A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

December 27, 2009

Greek Orthodox churches that follow the Gregorian calendar observe Christmas on Dec. 25, like other Christian churches. But those that still follow the old Julian calendar observe Christmas 13 days later, on Jan. 7.
Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

December 26, 2009

Boxing Day, Dec. 26, is celebrated in Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand. It began in Britain with a practice of giving to the less fortunate the day after Christmas. But there are several theories about its exact origins.
Source: Snopes.com

December 25, 2009

On April 29, 1975, Armed Forces Radio broadcast Bing Crosby’s rendition of "White Christmas" as a code to signal the U.S. evacuation of Saigon, Vietnam.
Source: Military.com and Time.com

December 24, 2009

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was written for Judy Garland to sing in the movie musical "Meet Me in St. Louis."
Source: Entertainment Weekly

December 23, 2009

The most popular holiday song played at malls is "Jingle Bells."
Source: International Council of Shopping Centers

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Dec. 15-Dec. 21

This week, readers sent us comments on climate change, dire health care predictions and private insurance in a single-payer system.
In the FactCheck Mailbag we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

December 22, 2009

Of the $410 million in sales by U.S. Christmas tree farmers in 2007, Oregon farmers led the nation with $109.3 million.
Source: Census Bureau/USDA

December 21, 2009

It rarely snows when the temperature drops below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, not because it is too cold but because the atmosphere is too stable. Snow occurs when there is enough lifting of saturated air.
Source: NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory

December 20, 2009

On average, 13 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain. The ratio depends on the type of snow, however. Only 2 inches of sleet but nearly 50 inches of powdery snow can equal 1 inch of rain.
Source: NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory

December 19, 2009

When lightning occurs in a snowstorm, it is called thundersnow. This can occur when there is strong instability and abundant moisture above the surface, such as above a warm front. 
Source: NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory