Christmas Links #25

A Thinkfluencer's Christmas Carol:
"Marley was dead: to begin with. Or his brand was, anyway. His Twitter avatar was an egg, and his only tweet read, “Hello, #world. Still figuring out this #twitter thing.” He had no LinkedIn profile. Did Scrooge know Marley’s brand was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? He had forced Marley out of the counting-house, citing his failure to promote the business on social media as an abrogation of his duties."

How does a vegetarian do Christmas?
"I love the few days before Christmas. In fact, I think prefer them to the day itself. I thrive on the frantic last-minute shopping, the armfuls of bags, the evenings wrapping and tying presents. Queuing out the door of the greengrocer’s to overfill my basket with every possible thing I might need (and then the same on top again)."

Why Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit will be around forever:
"Mariah Carey had a banner year in 1994. Her third studio album, 1993’s Music Box, had grown into a blockbuster hit, thanks to the chart success of songs such as the Harry Nilsson cover “Without You” and the inspirational “Hero.” Billboard named Carey the top female pop singles artist of 1994—she had five singles chart in the Hot 100—and the top female pop artist overall, as measured by combined albums and singles activity. Still, even being on a commercial hot streak didn’t guarantee that her 1994 Christmas album, Merry Christmas, which spawned “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” was going to find an audience."

Pregnant waitress gets $900 tip just days before Christmas:
"Everyone knows that waiters and waitresses in the US get lousy wages. It’s one of the reasons people usually try and remember to give them a tip. One couple in Arizona certainly bore that in mind when they gave a heavily pregnant waitress a Christmas gift of $900."

I interviewed Peter Capaldi for the Guardian and here’s the rest of the transcript…
"Regular readers may know that I am slightly a fan of Doctor Who, so it has been a great pleasure over the last few weeks to have had the chance to both interview and meet Peter Capaldi as part of my job."

Crowding Around the Nativity:
"The Gospel of Luke says that the pregnant mother of Jesus could not find shelter in an inn, so she had no place to put down her newborn but in an animals’ food trough—phatne in Luke’s Greek, the word rightly translated as praesepium (Latin), krippe (German), crèche (French), presepe (Italian), manger or crib (English)."

A Blood Curdling Collection Of Scary Snowmen:
"The typical soft and smiley snowmen just don't seem appropriate for a year as messed up as 2016, so it's no surprise there have been way more horror snowmen going around the net this year than ever before."

Ryan Reynolds explains why he looks so sad in *that* photo from Taylor Swift’s party:
"There are a lot of things we love about Ryan Reynolds, but we had all the sads for him when a photo popped up on social media of he and his wife, the lovely Blake Lively, celebrating July 4th at Taylor Swift’s house."

Eva Wiseman: The Christmas journey:
"You're reading this (indulge me) in hour three of a five-hour train ride. Spread out on the table in front of you are an unread novel with an illustration of a teacup on the front (teacup book covers are the new pink stiletto, keep up loves) and a greasy Marks & Spencer salad box containing a single flaccid bean."

Why "I’m The Bishop Of Southwark" Is The Christmas Slogan We Need:
"Ten years ago a senior bishop in the Church of England went out for a Christmas drinks party. He came back with a sore head, accusations he’d broken into the back of a Mercedes, and an increasingly legendary story that would give birth to a proto-meme."

Christmas Links #24

Help, my turkey won’t fit! Quick fixes for Christmas dinner disasters:
"Avoid common festive disasters with our crisis management tip sheet: stock up on cream and ice, get a decent stick blender and plenty of booze."

All Dead, But Still Alive:
"We’ve no way of knowing for certain what Gordon Murray was doing on 22nd December 1965, but we can take a fairly good guess."

Diary: Alan Bennett.
"11 January. It’s not to disparage David Bowie, but if even a fraction of the tributes being paid to him and his influence were true we would never have had a Conservative government or indeed any government at all."

Your most underwhelming Christmas photos:
"From Santa in Greggs to a Croydon of Christmas past, our so-so festive pictures were even more disappointing than usual this year."

7 Wonders: Christmas (s)hits:
"When it comes to our contributors and Christmas tunes, it seems one woman’s chocolate Santa is another woman’s soggy sprouts. We all agree Susan Hanks is just plain wrong, mind."

Horribly Awesome Version of "All I Want For Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey:
""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"

Victorian Christmas traditions:
"From Christmas cards to decorated trees and Christmas crackers, many of our best-known Christmas traditions are products of the Victorian era."

Costume Party: Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut:
"One of the chief pleasures of the film is its enveloping look into the sumptuous lifestyles of the wealthy (lifestyles made all the more aesthetically pleasing when bedecked with twinkling Christmas lights). The very first shot shows Alice from the back as she takes off a filmy black dress."

The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does:
"Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?" [Thanks LMG!]

Decades After Daring Rescue, 2 Tennesseans Relive Christmas Miracle:
"On Dec. 24, 1956, when Judy Charest was 3 months old, her father went to take a shower and when he came out, Judy and her mother, Marguerite Hunt, were gone."

Christmas Links #23

Coca-Cola didn’t invent Santa ... the 10 biggest Christmas myths debunked:
"Are you still boring your relatives with stories about Prince Albert’s tree and the origin of mistletoe kisses. Stop! The truth is much more interesting..."

The Worst Tweets Of 2016:
"Everyone should be ashamed of themselves."

Spain's 'El Gordo' lottery sparks celebrations across Madrid:
"Workers at a home for the elderly were among those celebrating Thursday in Madrid after all the tickets with the top prize-winning number in Spain's 2.3 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) Christmas lottery were sold in one city neighborhood."

COLUMN: December 22, 2016:
"TWAS the day before the night before the night before Christmas, and all through the house it was utter bedlam."

The Definitive Analysis Of ‘Love Actually,’ The Greatest Christmas Movie Of Our Time:
"“Love Actually,” the 2003 film that launched a generation of cinematic hot takes, is the story of nine interconnected relationships in the weeks ahead of Christmas in the United Kingdom."
[Editor's note: That title. But it's otherwise a pretty useful analysis which hits many of the same notes as my research.]

It's Christmas! The best festive songs, chosen by Slade, Neil Diamond, the Waitresses and more:
"Slade, Loretta Lynn, Run-DMC and Mike Batt have given us some all-time Christmas classics. But what’s the one Christmas song they couldn’t get through the holidays without? They – and other festive hitmakers – give us their picks ."

Jewish family flees Lancaster County after wrongly being blamed for Christmas play cancellation:
"A Jewish family has fled Lancaster County after the cancellation of a 5th grade production of "A Christmas Carol" was partially blamed on them by conservative news outlets."

"‘Tis the season and Star Wars fans have already received the best possible gift thanks to the release of Rogue One. But as the holiday and the end of the year approaches, it’s only natural to turn towards the past. I asked fans about their memories of holidays of yore that have ties to Star Wars and received answers that will make you smile from ear to ear."

The North Pole is going to be 50 degrees warmer than usual, three days before Christmas:

"For the second year in a row, temperatures in the Arctic region have spiked, startling scientists."

Racist White Lady Spreads Racist Christmas Cheer To Hispanic Ladies, Racistly:
"Yay, another white racist lady video has gone viral! Even better, this time it is Christmas-themed, because it’s Christmas! It’s a truism these days that, wherever several are gathered when a white lady (or a dumb white man trying to work out his resentment over why he didn’t do better in life) goes on a racist tirade in public, somebody will pull out their Obamaphone and film the whole thing, and they will get reaction shots from the other bystanders, who are equally as “WTF?” as everybody else about the fragile, melting white snowflake making noise in front of them."

Christmas Links #22

The Christmas my in-laws threw out my treasured books:
"My marriage was on the rocks – and then came the revelation that my life’s collection of books had been given away to a jumble sale."

What to do if you're feeling lonely this Christmas:
"Whether you're worried about a friend, or feeling unhappy yourself this Christmas, might you spare us a minute to read this? Thank you."

The Official Top 20 biggest selling Christmas hits:
"We count down Christmas Number 1s and festive smashes by Band Aid, the Beatles, Mariah and more."

How do you spot a fake?
"Graham Wetzbarger is an expert at spotting a fake. He’s Director of Authentication at Californian company The RealReal. The company, which identifies the genuine luxury items to sell them on, now operates in more than 60 countries. The UK border police seized more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of fake designer goods coming in to the UK in the last few weeks at Manchester Airport alone. Graham talks to Winifred Robinson about spotting fake luxury goods and what to watch out for."

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Xmas Files:
"Candy Jar Books have announced a new, free-to-download festive adventure in their Lethbridge-Stewart range, The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward."

The big Christmas Day debate: dressed-up or jammies?
"Brushed cotton onesies vs velvet frocks – Frankie Graddon and Lauren Bravo discuss Christmas Day outfits."

Festive guide to Christmas shopping, parking and where there are queues on Merseyside:
"Our ECHO elves want to hear from you. Get in touch and let them solve your Christmas dilemmas."

How To Be A Ladyperson During The Holidays In 10 Easy Steps:
"Straight from the ad pages of your favorite magazines, here’s your guide to being a girl in December. Take notes."

Sue Perkins Drives You Home For Christmas:
"Sue is first UK voice of the free, real time, crowdsourced traffic and navigation app powered by drivers, following US stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman."

Teenage refugee preparing for first Christmas in Hertfordshire after fleeing Eritrea:
"Ten girls from the east African country and Ethiopia arrived in the county in October after the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais was dismantled."

Christmas Links #21

First teaser for ‘Blade Runner 2049’ released:
[Editor's note: Breathtaking. Is Deckard a replicant? If this is a sequel to the theatrical cut then no, and so we just move on with the fact that he's simply aged here like a normal human. But if this follows the pattern of The Final Cut and what Ridley Scott's said in interviews, perhaps the secret implied in the synopsis is that some replicants did not have four year expiry dates. Or indeed none at all, with Blade Runners acting as a way of thinning the numbers. In which case there's a chance here that the notions of protagonist/antagonist of going to be very complex here.]

Which Christmas Songs You’re Most Likely To Hear On The Radio:
"The top 10 holiday tunes played on terrestrial radio account for a whopping 38 percent of all holiday tracks played during the period I pulled data for. We have different amounts of data from different stations because some flipped the switch to the holiday format before others. But when we divide the stations into their constituent Census regions, there’s some variety in how often the top 10 get played."

Reasons to put insects on the Christmas menu:
"Rearing animals for meat is bad for the planet. Insects, on the other hand, are both nutritious and environmentally friendly."

With five days to go, barely half have bought all their Christmas presents:
"YouGov’s Christmas present tracker finds that 51% of people have bought all their Christmas presents so far."

Giving at Christmas Time:
"The traditions of giving to the less fortunate is alive and well today and many of us will receive leaflets about Christmas charity campaigns through our doors this festive, and witness charity fundraising events whilst out and about. One tradition which has a long heritage is that of the gift of food. Food banks are a topic of current debate and collection baskets for ‘extra items’ you have purchased are now a regular feature in supermarkets."

He's known for fun Christmas cards. This year, it got dark.
"The photo shows Santa Claus, the undocumented foreigner who, according to legend, illegally crosses the U.S. border each year. A massive barrier rises before him. In his hand stands a shovel."

Philomena Cunk: 'No one likes Christmas pudding, but we have to respect it'
"The other star of Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe casts her eye over festive food, from sprouts to rubbish advent calendar chocolate."

BBC One & Two Christmas idents:
"When BBC Television began more than years 80 ago, the idea of a TV channel identity was essentially, an unknown concept. One channel, it was the channel, that was the identity, it existed, say no more."

The 12 Days of Doctor Who:
"12 Daleks Zapping."

Mobile official apologizes for Christmas tree at Trump rally removed from public park:
"The chief of staff to Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson issued a public apology Sunday for his responsibility in having a cedar tree cut down at Public Safety Memorial Park Friday and transported to Ladd-Peebles Stadium as a prop during President-elect Donald Trump's rally on Saturday."

Christmas Links #20

Technology destroys people and places. I’m rejecting it:
"From Wednesday, I’m going to live without my laptop, internet, phone, washing machine or television. I want my life back. I want my soul back."

