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Holiday

    While it may never reach the level of controversy of how to hang the toilet paper roll or which way to load the dishwasher, the right time to put up the Christmas tree is a heavily-debated household topic. There are answers to this question that depend on everything from Prince Albert to the opinion of tree growers to something called Adelaide Pageant Day. RELATED: They spent 30 hours to identify the best fake Christmas tree Whether you're undecided on the best time to put up your Christmas tree or are merely looking for reinforcement for your preferred date, at least one of these timing traditions is bound to work for you: Forbidding the tree before turkeys The ultimate etiquette authority, Miss Manners, doesn't specify when you should put up the tree, but does note succinctly that it isn't done before Thanksgiving. The nouveau 12 days of Christmas approach In days of yore, the 12 days of Christmas started with Christmas Day and wrapped up on January 6, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Apartment Therapy suggests a more modern 12 Days of Christmas tree strategy, putting up the tree for around 12 days beginning in mid-December and taking it down right after Christmas. This dovetails nicely with advice from the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which noted in The Telegraph that while it's cool to buy live trees from December 1 onwards, the middle of the festive season, around the third week of Advent, is a good compromise between putting the tree up immediately and waiting for Christmas Eve. Prince Albert Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is widely heralded as the man who lit up the Victorian Christmas tree tradition in the 1840s, bringing it to Britain from his native Germany. If you want to stick with the original Christmas Tree timeline of Albert and his German forebears, go with Christmas Eve.  The Aussie approach According to Monash University religious diversity professor Gary Bouma in The Age, the established guideline in Australia is not to put up the tree before December, but not everyone abides by it. By 'not everyone,' he may mean the full 14 percent of Be a Fun Mum blog readers, who said they put up the tree in early November. They did restrain themselves until after something known as Adelaide Pageant Day, the second Saturday of November. And they are in solidarity with the Fun Mum herself, who says she put her tree up in early November because, 'My mum always did. I love Christmas and like to string it out.' Viva Italiana You may be leaning towards putting the tree up the first week of December anyhow, but this Italian tradition provides a godd reason for it. According to Italy Magazine, Italian Christmas traditions begin on December 8 with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date set in the Catholic calendar in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. Since December 8 is a public holiday and most Italians get the day off, it has become the day when many of them put up their Christmas trees and other holiday decor. The final word on when to put up your tree Assuming your own family tradition isn't already firmly in place, Southern Living gets the last word on the best time to put up the Christmas tree. That's because the ultimate authorities on Southern taste on all things mayo and wicker are also so darn sensible and inclusive on this topic: 'We pass no judgement, but here are the times for when to put up your Christmas decorations. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest that you should set up a Christmas tree or put up Christmas-specific decorations.' The reason you shouldn't do it earlier? 'It is inconsiderate for your beautiful tree to steal the thunder from your big turkey dinner.' As for the latest time to put up the tree, that would be Christmas Eve, a nod to bygone, less holiday-crazed times.
  • Marking the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day always takes too long to get here -- and then passes by frustratingly fast. But what if you could stop to smell the proverbial roses -- hour after hour after hour? We’ve rounded up a host of fun (a circus!), exhilarating or suitably patriotic things to do all around metro Atlanta on Monday  (we’ve even included one that starts on Sunday night and goes into the wee hours of Monday morning to help kick off the holiday). Many of them are free and suitable for people of all ages. You don’t have to do them all, of course. (But if you do, drop us a line...We’d love to know how it’s done!)   8 p.m. Sunday - 2 a.m. Monday. Pre-Memorial Day Party. Johnny’s Hideaway, 3771 Roswell Rd NE Atlanta. Live music with DJ Spin, plus all the usual fun at one of Atlanta’s classic nightspots -- right down to the “Sinatra Room.” A grown-up fun way to get a jump on the holiday. www.johnnyshideaway.com     MONDAY/MEMORIAL DAY:   7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Dacula Memorial Day 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run. Dacula Park, 205 Dacula Road, Dacula. $25, $15 ages 12 and younger. Get a figurative and literal running start on celebrating with the 22nd annual version of this popular event. The 1 Mile run/walk starts at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K starts at 8:00a.m. And proving it really is Memorial All Day: Organizers caution not to park in Dacula Park if you plan on leaving right after the race, “as you will be blocked in by the parade” (see 10 a.m.). www.daculamemorialday.com.   9 a.m. City of Smyrna Memorial Day Ceremony. 