The Twelve Lists of Christmas
12 Ways to Say “Merry Christmas”
Heri za Krismas
(he-ree za krees-mas)
11 Holiday Fun Facts to Drop into Party Small Talk
2. Dreaming of a green Christmas? Household waste increases by 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In the United States, trash from wrapping paper and shopping bags totals 4 million tons.
3. The year 2007 marks the 28th year that the National Chanukah Menorah ― the world’s largest ― in Washington, D.C., will be lit in a ceremony televised internationally.
4. The U.S. Postal Service delivers 20 billion cards and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
5. Rudolph first alighted on the holiday scene in 1939, when in-store Santas at Montgomery Ward stores distributed 2.4 million copies of the booklet “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” written by Robert L. May, a copywriter for the company. After executives vetoed the original name, Rollo, May’s young daughter suggested Rudolph.
6. The Löschner family of Neuhausen, Germany, owns the biggest nutcracker collection: 4,334. It is said that German craftsmen made the first decorative nutcrackers around 1800 as a way of mocking authority figures, leading to the phrase “a hard nut to crack.”
7. Despite their bad reputation, poinsettias aren’t deadly. Latex in the stems and leaves can be irritating, but not much more, to humans and animals.
8. The first candy cane dates back to 1670 in Germany. According to holiday lore, a choirmaster distributed sugar sticks bent into the shape of a shepherds’ crook to quiet his young singers during Christmas services. Today more than 1.76 billion candy canes are made for the holidays, enough to stretch from Santa Claus, Indiana, to North Pole, Alaska, and back again 32 times.
9. Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” between October and November of 1843. The story was a hit, selling 6,000 copies by Christmas Day.
10. The largest gingerbread man in the world is a dieter’s nightmare, weighing in at a whopping 466 pounds, six ounces. The Gingerbread House, in Rochester, Minnesota, baked the giant cookie on February 21, 2006.
11. An average of 5,800 people end up in the ER after suffering injuries from holiday decorating.
10 Holiday Toasts
― Hamilton Wright Mabie
2. May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.
― Inuit proverb
3. May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.
― Joey Adams
4. May all your joys be true joys, and all your pain Champagne.
5. Here’s to holly and ivy hanging up, and to something wet in every cup.
― Ogden Nash
6. If you can’t be merry at Christmas, then you can drive the rest of us home when we are!
― Mark Bromberg
7. Here’s to us that are here, to you that are there, and the rest of us everywhere.
― Rudyard Kipling
8. In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, and never in want.
― Irish toast
9. Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.
― Benjamin Franklin
10. As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.
9 Questions to Make Even the Dullest Cocktail-Party Chat Interesting
2. “Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have X-ray vision?”
3. “How did you meet your husband/wife/ significant other?”
4. “If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would do?”
5. And to follow up: “Would you continue to work at your current job? If not, what would you do? If yes, what do you love about your job?”
6. “If you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be?”
7. “What’s your favorite pastime?”
8. “What one item would you grab if your house were on fire?”
9. “If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?”
8 Ways to Break Free If Those Questions Don't Work1. “I’m going to refill my drink. Can I get you anything?” (If the person says yes, deliver the beverage and keep on moving.)
2. “Oops! I promised the host I’d say hello.”
3. “I’m so sorry. I need to use the bathroom. Do you know where it is?”
4. “It’s been so nice talking to you. I’ll catch up with you later.”
5. “I told the babysitter I’d check in around this time. I just have to make a quick call.”
6. “I’m dying to snag one of those crème de menthe bars. Would you excuse me?”
7. “Have you seen my husband/sister/friend Cathy? I promised I’d share this plate of food with him/her.”
8. “Oh look, there’s Karen. Have you two met?” (Draw Karen into the conversation, then make your exit with one of the above comments.)
7 Really Useful Party Websites
This well-organized site features invitations, paper goods, and even biodegradable plastic plates and flatware.
More invitations, as well as customizable trays, coasters, and pretty address labels (perfect for holiday mailings).
Find vintage and handmade decorations here. It’s like a shopping mecca for one-of-a-kind objects.
More than just gardening products, this site is a good resource for stylish holiday decorations, including crystal garlands and beaded ornaments.
From Yiddish dog T-shirts to Wax-Off, a spray that prevents candle wax from sticking to a menorah, this site has a bounty of kitschy Hanukkah loot. Great for party favors.
Design your own napkins, coasters, matchboxes, and other party essentials at this site.
To plan your next fete, use this site’s helpful budget calculator. Then shop for clever party supplies, invitations, and more.
6 Stain Stoppers to Have on Hand
2. White vinegar or lemon juice, to bleach out coffee and tea stains. Flush the item with water, then machine wash.
3. Tide to Go―a stain-removal pen that helps get sticky, sugary splotches out of tablecloths and napkins.
4. Cornstarch for oily stains on, say, a couch. (It will help absorb residual oil.)
5. Salt. Remove a red-wine spill with this kitchen staple: Stretch out the stained fabric over a bowl, sprinkle on a liberal amount of salt, and, from the height of one foot, pour boiling water over the stain. Wash as usual.
6. Wisk. Keep this “digestant” or some other reliable brand (such as Era) on hand. Use a solution of one tablespoon mixed with two cups water to treat food stains, such as chocolate. Let stand for 20 minutes, then machine wash.
5 Ways Out of a Food Crisis
2. Order dumplings and egg rolls from a Chinese restaurant and request extra packets of sauce. Slice up the appetizers and serve the sauce in small dishes.
3. Order pasta from a favorite Italian place and request the sauce on the side. Reheat the pasta in boiling water and the sauce in a pan. Don’t forget to ask for bread sticks or garlic bread and salad. Serve it on Grandma’s best bone china and they’ll never guess you burned the roast.
4. Sushi is the perfect finger food. Order all manners of rolls, but skip the tempura, which will turn soggy in transit.
5. Go Southwest and order taquitos or flautas for appetizers, or fajitas that you can arrange buffet-style. Ask for extra beans and rice, get plenty of chips, and be sure to spring for guacamole.
4 Ways to Make Sure Your Party Is a Success
2. Invite the correct number of guests. Only you know how many your dining table or living room can hold, so don’t overdo it.
3. Leave pets in an off-limits room. You may think it’s cute when Bailey shares an hors d’oeuvre; your guests might not.
4. Introduce everyone. Having your closest friends at a party is fun, but make sure the gang doesn’t exclude any other guests. Get your most gregarious friends to welcome the newcomers.
3 Conversation Starters
2. Travel anecdotes. These are good to have in your conversational arsenal, as they’ll instantly make you more interesting and worldly.
3. A sweet or funny childhood story. Everyone was a kid once, so most people will have a story of their own to respond with.
2 Ways to Help the Hostess
1. Call an hour before the party and ask if your hostess needs any last-minute food, drinks, or supplies. She’ll be grateful to have someone to run an errand that she’d never be able to do herself. (And you want ice in your drink!)
2. Keep any kids entertained and out from under her feet. How do you keep them busy? Set up a kids’ station with board games, memory card games, and puzzles.