For many years the BBC had a tradition of showing a dramatisation of a classic ghost story at Christmas. This tradition is being continued this year with Whistle and I'll Come to You being shown tonight staring John Hurt. An adaptation of the same classic MR James story was shown in 1968 staring Michael Hordern beginning the tradition (1, 2, 3). [more inside]
"Two New York City men feel a tremendous responsibility to respond properly when they mysteriously receive hundreds of letters addressed to Santa Claus at their Chelsea apartment." [more inside]
SLYT: Awesome Silent Monks singing the Halleluia chorus! Did this really not make it here yet? Totally awesome, but delete with prejudice if it's lame or a double. If not, Happy Holidays to everyone!
A Beijing graphics design house makes with the stylish and creepy in a Neil Gaiman adaptation of his tongue-in-cheek mini-story, "Nicholas Was."
Kasio Kristmas (2 3 4 5) Traditional Christmas Songs played on a casio keyboard by a man in a conehead mask.
Connecticut was once the home of the national bell business, with more than 30 bell foundries based in East Hampton alone. Now a lone survivor, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing, is thriving there, manufacturing everything from cow bells with college logos for the football season to traditional sleigh and dinner bells. (Lifted from girlhacker)
This year's top holiday duet doesn't feature Mariah Carey or Will Ferrell. It's Rodney the Mailman [local news] and Andrew WK [original], live from the Chicago offices of the Onion AV Club in their Holiday Undercover project. In typical Andrew WK style, a slightly... different version is also available.
But this is not Rodney's first appearance -- nor are these covers few and far between. [more inside]
But this is not Rodney's first appearance -- nor are these covers few and far between. [more inside]
"The Star Wars Christmas Special" by Gamervision finally rights the wrong that was "The Star Wars Holiday Special" (which is available on YouTube, should you want to go there: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3).
"And she was like 'oh my gosh I'm going to have the son of God'. And then she was like 'no I can't, I'm not married and stuff.'" The Christmas story, told by Kiwi kids.
In 1933, a mysterious benefactor posted an ad in the local Canton, Ohio paper, offering some Christmas funds to people who might otherwise shy away from asking for aid, even in those tough times. That Anonymous Giver went by the pseudonym "Mr. B. Virdot," and ended up giving some money to 150 families and people in town who wrote in with their personal stories. The unknown person's identity was never revealed, and his true identity was not even known to his grandson, until the mysterious benefactor's daughter gave her son, Ted Gup, a battered suitcase full of letters and checks signed by "Mr. B. Virdot". The mysterious man was Samuel J. Stone, a Jewish man whose family had fled Romania when he was young. Stone had done well in the United States, and owned a small chain of clothing stores in 1933. The story of the mysterious gifts hasn't faded from Canton, and on November 5 of this year, Stone's grandson, Gup, gave a public talk to the community and decedents of the original recipients of Virdot's gifts. And now, Canton residents are bringing back the spirit of Virdot. [more inside]
Sure, it was cute when Bambi slipped all over the ice, but the story usually ends less adorably. Upon finding a deer stuck on the ice, you can chip away the ice and let it swim free, winch it off the ice by the leg, or even blow it off the ice with a helicopter, but it probably won't matter—the deer will die anyway, and you'll just end up getting in trouble. Just this week, eight tiny reindeer fell into a lake at a Christmas park. Their entombed bodies are protruding through its icy surface for all the visiting kids to see. (Maybe coyotes did it.) People have been rescuing deer from the ice every winter for decades and decades and decades. If you want things to end well, let the professionals handle it.
Carol of the Bells is a well known, traditional handbell song. Carol of the Belts, not so much. (NSFW, SLYT). From Here Come the Mummies.
If you lived in Canada in the 80s and 90s, then the holiday season meant one thing: Give like Santa, save like Scrooge.
Christmas and Toy Catalogs: 1942-1992 (Warning: heinousness inside). But wait, there's more vintage Christmas advertising.
A Humanitarian Gift Guide: Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a scarf from a brothel survivor. [more inside]
Knitting a sweater is like saying "I love you" 150,000 times in a row. But it's too late for most of us to turn yarn into sweater this year (even those of us who crochet really fast). If you didn't schedule your holiday crafting successfully, here are some excuses for not crafting. Don't knit or crochet? Gift ideas for your favorite crocheter or knitter.
Neil Gaiman wants a Christmas tree, just one problem, he's Jewish. And he's not the only one debating this issue. There's a discussion over at slate.com on whether or not Jews should own a Christmas tree.
Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric and Davin Wood (composer on "Awesome Show, Great Job!") are going to release an album as Heidecker & Wood. It includes an eight minute Christmas suite that they just released for free. It straddles the line between parody and nostalgic tribute kinda amazingly.
Cassetteboy - Festive Christmas 2010 (NSFW audio) (previously 1 2 3) (bonus NSFW Harry Potter trailer)
Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
The Digital Version Of The Nativity Story, told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon and more. [more inside]
Chrome for a Cause. From now until December 19th, every tab you open on Chrome with this extension installed will help raise funds for five different charities (The Nature Conservancy, Charity: Water, Doctors Without Borders, Un Techo para mi Pais and Room To Read).
Not in the headlines: Swedish parlor philosophy of fair play, law and order, slooowly explained by police chief John Lind. [more inside]
(American Big Box Retailer) Target's recent holiday TV spots feature original music from several indie music acts, including Guster, Bishop Allen, and Blackalicious. They've collected the songs from the ads, plus several more, into a free-to-download album. [Direct Download if you're squicky about visting Target's site] [more inside]
"The Festival of Lights is an annual event taking place in Lyon between 8th and 11th December 2010. The people of Lyon place candles or little candle lamps in their windows in honour of the Virgin Mary. The origins of the festival date back over 150 years, to 1852 when a statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourviere Hill was to be inaugurated."
Today marks 60 years since Frosty the Snowman was released. It was recorded by singing Cowboy Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys a year after his iconic recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". [more inside]
Merry Christmas music from the North Point iBand, using borrowed iPhones and iPads
BMJ Christmas Edition Every year the British Medical Journal publishes a series of tongue-in-cheek papers for Christmas.
- Reflections of Father Christmas’s GP
- Mozart’s 140 causes of death and 27 mental disorders
- Pie sharing in complex clinical collaborations: a piece of cake?
- Primary Care: A modest proposal
- The IKEA pencil: a surprising find in the NHS
- Dr Watson: a regular reader of the British Medical Journal
- Red for danger: the effects of red hair in surgical practice
- A Christmas tree cataract
- Can he fix it? Yes, he can!
- Integrative medicine and the point of credulity
Desaturated Santa. Brody Qat uses a gray santa suit, contact lenses, and makeup to stand out in a crowd of Santas (previously). She explains here. More pics. Via Neatorama.
As the UK coalition government plans swingeing cuts and students take to the streets to protest, one mother asks us to remember the 'Nouveau Pauvre'. Some commentators react unfavourably to her impending 'austerity Christmas'. [more inside]
Excuse me, have you heard the word? (SLVimeo, Possibly NSFW or sanity)
Food Court Flash Mob sings the "Hallelujah" chorus.
The real reason Jews don’t have more Hanukkah music is that historically, American Jewish singer-songwriters were too busy making Christmas music. ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ ‘Silver Bells,’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)’ were all written by Jews. Both Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have their own Christmas albums. The No. 1 best-selling Christmas album of all time is from Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the Jewish smooth-jazz legend Kenny G. American Jews have always produced a lot of holiday music, just not Hanukkah music. American Hasidic Jewish Reggae musician Matisyahu (not the other Matisyahu) offers an opinion on why there isn't more Hanukkah music and releases his own Hanukkah song called Miracle. On the flip-side, Mormon senator Orrin Hatch wrote and recorded his own Hanukkah song last year called Eight Days of Hanukkah.
Fuck You If You Don't Like Christmas (NSFW Comedy Rap Song) by CRUDBUMP (aka Drew of Toothpaste for Dinner) [more inside]
"Every year my wife and I throw a party and when I send out the photos I add famous people."
Midwest label Suburban Sprawl puts out a CD of X-Mas music every winter. They've collected the last eight years of them here. Highlights include The High Strung, The Hard Lessons, and the common lament, "Santa Just Crashed Into My House and He's Drunk as Fuck."
Thinking of giving that special someone a cat for Christmas? Well, you need to know how to properly wrap it for placement under the yule tree. Thankfully, there's a handy instructional video for that.
Graham "Grickle" Annable, perpetrator of the previously popular "Space Wolf"* animation, celebrates Halloween with some spooky, kooky, ooky** toons: in '07 it was the zombie-themed "Last Duet on Earth", in '08 "Joy to the Weird", last year we were introduced to "Principal Skeleton" and this year "Performance" (Spoiler: HE'S BACK). [more inside]
This is a story about how me and my brother stole our fathers 1969 Norton Commando, had it restored and then gave it back to him for Christmas. He had no idea. Jeff and Jason Laydellater not only had the bike restored, they made a great short film about it too.
It's hard to explain why this video of an anonymous family at Christmas set to Baxendale's song Flash Gordon works so well for me, other than to say that it just makes me happy. Maybe it will make you happy too? (also featuring Cheech and Chong, Tony Bennet, and dancing Darth Vaders)
Redesigning Valentine's Day. Brand New - a site dedicated to analysis of corporate brand identity - was asked to redesign VDay by Studio 360. [more inside]
After all the muzak, Christmas Past - a quality Christmas song by Mick Flannery, which he sings here with Lisa Hannigan (who previously benefited from the Colbert bump) at the Other Voices festival in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Other Voices has been running for seven years, so the archive of performances has grown impressively.
Winter holiday traditions change with time and location, with their current forms retaining little of their old forms, wassailing (rhymes with fossil-ing) possibly more than most. The modern interpretation of wassailing has been simplified to singing carols, though it was born of much more diverse traditions, from a cheer of good health before battle to scaring evil spirits from apple orchards. From these origins come wassail the drink, and that's just one of the many foods of the winter season (Food Timeline prev., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). A few more are covered below the break. [more inside]