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  • Tinsel

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    Tinsel on a Christmas treeTinsel is a type of decorative material that mimics the effect of ice, consisting of thin strips of sparkling material attached to a thread. When in long narrow strips not attached to thread, it is called "lametta", and emulates icicles. It was originally a metallic garland for Christmas decoration. The modern production of tinsel typically involves plastic, and is used particularly to decorate Christmas trees. It may be hung from ceilings or wrapped around statues, lampposts, and so on. Modern tinsel was invented in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1610, and was originally made of shredded silver. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word is from the Old French word estincele, meaning “sparkle”.

  • Christmas in the post-war United States

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    New Orleans department store Santa Claus, 1954 Christmas in the United States during the post-war years (1946–1964) reflected a period of peace, productivity, and prosperity. Americans staged sumptuous Christmases and enjoyed a variety of holiday foods unknown to previous generations. Several films, foods, toys, and television programs of the era have become American Christmas traditions. Once reliant upon Germany for its ornaments, toys, and even its Christmas customs, America became self-sufficient in the post-War years with Christmas ornaments and toys being manufactured in the United States that were considerably less expensive than their German counterparts. American Christmas customs and traditions such as visits to department store Santas and letter writing to Santa at the North Pole remained intact during America's post-War years, but the era generated contributions that have endured to become traditions. NORAD's tracking of Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, for example, was initiated in 1955 and has become an annual tradition.

  • Christmas tree (drag racing)

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    A pre-2011 CompuLink drag racing Christmas Tree as currently in use on the Curacao International Raceway.Modern drag races are started electronically by a system known as a Christmas tree. A common Christmas tree consists of a column of seven lights for each driver or lane, as well as a set of light beams across the track itself. Each side of the column of lights is the same; from the top down, there is one blue LED light set arranged in a circle with a white line through the center, then three amber bulbs, then a green bulb and a red bulb. The light beams are arranged with one set on the starting line, and another set 7 inches behind it. When drivers are preparing to race, they first cross the beams 7 inches behind the starting line. Crossing this beam activates the top half of the circle. Once pre-staged, drivers roll up 7 inches and cross the second beam on the starting line, bottom half of the circle, including the crossing line. Once both drivers have crossed the staged sensor, an official starter or automatic starting system will activate the next lighting sequence.

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