20th Century Veterans Memorial (adjacent to Smyrna City Hall), 2800 King St., Smyrna. Free. Pre-seating begins at 8:30 a.m. for 9:30 a.m. ceremony (some pre-ceremony events begin at 9 a.m.). Organized by Smyrna Veterans Committee, event honors those who have sacrificed in defense of our nation and is particularly significant this year as it marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entry into World War I. Attendees can also view displays of current and vintage military and security vehicles and weaponry, a US Marine Patrol Boat, H3 Hummer and more. For information about the event and the veterans memorial go to www.smyrnacity.com and look under “upcoming events.”    10 a.m. Dacula Memorial Day Parade. Steps off, rain or shine, at 10 a.m. at Hebron Baptist Church (202 Hebron Church Road), proceeds down Dacula Road and ends at Dacula High School. Free. This year’s 24th version features as its grand marshal Mary S. Pittman, 96, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and a resident of Lawrenceville. The only Memorial Day parade in Metro Atlanta and the largest in the the state of Georgia, it will feature more than 150 participating units and include a C-130 Aerial Flyover from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta. www.daculamemorialday.com   10:30 a.m. Yaarab Shrine’s 75th Anniversary Shrine Circus. J.R. Miller Park, Marietta. Free admission for all veterans on Memorial Day. Others: $7, children 10 and under free. The ideal idyll for those looking to round out a day of parades and picnics with the astounding acts of trapeze artists, the Reel Steel Riders, animals and — of course — the famous Shrine clowns. A ticket gets you into the Midway Carnival, which opens at 10 a.m. and features 40 rides and attractions, plus food and drink. It also includes unlimited access all that day to the circus performances under the Big Top (on Memorial Day, the shows are at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.). www.yaarabshrine.net    RELATED: Memorial Day 2017: Five free things to do in Metro Atlanta    11 a.m. Roswell Remembers. Roswell City Hall complex, 38 Hill St., Roswell. Free. The largest Memorial Day ceremony in Georgia, the official program begins at 11 a.m., although exhibits open and music begins at 10 a.m. Beloved DJ Moby willl emcee the program, which includes bagpipe and bugle music, a 21-gun salute, a wreath laying, a speech by World War II Army veteran Hank Freedman, who was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the French Legion of Honor and multiple other medals. After the ceremony, you can enjoy live music and picnicking on the grounds (barbecue will be available for purchase on-site). www.roswellmemorialday.com.   Noon. Memorial Day Ceremony. Marietta National Cemetery, corner of Cole Street and Washington Avenue, Marietta. Free. Now in its 72ndyear, this annual event organized by the National Memorial Day Association of Georgia begins promptly at noon. Set against a backdrop of the graves of more than 10,000 veterans from 23 states, it features patriotic music, posting of the colors, prayers, a gun salute and inspiring speakers. Additionally, this year’s event will honor The Georgia National Guard Family Support Organization.  Complete event info: www.nmdaga.org  Related video: What should the Gwinnett Braves’ new name be?    1 p.m. Gwinnett Braves vs. Syracuse Chiefs. 1:05 p.m. Coolray Field, Lawrenceville. $8 - $40. See ‘em while they’re still the “Braves,” sniff! (the Triple-A affiliate of the big league club up the road just announced plans to rename the team for the 2018 season and beyond, including a fan contest to come up with the new monkier). Along with Monday afternoon’s game, the G-Braves will mark and honor the Centennial Anniversary of the U.S.’s involvement in World War I in a number of ways including special presentations, flag giveaways, displays of military vehicles and more. www.mlb.com    1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Atlanta Jazz Festival’s BMW Concert Series. BMW of Gwinnett Place, 3264 Commerce Ave NW, Duluth, and United BMW Alpharetta, 1501 Alpharetta Hwy, Alpharetta. Free. As part of the AJF’s “40 Days of Jazz” programming, four BMW dealership locations around metro Atlanta will take turns hosting live performances on Memorial Day. From 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Gwen Hughes will be at the Gwinnett location and as yet unannounced artist will be at the Alpharetta location. Additionally, from 1 - 3 p.m., you can catch the following artists at these locations: Tamara Goldinella at Nally BMW of Decatur, 1606 Church St. Decatur; Brandon Boone at BMW of South Atlanta, 4171 Jonesboro Rd, Union City. Information on this and all Atlanta Jazz Festival events at www. atlantafestivals.com.    