News from you: Holiday edition

Welcome to the holiday edition of News From You, an eclection of news, the weird, the arcane and the downright useless of interest to F-I infovores. Is anybody working today? I’m here but not really doing anything other than pretending to attempt to get my email box down to zero thinking that’d make for a dandy new year’s resolution. Fat chance that. Yahoo says I have 2839 unread messages -and that’s just one account, albeit the most heavily trafficked one. So, I’m just killing time, available to answer the phone and waste someone else’s time if they perchance, are unlucky enough to call me. Eric has to work today -and Wednesday- so we only have tomorrow off. The extent of our holiday plans are to traipse off to Roswell late this afternoon to see the boy who’s been enrolled in the Job Corp center since September.

First, to get you in the proper spirit, some re-runs from last year:

…these renditions of Oh Holy Night will bring tears to your eyes. The first version will bring tears of joy; it’s from our lovely friend Ann. The second version will bring tears of laughter. (Via) Don’t miss the ending of either.

Another re-run, my favorite Christmas lights display remains this one from 2005. It always makes me laugh out loud. There’s loads of new ones too, much fancier, as synchronizing Christmas lights and music grows in popularity. It’s safer to view this stuff over the web; one electrical engineer’s -heh- display caused a traffic accident. Fun but you wouldn’t want to live next door…

Speaking of living next door, Abominable Snowmen: The War on Lawn Decorations describes less than enthusiastic neighbors. Admittedly, some people go overboard. This guy needed a crane to set up his light display:

Jim McDilda’s holiday display last year included a 28-foot lighted arch, a 50-foot tree, 50,000 lights and dozens of animated silhouettes. The spectacle — he needed a crane to set it all up — lit up the sky and drew thousands of gawking visitors to his Redding, Calif., house. But nearby neighbors weren’t so thrilled. Cars, limos and tour buses clogged the cul-de-sac, and trash was strewn across lawns. Christmas music blasting from Mr. McDilda’s display kept neighbors awake. They complained to the city, which required that Mr. McDilda get a special-events permit and demanded that he remove the nearby cargo containers he used to store the display most of the year. After months of sniping between Mr. McDilda and the city, he decided to throw in the towel. This year, his house is unadorned. “They gave me so much trouble, they took the fun out of it,” he says.

One woman got so tired of it she started a website called Tacky Christmas Yards, issuing virtual citations to the worst offenders.
Also from the WSJ, A brief history of Christmas, describing the blend of pagan and Christian tradition we know today:

The Christmas of parties and presents is far older than the Nativity. Most ancient cultures celebrated the winter solstice, when the sun reaches its lowest point and begins to climb once more in the sky. In ancient Rome, this festival was called the Saturnalia and ran from Dec. 17 to Dec. 24. During that week, no work was done, and the time was spent in parties, games, gift giving and decorating the houses with evergreens. (Sound familiar?) It was, needless to say, a very popular holiday… In its earliest days, Christianity did not celebrate the Nativity at all. Only two of the four Gospels even mention it. Instead, the Church calendar was centered on Easter, still by far the most important day in the Christian year.

From the NY Times, You Think Santa Is Busy? Talk to a Wood Toy Maker

Mr. Voake, the owner of Vermont Wooden Toys, has been deluged with orders from customers leery of buying toys made in China after millions of toys manufactured there were recalled this year because they have lead paint. “Every time there was a story about a toy recall, I got flooded with orders,” Mr. Voake said. “This year stacks up as preposterous. I’ve never had a year like this, and I hope I don’t have another one.” Makers of wooden toys say they can barely keep up with demand and are hiring extra employees.

Speaking of offshoring, even Santa’s suit is made in China.

It’s not just the toy-making elves who have seen their jobs off-shored. Santa’s new tailors are in China, too. The last Santa suit manufacturer in the country was Halco, a Belle Vernon-based company that specialized in Santa’s suits, dresses for Mrs. Claus and outfits for elves. This year the last locally produced Santa suit was finished in May and the workers were laid off. Santa suits were one of the last sectors of the apparel industry to be left in the United States.

Fruitcake, Long a Holiday Horror, Gets a Makeover. I hope they don’t change it too much. Not that I like it but I love buying one for an ex boyfriend who’s mother thinks he loves the stuff (in spite of telling her he’s detested it for years, she faithfully buys him multi-pounder door stop each year). It wouldn’t be fun anymore if it were actually edible.

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