Christmas Links #23

I love vlogmas – it celebrates the banality and familiarity of Christmas:
"The Youtubers’ Christmas tradition is a chance to turn off your brain and relax."

‘…a strange story of spirits, and worth reading indeed’
"What could be more cosily festive than settling down after a good Christmas dinner to listen to a ghost story as darkness falls outside? This Christmas Day will mark 350 years exactly since Samuel Pepys did just that, his wife Elizabeth reading to him the strange tale of a ghostly drummer said to have haunted a family home in Wiltshire a few years previously."

Christmas in London: then and now – in pictures:
"Photographer Christopher Ratcliffe has digitally merged the past with the present in a series of festive images. From sandbags in Selfridges in 1939 to Santa Claus at a Holborn bus stop in 1960, the photos deftly connect the old with the new."

Lechon is the world’s most delicious Christmas tradition:
"One of the most convincing arguments that Filipinos have mastered the roast pig, or lechon, is its skin: brick red and so immensely crunchy it crackles between your teeth like you were chewing glass."

The Gift of Loneliness A single woman’s secret to surviving the holiday season alone:
"It is time, finally, to tell the story of “The Bag of Shame.”"

Christmas Links #22

A tale of Christmas past from the Today in Parliament archives:
"In January 2002, the late Lord St John of Fawsley, the Conservative former cabinet minister, Norman St John Stevas, complained about the state of the Christmas cards produced by the House of Lords. From the archives of BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament."

All the Shit You Have to Deal with as a Muslim During Christmas:
"Is Christmas haram?"

The surprising story of the Christmas card:
"There are 27 boxes of Christmas cards in the John Johnson Collection and a further 7 of Christmas cards: trade. Christmas cards are also represented in our Albums, notably in a Jonathan King stock book, a S. Hildersheimer & Co. sample album (1880-81), and in a beautiful Hildesheimer & Faulkner competition album (1881-1882). This post aims to contextualise some of these cards."

What's It Like Living On A Houseboat At Christmas?
"There is something majestic about London's waterways. The force of industry meets the awesome power of nature, winding through our city like a brackish circulatory system. More than 10,000 Londoners call this aquatic complex home, from the leafy River Brent to the smokestack Limehouse Cut."

Yippee ki-yay, turkey plucker … how Die Hard became a classic Christmas movie:

"It’s not about Christmas, seldom shown at Christmas, and Bruce Willis’s vest isn’t red with fur trim – but this action blast is as essential as tinsel and telly."

Christmas Links #21

'Like a toilet brush': anger in Rome over city's lacklustre Christmas tree:
"Tree has been dubbed ‘spelacchio’, meaning bald or mangy, after it lost most of its pine needles."

The Story Behind the Music of The Muppet Christmas Carol:
"“You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace a decade,” says songwriter Paul Williams. “And, essentially, the ’80s were gone for me.”"

Win This Game by Never Hearing Wham's 'Last Christmas':
"Today I spent one hour playing the game called Whamageddon."

#MeToo movement has been in the making for decades: 'Bitch Doctrine' author Laurie Penny:
"On 4 November 2016, Laurie Penny handed in the manuscript for Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults to her publishers. It was a collection of the many columns the British journalist-author had written over the years, preceded by an original introduction. Less than a week later, [editorial omission due to boycott] was elected 45th President of the United States, and Penny took the manuscript back."

Soul Music: O Holy Night:
""O' Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining..." and so begins the gentle carol of reflection that has touched the lives of listeners around the world."

The Christmas specials they should have made!
"Call The Midwife? By all means Call The Midwife. Open All Hours? Okay. But what about all the other deserving shows over the years that never received a well-deserved Christmas special? Good question! And so TV Cream asked its friends on Twitter to spitball ideas for festive episodes of favourite shows. Here are some of our favourite pitches…"

Christmas Links #20

Lights fantastic: Christmas decorations around the UK:
"Whoever said less is more couldn’t have had Christmas in mind as these festively festooned homes around the country prove."

