Recipe: Christmas Trivia and George Washington’s Eggnog

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You cannot beat a nicely spiked cup of Eggnog on cold winter days such as the ones we are experiencing.

Then, too, Christmas Trivia is always a good read.

Christmas Trivia:

George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776.

It was in 350 A.D that Julius I, Bishop of Rome chose December 25 to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.

The first Christmas tree decorated in the White House was during the Franklin Pierce Administration.

Calvin Coolidge in 1923 lit the first Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

When it pays to send the best… The first official White House Christmas card was sent by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He asked a friend, Joyce. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, for help. Hallmark has supplied the official presidential holiday cards ever since.

The first tinsel was made in 1878 and distributed in Nuremberg, Germany. These icicles were made from thin strips of silver foil and became a huge success in America.

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

Angel hair is spun glass and was first made in 1880. Germans used it to make garlands to decorate their homes. Americans tended to just toss it all over their Christmas tree for an overall frosty effect.

The first Christmas tree to sport electric lights was illuminated in 1882 and and stood in the home of Edward Johnson, a New York resident and friend of Thomas Edison.

There are over one hundred and forty different types of Holly. Holly grows all over the world and is often used as a decoration for winter holidays. Because it sets fruit in the winter it became a symbol for immortality. To Christians holly’s thorns represent the crown of thorns that Christ wore on the cross. The red berries represent his blood.

According to the National Christmas Tree Growers website there are about 25 -30 million Christmas Trees sold every year in the United States.  These trees are grown in all 50 states on almost 15,000 farms on over 350,000 acres employing over 100,000 people full or part-time.  For every tree that is harvested, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring.

The average time it takes for a tree to reach the most popular Christmas tree height of six feet is seven years. The most common varieties are: balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, noble-fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine and white pine.

Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.

China produces 80% of all artificial Christmas trees.

Christmas trees are known to have been popular in Germany as far back as the sixteenth century. In England, they became popular after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, who came from Germany, made a tree part of the celebrations at Windsor Castle. In the United States, the earliest known mention of a Christmas tree is in the diary of a German who settled in Pennsylvania.

To estimate how many lights you will need on your Christmas tree, simply multiply the height of the tree times the width of the tree at its widest part times 3.

A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a holy day, to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.

At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored.” This meant the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.

During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States.

Toys for Tots began just after World War II in 1947.

Don’t give the gift of food poisoning this holiday season. It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.

George Washington’s Eggnog

1 quart of milk, (from your own cows)
1 quart of cream, (skimmed from the milk from your own cows)
1 dozen eggs, (from your own chickens)
1 dozen tablespoons sugar
1 pint of brandy
½ pint rye whiskey
¼ pint Jamaica or New England rum (nothing from England, please)
¼ pint sherry

Mix liquor first. Separate yolks and whites of eggs. Beat the yolks. Then, add sugar to beaten yolks. Mix well. Add liquor mixture, drop by drop at first, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture, Let set in cool place for several days.

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