National Ding-a-Ling Day

December 12, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment


Good morning ding-a-lings. Today is Monday, December 12th. The holidays today are:

National Ding-a-Ling Day

National Ding-a-Ling Day is not about those Salvation Army bell ringers standing in front of retail establishments ringing bells and seeking donations, although some of them may indeed be ding-a-lings. National Ding-a-Ling Day salutes those quirky, off-center individuals we all know and love: Those who not only don’t know how to color “inside the lines”, they aren’t even aware that there are “lines”.
Be prepared to encounter all sorts of kooky characters today, including some from whom you normally wouldn’t expect this type of behavior. Ding-a-Lings will be everywhere: on the road, on the street, in stores, and even in your own home. There is an old adage that says “If you can’t beat ’em, join em”. Perhaps you should channel your inner ding-a-ling today so that you don’t stand out from the crowd of ding-a-lings you’ll find everywhere you go.

Poinsettia Day

The poinsettia is a blossoming plant with beautiful red and green foliage, which makes it a very popular decoration during the holiday season. Although it is native to Mexico, 90% of all poinsettias are exported from the United States. The Aztecs considered poinsettias a symbol of purity because of their brilliant red color.
Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, introduced these gorgeous flowers to the United States in the 1820’s. While visiting Taxco, Poinsett found the flowers growing on a hillside and sent some of them to his home in South Carolina. The flowers grew well in his greenhouse and Poinsett began distributing them. The name “poinsettia” soon became the accepted name of the flower in English-speaking countries, but botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia Pulcherrima. This holiday is celebrated annually on the anniversary of his death on December 12, 1851.
Although Mr. Poinsett is credited with bringing the poinsettia to North America and had the plant renamed after him, it is Paul Ecke Jr. who is considered the father of the poinsettia industry. It was Paul Ecke’s discovery of a technique which causes seedlings to branch that allowed the Poinsettia industry to flourish. It was his son, Paul Ecke Jr. however who advanced the sales of the poinsettia through shipping and marketing. The Ecke’s technique remained a secret until the 1990’s when a university researcher discovered and published the formula. Both Paul Ecke Sr. and Paul Ecke Jr. worked tirelessly to promote the plant and its association with Christmas. Today their ranch, in Encinitas, California is run by Paul Ecke lll.
In July of 2002, the House of Representatives passed a Resolution creating Poinsettia Day, honoring Paul Ecke Jr. for his contributions to the poinsettia industry. They also specified that the holiday be celebrated on December 12th – the date that Joel Roberts Poinsett died.

Poinsettia Facts:

  • The poinsettia industry contributes over $250,000,000 annually to the United States  economy – at the wholesale level.
  • Poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the United States and Canada.
  • The showy colored parts of Poinsettias are actually modified leaves. The actual flowers are the little yellow blooms in the center of those leaves.
  • It is a myth that Poinsettias are poisonous.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of Poinsettias commercially available.

Green Monday

The title of this holiday is deceptive. These days most of us associate the word ‘green’ with the environment, but if you think that Green Monday is a holiday about our need to protect Mother Earth, you couldn’t be more…WRONG! The only environment to which this holiday refers is the online retail environment, and the only ‘green’ referred to is the cash that online retail establishments garner from this holiday.
Green Monday is an online retail industry term similar to Cyber Monday. The term was coined by eBay to describe its best sales day in December, traditionally the second Monday of December. Green Monday is defined more specifically by business research organization comScore as the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas. In 2009, $854 million was spent online in the US on Green Monday, with sales in 2011 reaching $1.133 billion.

Gingerbread House Day

Making a gingerbread house with your children is a time-honored Christmas tradition in many households in America. Elaborate or simple, big or small, nothing gets the little ones into the holiday spirit like designing and building their very own homemade gingerbread home. Whether you make your gingerbread from scratch, cheat a little and use graham crackers, or buy one of the Gingerbread House Kits available at your local market, it’s all about the fun of making them with your children.
The art of gingerbread house making seems to have originated in Germany, where gingerbread tends to be a harder consistency, and it is the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, by the Brothers Grimm, that introduces the witch with a house made of gingerbread. German settlers brought gingerbread to America, where the construction of Gingerbread Houses continues to be popular today.

