Everyone gets earworms (songs you can’t get out of your head.) Josh gets earfacts – silly trivia that he picks up from reading or talking with neighbors that he simply can’t get out of his head. Which makes him really great to invite to cocktail parties. But not so great to sit next to on long flights.

Here are a few of the pointless things he’s learned over the years and passes on to anyone who will listen…

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One of the popular Christmas games in William Beekman’s time was called “Snapdragon.” Everyone would gather round the dining room table, and a large dish scattered with raisins was place in the middle. Whiskey or Brandy was poured over the raisins and the plate was set afire. Players would reach in and pluck a raisin from the flaming dish and quickly swallow it. I have no idea how the winner of this game was decided. Maybe the person with the most skin left on their fingers.

 

 

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Nowadays we think of Saint Nicholas as just another name for Santa. We forget that he actually was a Saint. As in the religious sense. And we all know that to become a saint, you have to perform a miracle. So what was Nicholas’ claim to fame? Well, he brought three children back to life who were killed, dismembered, and pickled in brine by a murderous Innkeeper (who also planned on serving the children to guests and passing them off as pork.) Okay, so maybe this isn’t one to share over Christmas Eve Dinner. Unless you’re at the naughty kids’ table.

 

 

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Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a clean outhouse! In pre-Christian Ireland, the Winter Solstice was an occasion to thoroughly clean one’s home. (Much like we regard spring cleaning today.) Somehow, when Christianity came along, the tradition transformed into an annual Christmas Eve white-washing of the outhouse.

 

 

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In Iceland, some families traditionally eat reindeer on Christmas Eve. I expect these families probably wake up to a lot of reindeer poop on their roof.

 

 

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In Massachusetts, it was actually illegal to celebrate Christmas throughout much of the 17th century. The penalty? Five shillings per offense. I have no idea what was considered an offense back then, but I wouldn’t mind reinstating some sort of fine for leaving Christmas lights up all year.

 

 

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Historically, families in Finland slept on their floor on Christmas Eve so that their dead relatives could use their beds. Which is fine, because dead great great grandmothers tend to hog the blankets anyway.

 

 

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In modern day Japan, it’s traditional to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner. Seriously. It all started in 1974 when Kentucky Fried Chicken ran a folksy, popular advertising campaign: Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!)

 

 

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Another incongruously popular Christmas tradition in Japan is Strawberry Cake. Topped with mounds of whipped cream and ruby red strawberries, this cake came into vogue in the years after World War II when sugar was scarce and American baked goods were synonymous with wealth and plenty. It became so popular in fact, that there is a specific Japanese Christmas Strawberry Cake emoji on your phone: 🍰

 

 

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“Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song, not a Christmas carol. (Has anyone else noticed that there’s a terrible dearth of Thanksgiving music?)

 

 

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Related (sort of): How did the Batman Smells version of Jingle Bells become so widespread? While nobody knows who first penned it, we can all agree that it was probably a boy between the ages of 6 and 9. The kitschy Batman television show first aired in 1966 and quickly became a huge hit with young boys. At roughly the same time, the Vietnam war started, and the draft, so the number of military families in America grew to record numbers. And military families move around. A lot. And when kids move around, their snotty little parody songs do too. So basically, we can basically blame it all on Nixon. Again.

by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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Marisela Delgado

Josh, you are too cute. Your comments are so funny. I always enjoys useless information and trivia also. Keep it coming! I always enjoy watching you and Brent on Evine. You’re so cute. I know you guys probably say,”Merry Christmas, Neighbors.” So I will tell you in Spanish, “Feliz Navidad, Vecinos!” Try throwing that our there on Evine. Go international with some Espanol. ha-ha. Have a wonderful holiday season! Your friend in San Antonio, Texas……GO SPURS GO!

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Larry Jackson

I enjoy your trivia. Thank you guys for all you do. I grew up about 2 miles from the farm and you guys are a blessing to Sharon Springs. I watched the decline of the area for many years but you have been so instrumental in bringing it back to life. I live in Florida now (42 years) and so enjoy getting your newsletters. Thank you again. Larry J. Jacksonville

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Rob

Josh

I have to admit that “snapdragons” (ANA as flaming raisins) is a family (wife’s side, not mine) tradition that goes back several generations and has been passed on to our children. No burned fingers, mouths or houses yet! Just get in there and get your raisins early as they get a bit crispy after the first few minutes. If you are not using high proof alcohol (not recommended), heat the plate slightly to insure the brandy will light.

