Sinterklaas is coming to town.
Christmas comes early for Dutch children. Or rather, Sinterklaas does, having brought his gifts this weekend. While many Anglo-American Christmas traditions owe much to marketing schemes
, the Dutch attachment to mulled wine and spiced biscuits harks back to earlier times. Perhaps too much so: with ongoing racial tensions following the murder of Theo van Gogh, the annual debate over 'zwarte piet'
, Santa's blackfaced little helper, has been especially heated. (One advantage of artificial traditions is that they tend to avoid such messy questions.) Nevertheless, here's the motherlode of Sinterklaas links, including songs, recipes and background.
The Scarlet Whore of Babylon
must've been a culinary genius. After all, the Quakers credited her
with the invention of the Christmas pudding.
Being American, I grew up thinking that the world of pudding began and ended here.
Boy, was I wrong!
This traditional dessert
has made its mark on everything -- from great literature
to atomic modeling.
While Stir-up Sunday
has been and gone, I think that as long as Christmas hasn't arrived, it's never too late to make your own
. (And once you've eaten your fill, try your hand at the game!
The Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time.
From An Algonquin Round Table Christmas
to Noam Chomsky: Deconstructing Christmas
, these are the worst Christmas specials ever. I'd pay good money to see the Ayn Rand one for real.
Christ out of Christmas
Have the retailers won the war on Christmas over the religious folks? (WMP)
Who ate Baby Jesus?
You may well ask yourself if you should become owner of this here nativity scene made entirely out of S'Mores.
I’ll trade you my Ebola for your Hantavirus!
This Christmas give the little scientist in the family infectious diseases trading cards!
A Singular Christmas.
You know how you're so busy during the holidays that you don't have time to listen to all that Christmas music you love some much? Brian Whitman
and his Eigenradio
have taken all the hassle out of holiday music-listening for you by "play[ing] only the most important frequencies."
Traditional annual advent calendar post: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
, and 10
From the Holly-Jolly uber-conservatives at Human Events comes a patriotic selection of Christmas ornaments, including George W. Bush
(with extra sparkle!) and what appears to be the Team America Santa
Preserving the memories of Christmas Vinyl Past. [more inside]
You're a naughty one, Mr. Grinch
Need some help with your Christmas shopping?
How about a nice Penis cravat
? That special lady in your life will be sure to love her Possum Fur G-string.
And finally, something to stuff that stocking: The Bulge
No shopping. No presents. No guilt
Rare Exports, Inc.
They deliver the extremely rare original Finnish product to nearly 150 countries every Christmas, exclusively. It's a big download (the small version is 35.5 MB) but that's nothing compared to the patience these hunters must have to catch their prey. [NSFW, via MonkeyFilter
Welcome to this, the 23rd Annual Xmas Quiz,
a holiday tradition in the Bay Area for 23 years. No. 12 is probably too obscure, and No. 14 will inspire rampant pedantry. 16 questions on a wide range of subjects, and answers are here
Have a merry, sex and gadget filled hyper-commercialized Japanese Christmas. "Well it all started when a Spanish Jesuit missionary named St. Francis Xavier brought Christmas to Japan in 1549...."
The Jesuit bid
Japan was a flop though, and now - while Jews in the West, for example, tend to go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, the Japanese had little connection to the Christian version - so they invented their own! Syncretistic Japan pulls in random elements of Western "Christmas" and recombines in pleasing new ways! ( shocking only to Christians ). Santa Claus on the Cross and more!
A proper Christmas in Japan - for singles - involves a hot date and visit to a "Love Hotel" where "you might be directed by scantily-clad female elves to rooms complete with Christmas trees and life-size reindeer watching the proceedings with interest.
