UPS Store deletes Christmas ‘shredding’ tweet after massive backlash: ‘You know what list you’re on right?’

Baby, it’s cold over at The UPS Store today. The UPS Store is being criticized online after posting a cheeky Christmas tweet telling parents they can shred letters to Santa. “If your child addresses a letter to the North Pole, you can leave it with us. We do shredding,” the since-deleted tweet read. ONLINE RETAILER … Continue reading “UPS Store deletes Christmas ‘shredding’ tweet after massive backlash: ‘You know what list you’re on right?’”

Baby, it’s cold over at The UPS Store today.

The UPS Store is being criticized online after posting a cheeky Christmas tweet telling parents they can shred letters to Santa.

“If your child addresses a letter to the North Pole, you can leave it with us. We do shredding,” the since-deleted tweet read.

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The snarky post was met with near instant backlash from customers calling out the national package delivery service for its lack of Christmas spirit.

Some even said they would be using different services to deliver their packages this holiday season.

UPS deleted the tweet, but has yet to offer an apology for its Christmas-time gaffe – but maybe the social media team should be expecting a visit from three Christmas spirits sometime soon.

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Fox News has reached out to The UPS Store for comment.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.

5 Christmas decorating mistakes to avoid this holiday season

Christmas is the busiest time of year, but holiday decorations shouldn’t be reflective of that.

From safety tips to suggestions for decorating your home, read on for a look at five dos and don'ts when decorating for the holidays.

Ho, ho, hydration

As gifts begin to pile up around the Christmas tree, make sure you leave enough space to be able to continuously water the fir.

Water should be added to the tree daily. Not only could this help prevent a devastating fire, but it will also keep the tree fresh throughout the holiday season – maybe even longer.

Holiday sparks

From twinkling lights to electric toy trains racing around the Christmas tree, the holidays require a lot of electricity. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) advises against running cords under furniture or rugs, out of windows or across walkways.

Electric decorations, too, should be turned off before you leave your home or go to sleep for the night.

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If you find yourself rushing to the store to buy more outlet adaptors or extension cords, consider having an electrician add more outlets to your home, ESFI advises.

Additionally, electronics should only be used in dry areas. “As tempting as it is, you just can’t decorate your aquarium with icicle lights,” according to ESFI.

Underneath the mistletoe

Keep your pets in mind when decorating for the holidays as some decorative staples could be detrimental to the furry members of your family.

Mistletoe, in particular, contains the chemicals lectins and phoratoxin which can “affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and slowed heart rate,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cats and dogs who eat mistletoe could experience diarrhea or vomiting, but “severe toxicity is uncommon and usually only occurs if your pet eats a large amount,” the FDA stated.

Poinsettia flowers, too, could make your pet uncomfortable, although the toxicity from the red holiday plant is relatively mild. Pets may experience drooling or vomiting, among other symptoms, which will usually alleviate after a couple of hours.

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Additionally, tinsel could be harmful to pets if they ingest it. It could block intestines, and pets would often need surgery to remove it.

O, Christmas tree

When decorating your Christmas tree, remember that order matters, blogger Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar has suggested. Put the lights on the tree first – walking around the fir and hiding wires away inside the branches.

“The most common mistake when setting up a Christmas tree is putting the lights on the tree last,” Taylor said. “Often we have emotional connections and memories related to various baubles that we rush to decorate the tree with them. The result is either a tree wrapped with unsightly wires or lots of damaged ornaments on the floor.”

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The tree, too, should be the star of your holiday decorations show. Make sure to feature the tree in a prominent spot in your home, ideally where it could be seen both inside and outside.

The 12 scents of Christmas

Evergreen trees. Freshly baked cookies. Peppermint candies. These are all the scents that evoke the pleasant Christmas memories, but they shouldn’t be combined.

Whether you’re a candle fanatic or you’ve received several as gifts for the holidays, be sure not to light contrasting scented candles at the same time. Instead of flooding your home with delightful holiday aromas, you could be creating a pungent scent.

Aside from candles, consider stovetop potpourri this holiday season.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Santa’s salary: How much does Father Christmas get paid?

