December 7 – Winter is Coming

Yuletide Legends

Urban legends can be so fascinating. Movies and websites have been made to cover all of the crazy (yet sometimes true) theories out there. And Christmas is not safe from urban legends. Here are some of the most intriguing:

Suicidal Dream

Christmas is supposed to be one of happiest times of the year. For some, though, that just makes it all the more miserable. But the theory that more people commit suicide during the holidays over any other time of the year is pure myth. So, while the holidays may drive you crazy, as you visit with relatives you don’t particularly care for and battle with fellow shoppers to find the perfect gifts… it at least won’t drive you to kill yourself!

Assisted_Suicide

Candied Cane

While we recognize peppermints and candy canes as often being coloured red and white, a rumour has persisted that there’s more to the iconic image than just flavour. Some have insinuated that the candy cane is a symbol for Jesus Christ; the red representing his blood, and the white his purity, as well as the shape being a ‘J’. It’s simply not true, however, so feel free to eat your Jesus canes at all hours of the day and with complete disregard towards religious persecution.

The Brotherhood of the Travelling Pants

Let’s get a true legend into this piece. Apparently, two brother-in-laws spent 25 years trading a pair of pants back-and-forth as a Christmas gift, each year finding a more inventive way of exchanging the slacks. The tradition began in the 1960’s and involved the pants being stuffed into a thin pipe, baled, and even added to a concrete mix. The pants were finally destroyed when they were to be encased in molten glass, but were burned to ashes, accidentally. Kind of makes me hope I never have a brother-in-law!

Won’t Someone Think of the Children

We’ve all seen those donation boxes at Wal-Mart and other outlets that say toys bought in the store can be donated to needy children… well, it seems this case went awry when the donated toys were returned to store shelves for resale. At the Sterling, Colorado location, managers wanted gifts to be wrapped in a Wal-Mart bag to prove the item had been purchased and not simply taken off the shelf and tossed in the box. Of course, staff made the mistake of putting the box in an unsupervised spot in the first place and should have just taken a loss on any possible donations through mischief.

walmart-gene-pool

Unlikely Allies

We’ve all heard the story that German and Allied troops took a break from their World War I fighting on Christmas Day in 1914 to exchanged gifts, sing carols, and even play some footie (soccer for you North American blokes). Well, all of that is, in fact, true! There’s nothing like partying with your enemy. This is why I’m always celebrating with Mrs. Sip! The 1914 truce eventually ended (as does many of my armistices with Mrs. Sip) and future attempts to come together on Christmas didn’t pan out. The war ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

Only in Canada

Sometimes I love this little country of ours. Okay, so it’s actually a massive country, but that’s not the point. If you’ve ever wondered how to reach ol’ Santy Claus, apparently us Canucks even gave the jolly fat man a postal code. It’s H0H 0H0… that’s right, it reads Ho Ho Ho! Pretty clever stuff, am I right!? Every letter sent to this address is answered, even if it comes in a foreign language or even Braille. The postal code was established in 1982 does not require postage and even return letters are free of charge!

City of Santa Hate

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, but clearly not so much in the sports world, where fans of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles actually booed Santa Claus when he appeared during a game in December 1968. The Eagles had experienced a dreadful season that year, finishing with a 2-12 record and conditions at the game were horrible, with cold temperatures, slushy seats, and falling snow. The half-time Christmas Pageant ended with Santa being pelted with snowballs from much of the Philadelphia faithful. I hope they all received coal for Christmas!

Drink #341: Winter is Coming (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Winter is Coming Shooter

There are, of course, so many other urban legends to do with the Christmas season. So many that I can’t possibly fit them all in. If you’re interested in more, head over to Snopes and browse away to your heart’s content!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Based off of the catchphrase Winter is Coming from Game of Thrones, I decided to combine my alcohols that had the word “frost” in their title. The Crowberry Frost Liqueur is quite ironic because crows play a large role in the Game of Thrones story and there’s even an entire pack that dresses like the filthy bird. As for taste, it was pretty good. The Perma Frost Liqueur is strong, but not unpleasant and the Crowberry Liqueur adds a touch of sweetness to the shooter.

