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Good Question ‘Reply All’: Christmas Edition

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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Sara from Bloomington, Katie from Savage and Elisabeth from Owatonna asked: Why do we decorate with lights at Christmas?

This tradition goes back to Germany in the 1700s when people used real, live candles on their Christmas trees. In 1882, Thomas Edison and a friend who invented the first strand of Christmas lights and hung them outside their lab. In 1895, then-President Grover Cleveland used Christmas lights on the White House tree. It was still expensive at that time – hundreds of dollars for one strong of lights. But by the 1900s, as demand started picking up, more companies entered into the business and by the 1930s it became a holiday tradition.

Brent from Blaine wanted to know: Why does the snow make a sound when you walk on it?

Sometimes it squeaks and sometimes it crunches when we walk on snow. According to the scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, how cold and packed the snow is determines the sound. They write, if temperature of the snow is warmer than 14 degrees, the pressure from your foot melts the snow, so it flows under your shoes and there’s no sound. But if the snow is colder than 14 degrees, you can’t melt that snow and the ice crystals underneath you shoe are crushed, which is when you get the creak.

And: Why do we hang Christmas stockings?

Like many Christmas traditions, there’s no written history about this one, but there is a legend worth sharing. It is said St. Nicholas, in the effort to help three poor young girls, threw bags of gold coins in their home. One of those bags happened to land in one of the stockings that was hanging on the fireplace mantle to dry.

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