As the (northern hemisphere) summer rapidly disappears, the nights draw in and temperatures plummet, so the English are Christmas shopping. Seasonal foods appear on shelves, while the Selfridges Christmas store is now open and big supermarkets flag the approaching holiday. At Harrods, the Christmas range has been launched, while in Derbyshire Christmas pudding production is ramping up, and inns and hotels in towns such as Durham compete for Christmas Day meal bookings. For shoppers too impatient to wait, the 2014 British video game "Christmas Shopper Simulator" (play through). Days to go.
For the past twenty-five years, Hallmark has included Star Trek themed Christmas ornaments in it's annual Keepsake ornament series (Memory Alpha has a complete rundown). These range from ships to characters to props to memorable scenes. However, none of these compare to this years' contributions, which include perhaps the pinnacle of their efforts.
Did you ever realize that the word "Hallelujah" has the same syllable count and stress pattern as "Waluigi?"
SO!: It's a Cold and a Broken Waluigi - And here, with adjusted lyrics (but without the voice) [more inside]
SO!: It's a Cold and a Broken Waluigi - And here, with adjusted lyrics (but without the voice) [more inside]
How would you react if you received one of these weirdly wonderful Easter or Christmas cards? The BBC shows us a collection of the cards that were exchanged during Victorian times.
FiveThirtyEight takes on the challenge: It’s a debate as old as time — or, at least as old as 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas Special.” Of the many revelers throwing down sick moves to “Linus & Lucy” by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, who would you most like to party with?
Christmas Experiments is a collection of Yuletide-themed browser toys and minigames, one for each day in December until Christmas. Each one was created by a different programmer / artist. Don't miss past years' entries: 2013; 2012. When you're done playing, check out the code on GitHub. [more inside]
Yes, Virginia, There is a Spider-Man: An Editorial by J. Jonah Jameson. From the indispensable Bully the Little Stuffed Bull and Comics Oughta Be Fun!
After a twenty-month hiatus, Chris Onstad wishes us all a Happy Holliday with a new Achewood strip, plus some other new content. (Warning: NSFW. NSFFamily, probably, either.)
Christmas will crush your soul, like that laid back rock n roll ... LCD Soundsystem has given the world one small perfect song this Christmas eve (via James Murphy). You can get it on vinyl (limited run) or iTunes and probably through other sources. But not radio. Never radio. Damn it. [more inside]
Sleeping under an original My Little Pony single bed set tonight? Or sharing with your uncle and the Christmas tree? Or bedding down in the garage, next to the punch bag? For the last few years Rhodri Marsden has been sharing the people of Twitter's Christmas eve sleeping arrangements, in all their awkward, makeshift, regressive glory. You can view this year's on his timeline @rhodri.
Why more American Muslims are celebrating Christmas this year: For many Muslims, Christmas activates all kinds of anxieties. A religious holiday that challenges the Muslim interpretation of Jesus, it’s also a secular celebration—almost impossible to avoid—which is far more influential than any Muslim celebration in the West. See also: 6 things you didn’t know about Jesus in Islam.
In 1963 Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated a letter from Santa Claus for the Finnish post office, which was inundated with letters to Santa. It has now been scanned and posted by the Moomin company on its blog as part of its regular series of letters from Tove Jansson.
“My Christmas in New York” by Harper Lee, Illustrations by Bill Bragg [The Guardian]
“Several years ago, I was living in New York and working for an airline, so I never got home to Alabama for Christmas – if, indeed, I got the day off. To a displaced southerner, Christmas in New York can be rather a melancholy occasion, not because the scene is strange to one far from home, but because it is familiar: New York shoppers evince the same singleness of purpose as slow-moving southerners; Salvation Army bands and Christmas carols are alike the world over; at that time of year, New York streets shine wet with the same gentle farmer’s rain that soaks Alabama’s winter fields. I missed Christmas away from home, I thought. What I really missed was a memory, an old memory of people long since gone, of my grandparents’ house bursting with cousins, smilax and holly. I missed the sound of hunting boots, the sudden open-door gusts of chilly air that cut through the aroma of pine needles and oyster dressing. I missed my brother’s night-before-Christmas mask of rectitude and my father’s bumblebee bass humming Joy To The World.”
Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays "This special features Lidia and six celebrity guests—Christopher Walken, Ann Curry, Padma Lakshmi, Rita Moreno, Marcus Samuelson and Carlo Ponti, Jr. as they share their immigrant experiences and holiday traditions."
It's Christmas Eve, so what better to do than partake in the Metafilter holiday tradition (previously; previouslier) of attempting probably the hardest quiz in the world: The King William's College General Knowledge Paper (Guardian). [more inside]
The stories, legends and history that lead to the modern Santa Claus go back to the third century, but what of his better half? She is a relatively recent invention, at least in written form. First mentioned in reference and passing in 1849 and 1851 respectively, Mrs. Claus finally appears in person, with a babe in arms, in 1854 in a story written in The Opal volume 4 (a literary journal written by the patients of New York Lunatic Asylum in Utica). She didn't get a name until the 1996 musical TV movie, Mrs. Santa Claus, where Angela Lansbury is Mrs. Anna Santa Claus, the plucky wife of Mr. Claus who takes the sleigh out herself. [more inside]
Merry Christmas from The Venture Bros. After a few years' hiatus, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick return with the (formally) annual Venture Christmas song. For 2015, surgically-conjoined Guild of Calamitous Intent members Dragoon and Red Mantle revisit the Rankin-Bass classic "Miser Brothers."
‘We had to put Charles Dickens in the movie. Who’s the least likely character to be Charles Dickens? Gonzo!’ How we made: The Muppet Christmas Carol
46% say Rudolph is their favorite, and otherAmerican attitudes on the holiday season, via Public Policy Polling.
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" [Wiki]
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" is a phrase from an editorial called Is There a Santa Claus?. The editorial appeared in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun and has since become part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States. It is the most reprinted editorial in any English-language newspaper.[more inside]
Since 2006, a group of lonely single men in Japan calling itself Kakumeiteki Hi-mote Domei (“Revolutionary Losers’ League”) has been protesting against Christmas, arguing that the holiday, as practiced in Japan, marginalises the uncoupled. [more inside]
Greensboro, NC has a unique holiday tradition: the lighted Christmas balls. Every year, the trees of Sunset Hills and surrounding neighborhoods are suddenly filled with thousands and thousands of lighted Christmas balls. Here's a video explaining the history of the balls - and here's how you can make your own! And this year, there's finally drone footage! [more inside]
The holiday season is especially stressful for women. In rare occasions, that stress plus bad luck may actually contribute to heart problems. “We have seen more than a few cases of stress-induced cardiomyopathy around the holidays,” said Dr. Karla Kurrelmeyer, a cardiologist with Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “This occurs when women are under great amounts of stress for a short period of time and that stress is compounded with another traumatic event ... If it is ignored it can be fatal.” Yikes! Of course, men are hardly immune to seasonal hazards. In Canada (and elsewhere), men are the primary victims of Christmas décor trauma. Here's a brief guide to common holiday horrors and tips for staying safe and sane. [more inside]
Children have been sending letters to Santa for well over a century now, and for much of that time those letters don't look very different from today's. Children want toys, and they want to convince Santa that they ought to get them. But where did that tradition come from, and how did it develop into its modern form? How did we come to believe that Santa lives at the North Pole and that the postal service can carry letters to Santa? What kinds of things have changed in the things children ask for over time? The Smithsonian's trying to deliver some answers for the holidays. (Previously: 1, 2).
"Their first tries are stillborn. The kid has drawn the curtains and mounted straw men in the windowframes, at night animating their persons with guyropes so that shades dance in the illumined curtain. Some days later he lights firebits in a scullery bowl to ape the scream of gunfire. Each time the gangsome slanks off until at last they bivouac and learn his orphanage but do not learn his taste for violence. He hears their plans. Come back tonight round nine. Kids’s afraid of the dark. They are apocalyptically stupid." -Cormac McCarthy's Home Alone
"i put 'All I Want for Christmas is You' through a MIDI converter, and then back through an mp3 converter. the result is this garbage" (SLaudio)
The wild, over the over top, totally insane holiday lights of Dyker Heights! Bonus A Local's Guide To The Christmas Lights
Carolyn Hax's Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors 2015 was today. Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax hosts a (nearly) weekly chat in which people share their problems and she offers (nearly) instant advice. But sometimes you don't really need advice. Sometimes you just need to tell someone about the things your relatives did to you (or gave to you) at Christmas. [more inside]
Gift Up is by a Los Angeles-based comedy troupe Local Business and is a re-imagining of Give Up—the Postal Service’s classic album—as a Christmas record: [more inside]
“So at Christmas in this court I lay down a challenge: / If a person here present, within these premises, / Is big or bold or red-blooded enough / To strike me one stroke and be struck in return, / I shall give him a gift of this gigantic cleaver / and the axe shall be his to handle how he likes. / I'll kneel, bare my neck and take the first knock. / So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts? / Who’ll spring from his seat and snatch this weapon? / I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own? / I’ll afford one free hit from which I won't flinch, / and promised that 12 months will pass in peace, / then claim / the duty I deserve in one year and one day. / Does no one have the nerve to wager in this way?” [more inside]
John Roderick of the Long Winters sets down the criteria for a good Christmas song.
Listen, I don’t care if they were made in Buckingham Palace by whipping egg whites between Kate Middleton’s asscheeks. They’re still marshmallows.
The Canadian Pacific Christmas Train is a rolling holiday party for a cause. Two beautifully lit trains - on a US Route and a Canada route - cruise through the Midwest, stopping in 150 towns along the way to present live music and light shows while bringing donations of cash and food to local food banks.
Stories Of Christmas Love: Leo Buscaglia, USC's "Dr Love" and 80s PBS inspirational speaker talks for about 45 minutes about the meaning of the Christmas season from a compassionate, optimistic, humanist perspective with a focus on love. [more inside]
Frank Kelly's The Twelve Days of Christmas Has us rolling on the floor! This is what Christmas is like at our place. Enjoy!
Cult favorite punk cabaret duo Kiki & Herb released a Christmas album full of spiteful brio years ago that's been nearly imposssible to find since ...That is until Kenny Mellman (Herb) put the entire thing on soundcloud.
Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree. As explained by the AP: "It's not that an oversized tree adorned with ornaments is uncommon as a student choir sings carols in the days leading up to Christmas. It's more that the towering steel tree is decorated with garland, twinkling lights ... and hundreds of teenagers. [...] The Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree combines the usual elements into an unusual show that will draw thousands of spectators this weekend. The 67-foot-tall tree features 25,000 lights, 5,000 linear feet of greenery, and 15 tiers on which about 220 choir members stand. About 50 other students sing from positions near the base of the tree."
Is this the most emotionally moving holiday commercial ever, or is it "the worst thing I’ve ever, ever seen"? You decide.
With a possible Christmas tree shortage looming, now's the time to take a closer look at artificial Christmas trees—by watching How It's Made style clips about them, of course, as well as a bunch of other holiday-related products. [more inside]
12 games to play on Christmas day (or thereabouts), from Dr David King, a lecturer in games design and specialist in physical computing at the University of the Arts London. [more inside]
Modernist gingerbread houses | More | Ginger Bauhaus | Architectural 3-D ginger cookie | The history of using gingerbread at Christmas with recipes.