DR. BOLI’S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MISINFORMATION,

Annual Christmas Number.

Birthdays and Christmas. Roughly one out of every 365 and a quarter children is born on Christmas day, and is thus condemned to hear the yokels exclaim “What are the odds?” every time he mentions it for the rest of his life.

Christmas cards. In the eighteenth century, sending a Christmas card was usually interpreted as a challenge to a duel.

Gingerbread. Our modern gingerbread is derived from a medieval German staple whose main ingredient was mud. Baked hard, it could also be used as a construction material for rude peasant dwellings (most peasants were quite rude in medieval Germany).

Twelve Days of Christmas (carol). In Christian churches that celebrate forty days of Christmastide rather than twelve, the nearly interminable song includes “twenty-three bison braying“ and “thirty-eight certified public accountants.”

Yule log. The burning of the yule log is a vestigial remnant of the ancient custom of setting the neighboring village on fire to celebrate the winter solstice.