Ah, the holiday season: Glad tidings. Comfort. Joy. Pranks.
For some earlier Americans, Christmas was the yearly open season for playing practical jokes on other people — filching wagon wheels, turning road signs the wrong way, lighting firecrackers to scare animals. A sort of cold weather April Fools' Day, perhaps to make the midwinter less bleak.
Some of the gags were benign; others brutal. In any case, the tradition of holiday high jinks goes back, way back before the founding of the country. Here are the 12 Pranks of Christmas:
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