" and "Grope Free Commutes"
, for Japanese women tired of having their asses grabbed on the subway by drunk salarymen returning from "Forget the Year" parties. This fine blog
chronicles it all: " the Dolphin-and-fish-surrounded Christmas tree", Ukelele Christmas parties - "I wandered into a score of middle aged Japanese ladies wearing Hawaiian shirts and plastic lays, tuning up their ukuleles" and more. And don't forget to buy some cool
. "...a tiny robot helicopter weighing less than 9 grams... "
Some economists debate
why we can and if we should give gifts for Christmas. Because a gift is likely to be valued less by the recipient than for the giver, Christmas has been considered by some to be a "deadweight loss" equivalent to tearing up banknotes. To get around this, other economists propose that the value of the gift for the recipient comes from the process of finding a rare gift. On the other hand, perhaps this is one case where we should rethink
the basic rationality assumption that economic decisions can be explained by models that maximize individual wealth.
A quick flash movie,
to help relieve the stress and tension of last minute holiday shopping. In with the good air, out with the bad air, rinse and repeat. After all is said and done, you can get back to enjoying the holidays in the company of your friends and/or family.
is one of the most enduring (and arguably one of the hippest) Christmas songs of the past twenty years. Though a quintessential keyboard-and-sax driven New Wave
tune, the endearing singleton's account of the year in dating on Christmas Eve tops the Christmas charts every year, and has survived reinterpretations by the Spice Girls
and Save Ferris
. This year, the eclectically-talented Chris Butler
reflects on its inception
Psychedelic Santa Claus.
"Modern Christmas traditions are based on ancient mushroom-using shamans." [Via J-Walk blog
Santa lays off elves "Something will definitely be missing this Christmas." said Milja Vilmila, who was told her job as an elf helping Santa no longer existed.
A Celebration of Hope
this Christmas season. How one sick child would rather help others in her time of need.
- your one-stop resource for those half-remembered Rock 'n' Roll Christmas songs of today and yesteryear. I'm partial to the novelty tunes of the '50's and '60's
myself (as well a bit of punk
), but you can also check out the lists of Hanukkah Hits
, Surfin' Christmas
, and keep up with the latest Christmas releases
Do you find the seasonal festivities a little cloying? One too many fruitcakes? Let
the amazing horror masked karate killer girl from mars
give your holiday a little edge. Prefer to have an S&M Christmas
? Why not vent your seasonal spleen by kicking a little Santa butt
and then festooning your tree with a few suitable pornaments
? (flash & film alert, mildly nsfw stuff)
Too much politics today, not enough Christmas fun. Here's a drunk Santa game from b3ta. Pretty tough once you get going.
For that special someone.
Kinda/sorta nsfw and/or offensive.Via Bifurcated Rivets.Again.(flash?)
A Cappella Holiday
is a refreshing alternative to the tired, workaday holiday fare that may be piped into your office. All holiday tunes, but all a cappella
, with some real gems you've never heard before. If your ears have been malled by Muzak and it's making you anything but merry, this free, streaming radio station might be the tonic. (There's a non-holiday a cappella
station too, if you're just fa-la-la'ed out.)
Are you miffed that Christmas just isn't about Jesus anymore? Annoyed that is all seems to be about commercialism and spending money? You Christians can now empathize with the ancient pagans who were miffed that Christmas just wasn't about Mithras
anymore. But don't feel bad about jacking Christmas
from them, Mithras jacked it from Apollo, who borrowed it from the Etruscan god Sol.
'tis the season for ... Rankin-Bass TV specials! The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass
is a fan-site devoted to the distinctive animation of Arthur Rankin, Jr
and Jules Bass
. In addition to extensive and interesting background information
on your favorite Christmas specials (like Rudolph
), you can also learn about lesser-known specials
such as The Ballad of Smokey the Bear
. The site also includes some rare video clips
, including a pencil-test from Frosty the Snowman
. There is also a very complete section on the Rankin-Bass TV series, Thundercats
. Please also see additional note inside....
Scrooge was onto something.
