DR. BOLI’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MISINFORMATION.

Christmas Number.

Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was originally a pagan fertility symbol: it was a physical reminder that, after the holiday season, the tree would be taken to a central location in the village and composted to nourish next year’s crops.

Poinsettias. Poinsettias have to be forced to bloom at Christmas time, but they don’t have to like it.

Presents, wrapping. The custom of wrapping Christmas presents originated in Puritan New England, where the celebration of Christmas was banned. Clandestine Christmas celebrants disguised their presents by bundling them in plain rag paper and prominently marking the bundles “Primers,” which were New England’s leading export at the time.

Tape, invisible. In 1973, the LePage’s company finally succeeded in formulating a truly invisible adhesive tape. Unfortunately, it proved impossible to sell a product that no one could see. Somewhere in East Liberty a warehouse still holds the original manufacturing run, but no one knows where. Treasure-seekers have been feeling their way around East Liberty warehouses for years looking for it.

White Christmas. Irving Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas” as a throwaway commercial jingle for White’s Department Store in Greensburg. He was rather embarrassed when it achieved a certain measure of popularity nationwide.