"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…. Inventions that Changed Christmas…..

This time of year can often be chaotic and stressful, with beliefs, traditions and meaning changing right before our eyes. This morning’s M5T takes a look at some of the inventions that have changed Christmas.

1. Scotch Tape.

In 1923 Richard Drew invented adhesive tape, otherwise known as Scotch tape, at the 3M Company. Nine years later, John Borden, another 3M employee, invented the tape dispenser with a built-in cutter thingy. These two inventions helped expand the industry of …..

2. Wrapping Paper.

Paper was invented around 3500 B.C. by those entrepreneurial Egyptians but didn’t become popular for gifts until the mid-1920s. Hy-Sill Manufacturing Inc. was the first American gift-wrapping company, and Hallmark entered the niche in 1917 when it sold large pieces of wrapping paper for $.10 a sheet. I still suck at wrapping gifts.

3. Christmas Lights.

Before 1882, Europeans put lit candles in the trees as decoration pieces (insert your own image of fires here). At the end of the 19th century, Edward Johnson decided to use electricity and light a tree up using 80 small light bulbs. By 1900, electrical lights could be found and purchased in department stores. In 1925, Albert Sadacca's started an association called The National Outfit Manufacturer's Association. Renamed NOMA Electric Company in 1926, it is still the dominant player in the Christmas lighting market today. The house light scene in "Christmas Vacation" is still one of the funniest movie scenes about Christmas lights.

4. Eggnog.

Research shows that eggnog may have found its origins with 13th century monks who would mix figs into their posset, which was a hot ale-like drink. This may have impacted chanting at the time. Fast forward to the late 1700s and someone brilliantly added rum to the mix, probably at some crazy company Christmas party. Christmas punch bowls have never been the same since. If you really want to shake up your Nog, try adding brandy, bourbon, or cognac. You’re welcome.  

5. Online Shopping.

Typically, I was that guy on Christmas Eve, scrambling in shopping malls, wide-eyed, out of breath, thinking of the eggnog at home, asking retailers, “How late are you open?” Enter Amazon, enter online-shopping. Insert sigh of relieve here. Apparently 46 percent of all Christmas shopping is now done online; 21 percent of us will shop from our phones. Driven by over $1.35 billion of e-commerce sales, (yup, that’s a ‘b’), UPS will deliver over 630 million packages by the 24th. All I can say is "Bless you Amazon Prime." Cha-Ching…

Here’s to wishing you and your family blessings of peace this Christmas, and in the words of that profound, perspicacious and sage philosopher Clarke "Sparky” Griswold…"May you have the hap-hap happiest Christmas!"

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com