November 29 – Black Friday

Bloody Friday

I’ve never taken part in a Black Friday shopping event, at home or abroad. I don’t like crowds, waking up early, and the idea of fighting over limited deals. I did do Boxing Day shopping on a couple of occasions when Mrs. Sip and I were in our early dating years and those were bad enough that we fazed them out. Good thing, too, here are some of the craziest Black Friday stories!

black-friday-trample

Door Crashers

In 2008, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in Valley Stream, New York when Black Friday consumers stampeded into the store. Shoppers continued to pour into the location, despite the injury and co-workers trying to stop the rush and help their fallen comrade. Even police where shoved by deal-seekers as they tried to assist on the scene. A pregnant woman was also hurt in the incident, begging the question: what the hell was she doing there in the first place!?

Toys R’ Us Kid

On the same day, across the country, two people were shot and killed following an altercation at a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Palm Desert, California. As two women began fighting, their respective male counterparts pulled guns on each other and ended up killing one another (no loss there!). The incident was said to be more personal than a fight over merchandise and could have been gang-related. When I go to Toys ‘R’ Us, I’m always packing heat!

Cutting Edge

In 2010, a woman was arrested outside a Toys ‘R’ Us (what is with people shopping for their kids?) in Madison, Wisconsin after cutting in line and threatening to shoot people who objected to her budging. No cuts, no butts, no coconuts, am I right! Lanessa Lattimore was quoted as saying, “I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won’t be there when I go today.” Did ya think they might restock sometime in the next month!?

Black Friday Savings

Pour Some Pepper On Me

In Porter Ranch, California, in 2011, a woman used pepper spray on fellow shoppers to “get an advantage” on them over discounted Xbox 360 video game systems. This was in a wealthy suburb, of all places! The attack injured about 20 shoppers and unfortunately, the perpetrator got away in the chaos… whether she was also able to grab her prized Xbox is unknown. You have to hope that at some point, karma comes back to haunt this loser.

‘Tis the Season

In 2011, Walter Vance, 61, collapsed after entering a Target store on Black Friday and later died in hospital from a previously known heart condition. These things happen, but the tragedy comes when people stepped over the man and continued their shopping while he was in distress. I have to point out, if you know you have a heart condition, why in the hell are you joining the madness of Black Friday… and this dude should have known better, he was a freakin’ pharmacist! Worst yet, apparently all he wanted was Christmas decorations. As if those couldn’t have waited!

Black Friday Survival

Parking Wars

Sometimes folks don’t even get into the stores before violence breaks out on Black Friday. Two people were shot outside a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Florida after a dispute over a parking spot. I think one of the things I hate most in life is crowded parking lots and the whole pursuit of a suitable spot. I know I’m far from the only one who gets put on edge as you spend countless time going up and down aisles hoping for an opening and when you finally find one, you feel like celebrating… with gun shots!

Love at First Line

Things aren’t all bad, though, on Black Friday. In 1991, two random people lined up outside a K-Mart in Valley Stream, New York and made small talk as they waited for seven hours for the store’s doors to open. Two years later, they married and in 2009, Matthew and Michaelle Tulloch, won a $1,000 shopping spree at Best Buy for sharing their story in an essay contest. The couple now has two kids and celebrates every Black Friday the same way they spent that fateful day in 1991.

Drink #333: Black Friday

Black Friday Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black Cherry)
  • Top with half Ginger Ale and half Cola
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Crushed Lime Wedges

Did you know that the last Friday before Christmas has also been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ in the United Kingdom, due to it being a popular night for office Christmas parties and the resulting need for emergency services following hard drinking and an increase in fights!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I really liked this cocktail thanks to its taste and simplicity. My favourite touch of the entire recipe is to use Crushed Lime Wedges which are meant to honour the many that have been trampled attending these Black Friday sales. I thought that was such a great idea and tried to reflect that in my work.