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Mary

Not baaaaaaahd… and btw.. loving my first order of goat milk soap and facial wipes (honeyed grapefruit flavor)! xoxo

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Darlene

Josh, OMG I sooo love trivia; I think we must have been separated at birth! Love your vintage Christmas tree decorations. And even Onder is full of wonder at the magnificent sight of it all.
Merry Christmas Beekman Boys and to all God’s creatures great and small on the farm. I love all your products; thank you for your hard work.

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Karen White

I love reading historical trivia!! If there are different trivia stuck in your head, please post them as it gives me morning coffee laughter.

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Ken Newman

This was excellent Josh. And thanks because now that the hollyhocks are gone I’ve been looking for an alternative way to spruce up the outhouse.

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Erwin S Davenport

Josh, you have brought back some wonderful memories. Thanks for these tidbits. I appreciate you and Brent for all you do and all your awesome products. THANKS!

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Judy

We would sing “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” for Thanksgiving and “Jingle Bells” was just a song to start singing with the first snowfall. Grandfather farmed using horses so we were well acquainted with sleighs and sleigh bells (which were really harness bells!). I enjoyed watching you on Evine and can’t wait to get my goodies.

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drdianedobry

Josh, you rock! Loved reading this. Very cool. Happy Christmas. Wish I could enjoy the cold and snow — for a day– and see you guys again. I sit here in Florida reading your news and watching you on Evine. Love the videos. Hire me for your magazine and make me a happy girl. 😀

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Paula Ward

Seriously??? I was lulled into reading these thinking I would something knowledgeable and be able to share… Now I will never be able to forget them ha ha ha.

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Hazel Donahue

You guys are a hoot. This is why I am not only ADDICTED to your products but also ADDICTED to watching you both on EVINE. Bringing the farm to my own living room is so comfy and cozy.
Those darling little goats! You and your community are truly genuine people. If I could handle the cold I would move to Sharon Springs.
I brought almost every kit on EVINE. I am not a a rich woman but I have more then most. I live in a 55+ community. I will be giving many neighbors part of my bounty. Thanks to the Beekman boys and EVINE for all the great deals. More bounty to share.
Knowing that I helped a community. Plus made in the USA and 100% cruelty free makes a huge difference to me also.
BTW! Josh, I’ll sit at the naughty kids table to hear some of those stories..haha!
I’ll see you boys back in February. Looking forward to that new eye serum.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you both and all your AWESOME neighbors!

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Ruth Bieber

More more more ?Please. Love your goats. My British Alpines in England were just sweethearts. Momma Dolly would run through 3yrs and, she’d feed any and all the kids. Had tiny horns she’d sharpen and keep short on the stable walls. But Never used them unless, some fool grabbed them. Miss them all badly. All in goat heaven now. Merry Christmas. Blessings

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Laura

Very interesting and quirky trivia! My favorite was the pickled children being passed off as pork. Please share more of your ear facts Josh. And blessed holidays to you all at the farm!

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MacPherson Frazer

Love them Josh! Merry Christmas to you two neighbors and everyone who helps bring us these wonderful products! <3

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Melinda Lowery

Thank you Josh, now this can enter my group of misc. information that my brain knows. I can’t remember names but all of these things I know.

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steve norton

Wait–American involvement in Viet Nam (then called Indochina) began in 1945, under Truman. Actual military involvement began in 1955, under Eisenhower. So, I don’t see how you can really blame Nixon for… oh, wait–Nixon was Eisenhower’s vice president.

Never mind, blame away! 🙂

And thanks for the crazy stories!

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Kathleen Mabli

Thank you for the enlightening and rather distrubing Christmas trivia. Considering the fact it was an illegal holiday , celebrated by dinner guests burning their hands and throats it is a wonder how it turned into such a magical season. Prehaps the clean “out houses” made us forget about the poor pickled children and poor dead Granny . We owe ALOT to Charles Dickens,Clement Moore, and Hollywood and of course who ever wrote all the beautiful Christmas Carols that tell the reason for the season. Love you ALL!

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Tammy

I lived in Japan for 2 semesters during college and never knew the background with the “KFC kurismasu” tradition other than it was always sold out then! It is also considered a “romantic” holiday lol. Thanks for sharing these Josh! It’s always good to learn random new tidbits!

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