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Why we're so in love with snow:
"Marcus Sedgwick's Snow doesn't just tell us the science of the white stuff – it explores its place in our culture."

From sprout strippers to smelly alarm clocks: the best kitchen gadget gifts for Christmas:
"When it comes to festive cookery presents, there’s something for everyone – even the relatives you hate."

Frankston woman gets festive shock after finding a live tiger snake in her Christmas tree:
"A VICTORIAN woman got the shock of the season after she found a live tiger snake wrapped like tinsel on top of her Christmas tree."

A Look Back at the Obama White House Christmas Cards Through the Years:
"Sasha and Malia were so adorable."

Feeling Festive:
"My final baking projects of the year are done and dusted and I’m really looking forward to Christmas now. The only bakes left to make are the ones that my family and I are going to enjoy over the next week or so. If you want to give the gingerbread house above a go, this week’s blog has everything you need to know."

Top 10 festive food traditions in Europe:
"Whether it’s cinnamon biscuits in Brussels, potato-anchovy casserole in Stockholm or Christmas pudding with a twist in Copenhagen, there’s a wealth of culinary delights on offer at yuletide."

Meetings with seven remarkable Christmas trees:
"Do you wish your Christmas tree had just a little more artistic credibility? You’re not alone. As various galleries and institutions unveil their spectacular festive firs for 2016, created by the world’s leading artists, ALASDAIR MacRAE presents seven examples of Christmas trees that went for something a little different."

Time for some 'Brexmas' Brexitwashing:
"Christmas is always a busy time for retailers and this year will be absolutely no different. As such, Brexit fanzine the Sunday Express may be over-reaching a little with its front page urging readers to consider this Christmas a triumph for Brexit."

An Experiment with Time and Christmas:
"Listeners on Christmas Day evening, 1931, were first treated to the traditional staple of a Christmas service from studio, panto and an appeal on behalf of the British Wireless for the Blind."

Christmas Links #19.

Sabrina Mahfouz on the poetic train journey out of London:
"British-Egyptian playwright, Sabrina Mahfouz observes the journey out of London in poetic verse."

Fight for your right: the "war on Christmas" films nobody needs to see:
"A dubious new genre is centred on characters “saving” the holiday and all its trimmings from scrooges – and the concept of cultural inclusivity."

End of term shows and Christmas extravaganzas:
"Jon Jacob looks back at some children's TV Christmas extravaganza's and considers how they, like the Strictly Come Dancing, are the perfect start to the festive celebrations."

A Backwards Recording Of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas":

"There are plenty of holiday songs which feature lyrics that are a bit backwards, but We Wish You A Merry Christmas isn't one of them."

Enter The Christmas Special Thunderdome:
"Christmas specials: They’ve survived unchanged for decades and still pull absolutely crazy TV viewership."

The Christmas High Street Christmas Food Taste Test:
"In recent years, the run-up to Christmas has become a race between high street supermarkets, shops, and cafes to see who can come up with the most exciting and innovative festive twists on lunchtime food. Knowing our European counterparts tend to look less than favourably upon British cuisine, we asked teams of French and German BuzzFeed employees to try a sample of British high street Christmas food, to see if our winter offerings redeem us in international eyes."

Boston U. student raises $700 for homeless man just before Christmas:
"Blake Smith, a Boston University junior, turned a class assignment into a Christmas gift. His task? “Create a video that persuades people to think about something differently” for a communications course. Smith’s immediate idea was to craft a video showcasing a man he knows as Freddy, a friendly homeless man in Boston’s Kenmore Square."

Christmas chaos in literature, from Emma to Adrian Mole:
"Forget Dickensian happy endings, the real Christmas classics tell stories of fraught family gatherings, orgies of consumption and festivities for one, writes John Mullan."

Watch Hillary Clinton Meet Love Actually in Perfect S.N.L. Christmas Sketch:
"Clinton tries to woo an elector at the last minute."

Twelve of the best Radio Times Christmas covers:
"For 93 years the Radio Times Christmas issue has been as much a part of British seasonal festivities as mince pies and tinsel. ALISTAIR McGOWN pulls out his highlighter pen to select a dozen front covers that tell its story."