"'At this festive season of the year, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.' Oh? And they don't suffer in January or February? They don't feel hungry in July and August? Why should it not be just as 'desirable' to help out these wretches in those months? Why not go further, in fact? Why not make some 'slight provision' for the poor and destitute every single day of the year?"
Where Would You Send Someone You Love For Christmas?
If you had unlimited funds, what would be your Hannukah or Christmas present for someone you thought really deserved one? For instance, our genial host and the owner of MetaFilter, Matt Haughey
. A lot of us
are presently engaged
in clubbing in to offer him a short visit to Iceland
. y6y6y6 has even set up a website
to solicit funds and suggestions, following enormous interest
on MetaTalk. Well-known weblogs like boing boing
are chipping in too. isn't it time we showed our appreciation? (Matt, please don't read or delete this!
Having a bad day? Work off some aggression by disrupting the lives of the snowglobe dwellers! (Flash and a somewhat obnoxious soundtrack)
12 oddest Christmas hits... ever!
Almost December, the stores are playing the usual Xmas compilations (already) so I propose a change to the usual "Rockin around the Christmas Tree".
Which ear worm
do you want?
Just in time for Christmas! Shop for scrotums
. Get yourself a bull penis walking stick
. Spoil your dog with bull penis chew treats
. (Go for the 24" ones, if only for the jealousy factor)
Santa brought me cookies for Christmas. I did not eat them. I sold them on eBay.
Much like the Amazon reviews
that were an artform to themselves, someone goes a little crazy with the ebay reviews.
The Best Thing on Television in 2002
The WPIX Yule Log makes its triumphant return.
Happy Xmas (War is over)
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the UK release of John and Yoko's perennial Christmas classic.
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now.
Christmas Music that Doesn't suck.
I know I get tired of all that Christmas music, but I have one CD by Mojo Nixon
that I really enjoy all year. Horny Holidays
is a fantastic CD
with versions of many classic Christmas songs like "Happy Birthday", and "The Grinch", and who really does know all the words to "Good King Wenceslas"?
Merry Christmas from Scandinavian Airlines!
Scandinavian Airlines has offered a special online-only deal for each day of December. You go to the site and open the day's date (like an Advent calendar) and a new European city is offered--you can then fly to that city roundtrip from the US for about $250 US. The catch? You have 24 hours to book, you must travel between January and mid-March, and you must depart from Seattle, Newark, DC or Chicago. It's a neat deal, but today's the last day, and so as a great holiday surprise they've opened up all the past cities. Pick any of the previously offered destinations, get thee to one of the four departure cities, and enjoy a great airfare deal! London, Paris, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Milan and other cities are offered. (Not a plug--I don't work for or have any connection to SAS.)
The world's most wanted man
has embarked on his annual breaking-and-entering spree! Stop him before he reaches your house, using the power of NORAD. Track him as he wends his way around the world...(see! Missile-defense technology IS good for something!)
King William's College Christmas Quiz
- Pupils at King William's college on the Isle of Man have suffered its annual general knowledge quiz since 1905. Until 1999, it was compulsory and the average score was two (out of 180). Nowadays the questions, set by an unidentified islander, are posted to parents with the end-of-term report. See how you fare. Answers will be posted in the new year. (last year
, last years answers
Twas the night before Xmas and all through the net,
The geeks would be googling the ascii character set;
Metafilter refreshed on their PCs with care,
In the hopes that their FPP soon would be there;
Then up in the blue there arose such a clatter,
Mathowie sprang up to see what's the matter;
When, what to my wondering eyes there should be,
The canonical list of "Twas" parodies.
Wherever and whoever's celebrating, no matter what your religious beliefs are, Xmas (in the Christian-dominated world at least) means over-indulgence and conspicuous consumption. The standard fare and behaviour, however, vary wildly. Here's a standard Christmas menu
for Portugal and a glimpse into one of Barcelona's less savoury traditions
to start the ball rolling. Just how different are MeFi Xmas experiences? Hey, do they have anything in common at all?