Date of the probable first flight of Santa's sleigh, a versatile, all-weather, multipurpose, vertical short-take-off-and-landing vehicle capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and deployed, as far as we know, only on Christmas Eve (and briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas), according to NORAD: Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
Home base: North Pole
Length of the sleigh, built by K. Kringle & Elves Inc.: 75 cc (candy canes)/150 lp (lollipops)
Weight at takeoff: 75,000 gd (gumdrops)
Propulsion: Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
Max speed: Faster than starlight� Source: NORAD.
Period during which the Christmas tree was introduced in the United States by German settlers, rapidly growing from tabletop size to floor-to-ceiling: 1800s
Year that Christmas trees began to be sold commercially in the United States: 1850
Year Franklin Pierce is credited with bringing the first Christmas tree to the White House: 1853
Estimated year that Sears, Roebuck & Co. began offering the first artificial Christmas trees -- 33 limbs for 50 cents and 55 limbs for $1: 1883
Year the first Christmas tree farm was started when W.V. McGalliard planted 25,000 Norway spruce on his farm in New Jersey: 1901
Estimated number of visitors who are drawn to the Christmas tree area around Rockefeller Center every day the tree is lit: 750,000
Number who visit on a non-Christmas tree day: 350,000
Average number of minutes that parents across the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Mexico say they spend each night trying to get their children to bed, according to a study conducted on behalf of Netflix: 17.5
Percentage of parents who report that their children have come up with some creative stall tactics to try and delay bedtime: 61
Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.
Year Barbie debuted at the annual Toy Fair in New York, according to research by Convergex: 1959
Since her birthday on March 9, 1959, estimated number of careers she has had: 150
Rank of the 1992 Totally Hair Barbie, which wore hair down to its feet, according to Mattel's website on the list of the best-selling Barbie of all time: 1
Percentage of people who spend two to six hours preparing their holiday meal, according to a survey by Omaha Steaks: 56
Percentage of people who spend more than six hours: 29
Source: Omaha Steaks.
Percentage of adults who admit they have plugged too many Christmas lights into one outlet, according to a study by insuranceQuotes.com and Allstate Insurance: 50
Percentage who have let a real Christmas tree go without water for more than three days: 29
Percentage of consumers who typically wait until the week of Christmas to do the majority of their holiday shopping, according to RetailMeNot: 30
Percentage of Americans who have bought last-minute gifts during the holidays: 91
Percentage of parents of children 9 or under who are likely to make toy purchases, more than those who are parents of tweens (ages 10 to 12) or full-blown teenagers (ages 13 to 17): 92
Ranks of children's books, arts and crafts supplies, dolls and console video games as the most-purchased gifts: 1, 2, 3, 4
Source: The Harris Poll.
Percentage of Americans who plan to holiday tip this year, according to a survey from Care.com: 70
Percentage who prioritize tips for baby sitters, nannies and day care workers: 60
Percentage who tip those who regularly interact with their children, such as coaches, tutors, teachers, etc.: 42
Percentage who tip personal care contacts, such as hairstylists, manicurists, personal trainers, etc.: 47
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." -- John Keats
(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)