National Ambrosia Day

Although the recipe varies slightly from family to family, Ambrosia is a delightful fruit salad tossed with whipped topping, miniature marshmallows, and grated coconut.  Recipes for Ambrosia began to appear in American cookbooks in the late 1700’s. No potluck or family gathering would be complete without at least one version of this classic dessert.
In Greek mythology, Ambrosia was known as the “Nectar of the Gods”; which is from where this delightful salad derives its name. I don’t know if I would classify it as God-like, but it certainly is a Heavenly treat. Make an Ambrosia Salad today and share it with your family.

On this date in

  • 1787 – Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the United States Constitution.
  • 1792 – In Vienna, 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven received one of his first lessons in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn.
  • 1800 – Washington, DC, was established as the capital of the United States.
  • 1870 – Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker to be sworn into the United States House of Representatives.
  • 1897 – The comic strip”The Katzenjammer Kids” (Hans and Fritz), by Rudolph Dirks, appeared in the New York Journal for the first time.
  • 1899 – George Grant patented the wooden golf tee.
  • 1900 – Charles M. Schwab formed the United States Steel Corporation.
  • 1901 – The first radio signal to cross the Atlantic was picked up near St. John’s Newfoundland, by inventor Guglielmo Marconi.
  • 1915 – The first all-metal aircraft, the German Junkers J1, made its first flight.
  • 1917 – Father Edward Flanagan opened Boys Town in Nebraska. The farm village was for wayward boys. In 1979 it was opened to girls.
  • 1925 – The “Motel Inn,” the first motel in the world, opened in San Luis Obispo, CA.
  • 1937 – Japanese aircraft sank the United States gunboat “Panay” on China’s Yangtze River. Japan apologized for the attack and paid $2.2 million in reparations.
  • 1946 – A United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate to be the site of the UN’s headquarters. The land was offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • 1951 – The Department of the Navy  announced that the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine would become the sixth ship to bear the name Nautilus.
  • 1955 – British engineer Christopher Cockerell patented the first hovercraft.
  • 1975 – Sara Jane Moore pled guilty to a charge of trying to kill President Ford in San Francisco the previous September.
  • 1983 – Car bombs were set off in front of the French and U.S. embassies in Kuwait City. Shiite extremists were responsible for the five deaths and 86 wounded. Total of five bombs went off in different locations.
  • 1984 – In a telephone conversation with President Reagan, William J. Schroeder complained of a delay in his Social Security benefits. Schroeder received a check the following day.
  • 1985 – 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed in Gander, Newfoundland after takeoff.
  • 1989 – Britain forcibly removed 51 Vietnamese from Hong Kong and returned them to their homeland.
  • 1989 – Leona Helmsley was fined $7 million and sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion.
  • 1994 – IBM stopped shipments of personal computers with Intel’s flawed Pentium chip.
  • 1995 – The Senate stopped a constitutional amendment giving Congress authority to outlaw flag burning and other forms of desecration against the American flag.
  • 1995 – Two French airmen shot down over Bosnia arrived home after almost four months of being held captive by the Bosnian Serbs.
  • 1997 – Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” went on trial in Paris on charges of killing two French investigators and a Lebanese national. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
  • 1997 – The Justice Department ordered Microsoft to sell its Internet browser separately from its Windows operating system to prevent it from building a monopoly of Web access programs.
  • 1998 – The House Judiciary Committee rejected censure, and approved the final article of impeachment against U.S. President Clinton. The case was submitted to the full House for a verdict.
  • 2000 – The Supreme Court found that the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 Presidential election was unconstitutional. Vice President Al Gore conceded the election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush the next day.
  • 2000 – Timothy McVeigh, over the objections of his lawyers, abandoned his final round of appeals and asked that his execution be set within 120 days. McVeigh was convicted of the April 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, that killed 168 and injured 500.
  • 2000 – The Texas Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a record-breaking 10-year, $252 million contract. The contract amount broke all major league baseball records and all professional sports records.
  • 2001 – The House of Representatives passed legislation that would implement minimum federal election standards and provide funding to help states modernize their voting systems.
  • 2001 – Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison for being the leader of a Cuban spy ring. His conviction was based on his role in the infiltration of United States military bases and in the deaths of four Cuban-Americans whose planes were shot down five years before.
  • 2001 – In Beverly Hills, CA, actress Winona Ryder was arrested at Saks Fifth Avenue for shoplifting and possessing pharmaceutical drugs without a prescription. The numerous items of clothing and hair accessories were valued at $4,760.
  • 2002 – North Korea announced that it would reactivate a nuclear power plant that United States officials believed was being used to develop weapons.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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