Christmas is a time for giving, caring, and sharing blessings with those you love most. The best part comes when you all sit down at the dinner table to enjoy a great, home-cooked meal peppered with great conversation. But just as you’re about to dig into your second helping of sweet potato pie, the inevitable happens. You find yourself in the hot seat and the same old embarrassing questions about your weight, job, and love life start to flow like the wine which you suddenly wish you had more of.

This year, deflect uncomfortable questions and steer towards more pleasant topics by impressing your relatives and friends with these fun and fascinating Christmas trivia.

1. Rudolph’s red nose

What’s the real cause of Rudolph’s famous crimson-colored nose? Allergies? Too much peppermint schnapps? In 1986, a Norwegian scientist speculated that a parasitic infection of the respiratory system discolored poor Rudolph’s honker.

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Did you know that the tradition of carving pumpkin for Halloween began in Ireland and Scotland with turnips? Read on and discover more about the rich history of this fun holiday.

History

Halloween traces its roots to an ancient Celtic harvest festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in). It was believed that on October 31, the spirits of the dead returned to damage crops and scare the living.

 Jack o'lantern beside a candle jar decorated with bats

By 800 AD, Christianity introduced Europe to All Saints Day, or “All Hallows,” which falls on November 1. Samhain began to be called “All Hallows’ Eve” and was later shortened to “Hallowe’en”.

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Weddings in June are common, but check out some unique wedding traditions from all over the globe

June has been one of, if not the most, popular month for holding wedding ceremonies since the early Roman times. If you’re wondering why, it’s because June festivals are held in honor of the goddess Juno who presides over marriage and childbirth. Since June is named after Juno, it is only natural that marriage celebrations occur during this month.
Wedding Cake Topper

Did you know that the idea of getting married in June came from the Celtic calendar and that one of the old beliefs in Ireland is that the bride’s feet must stay on the floor when the couple dances to prevent evil fairies from taking her away? Here are some other unique beliefs and traditions from other parts of the world:

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Just because you don’t have amazing abs doesn’t mean you’re not fit. It’s time to get a re-education about fitness so keep reading!

Many people equate being fat or overweight with being unhealthy and strive to bring down the numbers on the scale. Some are just hardwired to maintain a healthy lifestyle either by choice or because of pressure brought on by the media. Well, smart and sassy Treetopia reader, what does it take to be considered “in shape?” Forget the numbers for a few minutes to think about what goes on inside, above and beyond those measurements.
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Get the most out of this summer’s hottest music festivities without fear

May hosts some of the hottest music festivals throughout the continent and, as it happens, May is also Emergency Medical Services Month (EMS).  Music festivals draw bigger crowds each year and, with such a great number of people in one place, it can’t be helped that some people who require medical attention will not be immediately attended to by EMS.   Rock out in some of May’s music festivals and keep yourself and others safe with some first-aid knowledge that would make your paramedics proud.
First Aid Station

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As part of National Beer Day on April 7, here are awesome ways to make use of beer other than drinking

alcohol-2101_640According to history, beer is the oldest drink enjoyed by civilization and may even be as old as civilization itself. Beer’s history can be traced in history and literature, and the oldest proven record of beer is between 4,000 to 6,000 years ago in the poem to honor Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of brewing. However, as humans evolved, so did beer and its uses. Here are some awesome ways to use beer today:

Bake It With Cake and Eat It Too!

Nowadays, there are recipes for almost everything that can be ingested by the human body. One of the fantastic creations of the beer-loving culture is the beer bread. Making beer bread isn’t as difficult as you’d imagine. You will need the following to get started with this classic beer bread recipe shared by Bridget from Bake at 350:
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Jazz up your home and control your mood swings using the psychology of color

Have you ever wondered why it’s popular to wear blue during a job interview or why cheerful people are said to have a “sunny disposition?” Perhaps you’re also wondering why looking out into the turquoise sea water tends to make you think, reminisce, or reflect.

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Whether you believe it or not, all these colors and more have a certain emotional and psychological effect on us all. Treetopia gives you a glimpse of what some of the more popular colors trigger with special focus on 2013’s Color of the Year: green.

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Channel your inner Irish and bring the Emerald Isles into your home

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every 17th of March, the feast day of St. Patrick himself. Aside from the parade and parties where pints and quarts of beer are passed around, this day holds a greater significance for the people of the Emerald Isles. Here are some tidbits and fun suggestions on how to bring out your inner Irish.

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Take a look at fabulous and wonderfully weird traditions for ringing in the New Year

Now that the Christmas festivities are over, people are getting ready to celebrate the arrival of 2013. While New Year’s Eve is a night of fabulous parties and food-filled activities for some, it is also a night linked to tradition for others. Take a look at some traditions of how people from different parts of the world ring in the New Year.

Carnival and Color

In some areas in South Africa, the arrival of the New Year is celebrated with a burst of color and a carnival atmosphere. People take to the streets wearing colorful costumes as they dance to the beat of the drums.

 

First-Footing

Many areas in Europe still practice the first-footing tradition wherein the first person to enter the house after midnight is a young male to give luck to the household. The young male carries coal, bread, and money into the house to ensure that the household would have enough of these for the entire year.

 

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Do you know why you do the Christmas traditions you grew up with? Read on and find out!

Now that we have stuffed ourselves with a delightful Thanksgiving feast sprinkled with love, we can direct our attention to the next big feast—Christmas. Christmas is certainly one of the holidays with a treasure trove of traditions, but do you know why and how exactly these traditions came about?

Oh Christmas Tree

The most popular Christmas icon, especially for children, is the Christmas tree. We’ve all been though the phase of counting how many beautifully wrapped gifts nestled under the tree have our name on it. But did you know that the tradition of decorating trees came long before Christmas itself? It is believed that ancient pagan societies that practiced animism brought and decorated trees indoors to please the spirits and ensure a good harvest. Trees only became linked to Christmas when Christianity started to spread across Germany. The popularization of the modern Christmas tree came about when Prince Albert, originally from Germany, introduced the Christmas tree to England after he married Queen Victoria in 1840.

Christmas Stockings

The tradition of hanging Christmas stockings by the chimney is linked with the origin of Santa Claus’ story. It is believed that St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold coins down the chimney of a poor family whose father could not marry off his daughters because he had no money for dowries. It so happened that the daughters hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry and they caught the bags of gold coins that were dropped.

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