Christmas Links #24

How 5 New Yorkers Are Coping with Holidays Alone:
"On March 12, I took my last subway ride home from work. I was listening to John Cale’s “Dying on the Vine” while standing in the middle of a cramped car. I could feel tension in the air — a mix of fear and uncertainty. As New Yorkers retreated indoors, many struggled with a new kind of loneliness."

A Christmas gift: Stories of the quest for connection:
"It’s been a year of defying basic human needs. The need to be with each other. The need to touch and to hold. The need to explore and discover."

Frying-pan pizza and frozen grapes: Guardian readers’ best kitchen tips from lockdown:
"With most people spending more time at home this year, it has been a chance to come up with some ingenious culinary hacks."

Why is Japan obsessed with KFC on Christmas?
"Like other Western customs, celebrating Christmas has become popular in Japan. But forget about the roasted turkey — fast-food chicken is an essential part of any Japanese Christmas celebration."

Alan Bennett's Diary 2020: A Round of Applause:
"1 January 2020, Yorkshire. A bright cold day and not one to be hanging about on our local station’s single platform, even with its vast view over the fells and the occasional heron."

Olympians and Paralympians told to brush teeth for Christmas:
"The messaging in Christmas cards sent to British Olympians and Paralympians may be a bit odd this year, but it is for a good reason."

‘She Was Freezing and Mad’: The Story Behind This Famous Slim Aarons Christmas Photo:
"Each year, come this season, a certain Slim Aarons photo makes the rounds on Instagram. It features a bathing beauty floating in a pool, bobbing alongside metallic holiday ornaments. Behind her, three children play with the floating, shining orbs."

The Borrowed Customs and Traditions of Christmas Celebrations:
"While Christmas is ostensibly a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, many of the rituals and customs come from other traditions, both spiritual and secular."

Eyes Wide Shut is an anti-consumerist holiday classic:
"Stanley Kubrick’s final film contains a thinly-veiled critique of the vulgar excess and materialism of Christmas." [via]

Veggie Christmas, 1985:
"BBC News reports on the growing number of vegetarians and vegans in the UK, who will be tucking in to the likes of cashew nut and mushroom roast and puréed chestnuts en croute for Christmas dinner."

Christmas Links #23

Southport couple find 4ft python behind tumble dryer:
"A couple were left hiss-terical after finding a 4ft (1.2m) royal python curled up behind their tumble dryer."

Successful, Sentimental And Satirized, 'Love Story' Celebrates 50th Anniversary:
"Fifty years ago, a simple but tragic love story became a global sensation that stunned the entertainment industry. Love Story, the romantic tearjerker starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw, broke box office records and the book it was based on was a bestseller that was translated into more than 30 languages."

A Choir Tries to Keep Its Christmas Tradition Alive:
"The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, spent months rehearsing for its Christmas Eve service, which is broadcast worldwide. Its hope was to perform it live."

The legend of panettone, Italy’s mythical Christmas cake:
"It began in Milan, but bakers across Italy keep the centuries-old tradition alive."

'Whamageddon' is secretly the best Christmas tradition:
"Can you make it to December 25th without hearing 'Last Christmas'?

All that glitters: UK retailers shift away from plastic Christmas:
"Manufacturers and shops remove millions of pieces of single-use plastic from their ranges."

Literary Scholars Discover First Draft Of ‘A Christmas Carol’ Where All 4 Ghosts Show Up At Once And Just Beat The Shit Out Of Scrooge:
"This incredible manuscript shows how Dickens developed the story from his original concept of a gang of malevolent spirits absolutely wailing on Ebenezer Scrooge into the iconic holiday classic we know and love today ..."

A Taste of the German Christmas Market at Home: Glühwein mit Schuss:
"Normally at this time of year, the German-speaking lands of Central Europe would be bustling with Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) or Christkindlmärkte (Christ Child markets), filled with food, drink, good cheer, and other longstanding traditional activities. But nothing seems to be normal in 2020, so almost all of those markets never opened."

