7 things to talk about during your Christmas vacation

These weather-themed conversation starters are sure to generate some lively discussions

If you’re a weather enthusiast who is looking for some sparkling conversation this holiday season, FOX Weather is here to help.

We’ve put together a list of seven stories that are sure to make for some lively discussions when you’re gathered with your far-flung relatives this year.

1. Christmas lights were invented as a marketing tool

Christmas lights have a magical appeal, and one that was used as part of a larger effort in the late 19th century to make electric indoor lighting more appealing.

And so, the story of Christmas lights is the story of electric lighting, and how business, brotherhood and brilliant ideas helped pave the way for this holiday tradition.

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2. Ancient Viking ritual is the root of the yule log

Yule logs can mean different things for different people. For some, yule logs mean warm, crackling fireplaces. For others, they bring to mind sweet, chocolate cakes.  

Either way, the Christmas icon in modern times may be an echo of a tradition from as far back as ancient times, particularly in a changing medieval Scandinavia.

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3. What’s with those three-letter airport codes?

Whether you're hopping a flight or checking the weather, you'll find the city's airport in question has been given a 3-letter abbreviation code that by now most know by heart, such as JFK for New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport, BOS for Boston, ATL for Atlanta, SEA for Seattle…

But then again, some city codes might have you wonder: How did they come up with that one? 

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4. Give Fido this, not that

As we load up our plates for our holiday dinner, it might be tempting to sneak your dogs a snack from the table.

It's easy to offer up the turkey or ham bones, but the American Kennel Club and American Veterinary Medical Association say to avoid that as they can potentially cause damage to your pet's digestive tract.

Many other foods aren't good for your pup either.

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5. Rudolph doesn’t eat glitter

There’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, who could forget, Rudolph. Each of them is full of personality, a love for all things sweet and anything but glitter.

As the magic of Christmas culminates on an evening filled with joy, laughter and memories, children across the world will go to bed excited about the anticipation of Santa’s arrival with his mystic herd. But before you start throwing out the glitter in the front yard so that the reindeer can spot your house, consider an alternative approach as glitter is harmful to the environment. 

A recipe for disaster in some reindeer food – or dust -- usually includes uncooked oats and glitter.

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6. White Christmas might sound impossible in these 7 places, but it isn’t

For those that live in the warmer climates of the southern U.S., "Dreaming of a white Christmas" each year is just that -- a dream.   A recent European oddsmaker put the probability of a snowy Christmas in Los Angeles and San Francisco at 1000-1. In a vast majority of years, even that would classify as a "sucker bet."

But while you might assume seeing snow on Christmas in the likes of Los Angeles or Phoenix or parts of Florida would never happen, their history books have three words for you: "Never say never."

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7. The science of the winter solstice

Winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere on Dec. 21 with the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of possible daylight and the longest night.

Astronomical seasons are based on the position of the Earth with respect to the sun as the planet makes its annual revolution around this closest star.

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Want some more?

Here are a few more stories you can find on FOXWeather.com that could be great for conversations.

Don't forget

Be sure you tell your family to download the FOX Weather app on their shiny new mobile device this year. They’ll get our 3-D radar, now with future radar. They’ll also get detailed hourly, daily and 14-day forecasts and access to the FOX Weather livestream. Our FutureView is also in the app. It gives you the ability to track the forecast for an event nearly a year in advance. Go to foxweather.com/app to download it.