If you set foot in a shopping mall during the holiday season, you’re all but guaranteed to see the festively adorned pavilion marking the presence of everyone’s favorite jolly old elf. If you celebrate Christmas, the sight probably conjures up memories of sitting on Santa’s lap yourself as a child. But now that you’re a grown-up, you may find yourself wondering what it’s like to be the other person in that scenario.

Listening to the requests of small children, all while embodying the spirit of Christmas, might sound like a delightful way to make some extra cash—or it may sound like an utter nightmare. Either way, any mall Santa will tell you that the job is far more than just throwing on a red suit. Mall Santas-to-be often go through a rigorous training process, learning the ins and outs of North Pole etiquette.

Those iconic suits, especially custom-made ones, can cost upward of a thousand dollars—and real-looking white beards cost a pretty penny, too. (J Rosa Photography)

And, of course, Santa needs a suit before he can start taking Christmas requests. While many mall Santas are provided with the iconic red getup, some must provide their own, Vox reports. And those suits, especially custom-made ones, can cost upward of a thousand dollars—and real-looking white beards cost a pretty penny, too.

Does the salary make up for those expenditures? Well, according to GOBankingRates, Santa’s salary itself can vary quite a bit. The median hourly rate for a mall Santa is $30, but rates can be as low as $12 or as high as a whopping $75. That can add up to an annual take of around $7,000 to $10,000. And then there’s something of a “Santa elite”—people who are deeply passionate about the job and return to it year after year. These distinguished Kringles, who may progress from mall jobs to higher-profile appearances at corporate events and private parties, can rake in as much as $20,000 every year.

But even the smaller paychecks for mall Santas average higher than the hourly take for most other seasonal jobs. GOBankingRates reports that the average hourly rate for seasonal jobs is just $10, with Santa earning more than the norm. (iSTock)

But even the smaller paychecks for mall Santas average higher than the hourly take for most other seasonal jobs. GOBankingRates reports that the average hourly rate for seasonal jobs is just $10, with Santa earning more than the norm.

What all Santas can agree on, though, is that it’s not a job you do for the money. You take on the mantle of Santa Claus because you love the holiday season and want to spread Christmas cheer. The money is just icing on the milk and cookies. Read on for the full list of surprising things your mall Santa won’t tell you.

This story was originally published by Reader’s Digest.

KFC debuts fried chicken-scented firelogs ahead of Christmas

Is it really Christmas if the smell of fried chicken isn’t wafting from the yule log?

Yes. Of course it is. But that doesn’t mean KFC is about to give up on the dream.

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Just in time for the holiday, the chicken chain is debuting its very own KFC-scented Enviro-Log, said to smell like the Colonel’s signature blend of 11 herbs and spices once it gets going.

“At KFC, we have always been proud of our role in bringing loved ones together at the dinner table around a bucket of our world-famous fried chicken,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer of KFC U.S., in a press release.

“Now, this winter we’re bringing all the things we love – family, friends and fried chicken – together around the fire with our scented firelog.”

“Now, this winter we’re bringing all the things we love – family, friends and fried chicken – together around the fire with our scented firelog," a KFC executive said. (KFC)

The holiday item – which is the product of a team up between KFC and Enviro-Log, and officially named the “11 Herbs & Spices Firelog” – promises a “hearth-warming and hunger-inducing” experience, according to the fast food chain.

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KFC’s yule logs are currently available for $18.99 at KFCFirelogs.com. And although the restaurant does not specifically say it, the logs may be best enjoyed while reading a KFC-themed romance novella starring a rippled, sleeveless Colonel Sanders.

Record-breaking holiday traffic is expected this season, and these are the worst times to drive in it

Christmas is coming early this year, at least for some drivers.

AAA says it expects 102.1 million Americans to hit the road this season, and not all on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, Dec. 19 is predicted to be the worst day for driving in Boston, Houston and Seattle, with traffic moving 2.5 to 3.5 times slower than usual.

New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. should peak the following day as folks try to escape for a very long weekend, while Friday looks bad in the San Francisco Bay area.

Historical data from INRIX suggests that Atlanta will make every other city look like a superspeedway on Saturday afternoon when the 404 experiences traffic 4x worse than usual.

On the bright side, the only place procrastinators that will be feeling the pain on Monday afternoon are in Chicago and Detroit, so plan to head out early if you don’t want to spoil that Christmas cheer.

Here’s the full list of the worst times to drive in America’s most-congested cities and how bad it will be compared to normal:

Atlanta (4x), Sat., Dec. 22, 3-4 pm

NYC (3.75x), Thurs., Dec. 19, 9:30-10:30 pm

Boston (3.5x), Wed., Dec. 19, 3:30-4:30 pm

Houston (3.25x), Wed. Dec. 19, 12:15-1:15 pm

Detroit (3x), Mon., Dec. 24, 2-3 pm

Seattle (2.25x), Wed., Dec. 19, 4-6 pm

Chicago (2.25x)., Mon., Dec. 24, 1:30-2:30 pm

Los Angeles (2x), Thurs., Dec. 20, 2:30-3:30 pm

San Francisco (1.25x), Fri., Dec. 21, 4:15-5:15 pm

Washington, D.C. (2.75x), Thurs., Dec 20, 1:15-2:15 pm

Survey reveals America’s favorite Christmas song to sing in the car

As families take to the roads in droves over the festive few months, a new study about holiday travel examined the most common shenanigans that go on during holiday car rides.

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If you thought your bunch was the only one that jammed out in the car, you might be surprised to hear that two thirds of families (67 percent) frequently sing together in the car while traveling.

Bobby Helms’ 1957 classic “Jingle Bell Rock” emerged as the song drivers and passengers sing along to most commonly (37 percent).

Bobby Helms’ 1957 classic “Jingle Bell Rock” emerged as the song drivers and passengers sing along to most commonly (37 percent). (SWNS)

Other notable hits Americans enjoy caroling in the car include classic singalongs such as “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and “I Wish You A Merry Christmas”.

The study conducted by OnePoll, in conjunction with Quaker State, found that two thirds (67 percent) of participants said singing is part of their festive travel- with more than a quarter (26 percent) belting out their favorite holiday jams often.

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And with excitement levels at their peak, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way when during the season of increased travels. American drivers will hear “I’m tired”, “I have to go to the bathroom”, and I’m hungry” six times each while traveling this holiday season.

Additionally, the data unveiled just how much Americans rely on their car performing well during the holidays. Shockingly, as many as 32 percent of those surveyed have had their car let them down during the holiday travel rush.

The biggest travel woe facing Americans during the holiday rush is a flat tire, with 68 percent experiencing the hassle of dealing with a flat tire while traveling during the holiday season.

Additionally, the data unveiled just how much Americans rely on their car performing well during the holidays. (SWNS)

Other travel hiccups include engine failure (40 percent), having a check engine light that won’t shut off (38 percent), a transmission issue (32 percent), and noises coming from the car’s brakes (29 percent).

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A 'cargument' is most likely to strike 27 minutes into a journey, but luckily they are quickly smoothed over by the excitement that (62 percent) of participants say they feel before embarking on their travels.

The research detailed the holiday driving experiences of 2,000 American car owners and found the typical festive period is not exempt from unfortunate car troubles and mishaps, but overall the travels are filled with tons of holiday excitement and cheer!

Woman threatened with fine after inviting lonely neighbors to Christmas dinner

Scrooge council chiefs have been blasted for threatening to fine a kind-hearted mom after she put up posters inviting lonely people to enjoy a free Christmas dinner.

Mo Fayose, 44, was shocked when she received an email from town hall chiefs accusing her of illegal fly-posting.

She put up the notices around the neighborhood in Basford, Nottingham, inviting people to get in touch with her if they were on their own over the festive season.

The mental health nurse has hosted Christmas dinners for vulnerable and lonely people for the last three years.

She started by opening her home to five guests but the free event is now so popular she hires out two halls to accommodate more than 100 people.

The single mom-of-two and a team of volunteers cook a three-course dinner, complete with crackers and decorations.

She spends the year raising around £3,000 ($3,756 USD) to buy the food and decorations and the cost of hiring the community centers in Basford for the festive lunch.

Mo who hosts Christmas dinner for about 100 people says she is pleased a council has backed down on threats to fine her over her flyers for the event. (SWNS)

But when she put up posters for this year’s event, she was stunned when a Nottingham City Council community protection officer ordered her to remove them “immediately”.

