holidays

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Tinsel Was Once Dangerous to Kids

FDA took action over lead in the decoration

(Newser) - A harmless symbol of Christmas cheer was once deemed so risky that the FDA had to regulate it. Tinsel once contained lead, which, as scientists realized in the 1960s, made it dangerous to kids. That prompted a deal between the FDA and tinsel makers to alter manufacturing methods, the American... More »

Let's Shift Christmas to Feb. 7

Slate writer LV Anderson makes her case

(Newser) - There are only six shopping days left til Christmas, but if Slate writer LV Anderson had her way, there'd be more than 40. Anderson makes the case that Christmas should be pushed from Dec. 25 to Feb. 7. She's got all kinds of arguments—it's too close... More »

Here's How Much Holiday Weight We Really Gain

Research shows the 10-pound figure often thrown around is likely a myth

(Newser) - Plan to enjoy a few extra helpings of mashed potatoes, gravy, and gingerbread men over the coming weeks—but worried about all those pounds you're bound to pack on? Cut yourself some slack, suggests Travis Saunders on the PLOS blog. He points out that while people regularly parrot the... More »

Woman Pays $20K in Others' Layaway Costs at Toys 'R' Us

Guy paid $1.2K in fellow customers' bills last week

(Newser) - A little heartwarming holiday news: Shoppers who couldn't pay for items on the spot at a Massachusetts Toys 'R' Us no longer have to worry about the costs. That's thanks to an anonymous older woman who paid off every single account at the store—all 150 of... More »

6 Geese-a-Laying Just Got Way Pricier

But cost of other '12 Days' gear stays about the same

(Newser) - The cost of six geese-a-laying spiked considerably this year, while most of the items in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" saw little to no increase, according to the 31st annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index. A set of gifts in each verse of the song would set you... More »

Chicago Airport Lines Stretch More Than a Mile

1.8K flights delayed across country

(Newser) - If you're reading this while you wait in line at Chicago's Midway Airport, we wish you the best of luck. Lines at security have reportedly reached more than a mile long today, Gawker reports. According to one tweet : "The line for TSA at Midway airport leaves the... More »

Most Terrible Place to Have Thanksgiving? Ohio

Based on odds of political arguments, binge drinking, and more

(Newser) - We're all aware of the many potential pitfalls of Thanksgiving: the political arguments, the drunk-uncle factor, the football losses. Now, the real-estate blog Estately has figured out, based on the confluence of such factors, just which states have the highest risk for terrible turkey dinners. The site looked at... More »

Your Turkey Is Probably From Minnesota

State has way more turkeys than people

(Newser) - Minnesota has about 5.5 million people—and has produced about 45 million turkeys this year. In fact, almost one in five of the country's turkeys comes from the state, Vocativ reports. The total number of turkeys forecast to be raised in the US this year, according to the... More »

Md. County Wipes Holiday Names From School Calendar

Move follows push to recognize Muslim holidays

(Newser) - When Muslim community members sought to have their holidays recognized by a Maryland school district, board members decided instead to stop identifying any holidays at all. On next year's Montgomery County School District calendar, you won't see Christmas or Yom Kippur, the Washington Post reports. Kids will still... More »

Lowe's Holiday Help: Robots

But chain says high-tech OSHbot is there to help human workers, not displace them

(Newser) - Retailers typically hire more workers to help out around the holidays, but Lowe's is taking an especially novel approach to this year's seasonal staff: putting robots to work. The OSHbot will be available for customer service tasks at the company's Orchard Hardware Supply store in San Jose,... More »

What Went Wrong at UPS This Christmas

Last-minute online sales were bigger than expected

(Newser) - Just how did UPS manage to leave many would-be gift recipients empty-handed on Christmas? The company says it's too soon to know for sure. The Wall Street Journal , however, notes that there was a lot more last-minute online shopping this year than last. Online sales the weekend before Christmas... More »

Fla. Cops Give Xmas Speeders Tickets—and Gifts

In Melbourne, FL, speeding tickets came with lotto tickets yesterday

(Newser) - Sir, I'm going to need to give you a ticket … a lotto ticket, that is. In an attempt to add some cheer to the presumably fairly miserable job of pulling people over on Christmas, police in Melbourne, Fla., were handing out scratch-off tickets to the people they stopped... More »

Christmas Is for Jews, Too

Two Jewish writers say they celebrate the holiday

(Newser) - People often try to tell Charlotte Alter that she shouldn't celebrate Christmas because she's Jewish. Her response? "First, mind your own business and leave my gingerbread house alone," she writes at Time . For many, this holiday is about Santa, not Jesus—and who's to say... More »

Merry Christmas: Can We Cut the Power Struggle Already?

Free-speech wars are about power and not very Christian: Michael Gerson

(Newser) - Christmas has become the most wonderful time of year ... for heated political debate, especially of the "War on Christmas" or First Amendment variety. It's "when all the ideologues get a little extra outrage or victimization in their stockings," writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post . This... More »

Gifts Also Rule Animal Kingdom

They offer piggyback rides, share food

(Newser) - Many species of animals are just as into gift-giving as we are, though they may be better at avoiding that last-minute shopping rush. Often, the New York Times explains, the presents are tied to mating. "This is an incredibly cool and important topic in sexual selection that we’re... More »

Tree-Munching Bugs Wage War on Christmas

Adelgids deplete fir tree population

(Newser) - Talk about a war on Christmas: It's happening right now in southern Appalachia, and the aggressors are freckle-sized bugs with no natural predators. The balsam woolly adelgid, as the creature is known, is wreaking havoc on Canaan and Fraser firs, famed as Christmas trees. The onslaught is leaving trees... More »

Radio Station Grants Last Wish—2 Years After Death

Brenda Schmitz wanted best for remarried husband, kids

(Newser) - A month before she died of ovarian cancer in September 2011, Brenda Schmitz wrote down a few wishes for her family—her husband, her four boys, and the special woman she hoped they would find. They weren't to be read until after her husband had remarried. This year, a... More »

Airline Gives Fliers the Gifts They Want for Christmas

WestJet passengers receive gifts—some pricey—after flight

(Newser) - These may have been the best plane flights of all time: Passengers on two WestJet flights last month got a chance to talk to Santa via video before boarding—and by the time they arrived, the gifts they had asked him for had been bought, wrapped, and were on their... More »

War on Christmas Was Very Real— in the 1600s

Boston Puritans banned the holiday

(Newser) - The War on Christmas existed long before Fox News. In the 17th century, it was an indisputable fact: Boston Puritans canceled Christmas for 22 years, and those caught celebrating were hit with a fine, Mental Floss explains. A court order in 1659 warned against "observing any such day as... More »

Fla. Capitol Gets Festivus Pole— Made of Beer Cans

Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, specifically

(Newser) - It's a "Festivus for the rest of us" in Tallahassee this year: The Florida Capitol will likely today see the installation of an almost 6-foot-tall Festivus pole (yes, the invention of Seinfeld) in its rotunda. And it's not the traditional plain aluminum pole, but one made out... More »

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