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11 Items for an Awesome Picnic

It's picnic season! Grab this gear to make sure your friends are talking about your picnic for many summers to come.

1. Coleman Fold N Go Charcoal Grill, $50

This compact grill uses standard size briquettes and has 150 square inches of space on two sides, which come equipped with adjustable grates so cooks can control temperature. Best of all, it’s compact and has a handle for easy carrying.

2. Picnic Plus 4-Person Backpack, $83


This backpack has enough dishwasher-safe plates, cups, and cutlery for four, plus insulated space to store food, beer, and wine. And it’s easier to carry than a basket!

3. Grass is Greener Picnic Blanket, $45


This 54-inch high by 60-inch wide cotton blanket has a nylon bottom to keep you dry, and rolls up into a drawstring bag for easy transporting.

4. Corkcicle Artican, $20


Sure, you could buy a cheap, cheesy beer koozy. Or you could get the gorgeous, stainless steel Artican, which is double-walled to keep your canned beverages cold for up to three hours.

5. Mobile Foodie Survival Kit, $26


Don’t let your picnic dishes go unseasoned! This kit includes spices like Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Onion, Basil, Cinnamon, Oregano, Garlic, Thyme, Curry, Rosemary, Ginger, and Dill. Each pot, which has a 1.5 tablespoon capacity, is unlabeled so it can be reused and filled with your favorite spice. (A key helps you identify what’s in each pot when you buy the kit.)

6. Mini Jambox, $130


What’s a picnic without tunes? The Mini Jambox is really portable—it’s small enough to fit in a purse and weighs just 9 ounces—and still delivers powerful sound. The speaker syncs with your phone or iPod using Bluetooth, comes in nine colors, and has a battery capable of lasting 10 hours.  

7. Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus Portable Rugged Power Bank, $100

Make sure all of your devices are fully charged with this waterproof power bank.

8. Roll Up Checkers/Backgammon, $32


Keep your picnickers entertained with this game bag: Checker board is on one side, backgammon on the other, and the wooden game pieces and dice go inside the bag.

9. Nerf Firevision Ignite Flying Disc, $15


Toss around this frisbee after dark without fear of losing it—it lights up!  

10. Kikkerland Log Head Rest, $22

After you've eaten and played with the frisbee and are thorougly exhausted, consider indulging in one of picnicking's favorite pastimes—a nap—using this delightful pillow.

11. Narrative Clip, $149


Never miss a moment of your epic picnic by clipping the Narrative to your shirt. The device automatically snaps a 5 megapixel photo every 30 seconds (double tap it to take a photo outside the interval). A built-in accelerometer ensures the photos are correctly oriented no matter how you wear it.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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