Fayose removed the flyers but blasted the council for taking a “heavy handed approach” to her free event.

She said, "The posters are really important; it's the way to get it to those who are not using social media.

“I was really shocked when I got the email telling me I was breaking the law. I just wanted to help people who were on their own at Christmas.

“This was the first time I had received an email like this from the council.

“I started putting up the flyers in November and the council emailed me on December 4.

“The email said, ‘We know what you are doing is good but it is classed as fly-posting’ which is a problem. Therefore I would ask you to take it down otherwise you would be fined.'

“It’s just crazy, it broke me down.

“I put the posters all over Basford so everyone could see them.

“I put it online but not everyone is on social media especially older people who are sometimes the most lonely in our society."

Christmas Day 2016, Ms Fayose and a team of volunteers cooked three courses for the lonely at Christmas. (SWNS)

Fayose, who is separated from her husband and lives with her 19-year-old daughter Ebbyy and 15-year-old son Jebediah put on the Christmas dinners three years ago.

She said, "A patient on the ward where I was doing my mental health training told me that they don’t celebrate Christmas because they had no one to spend it with.

“That really got to me and I thought there must be something I can do to help people like this.

"I just thought I would invite people to my home on Christmas Day and make dinner for them.

“I posted an invitation online expecting five or so people to reply but I was amazed when more than 100 people said they'd love to come along.

“I had over 130 people come in 2016 and had to move the lunch to a community center.

“The year after was even more popular and this year we're hiring out two halls of a community center to fit everyone in.

"I just hope enough people saw the poster before I had to take them down. I've had lots of people replying to me but there are still places available.

"I would hate it if anyone missed out and spent the day on their own just because the council ordered me to take them down.

“The lunch is a really happy event and everyone gets on and enjoys eating and celebrating together.

 Mo Fayose raises money for the gathering herself, to help combat "festive loneliness." (SWNS)

“Through my work as a mental health nurse I know that festive loneliness is real. I just wanted to do my small part in helping people come together.

“We’ve got a lot of food including turkeys, beef, chicken, canapes, Christmas pudding and minces pies and wine.

“It’s become so popular, I’ve not just had people from the local area come but also people from Derby, Mansfield and Scotland come.

"People of all ages come along too, we get young people and elderly people.

"Plus those who find it tough financial at this time of year too.

"This time of year can cause severe loneliness.

“All I wanted to do is just spread the Christmas spirit to those who desperately need it.”

The council have since decided to take no action regarding the posters and deemed the incident a “genuine misunderstanding”.

Nottingham City Councillor Linda Woodings said, "It is a really worthy cause and there has been a genuine misunderstanding.

"The council always promotes the importance of looking after each other and this includes encouraging people to cook a Christmas dinner for neighbors who may be on their own."

5 easy Christmas cookies to make this holiday season

Christmas is just around the corner, which means it's the perfect time to practice your cookie making skills before Santa comes sliding down your chimney.

Whether you’re hosting a lot of family and friends this holiday season or attending another holiday gathering, here are five cookies to easily bake.

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Santa hat cookies

These cookies take inspiration from the jolly man himself. Use a cookie cutter to make these hat shapes before decorating them with red and white icing after they’re baked.

As a separate option, use a sugar cookie as a base and use red icing or a strawberry to create a hat-looking shape. A small marshmallow or white icing can be used to top off Santa’s hat.

Gingersnap cookies with a twist 

Put a twist on traditional gingersnap cookies by dipping half of the cookie in Christmas colored-icing, such as red, green or white.

Traditional holiday shapes 

What's better than a classic Christmas cookie? Use holiday-themed cookie cutters — such as a snowflake, candy cane, Christmas tree or star — to create the shapes before decorating them with icing and sprinkles.

Red and green cookies 

Use food dye to add red or green colors to the batter. Bake and top with fun garnishes — or leave as is. One Instagram user said her green-colored cookies were inspired by Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

“Rudolph” cookies 

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Using your favorite batter, bake traditional round cookies and then use icing to draw antlers and eyes. Use a piece of round, red candy to give the famed reindeer his bright nose.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Town decorates pothole with Christmas tree: ‘That would look nice in the hole’

One Pennsylvania town found a cheery fix to a pothole problem that had been plaguing their neighborhood: Put a Christmas tree in it.

