CLOSE

Show Off Your Smarts!

You guys sent in some great responses to last week's challenge on myths and urban legends. For this week's challenge, I'd like to see winter holiday-related facts. This will give you a chance to share facts about holiday traditions, movies, weird history, etc. I'll get it started with the following story about one of the most successful Christmas gag gifts in history:

Ever wonder where pet rocks came from? Well the genius behind this moronic craze is Gary Dahl, a California ad exec. Gary came up with the idea one evening in 1975 while sitting around at a bar with some of his buddies, pontificating about the hassle of owning a pet and jokingly proposing rocks as the perfect low-maintenance pal. Still amused by the idea the next morning, Dahl created a prototype, complete with carrying case and the Pet Rock Training Manual. In August of that year, he took the kit to the annual gift show in NYC, where Neiman Marcus (strange match) bought all 500 of them. By the end of October, Dahl was shipping 10,000 pet rocks every day! By the end of the holiday season, he'd used up three tons of stone from Rosarita Beach in Baja, Mexico. The fad quickly waned the next year, but not before Dahl made millions off of the idea.

Okay, now it's your turn to make us all a little smarter! I'll highlight some of my favorites on Friday.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
What Koalas and Humans Have in Common
5664632945001

There's something strange about koala fingerprints. Read more bizarre koala facts here.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
fun
Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
iStock
iStock

Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios