Christmas Links #18

A Brief History of Christmas Songs on 6 Music:
"When mince pies appear on supermarket shelves in April, you know Christmas is just around the corner."

The Ugly Christmas Sweater: Still Ugly, but No Longer Ironic:
"Have you seen the Ugly Christmas Sweater suits? They are, literally, suits—matching ties included—that swathe their wearers in head-to-toe Christmas Sweater ugliness. They are, it should go without saying, awesome."

Military Wife Finds Creative Way to Include Deployed Husband in Family Christmas Photo:
"Brandon Sistrunk isn't set to return from his deployment until January, so his wife figured out how to include him in their family Christmas card."

Christmas in Colorado through the years:
"It's finders keepers for boys and Christmas Tree For these two boys Christmas came early and they made the most of it in 1977. Ralph Martinez, 6, left, and Manuel Montoya, 7, carry a small but bushy Christmas tree along 3000 block of Zuni Street. The two boys found the trophy in alley and immediately started the trek home with tree. Ernie Leyba, The Denver Post Library Archive."

Celebrating 65 years of Peanuts:
" This online exhibition is adapted from the full version that was on view in the Museum’s comic strip rotation gallery from August 19, 2015 to January 10, 2016."

Slow Cooker Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage:
"Ever had a cooker crisis on Christmas Day? I think we've all been there haven't we, with too many dishes and too little space. I try and make as much as I can ahead of time these day's - I cook my meat the day before (and the gravy too), pre cook my sprouts, par boil the potatoes and make and cook the stuffing in a loaf tin. It all helps come Christmas morning and this year I've called on my slow cooker for help too."

Lawyer Sues to Stop Christmas Tunes Playing 16 Hours a Day:
"NYC attorney Nick Wilder says he can't take socialite Lisa Maria Falcone's display anymore."

Why is it so hard for Christmas films to pass the Bechdel test?
"Everyone (at least secretly) loves Christmas films, but on closer inspection, it's the least woman-friendly genre there is. Caroline O’Donoghue investigates."

Cate Blanchett Narrates This Lovely Ad About the Different Ways People Celebrate Christmas:
"Everyone celebrates Christmas a little differently. Some people like to throw ugly sweater parties; others like to blow past the season without giving it a second thought. A new campaign from retailer David Jones starring actress Cate Blanchett gives viewers a glimpse into what the holiday brings for people in Australia. You might find it's not so different from your own celebrations."

30 years, 700+ pieces: Annual Christmas display brings family together:
"Most people put up lights and a tree to celebrate Christmas. One man built a miniature village in his basement. Around 1985 Jeff Ziegler got a couple Coca-Cola house figurines from his mom back. He’s not really sure when things took a turn, but two years ago he counted 550 figurine people and over 100 structures. That number has grown and he’s quite frank about not actually knowing where his collection stands today."

Christmas Links #17

Class comes to BBC One:
"The BBC has confirmed thet the Doctor Who spin-off series will be shown on BBC One this January. The first episode can be seen on Monday 9th January at 10.45pm."
[Editor's note: Which used to be about standard for the re-broadcasting of BBC Three programmes back in the analogue days when BBC Three was only on digital. But more recently shows have been in decent slots on BBC Two since (Fleabag etc) and that seemed to be Class's fate. Perhaps the iPlayer numbers haven't been as they expected so they've decided to dump it here instead. If only it had actually been any good ...]

Cinema in Flint opens its doors for first time in more than 40 years:
"The Gaumont Plaza in Flint held its first screening on Friday with a showing of Bridget Jones’ Baby, after months of hard work by its owner to get it open by Christmas time."

Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America:
"Halfway through a recent late lunch at the Trump Grill—the clubby steakhouse in the lobby of Trump Tower that has recently become famous through the incessant media coverage of its namesake landlord, and the many dignitaries traipsing through its marbled hall to kiss his ring—I sensed the initial symptoms of a Trump overdose. Thanks to an unprecedented influx of diners, we were sitting at a wobbly overflow table outside the restaurant, in the middle of a crush of tourists, some of whom were proposing to their partners, or waiting to buy Trump-branded merchandise, or sprinting to the bathroom."

The Worst Films of 2016:
"No room for run-of-the-mill bad movies here. To qualify for our scroll of shame, a movie had to be one of the truly godawful, the inept, the ugly, the offensive, or — no small offense — the deadly boring. Here is Owen Gleiberman and Peter Debruge’s list of the 10 Worst Films of 2016."

The patriarchy, actually. What our favourite Christmas films mean in 2016:
"From the housing crisis of It’s a Wonderful Life to the white, male hegemony of Love Actually, festive classics now seem more relevant than ever."
[Editor's note: Yes, but Love Actually presents these men, in general, as heroes. They're the protagonists. In no way is it supposed to be satire.]