Wilkes-Barre residents had been dealing with the pothole, which had gotten bigger over the past few weeks, when Marietta Spak decided to do something about it.

HOLIDAY DECORATIONS AROUND THE WORLD

"I was upstairs in the attic and was looking for more Christmas decorations and thought, 'That would look nice in the hole,'" said Spak to Fox 43.

Spak dragged the tree out to the pothole and plopped it in. But Spak’s seasonal fix was not in celebration of Christmas; she said she wanted to call attention to the problem and keep people safe.

"It can cause so many problems with these holes. That's not just a pothole. That's sinkage, and it's starting to spider web," Spak said.

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Much like the pothole itself, the decorations started to grow after Spak initially placed the Christmas tree last weekend. A Santa Claus eventually joined in the hole, as did some ornaments.

The city has announced the pothole may be fixed this week, though the company that paves streets for Wilkes-Barre has reportedly been backed up with other jobs.

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"We have a lot of comedians in the area who put trees in there. I think it's funny, too, Christmas spirit," said Department of Public Works worker David Iskra to Fox 43.

A metal slab has been placed over the sinkhole for now.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.

Bethlehem reports busiest Christmas tourism season on record

The most wonderful time of the year is shaping up to be the most bustling season for holiday tourism yet in Bethlehem, as the historic Middle Eastern city is experiencing the busiest Christmas season on record to date.

As of Dec. 10, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism reported that hotels in Jesus’ birthplace are almost fully booked for the holiday, Reuters reports. According to the outlet, hotel occupancy rates are expected to surpass 95 percent by the end of the month, as visitors from all over the world pour in during the one of the holiest times of the Christian calendar year.

Palestinian Christians celebrate the lighting of a Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

“Tourism has recovered following a fall in knife and car-ramming attacks which helped push visitor numbers in the biblical city to a 10-year low in 2015,” Reuters reports. “Bethlehem store owners also said they were benefiting from a surge of visitors to Israel in its 70th anniversary year.”

Christian worshipers pray inside the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. City officials are optimistic that the renovated church will help add to a recent tourism boom and give a boost to the shrinking local Christian population. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

After dipping in 2015 and 2016, tourism has seen a comeback in the past two years, officials say, and according to the Associated Press Bethlehem is expecting 1.2 million visitors this year.

A worker cleans the dust from a chandelier at the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

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A woman visits a shop near the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

“Coming to Israel has always been on my bucket list,” travel adviser Robyn Jackson of Phoenix, Arizona told Reuters of her motivation to visit. “Being in Bethlehem and all the places where Jesus walked is amazing.”

A visitor photographs a renovated part of a fresco inside the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem.  (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

In May, the Trump administration officially opened the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, in a historic move cheered by Israelis but met with mass protests from Palestinians.

“I think excitement has been stirred because of the embassy move,” said Keith Jiles, 55, a pastor from Atlanta, Georgia, said. “People had been afraid in the past to come. But excitement has built. And you’re gonna see more tourism because of it,” he said.

Visitors stand bellow a renovated part of a fresco inside the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

As per the AP, a historic renovation of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is lifting spirits for some in the biblical town ahead of Christmas, offering visitors a look at ancient mosaics and columns that have been restored to their original glory for the first time in 600 years.

One of Christianity's most sacred shrines, the church was built in the 4th century by Saint Helena over a cave where the Virgin Mary is said to have given birth. What pilgrims mostly see today is the basilica built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, who ruled from A.D. 527 to 565.

File photo of renovations at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The $17 million renovation began in 2013.

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But whether the city's efforts can stop the long-term outflow of Bethlehem's Christians remains to be seen. As elsewhere in the Arab world, the local Christian community has struggled for decades, escaping conflict and economic troubles in search of better opportunities abroad.

In the Holy Land, Israel's half-century-old occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and more than a decade of rule by the Islamic militant group Hamas in Gaza have significantly worsened the situation.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Judson Berger and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak