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Remembering 11 Classic Holiday Commercials

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Like fruitcake, holiday television commercials are a longstanding yuletide tradition. And also like fruitcake, they can be nauseatingly sweet. (Unless you’re plugging a carton of Lucky Strike cigarettes as the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for types on your list.) Here are 11 classic commercial ghosts of holidays past.

1. LUCKY STRIKE: HAPPY-GO-LUCKY CHRISTMAS

Here’s a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone you’d like to kill: 200 cigarettes. Yes, 10 packs of cigarettes, all done up in a beautiful carton created by the famous designer, Mr. Raymond Lloyd. It will look so bright and colorful under your Christmas tree, or perched alongside the recipient’s final resting place 10 years from now. The 1950s were fun!

2. NORELCO: SANTA

The production quality improved over the years (the commercials began in the 1960s), but the basic framework of Norelco’s holiday hawking remained pretty consistent: Santa zooms around in the top part of an electric razor (sorry, Rudolph), an excitable pitchman showcases the brand’s latest offerings, the company temporarily renames itself “Noëlco,” then Santa zooms off until next year’s edition.

3. COKE: CHRISTMAS HILLTOP

The “Real Thing” got real sappy when it updated its iconic 1971 earworm on peace, love, happiness, and sugary beverages to have its harmonious hillside inhabitants form a human Christmas tree.

4. FOLGERS: PETER COMES HOME

Folgers purchased a full minute of airtime—and plenty of ‘em—to pioneer the whole heartwarming “family member comes home for the holidays—surprise!” storyline. In the original 1985 edition, which ran every year for more than a decade, it’s difficult to decipher whether the family is more excited by Peter’s homecoming or by the pot of Folgers that he so graciously brewed. And maybe that’s the point.

5. BUDWEISER: CLYDESDALES

Budweiser’s team of Clydesdales seems a bit too regal to be peddling cheap suds, but they’ve been the brand’s trademark for 80 years now. And their motion picture holiday cards were, are, and always will be some of the classiest commercials around.

6. HERSHEY’S KISSES: WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS

Speaking of classy: Hershey’s Kisses may have stumbled onto the perfect holiday commercial formula in 1989 when they debuted their chocolatey take on “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” It’s short, sweet, seasonally appropriate, and to the point. No wonder it’s still airing 24 years later.

7. THE CLAPPER: CHRISTMAS EDITION

 A product called “The Clapper” with the tagline “Clap On, Clap Off, The Clapper” needing a 30-second commercial to explain its purpose seems redundant, really. Speaking of redundant: its yuletide commercial barely differs from the original incarnation—it just replaces three seconds of that restless old woman in bed with an enormous set of hands using the enviable device to clap a Christmas tree on and off!

8. OREO: SANTA PIGS OUT

If Nabisco taught us one thing in the 1980s, it was that Santa is an Oreo dunker. And if they taught us a second thing, it’s that he can wolf down a plate of cookies and a glass of milk in Guinness World Record-worthy time.

9. JELL-O: JIGGLERS FOR SANTA

In the same year that The Cosby Show ended its eight-season run, Bill Cosby was using his longstanding gig as Jell-O’s spokesperson to suggest that the 1990s called for a new kind of snack for Santa: holiday-shaped strips of gelatin (a.k.a. Jigglers). Mmmmm…

10. TOYS "R" US: TOYS “R” US TIME OF YEAR

If you’re old enough to remember the excitement that came with the delivery of your annual Toys “R” Us holiday catalog, then you might remember this animated gem in which Geoffrey the Giraffe and his family make the most of the “Toys ‘R’ Us Time of Year.”

11. HONEY NUT CHEERIOS: SCROOGE

Forget the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. In the late ’80s all it took was a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios to invoke Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas spirit. With just a tiny bit of prodding from that annoying little honeybee.

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From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
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iStock

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
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20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
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iStock

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

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