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Bizarre But Clever Christmas Decorations

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I knew a family once that had several mounted deer heads on their walls. At Christmas time, they would put a red clown nose on one of the trophies, which I though was rather clever. My kids didn't like it at all. Unfortunately, they moved away and I couldn't find any pictures of the idea on the internet. But I found plenty of other strange and wonderful holiday decorations that may tickle your funny bone.

I've written before about how people in my neck of the woods make do with what they have. In this case, they had the reindeer, but no sleigh. However, they had a Volkswagen that did just fine.


On the other hand, this homeowner had the sleigh, but no reindeer. I am aware that Santa's sleigh pulled by flamingos is a popular decoration in Florida and other tropical states, but this one is covered with snow!


Sue Salah of Royal Oak, Michigan made quite a stir with a decoration that told a story of how dangerous it is to hang lights on a house.


A more recent version of the hanging-lights-accident comes to your inbox with a story attached, but Snopes has thus far labeled its veracity as "undetermined".


Lighted deer frames dot the subdivisions this time of year. A few pranksters move them into what we should delicately call "compromising positions" if they were human. This decoration was altered to depict another seasonal theme, hunting season. Since it appeared on the internet a few years ago, others have tried to copy or improve on it.


With more or less success, depending on the reaction you are looking for.


Making do with what you have goes for Christmas trees as well. Anything that can be stacked in an evergreen tree shape and lit can be called a Christmas tree. Beer bottles make a nice tree, especially from a distance. At least the color is right! Mountain Dew cans are also the right color.


Beer kegs, on the other hand, require some suspension of disbelief.


A traditional Advent calendar has 24 days. A case of beer has 24 cans. Coincidence? You decide.


In this rooftop scene, Santa Claus is taking a rest stop during his rounds.


The lights on this house may look like a general tangle at first, but look closer. They've strung lights in the shape the the Flying Spaghetti Monster! The FSM has also shown up in smaller light displays and even tree ornaments.


When you get right down to it, simpler is better. Your neighbors may spent days trying to out-decorate Clark Griswold, but what's important is that you make your good wishes for a Merry Christmas known to all who visit.

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Live Smarter
Why the Best Time to Book Your Thanksgiving Travel Is Right Now
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You're never going to get a true steal on holiday plane tickets, but if you want to avoid spending your whole salary flying to visit your relatives over Thanksgiving, the time is nigh to start picking seats. That's according to the experts at Condé Nast Traveler, who cite data from Expedia and Skyscanner.

The latter found that it was cheapest to secure Thanksgiving tickets 11 weeks before the holiday. That means that you should have bought your ticket around September 4, but it's not too late; you can still save if you book now. Expedia's data shows that the cheapest time to buy is 61 to 90 days before you leave, so you still have until September 23 to snag a seat on a major airline without paying an obscene premium. (Relatively speaking, of course.)

When major travel holidays aren't involved, data shows that the best time to book a plane ticket is on a Sunday, at least 21 days ahead of your travel. But given that millions of other Americans also want to fly on the exact same days during Thanksgiving and Christmas, the calculus of booking is a bit more high stakes. If you sleep on tickets this month, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings. In the recent study cited by Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia found that people booking during the 61- to 90-day window saved up to 10 percent off the average ticket price, while last-minute bookers who bought tickets six days or less from their travel day paid up to 20 percent more.

Once you secure those Turkey Day tickets, you've got a new project: Your Christmas flights. By Hopper's estimates, those flights rise in price by $1.50 every day between the end of October and December 15 (after which they get even more expensive). However, playing the waiting game can be beneficial, too. Expedia found that the cheapest time to book Christmas flights was just 14 to 20 days out.

Before you buy, we also recommend checking, which tracks 11,000 different airfares for flights around the holidays to analyze price trends. Because as miserable as holiday travel can be, you don't want to pay any more than you have to.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Big Questions
Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?
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Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. But wearing white only during the summer? While no one is completely sure exactly when or why this fashion rule came into effect, our best guess is that it had to do with snobbery in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between respectable old money families and those who only had vulgar new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Not everyone followed this rule. Even some socialites continued to buck the trend, most famously Coco Chanel, who wore white year-round. But even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over the decades it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear to middle class America: White clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.

These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every year you will still hear people say that white after Labor Day is unacceptable, all thanks to some snobby millionaires who decided that was a fashion no-no more than 100 years ago.


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