Twice Upon A Time - Media Pack:
"With just one week to go until the world gets to see the final moments of the Twelfth Doctor in Twice Upon A Time, the BBC has released a wealth of promotional material, including interviews with the main cast. "

Have a Creepy Little Christmas with These Unsettling Victorian Cards:
"Anthropomorphic cats, murderous frogs, and insects dancing by the moonlight aren’t exactly part of our Christmas card tradition today." [via]

Goodish Bye:
"As the credits rolled on episode 7 last Tuesday, the continuity announcer said that... the series would be concluding next week - and added, "and it'll be an emotional show as it'll be the last ever one of the series."

From Taboo to Mindhunter: how TV drama washed away toxic masculinity:
"They were tarnished – but they were real. Like bad boy Tom Hardy in Taboo, men dug deeper to become more fragile and tormented in the best shows of 2017."

Christmas Links #19

The childhood gift we always wanted – would it change our lives today?
"We asked writers and readers to share memories of the present they could never convince their parents to get them. How would they feel when the Guardian delivered those elusive gifts decades later?"

The Royal Family Wishes You a Very Color-Coordinated Christmas:
"On Monday morning, Kate Middleton and Prince William released their Christmas card photo — a truly color-coordinated (and adorable) family portrait with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte."

Bizarre bids for Christmas Number 1:
"Weird and wonderful (but mainly weird) tracks that tried their luck in the Christmas Number 1 race."

World's smallest Christmas card 200 million times smaller than a stamp:
"The world's smallest Christmas card has been created by British scientists - 200 million times smaller than a stamp."

Bangor Winter Wonderland cancelled after complaints:

"A Christmas event in County Down has been cancelled after organisers apologised that it had "fallen way short of our expectations"."

Christmas Links #18

Christmas tree cutters' labor fight shines light on holiday season's forgotten workers:
"In the mountains of North Carolina, low-wage workers scored a hard-earned victory on safety and pay – but Republicans in the state are retaliating."

Why you won't be doing your last-minute Christmas shopping at The Entertainer this year:
"If you rely on this store for a quick toy shop on Christmas Eve, you won't be doing this time - but there is a nice reason."

The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland gave this beautiful edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to his illustrator for Christmas:
"‘Tis the season when gift-giving looms large in the mind… what to get that special someone/your mother-in-law/your hunting club buddies/the friend who illustrated your best-selling book? We’ve already offered a few Shakespeare-themed suggestions here on Shakespeare and Beyond, but here’s a find from the Folger vault to inspire you!"

Christmas without Christians: how do we celebrate in a secular age?
"Just 15 per cent of people now consider themselves to be members of the Church of England."

The brothers whose rare disease means they'll never eat Christmas dinner:
"They can't eat meat, eggs, dairy, bread, or milk chocolate - which makes this time of year extra challenging."

Christmas Links #17

A golden touch for The Scapegoat:
"As one of the most recognisable works from the Lady Lever Art Gallery’s collection and among William Holman Hunt’s most famous paintings The Scapegoat often attracts a lot of attention. In art gallery circles this results in frequent requests to loan the painting for exhibitions across the world. It is our role at National Museums Liverpool to ensure above all that artworks are accessible to as many people as possible, and that they are preserved for generations to come to enjoy as we do today."

Meet The Man Making The Plan To Feed 200 Homeless People At Euston Station On Christmas Day A Reality:
"Jon Glackin from Streets Kitchen is cooking up an epic Christmas feast."

'Dreadful' mince pies and macho monkfish – a history of TV's Christmas cookery:
"Where once the tradition was for instructional recipes and meagre treats, now it is lavish escapism and, of course, Nigella. So, what does this say about society?"

Derek Jameson - Do They Mean Us?/ Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Claus:
"I'm really not a morning person. If you're going to try to start a conversation with me in the morning, especially before caffeine, it's best to keep it a bit light, humorous and convivial. Don't bark orders at me. Don't get on a soapbox about something in the newspaper. Don't be loud. It's DAWN outside, goddamn you, we're not in a nightclub at two in the morning. I feel delicate."

Christmas across US Mexico border:
"A Christmas service was held over the US-Mexico border, commemorating Posada Without Borders."