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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. Track Santa this Holiday Season with NORAD

  2. Online Tips for Preparing Safety Holiday Feasts

  3. State, Growers Association Boast Environmental Benefits of Choosing Real Trees

Holiday Tips to
Keep You Happy, Calm & Safe

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is five days away!   This is usually the time that people feel stressed and worry about getting that last-minute gift, preparing for the perfect dinner, and hosting family and friends. has 10 holiday tips  to help keep you calm, safe, and happy during this holiday season.    You can share this list with family, friends, and co-workers to spread the gift of organization and cheer to everyone! Have a great holiday! 

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Track Santa this Holiday Season with NORAD

National Adoption MonthThe North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) helps boys and girls all over the United States to look out for Santa. NORAD is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America.  NORAD’s headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado. NORAD’s track Santa site gives a countdown to Santa, and provides information about Santa and other holiday traditions You can start to track Santa’s travels on December 24th on Cesium maps to see how close he is to your house. If you need help getting into the Christmas spirit, you can listen to music provided by the U.S. Airforce Academy Band!

Online Tips for Preparing Safety Holiday Feasts

Keep holiday food festive & safe! For many families, preparing a grand meal is a tradition they look forward to during the holidays, but it’s no fun if someone gets food poisoning.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million people in the United States get sick each year from eating contaminated foods. You can avoid foodborne illness by following these tips:

1. When buying food:

  • Choose fresh items and check the expiration date for everything you buy.
  • Foods that need to be refrigerated, such as meat, eggs and milk, should be bought last at the store.
  • Place meats (chicken, fish, pork and beef) in a separate bag. The liquids that spill out of these items can contaminate fruits, vegetables and other food in the refrigerator.
  • If you’ll be driving for more than an hour after you go to the supermarket, take a cooler to store the items that need refrigeration.

2. When handling food:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any food.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with a brush to remove any dirt or soil residue.
  • Do not wash meats before cooking. This can cause bacteria to contaminate your sink & kitchen surfaces.
  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator or microwave. Defrosting them at room temperature can cause bacteria to multiply.
  • Wash the knife and cutting board that were used to prepare meat before using them on other food items to avoid contamination.

3. When cooking food:

  • Cook meats after defrosting them. Don’t leave them out of the refrigerator for too long.
  • Make sure meats are cooked well inside & out. A meat thermometer can check the internal temperature.
  • Don’t put freshly cooked items next to raw foods.
  • When cooking meat, do so all at once. Avoid partially cooking meat and refrigerating it with the intention of completing the cooking process later.

4. When storing food:

This information is brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration via the blog.

State, Growers Association Boast Environmental Benefits of Choosing Real Trees

Indiana Christmas Tree Growers AssociationThis information, for you and your patrons, is courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association.

  • Real trees are both renewable and biodegradable natural resources, filter the air of carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and provide watershed protection and a wildlife habitat.
  • On average, an artificial tree is used for 7 years before it is disposed of and the metals and plastics it is made of may remain in a landfill indefinitely.
  • Depending on species, it can take anywhere from 5-15 yrs before a real tree is ready for market.
  • Real Christmas trees are grown on farms utilizing soil that cannot support other crops.
  • Christmas tree farms must shear the trees each year to maintain a conical shape and well-filled branches.
  • Green colorant is sprayed on the cut trees to help the needles retain moisture and to enhance the appearance which naturally takes on a yellowish cast during winter months.
  • For each Christmas tree that is harvested nationally, two to three seedlings are planted the next spring.

For additional facts about the environmental impact of choosing real trees over artificial, you can view this video from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Check out these Christmas Tree Safety Tips from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

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