcase the bivalve. And New York City pushcarts sold the by the bushel, freshly harvested from the Hudson Bay. A whopping 700 million were harvested from the Bay in 1880 alone.


56 Essential Christmas Cookies

Courtesy Genius Kitchens

Almond Spritz
Photo courtesy of Food.com

From classic sugar cookies to gingerbread men, these top recipes will sweeten your holiday – and make you the darling of all your cookie swaps.


How the Wrong Holiday Gift Traumatized Me as a Transgender Child

Corey Rae as a child
Photo credit: STYLECASTER/Corey Rae

Giving the perfect gift can be stressful for anyone during the holidays. Regardless of your religion, if you do participate in the tradition of giving gifts, there are children who want to receive toys based on their preferred gender identity — not necessarily the one they were assigned at birth. Throughout my 24 years of wish lists, I have always wanted more feminine presents, and I know the importance of receiving a gift that will bring pure joy.


Santa Claus clip artMark Twain’s “A Letter From Santa Claus”

In 1875, Mark Twain wrote a letter to his daughter Susie, who was 3 years old at the time, which he signed “Your loving Santa Claus.” You can read it in its entirety below, but first a little bit of pretext. Twain was very close to his daughter, all the way up to her untimely death at age 24 in 1896, and that year she had written her first letter to Santa Claus. Twain, being a writer, couldn’t stand for his young daughter to feel like her work went unheard, so he decided to pen the following letter to “My Dear Susie Clemens” from “The Man in the Moon” himself.


He’s Back: Adam Sandler — “The Chanukah Song, Part 4”

I did a show with some friends in San Diego and recorded a new one for you.

Have a great holiday season.

— Adam Sandler

Saturnalia & the History of Christmas

Etruscan dancers
Image courtesy of the Yorck Project, Public Domain

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.


A Timeline of the Shocking True Story of the Modern Latke

Warning: This may be upsetting to traditionalist latke lovers.

Courtesy Gabe Friedman

potato latkes

The latke is one of those Jewish foods that feels steeped in tradition, as if it’s been made the same way since the days of the Maccabees.

But in a revelatory article, Atlantic senior editor Yoni Appelbaum explains that the latke as we know it — grated potatoes fried in olive oil — is a relatively new culinary invention. Here, in brief, is the Hanukkah staple’s origin story.


The Modern Day Chanukah Potato Latke & Recipe

potato pancakes

Latke (pronounced LOT-keh, LOT-kah or LOT-kee) is Yiddish for “pancake.” On Chanukah, it is traditional to serve latkes (most often potato) fried in oil to celebrate the Chanukah miracle, which involved the oil of the Temple menorah lasting for eight days instead of just one. Jews eat foods that reflect the significance of a holiday — such as matzah on Passover and apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah — and Chanukah is no exception. For at least the last thousand years, Jews have traditionally eaten oily foods on Chanukah.


The Deeper Meaning of the Chanukah Oil Miracle

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living

By: Rabbi YY Jacobson

Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein
In the loving memory of:
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok ben Zalman Yuda Deitsch and Alta Shula Swerdlov
And in honor of the birth of their daughter Yetta Alta Shula, “Aliyah”

olive oil

Why Celebrate Oil?

The kindling of a menorah during the eight days of Chanukah commemorates an ancient miracle that occurred in our Jerusalem Holy Temple, some 2300 years ago. Following the victory of the Jews over their Greek oppressors who desecrated the Temple and attempted to destroy Judaism, a little cruse of unsoiled olive oil found in the Temple lasted and burned for eight days, till the Jews managed to purchase new pure oil for the daily kindling of the Temple Candelabra. To commemorate this display of Divine grace in a world usually enslaved to nature, the sages of Israel instituted the eight-day holiday of Chanukah, in which we kindle a menorah each night.


Christmas Around the World

Discover how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and cultures around the world!


The Shop Around the Corner movie poster

The Greatest Christmas Film for the Ages

With apologizes to the fans of the Frank Capra classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, our pick is Ernst Lubitsch’s stunning 1941 masterpiece, The Shop Around the Corner.

Random Acts of Canine Kindness

Cedric the Dog takes a well-earned break after organizing a protest at an altright Neo-Nazi rally in Idaho.

Dog Quotations

Would You Live in ‘The Best Airport in the World’ for a Month? This Guy Just Did!

Courtesy Ashley Rossi

Survivor meets The Truman Show. As a pretty clever marketing ploy, the Helsinki Airport invited Chinese actor and TV personality, Ryan Zhu, to live in the city’s airport for 30 days.


Hard Day’s Night 2017

Hard Day's Night 2017

The Story of Chanukah (Hannukah)

Courtesy Chabad.org

Under Syrian Rule

Photo by Ladislav Faigl, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

More than 2000 years ago there was a time when the land of Israel was part of the Syrian-Greek Empire, dominated by Syrian rulers of the dynasty of the Seleucids.

In order to relate the story that led up to Chanukah, we shall start with Antiochus III, the King of Syria, who reigned from 3538 to 3574 (222-186 B.C.E.). He had waged war with King Ptolemy of Egypt over the possession of the Land of Israel. Antiochus III was victorious and the Land of Israel was annexed to his empire. At the beginning of his reign he was favorably disposed toward the Jews and accorded them some privileges.


Christmas Facts

Christmas tree

Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.


The 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January – also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration.

The 12 Days each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations:


Twelfth Night of Christmas

12th Night of Christmas

Twelfth Night was a time of great celebration with people holding large parties. During these parties, often the roles in society were reversed with the servants being served by the rich people. This dated back to medieval and Tudor times when Twelfth Night marked the end of ‘winter’ which had started on 31st October with All Hallows Eve (Halloween).


A Retired Couple Travel 12,000 Miles from Oxford to Hong Kong Using Only Public Transport


Time Capsule Cinema

movie poster for The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – A Look Back

By Walt Mundkowsky


The Travel Guys

Hands down, this Canadian gem is our pick for the most hilarious, madcap travel show on the cybersphere.

Here’s a look back as the Travel Guys take on the Yukon.

WATCH Travel Guys Take on the Yukon

Song Facts: Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan


This Holiday Season Pay Respects to Liz Taylor, Walt Disney at this Glitzy Graveyard to the Stars in Glendale

LA Times

The Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Glendale
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

This is one of the grand cemeteries in the world — in setting, in scope, in star power. Step inside Forest Lawn Glendale and honor the memories of Elizabeth Taylor, Walt Disney and Jimmy Stewart, among dozens of other famous names.

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