RELATED: These 35 Georgia museums are free to military families from Memorial Day through Labor Day    4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Memorial Day Paddle. Don Carter State Park, 5000 N Browning Bridge Rd, Gainesville. $15 with personal kayak, $25 with rental kayak (available at park), plus $5 parking. Look for wading birds, raptors and other elements of nature during a kayak outing on the Chattahoochee River. Anyone taking part MUST be able to swim and children participating have to be 6 or older AND accompanied by an adult. Bring water, a flashlight and binoculars if you have them, and meet at the boat ramp. Pre-registration is required by calling 678-450-7726. www.gastateparks.org/doncarter    10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ride, Dip, “Battle” your way through the holiday and much more. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, SW, Austell. $67.99 general admission, $47.99 children under 48” (Note: Discounts and deals are available for tickets purchased in advance or online at www.sixflags.com). Billing this holiday weekend as “the official start of summer,” Six Flags will be the place to go let it all hang out all day into the evening on Memorial Day: The brand new, immersive Justice League: Battle for Metropolis thrill ride (read the AJC’s preview story here) and water park extravaganza Hurricane Harbor both officially open this Friday (May 26). The water park is open from noon to 6 p.m. on Memorial Day, with Six Flags itself closing an hour later (it’s open until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). Battling supervillans and going through a hurricane: Not a bad way to get ready for the work week ahead. www.sixflags.com    8 p.m. Not to sound like your mother, but eat something! You’ve had a long day of celebrating and honoring others’ service to our country. And it’s not over yet.    9 p.m. Special “Salute to the Troops” extended fireworks and Laser Show Spectacular. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E.Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. Free when you pay the $15 parking fee to enter the park (you can purchase parking online here). Show starts at 9:30 p.m., but you’ll want to be there early to get a good viewing spot of the backdrop of the mountain with its famous carving. In addition to the “usual” fare — digital graphics, lasers, drones, fireworks and other fire effects—there’ll be some added Memorial Day oomph. From May 26-29, a special “patriotic” fireworks finale right after the laser show will make the skies above light up in a specially choreographed musical tribute honoring the brave men and women who protect our country, according to the park. (Music by the Stephen Lee Band from 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.) www.stonemountainpark.com
  • Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as 'Negro History Week' and later as 'Black History Month.' What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied-or even documented-when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books. Blacks Absent from History Books We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time. Established Journal of Negro History Woodson, always one to act on his ambitions, decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915, and a year later founded the widely respected Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in black American history. For example: February 23, 1868:W. E. B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, was born. February 3, 1870:The 15th Amendment was passed, granting blacks the right to vote. February 25, 1870:The first black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took his oath of office. February 12, 1909:The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a group of concerned black and white citizens in New York City. February 1, 1960:In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, N.C., college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. February 21, 1965:Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by three Black Muslims.
  • Pittsburgh TV reporter Robin Taylor has checked out three websites that already have Black Friday deals posted, and some deals are available for purchase now. The websites have “leaked” deals posted and also show how you can save more money with online coupon codes. Robin went to all three sites and found some interesting holiday specials. Many deals won’t require you to camp out in front of the store. At www.cyberblackfriday.com we learned Amazon is already selling an LG 42 inch TV for $680, and it comes with a low price guarantee. Go to Blackfriday.com and you’ll find you can get 5 percent off all toys purchased online by using the right coupon code. Blackfriday2011.com has a leaked ad from wholesaler BJ’s. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, it’ll be offering a $250 rebate on Asus laptops. Mapping out your holiday shopping strategy -- could save you money -- because you'll be less likely to fall for impulse buys.
  • Blame Hurricane Irene for the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2011. The northeast may be pressed for Jack-O-Lanterns this Halloween.  Farmers' pumpkin patches were wiped out by Irene.  Wholesale prices have doubled in upstate New York; some farmers are trying to import pumpkins from other parts of the U.S. to make up for the shortfall.  Pumpkins typically have to be ready to ship by mid-September, because demand plummets after Halloween.