10 Christmas coffee recipes you need to try this festive season:
"From cinnamon to gingerbread syrup to marshmallows..."

When to Take Down Your Christmas Tree:
"If only the holidays could last throughout the winter months—the twinkling lights and Christmas cookies make the cold and dark so much more bearable."

Christmas Links #22

'The Scrooge guy called us all mutants': when Christmas grottos go wrong:
"Disappointed parents in the UK and Australia decry traffic jams and scary decorations."

The Queen’s Gambit (2020):
[Editor's Note: The Art of the Title interviews Saskia Marka and David Whyte, title designer and animators for credits sequence.]

BBC Radio2 listeners vote It's A Wonderful Life their favourite Christmas movie of all time:
"It’s a Wonderful Life has been voted by Radio 2 listeners to be their favourite Christmas film of all time. A long list of 25 classics to choose from was created by the network’s resident movie critic, James King."

Bob And Robin's Excellent Holiday Adventure:
"All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton set out on a road trip to find the true spirit of the holiday season. Along the way they stop at the Silent Night Motel, where they meet Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Josh Ritter and more."

Can We Talk About the Mom in ‘A Christmas Story’?
"The woman hasn’t had a hot meal in 15 years and she’s always cooped up at home. 2020 is the year to give this character from a classic holiday movie her due."

The best pictures of the Royal Family at Christmas:
"Those royals sure do love Christmas. From the festive-themed engagements in the run-up, to the annual church service at Sandringham, their typical seasonal schedule is packed full of family festive traditions."

Winter solstice 2020: The shortest day is long on ancient pagan traditions:
"For six months, the days have grown shorter and the nights have grown longer in the Northern Hemisphere. But that's about to reverse itself."

How Well Do You Know The Lyrics To Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’?
"to see a whale with legs"

Wild in the City: Twelve days of Christmas for birdwatchers:
"No matter how hard you try, you’ll struggle to see a partridge in a pear tree in London this Christmas. Not least because partridges tend to stick to the ground, even flying low when startled."

Physics student makes world's smallest Christmas tree:
"Every year, people all over the world try to make the biggest artificial Christmas tree, like the Gubbio Christmas Tree, formed by thousands of lights on the slopes of Mount Ingino, or the illumination of the 372-meter high transmission mast at Lopik in The Netherlands."

Christmas Links #21

We're having a sustainable Christmas:
"Lots of people want to be more green, and retailers are increasingly betting that consumers will shift their spending habits."

The big picture: Santa takes a coffee break, New York, 1962:
"Leonard McCombe’s photo is part of an American tradition of capturing Saint Nick off-duty."

The Best Christmas Traditions in Italy:
"Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! Across Italy, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday, a time to stay at home (and eat!) with loved ones."

Queen Elizabeth will deliver her Christmas Day message via Alexa this year, if you ask:
"You don’t need to live in the UK."

Sushi bake for Noche Buena:
"It’s something fun to consider adding to your Christmas feast."

Here they come a-caroling:
"The Memorial Church and the Harvard University Choir will present a virtual Christmas Eve service."

‘Unbelievable co-operation’ restores burnt house in time for Christmas:
"Roscommon community pull together to get 74-year-old man back in his childhood home."

The History Of Christmas:
"The origins of Christmas stretch back thousands of years to prehistoric celebrations around the midwinter solstice. And many of the traditions we cherish today have been shaped by centuries of changing beliefs, politics, technology, taste and commerce."

If your post sent with Royal Mail hasn’t arrived:
"If you’ve ordered something online, over the phone or in a shop, the seller is responsible for getting it delivered to you. If it doesn’t arrive, read our advice on what to do."

Growing up, my Muslim family never celebrated Christmas:
"This year I am not going home, because pandemic, so my roommates are teaching me how to have my first proper Christmas. I am approaching this with anthropological precision. Here are a few observations."