15 Stockings of Trivia We Hung With Care This Week
This holiday season, we suggest you get your loved ones the best gift of all: knowledge.
“What’s this?” Little Timmy will say, squinting at his present, which is a small scrap of paper. “Is this a piece of trivia? You gave me a piece of trivia?” No, dear boy, you say, sliding a whole bundle of papers into his hands. I’m giving you 15 pieces of trivia. “This is the best Christmas ever!” Little Timmy will say, tears now sliding down his face.
Christmas lights were once quite a luxury. At the start of the 20th century, many households naturally didn’t even have electricity, but even ones that did couldn’t afford to buy Christmas lights. Instead, they rented them.
If you come up with an idea when you’re drunk, they have a word for that in Germany: schnapsidee. Of course, such ideas don’t sound nearly as good once you’re sober, so when you want to dismiss an idea as stupid, call it a schnapsidee.
Build It, They Will Come
Home delivery of all items has become pretty common in the last few years. It was even more common before World War II. Then stores suspended the service during the wartime labor shortage, and they were delighted to find all customers were perfectly willing to come in and shop in person.
The Christmas Goat
The city of Gävle in Sweden has an annual tradition where they build a giant goat out of straw. Vandals have a tradition of destroying the goat, often by burning it. One American, who thought this was a sanctioned tradition rather than a criminal one, burned the goat in 2001 and got 18 days in jail.
Sometimes, when a hedgehog gets injured, air will build up under its skin. The animal inflates like a balloon. A vet now has to deflate the hedgehog, for its own safety.
An employee at a kayak factory climbed into an oven in 2010. His daughter’s fiancé closed the door on him, killing him. This wasn’t murder. It was a manufacturing flaw, and the oven maker was found guilty of manslaughter.
A dog discovered an abandoned baby girl in Thailand in 2013. He barked at his owner to attract his attention, and the baby wound up under care in the hospital, with numerous families offering to adopt her.
The first LED was built by Soviet scientist Oleg Losev in 1927. He didn’t go on to great fame and fortune. He starved to death during the Siege of Leningrad.
The Trafalgar Tree
In 1942, a Norwegian resistance fighter chopped down a spruce tree and sent it to London, which was where the Norwegian king was in exile during the war. Norway continues to send London a tree every year, now as a thank you for their support during World War II.
Coals to Newcastle
Dubai imports half a billion dollars’ worth of sand every year. Dubai has plenty of sand of its own, of course, but the problem is this sand is too sandy. It’s been rubbed smooth by the wind. For construction, they need coarser sand.
The Christmas Eel
For the last several Christmases, one aquarium in Tennessee has powered its holiday lights using an electric eel. The eel was named Miguel, and they also configured his tank so when he let out an electrical burst, he’d automatically send a tweet to followers.
Ups and Downs
Many countries refer to roller coasters as “Russian Mountains,” based on the belief that the first rides of this kind started in the actual mountains of Russia. They don’t call them that in Russia, though. There, they call coasters “American Mountains.”
In 1999, India sent in snake charmers to protect a cricket stadium. A far-right party threatened to release snakes during a high-profile game, so police hired thousands of guards, plus dozens of these charmers in support roles.
During much of his time as CEO of GE, Jeff Immelt made sure that when he traveled by jet, a second jet accompanied him. He reasoned that this second plane may become necessary if the primary jet ever needed repairs.
The Christmas Lion
When you’re done with your Christmas tree, you can send it to the zoo. Lions react to the pine needles the same way cats do to catnip. Elephants, meanwhile, use the tree to clean their teeth.