This Christmas: 6 ways you're not saving money (when you think you are) and 39 ways you could be (that you're not doing).
Holidays on Display, currently on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, offers an image-rich online exhibit as well, detailing the way businesses learned to capitalize on one of the country's largest celebrations. Peer into the artistry of holiday window design as well. [more inside]
Animated Advent Calendar [via mefi projects] Want a way to count down the days till the Santa (with or without companion(s)) comes to town, but you don't want to go out and spend money on a disposable bit of proto-landfill with daily entries that don't dance? The Online Advent Calendar is your answer. The '08 version is also available for viewing.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been reprinted, abridged, disected, redrawn and re-told on film numerous times, but the original 66 page manuscript has rarely been seen by the public. The manuscript was obtained by The Morgan Library & Museum during the 1890s, where it is currently on display. If you can't make it to New York this time of year, you can take a close look at 4 heavily edited pages and attempt to decipher Dickens' original writing, thanks to The New York Times.
Seems a little early, but the American Family Association is gearing up for another round of Yuletide boycotting. You can check the "naughty or nice list for retailers to avoid. (Warning: AFA site is obnoxious- watch out for auto-play video). We’ve previously discussed AFA boycotts of Hallmark and Ford, which may or may not have had any impact. I guess even the "War on Christmas" isn’t immune to a little Christmas Creep.
'Ten years ago, while working on The South Bank Show, Melvyn Bragg and I had a heated discussion on the pros and cons of film censorship. Broadly speaking, Melvyn was against it, while I, much to his surprise, was absolutely for it. He then dared me to write a script that I thought should be banned. I accepted the challenge and a month or so later sent him a short subject entitled A Kitten for Hitler. “Ken,” he said, “if ever you make this film and it is shown, you will be lynched.'That film has been made. The story behind it.
8-bit Jesus is a free CD of Christmas classics, done in 8-bit style by the fantastic Doctor Octoroc. [via]
A christmas message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Christmas in the London Blitz, 1940; Making Christmas Crackers, 1910; Santa Claus, 1898; Christmas is coming, 1951: short films from the British Film Institute's wonderful Youtube Channel (including excellent playlists), which you can also explore through Google Earth using the kmz file found here.
Would you care to relax in the bosom of my family this christmas? Freed from the formality of working life? Christmas Tidings from Mr. Cholmondley-Warner and Grayson (SLHEYT) [more inside]
"Modern Christmas is like primitive Keynesianism, a short-run-oriented economic experiment that has been tried and found wanting." Economist James S. Henry weighs in on "Why the Grinch has it right."
Merry Christmas from Henchmen 21 & 24. The annual Venture Bros. Christmas song from Quickstop Entertainment. (Previously and previously)
Every year the British Medical Journal publishes a less-than-serious Christmas edition. [more inside]
Neutral, developer of the excellent room escape game Vision (among others), has released his second Christmas-themed escape game. It's a bit tougher than his first one, but neither are particularly difficult—after all, we are talking about Christmas-themed escape games. Play them while you can—they're only available during the holidays!
A Familyre Christmas, Volume 1 and 2. For the second year, Daniel Smith's collective of awkward folk acts is counting down the days until Christmas by giving away a new holiday album. Artists include Danielson, of course, as well as the previously-discussed Half-Handed Cloud and Sufjan Stevens. Also this month, Danielson has a new double CD of live tracks and rarities spanning his/their career. [more inside]
- Robert E. Howard-themed fantasy blog The Cimmerian posts a different take on a holiday classic.
- Mystery Science Theater presents A Child's Christmas in Space, A Patrick Swazye Christmas, Merry Christmas (If That's Okay), a critique of Christmas movies and shows, and a little yuletide hysteria.
- Tom Lehrer: "A Christmas Carol"
- Futurama: The Elves' Christmas Song
- Finally, there's The Colbert Report's book-burning Yule Log, both on the web and downloadable for Windows and Macintosh.
Just in time for Christmas, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity brings you the Clean Coal Carolers! Their repertoire includes such classics as Frosty the Coal Man, Deck the Halls (with Clean Coal), Clean Coal Night, and Oh Technology. Of course, the Scrooge-like bosses of the ACCCE, suffering from an incredible lack of Christmas spirit, took the Carolers off their website only a couple of days after they were posted — but thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can still revel in the festive sounds of the season. [more inside]
Musical Fruitcake. Almost all Christmas songs are a little schlocky. But some are even worse than that.
Almost no traditional Christmas carols were written by Jews (though there have been rumors). But sometimes it seems like almost all the best 20th century Christmas songs were. Many people are dimly aware of this, but few know its full extent. I have compiled a list, with representative performances. [more inside]
Christmas Caped Crusader Tis the season for heartwarming news filler, perhaps, but the video of this guy at the children's hospice makes me think he's the real deal. When the cameras stop rolling, though, do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity?
Book sales are down. Powells, the largest independant bookseller in the US, is asking staff to scale back hours or take sabbaticals. Will you buy a book from an independent bookstore this Christmas?
What's the worst part about the holidays? The consumerism? The awkward office parties? Belligerent relatives and needy offspring? No, its holiday music, especially those involving former heroes [NSFOP]. This year, give the gift of non-suckage.
Silent Night in English, German, Irish, Arapaho, Czech, Italian, Finnish, Russian, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Spanish and another 120 languages. The official song of the Christmas truce. [more inside]
Christmas is coming, but while the goose may be getting fat, your wallet is not. And you’re dreaming of a green Christmas. How, you ask, can one decorate a home economically and with consideration for the environment? This depends on what you’ve got sitting around the house already. Do you have lots of old Christmas cards that always seemed too pretty to throw away? Use them to make a star or two, tree ornaments, angels, gift boxes, a basket, a wreath or a small tree. [more inside]
New Hampshire's Drawing Room at the Edge of the Universe. A Christmas carol for the coming depression. A ballad about accidental second chances. A canceled fireworks display leads to a midnight balloon ride and a mysterious quest. Welcome to Atoms, Motion, and the Void. You are the guest of septuagenarian Sherwin Sleeves, and these are his stories. [more inside]
An antidote to the holly jolly malaise: Few Christmas carols contain as much blood and suffering as "Down in yon forest." It was first documented in England by Ralph Vaughan Williams, but John Jacob Niles found an even gorier version in North Carolina (Alfred Deller's rendition). [more inside]
Move over Alvin & the Chipmunks. The BBC has "been out talking to animals all over the UK to discover exactly what they'd like for Christmas...find out what they had to say here!" [more inside]
Caga Tio: The World's Misunderstood Yule Log (NSFW) El Tío de Nadal, better known as Caga Tío, is a Catalan Christmas tradition. [more inside]
80s era holiday television complete with antenna, TV guide, and remote.
"This year, Americans are planning to spend over $400 on Christmas gifts. Instead of buying things we can’t afford, here’s a way to do something more meaningful." Via
A Matter of Loaf and Death is the new BBC Christmas short from Nick Park and Aardman. In the mock murder mystery, Wallace and Gromit start a new bakery business, Top Bun. The short, Park's first since 1995, will introduce a new love interest for Wallace, Piella Bakewell, a bread enthusiast.
Make this Christmas special. Spend it in Ralphie's house! Bunny suit and Lifebuoy soap included. For an extra fee, the owner will convince you to lick a metal pole and then shoot your eye out. [more inside]
no fat clips!!! features a cornucopia of music videos, short movies, commercials, and other kinds of short visual entertainment from around the world, all available for immediate viewing and as high-quality-format downloads. [more inside]
Coming soon to a theater near you: An American Carol (not to be confused with the Dickens Christmas time classic). This new film by David Zucker features a slave-owning Michael Moore look-alike who is punched, slapped and otherwise cajoled by ghostly generals and country music stars into learning the true meaning of America, and a thing or two along the way about how to be a man.
NetClassixFilter: The next time you're standing clueless in the greeting cards section of your local drugstore franchise, you'll be wishing you'd visited the Gallery of Unfortunate Greeting Cards instead. For all your holiday needs: Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Weddings, 4th of July, Hallowe'en, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course, Washington's Birthday. [via Cap'n Wacky] [more inside]
The Monarch & Dr. Girlfriend’s "Fairytale Of New York." The annual Venture Bros. Christmas song. (Previously)
77 year-old Robert Schoff spent Christmas Eve wedged upside down in the opening of his septic tank. And how was your Christmas?
"In the Late December" (MP3 link), by Greg van Eekhout, is a Nebula award-nominated story about Santa Claus and the end of the universe, and is Escape Pod #138. (By the way, this is a very dark story -- there's no sex or violence but this probably isn't suitable for kids, where "kids" is defined as a stereotypical aggregate of child-like characteristics. Yours may be different.)
Audio of Dylan Thomas reading his poem "A Child's Christmas in Wales". (real media and mp3)
Time to kill while waiting for Santa to arrive/dinner to digest/family to leave? Well, here's a Very Special Holiday Episode fpp just for you. God bless us, every one. [more inside]