Which Christmas Food Must Go?
"Do brussels sprouts deserve to stay?"

The making of The Chaos Carol:
"How I managed to compile the 100 most popular Christmas songs into a symphony of joyful chaos."

This woman's hilarious Christmas card with pizza shows the power of true love:
"While we love seeing people’s cute holiday cards of their family, if you’re single it can be a little hard looking at all the things that you don’t have. That’s why this single woman decided to create a holiday card to her one true love: pizza."

Christmas Cupcakes by Nigella:
"These beauties also make a very good alternative to mince pies. I buy the icing ready made and dyed (which is why it isn’t a very convincing colour for holly, let’s be frank) and use cranberries as the holly berries. The cake underneath is somewhere between chocolate and gingerbread. If you’re thinking of taking anything to friends’ houses, may I suggest these?"

Rolling Stones waive their royalties on Jo Cox tribute single:

"Bookmakers William Hill also pledge donate to charity all money staked on the cover of You Can’t Always Get What You Want reaching Christmas No 1."

Christmas Links #16

The Puritans Who Stole Christmas:

"On 8 June 1647 Parliament enacted a law to abolish holy days, including Christmas (although it replaced them with secular days of rest). This legislation made it a criminal offence to celebrate, in any shape or form, the feast of Christmas, and was the latest in a series of attempts by zealously devout Parliamentarians to redefine Christmas as a time for humility instead of lavish celebration."

Campaign begins to counter 'all white' Christmas:
"A new campaign that aims to counter images of an “all white” Christmas is to be launched on Thursday to increase the number of black and ethnic minority families portrayed enjoying the festive period."

Holy shit: Somebody edited 400 versions of A Christmas Carol into one coherent movie:
"YouTuber Heath Waterman has celebrated those many, many iterations of Charles Dickens’ classic by editing 400 of them together into a single, coherent narrative. Questions asked in one rendition are answered by characters in another; one actor’s portrayal of Scrooge might fall from the sky, but a different one will land. Since the beats of the story are so consistent, everything unfolds cleanly."

The Foodism guide to... Christmas feasting:
"Dig yourself out of a festive eating-and-drinking rut with tips from the best in the business. You’ll be rustling up golden quail’s eggs in no time…"

I ate every fast food Christmas lunch in the name of food criticism:
"It’s hard to say when exactly Christmas food specials became a Thing, but in this unbelievable year of 2016, they well and truly are."

The Twelve Monsters of Christmas:
"Christmas isn’t just about a coca-cola marketing gimmick, it has a long and often dark history. Even the kindly St Nick wasn’t always the genial character we think of today. As good needs its evil, here are 12 of the monsters that terrorised the Yule season."

Tragic child's touching Christmas letter found in Dunfermline field triggers community response:
"A CHILD'S Christmas letter to their dad has caused a stir on social media after it was found in a field in Dunfermline attached to a balloon yesterday (Monday)."

Build This Lego Assistant to Take Care of All Your Christmas Cards:

"From shopping, to decorating a Christmas tree, you’ve got enough to deal with this time of year without having to send friends and family a card reminding them of all their holiday responsibilities. So why not dig out your Lego bin and build this Mindstorms assistant that can churn out all your Christmas cards for you?"

Nine budget-friendly Christmas gift ideas:
"Christmas. Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also, without a doubt, the most expensive time of the year too. According to some reports, the average family spends about £800 a year on Christmas. That’s a lot of dosh, especially if you are cash strapped and watching every penny."

19 Foods You Might Find In A Christmas Dinner, Ranked From Worst To Best:
"Note: In order to prevent this list from being 50% meat, I have only included the poultry options. Sorry, ham lovers."

Christmas Links #15

Sugababes ‘Boys’ Finally Leaks, Nearly Four Years Later:
[editor's note: Sob, sob. If only they'd this out instead of Flatline or at least part of a logical release strategy rather than the funeral we otherwise attended. Of course it sounds a bit dated now. It is four years old. But it's an even better expression of how Siobhan's vocal complemented Mutya and Keisha in a way Heidi never really did.]

What We Just Watched: Christmas Special 2016:
"Two earnest men from TV Cream have come together under the flag of peace on Earth and goodwill to all other earnest men. Their purpose? To make each other watch a Christmas-related TV show, of which they’ve had no prior warning. Then they’ll chat about what they’ve seen. Yes, it’s got enough ‘format points’ to make it an actual thing."

Doctors: A Christmas Carol:
"See our cast as you've never seen them before in today's A Christmas Carol. Filmed on one of the hottest weeks in July, we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together."

She’ll give this stranger a hard-to-get NES for Christmas. But she has to find him first.
"Cheyenna Gaughf knows little about the young man who stood in line behind her outside a Virginia Toys “R” Us on a day when the store was offering a chance to buy two of the season’s most in-demand holiday gifts: Hatchimals and Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition."

Mysteries of Father Christmas ‘solved’ by relativity theory:
"The mystery of how Father Christmas can deliver presents to 700 million children in one night, fit down the chimney and arrive without being seen or heard has been ‘solved’ by a physicist at the University of Exeter."

Why you shouldn't give a goat this Christmas:
"If you are looking for a charity gift that really makes a difference, just give cash. While it's nice to imagine tents, water tanks and food parcels being rushed to a far-flung village beset by misfortune this Christmas, it could wind up being of dubious value." [via]

Students remove Shakespeare portrait in English dept., aiming for inclusivity:
"Penn English professor and Department Chair Jed Esty was surprised to find a large portrait of William Shakespeare waiting in his office. A group of students removed the iconic portrait from the walls of Fisher- Bennett Hall and delivered it to Esty’s office after an English Department town hall meeting discussing the election, which took place on Thursday December 1. They replaced it with a photo of Audre Lorde, a black female writer."

How to Keep Your Office Holiday Party From Going Off the Rails:
"The office party can be a chance for co-workers to get together in a relaxed setting to celebrate the holidays. Or it can be a memorable event for all the wrong reasons."

Good Grief, It's A Stephen Colbert Christmas Special:
"In this animated holiday classic, Stephen finds out the truth about who won Santa's vote for President."

Hallmark Christmas Movies: How To Make Your Own:
"While watching a Hallmark Christmas movie the other day (don't judge), we realized there is a recipe. The execs at Hallmark must hand this list to all their directors."

Christmas Links #14.

Doctor Who Christmas Countdown:
"With Christmas just a few shopping days' away, and Doctor Who: 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio' lined up for a post-prandial eyeball-feast, James Cooray Smith sizes up the previous Yuletide offerings in his festive episode countdown."

New Yorker Christmas Covers, Then and Now:
"If you need a break from shopping for just the right gift to arrive at just the right time, take a look at these vintage New Yorker covers celebrating the rituals of holidays past: you’ll see that it has never been easy."

Today programme announces all-female Christmas guest editor line-up:
"Radio 4’s Today programme will have an all-female cast of guest editors for the first time over Christmas, when it will also break with tradition by broadcasting a guest-edited programme live from Hull on New Year’s Eve."


"Live, History, Jingles, Stories."

Can You Guess The Christmas Movie From Its Opening Shot?
"‘Tis the season!"

The Real Reason Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol:
"After a particularly bleak year, millions in the English-speaking world and beyond will seek some comfort by watching a converted miser in a nightshirt, skipping about as light as a feather. “Whoop! Hallo! …What's to-day my fine fellow?”"

‘I cried all the way home': Terminally ill 5-year-old dies in Santa’s arms:
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist and you know they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."

AC/DC, sledging and booze: dirty deeds to help you cheat at Christmas board games:

"A study reports that playing Highway to Hell could be just the thing to break your opponent’s concentration - but what other tricks will help you win?"

World War On Christmas:
"The planet doesn’t care if you say Happy Holidays."

More Sleigh Bell: A Guide to 2016’s Most Notable Christmas Albums:
"Christmas music can provoke as much strong emotion, or sea-sick ambivalence, as the holidays themselves. Say it’s early December; you’re in a supermarket or bookstore, and Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”—or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” or the Temptations’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”—starts playing. Are you filled with joy, or plunged into a month-long depression? Does the song strike you as pleasantly nostalgic or suffocatingly familiar? Do you love it? Hate it? Love to hate it or hate to love it? Fight or flight? Maybe all of the above?"

Soup Safari #75: Spicy Vegetable at Le Pain Quotidien.

Lunch. £4.80. Le Pain Quotidien, 48-49, Covent Garden, The Market, Covent Garden Piazza, Henrietta St, London WC2E 8RF. Phone: 020 3657 6928. Website.

Christmas Links #13

Love Actually: Watching the Film for the First Time:
"I’ve had it on DVD since forever — I bought pre-owned from the EB Games store I managed back in 2005; I still had the price stickers with the date we took it back in trade inside the case — and I’ve never watched it. I may have watched the beginning, as Bill Nighy trying to sing the lyrics to “Christmas Is All Around” and screwing it up, was familiar to me, but nothing else about the film was."

17 amazing Christmas hacks that will help you through the festive season:
"Follow our crafty tips and tricks for a stress free fortnight."

