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This Week's Facts:

  1. The State Library Wishes a Happy Holiday Season to All Hoosiers

  2. IDEM Takes In-depth Look at the Life of a Christmas Tree

  3. NORAD Tracking Santa this Holiday Season

Holiday Fast Facts

‘Tis the Season for Fast Facts

58% of the nation’s potatoes were produced in just two states last fall - Idaho and Washington. Holiday-goers use potatoes during this season for latkes and mashed potatoes. (National Agriculture Statistics Service, Crop Production)

Candles burn bright for many different winter holidays. In 2011, U.S. manufacturers shipped $1.38 billion worth of candles. (U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Survey of Manufacturers)

December $ales
Retail sales by the nation’s department stores topped $27 billion in December 2011. This represented a 45 percent jump from the previous month (when retail sales, many holiday-related, registered 18.6 billion). No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large. (U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics)

Place names associated with the holiday season:
Mount Holly, NC (population 13,719)
Holly Springs, MS (7,638)
Snowflake, AZ (5,587)
Santa Claus, IN (2,484)
North Pole, Alaska (2,154)
Noel, MO (1,822)
and — if you know about reindeer —Dasher, GA (934) and the village of Rudolph, WI (440). (U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates)

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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The State Library Wishes a Happy Holiday Season to All Hoosiers

National Adoption MonthWintertime is a season of celebration with family, friends, and loved ones. People all over the United States have traditions and celebrations that evoke the spirit of the holiday.

The Library of Congress Today in History page provides users with an overview of how Christmas began.  On December 25, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ. The origins of the holiday are uncertain. By the year 336, the church in Rome observed the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. At that time, Christmas coincided approximately with the winter solstice and the Roman Festival of Saturnalia. Today, observations of Christmas incorporate secular and religious traditions of many cultures, from the ancient Roman practice of decorating homes with evergreens and exchanging gifts at the New Year to the Celtic Yule log.

The Jewish holiday Hanukkah was celebrated this year Saturday December 8 through Saturday December 16. The White House held a reception and lit the 2012 White House menorah. For more information about Jewish holidays, the Bureau of Jewish Education is a long-time fixture in central Indiana and supports the BJE Maurer Library, housing more than 12,000 items, including reference materials, sacred texts, children’s books, popular adult fiction, and non-fiction.

Kwanzaa is also celebrated at this time each year, with an official start on December 26. It is a uniquely African American and Pan-African holiday with its beginnings during the last century. For more information, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library (NMBCCL), founded in 1972 at Indiana University, has more resources.

You can also use the National Endowment for the Humanities Holiday Edsitement website to learn more about traditions of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas.

IDEM Takes In-depth Look at the Life of a Christmas Tree

AIDS.govO’ Christmas tree, O’ Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches? Throughout the holiday season, you can find Christmas trees everywhere. The bright lights, ornaments, and tinsel can be a delight to behold. Many people use artificial trees, but there are many Hoosier families that choose to buy real Christmas trees. Indiana Christmas tree growers harvest over 500,000 trees every year. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management gives us an in-depth look at the life of a Christmas tree, from farm to home and recycling your tree. Christmas tree farms are an environmentally friendly and efficient way to grow trees.  Local Indiana tree farms provide Hoosier families with healthy, well-shaped Christmas trees without hurting Indiana forests.  For more information on how farms prepare Christmas trees, check out the video or read more about the process. The next time you put up and decorate your live tree, remember someone in Indiana grew it for your enjoyment. Happy Holidays!

NORAD Tracking Santa this Holiday Season

National Adoption MonthThe North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)  helps boys and girls all over the United States to look out for Santa. NORAD is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America.  NORAD’s headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Its mission has evolved over the years to meet the changing threat. NORAD’s track Santa site gives a countdown to Santa, and provides information about Santa to those who may question if he’s real or not!  You can start to track Santa’s travels on December 24th on Cesium maps to see how close he is to your house. You can also contact one of Santa’s many helpers at the operations center by phone or email if you have questions about Santa’s whereabouts. 
For those of you who like to be one of Santa’s helpers, you can participate in Operation Good Will.  Operation Good Will provides an opportunity to connect and give back to military families who serve and support our nation. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe holiday season!

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