We seldom identify the holiday season with medical matters, but perhaps we have been remiss in not doing so. Many holiday customs have medical significance — some positive, some negative. Christmas and the following 2 weeks host the highest cardiac and non-cardiac mortality of the major holidays,1 but few people seem to dread the approach of December as a threat to their physical health. On the positive side, some ancient kinds of Christmas gifts turn out to have modern medical applications, while, not so positively, some modern decorations cause a fair degree of morbidity.
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