Those Old Ceramic Christmas Trees In Your Attic Are Worth Hundreds of Dollars Today

iStock.com/leekris
iStock.com/leekris

Most old holiday decorations don't hold much value beyond the sentimental kind. But if you have a box of Christmas memorabilia collecting dust in your attic, there's one item worth searching for. According to Today, vintage ceramic Christmas trees shoot up in value around the holidays, and any you might have lying around the house could potentially be worth hundreds of dollars.

Ceramic Christmas trees were a common sight in the late 1960s and early '70s. They usually came in green or white, had colorful twinkle lights, and occasionally rotated and played music.

By the 1980s, the kitschy keepsakes had declined in popularity, but today they're experiencing a nostalgia-fueled comeback. Around this time of year, people are searching the internet for vintage ceramic trees that remind them of Christmases past. In some cases they're willing to spend a lot to get back this piece of their childhood: the knick-knacks can sell for between $80 and $650 on eBay.

Unlike other retro collectibles, such as comic books or vinyl albums, ceramic Christmas trees are only valuable for a brief window each year. If you list yours during late November or early December, when people are putting up their holiday decorations, it could earn you a couple hundred bucks—but wait until the new year and its worth plummets.

If you misplaced your ceramic Christmas trees years ago, there's still a way to cash in on the trend. Wait for the holiday season to pass then snatch up the items from other sellers at online auctions and flea markets for a low price. Then come Christmastime next year, they may earn you enough money to give a boost to your gift budget.

[h/t Today]

Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

iStock
iStock

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

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