This AI’s attempt to write a Christmas carol is absolutely bone-chilling:
"Computers are getting smarter, but first they’re stuck in some sort of uncanny valley of intelligence, reassembling normal, everyday objects into increasingly creepy combinations. First came the revelations of Google’s DeepDream technology, which, in learning to “see” objects, “saw” creepy multi-eyed organisms all over the place, turning the world into a half-sentient dog-like mess."

Squirrel Wanted For Stealing 150 Christmas Lights:
"Margaret Rican of Seattle is having a hard time this year, as her Christmas lights keep disappearing. A squirrel has been making off with the bulbs one by one. The brazen thief pulls off his heists right in front of her sometimes, while other capers are recorded from a distance. She uploaded a compilation of his trips to chew off and abscond with the bulbs one by one."

The War on Christmas was settled a long time ago. Christmas won.
"Saying “Happy Holidays” at the mall won’t change that."

Liverpool Biennial’s Momentary Monument raises £1224 for Asylum Link Merseyside:

"This year’s edition of Liverpool Biennial may have come to an end but the most iconic piece of work, and arguably most successful, Lara Favaretto’s ‘Momentary Moment-The Stone’ has this week once again come into focus and proven its longevity."

I’m Still Here:
"I won the Internet on February 24, 2015. My tweet beat out thousands of other funny tweets on Comedy Central’s @Midnight to win their daily “Hashtag War.” The topic was #DogTVShows. Among my dozen or so entries was “Grrrrrrrls.” It was a crowning moment after a year of frequently making it into their top ten. During that time, I’d become known as quite the hashtag game player to my 30,000 followers. Never mind that I had been entertaining folks with my own hashtag games for about four years before @Midnight had even come along. At long last, I had indeed won the Internet."

Christmas advert songs that conquered the charts:
"Anticipating big brands' Christmas ad campaigns has become a festive tradition, with speculation over who'll be soundtracking them kicking off way before the last summer barbecue has stopped sizzling. We look back at tracks that enjoyed the boost of a big TV campaign."

Christmas, Made in China:
"Peter Day visits the Chinese city which makes most of the world's Christmas decorations."

I HAD to go to London to judge a cress competition with TV’s Konnie Huq from Blue Peter.
"I appreciate that this is an unusual move for a person to make, but what you have to understand is that I am not like you people. I am a much-loved commentator and newspaper columnist who appeared on Channel 5 News once."

Christmas Links #12

London pub labelled 'Britain's most festive' on social media:
"A pub's Christmas display has proved a hit on social media with some dubbing it "Britain's most festive pub"."

This Woman Clapped Back To An Anti-Gay Neighbor Using Christmas Lights:
"Jingle all the gay."

At Christmas Cottage, Silver Bells and Sugar Plums Are Available Year Round:
"Even Manhattan’s hard edges soften at holiday time. Twinkle lights outglow fluorescents; sturdy woolen pompom hats replace flimsy knit beanies; marshmallow-speckled hot chocolate competes with black coffee. Christmas Cottage in Midtown Manhattan preserves the cozy parts of the coldest season year-round. The shop, a perpetual Christmas fever dream, has welcomed customers every spring, summer, fall and winter since the late 1990s."

Brooklyn’s Christmas Magic Maker: Lou Nasti and His Wonderful World:
"In East Flatbush, Lou Nasti has been engineering mechanical puppets for decades, adding to the magic of Christmas in Dyker Heights—and around the world."

12 spectacular photos of Christmas in Glasgow from the 1960s to the present day:
"Consider us your ghost of Christmas Past as we take a look back at the city's festive lights from the 1960s up to the present day."

Getting a drone for Christmas? The UN releases its 10 tips on operating it safely:
"The UN has issued some safety advice if you get a drone for Christmas. It says users should learn how to operate it first before flying one."

Doctor Who: I Believe In Father Christmas (Greg Lake version)
"A little seasonal montage I assembled using the seasonal specials from eleven years of the resurrected Doctor Who."

Adopting a broken Christmas tree and calling it “Lucky”:
"Rescuing a broken tree in the back of the shop was just one of those Christmas traditions “you do with kids”, says Lucy Dunn. But, after the events of 2016, it’s become so much more than that."

Take Comfort with Cherry Chocolate Cookies:
"I have been making riffs and renditions of this cookie for as long as I can remember. I think it started a few Christmases ago when I was searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I know that’s subjective, seeing as we all have a different criteria as to what makes the perfect cookie, but for me it’s two things: a soft interior and a crispy edge. I like the contrast. Oh and I like a thickish, buttery cookie."

Students forgo Christmas gifts to help fire victims:
"Fourth-grade students at Johnson Elementary School in Limestone County are passing up Christmas gifts to donate supplies to victims of the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires."