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  2. In 1927, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade introduced its first balloon: Felix the Cat. Macy’s had no contingency plan for deflating the helium-filled balloon once the parade was over. So organizers decided to just let the balloon float away, expecting it to safely come down to earth after a few days. Instead, it exploded before clearing the city, injuring several New Yorkers.

     

  3. $79.62 — Average amount that each Halloween-celebrating consumer spends on candy, costumes, and decorations

    170 million — Americans who will celebrate Halloween this year

    More than $8 billion — Total amount Americans spend on Halloween

    Any guesses at how much people spend on pet costumes

     

  4. "I careth not where thou has traversed from, varmint!"

    Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight Schrute from The Office, wants to make Voting Day a national holiday, because voting on a Tuesday is “a pain in the ass.

     

  5. Forget the dusty old box of Christmas lights in the attic. For some homeowners, holiday decorating is a competitive art form. This year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend a whopping $6 billion on decorations, the most in seven years. Here, a look at the most over-the-top Christmas displays over the last several years.

    Drum roll please…

     


  6. If you leave your Christmas tree’s lights on overnight, it will keep its needles longer

     

  7. How to tell kids Santa isn’t real

    It’s the question every parent dreads: Is Santa Claus real? The bombshell can drop at age 6, or 7, or 8, even older, but no matter what the child’s age, it can “mark the end of a certain kind of innocence for the child,” says Marie Hartwell-Walker in Psych Central, “and an end of a fun chapter of parenting for the adults.” How parents respond can determine whether the moment results in tears, anger, or a “sweet transition” to “a new kind of magic.” When the question comes, what’s the best way to answer it?

    Lie through your teeth: “I tell them how Santa can fold his body up, like a magical yogi, to wiggle down our chimney,” says Margot Magowan in The San Francisco Chronicle. The little ones “look adorable sucking it all up, mouths open, eyes wide.” When “these childhood myths” fade away, it will be “a gentle way for kids to learn [that] well-intended parents are not always reliable sources of truth.”

    Not a fan of lying to children? Fess up. Teach them about the real Christmas: We tell our kids the truth, says Pastor Marc Driscoll in The Washington Post. We don’t “demonize” Santa, but we don’t lie to convince our children he’s real. “Our kids thank us for being both honest and fun, which we think is what Jesus wants.”

    Here, some other options.

    Photo credit CC BY: Per Ola Wiberg

     

  8. The case for the real Christmas trees

    When it comes to Christmas trees, Americans are increasingly opting for fake ones, with more than 50 million artificial evergreens expected to light up living rooms this year, compared to some 30 million real trees. 

    Many people assume reusing a fake tree year after year is the more environmentally conscious holiday choice, but the authors of one study say natural trees are the greener option. Plus, they smell good.

    Photo credit: CC BY wolfsavard

     


  9. The Transportation Security Administration’s enhanced screening program is continuing to leave passengers upset, humiliated, or worse. Over the weekend, reports emerged of children and disabled passengers subjected to invasive pat-downs for refusing to step through a body scanner — and with millions of Americans preparing to fly home for Thanksgiving, many suspect things will only get worse. The TSA has addressed several of the alleged incidents on its blog, and continues to say that “only a small percentage” of passengers will end up receiving a pat-down. Here’s a sample of the most controversial incidents so far:

    Pat-down leaves victim humiliated, urine-soaked
    Bladder cancer survivor Thomas D. “Tom” Sawyer claims an aggressive pat-down broke the seal on his urostomy bag, leaving him covered in urine.

    Cancer survivor forced to show prosthetic breast
    Breast cancer survivor and flight attendant Cathy Bossi was allegedly forced to remove her prosthetic breast from her blouse to show a TSA agent.

    Here are a few more. Happy Thanksgiving travels!