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  1. U.S. Christmas Carols set of four to be issued Oct. 5 at ASDA show in New York City September 14, 2017 By Michael Baadke - Linn's Stamp NBews Excerpt:- The United States Postal Service will issue a four-stamp set celebrating popular Christmas carols on the opening day of the American Stamp Dealer Association’s Fall Postage Stamp Show in New York City. The nondenominated (49¢) forever stamps each depict a scene and a phrase evoking one of four Christmas songs: Deck the Halls, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. The issue date is the first day of the ASDA Fall Postage Stamp Show, taking place at the hotel Oct. 5-7. Admission to the show and the Thursday first-day ceremony is free. Among those participating in the ceremony will be USPS director of Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner, USPS brand marketing executive director Christopher Karpenko, and American Philatelist editor Jay Bigalke, who is leaving the American Philatelic Society staff in October to begin work as Linn’s Stamp News editor-in-chief. The four stamps in the new set feature original artwork by Steve McCracken, whose previous stamp projects include the 1993 Circus set of four 29¢ stamps (Scott 2750-2753), the 44¢ Snowboarder stamp for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games (4436), and the 34¢ Community Colleges stamped envelope issued in 2001 (U648). SOURCE:
  2. Capitol Christmas Tree to Tour Northwest Montana September 16, 2017 By Patrick Reilly - Daily Inter Lake Excerpt: - As lawmakers, dignitaries, journalists and tourists make their way to the U.S. Capitol this December, they’ll all pass a tree from Kootenai National Forest. The forest has been chosen to provide this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree. On Friday, the Forest Service announced dates and locations for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. Since 1970, the “People’s Tree” has been plucked from national forests and other protected areas around the country. Kootenai has had this honor once before, sending an Engelmann Spruce to the nation’s capital in 1989. The only other Montana forest to provide the tree has been Bitterroot, which sent a sub alpine fir in 2008. This year’s not-yet-selected evergreen will be cut Nov. 8. Kootenai National Forest, with support from nonprofit Choose Outdoors and various state and national corporations, will then send it on a 3,000-mile cross-country journey. SOURCE:
  3. 'Holiday Express' train coming to 3 Arkansas towns before Christmas September 15, 2017 by Brandon Riddle - Arkansas Online Excerpt - Santa Claus is coming to three Arkansas towns around Christmastime aboard the festively adorned Holiday Express as part of a multi-state route. The route includes a stop Dec. 6 in Ashdown at Main Street and U.S. 71, another Dec. 7 in Mena at 524 Sherwood Ave. and a final Arkansas visit Dec. 10 in Siloam Springs on Jefferson Street. The stops are set for 4 p.m. each day. The six-car train affiliated with Kansas City Southern allows guests of all ages to board three cars that are filled with holiday displays, according to a statement Wednesday. **** The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express was created in 2001 when volunteers transformed a retired freight train into the Christmastime spectacle for use in the company’s service territory. Twenty-two communities in six states are part of this year’s schedule. Over its 16-year tenure, the project has raised more than $1 million for gift cards that are then donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled stop. SOURCE:
  4. Become Fairmont The Palm Jumeirah's Santa Casting call launched for Father Christmas at five-star Dubai resort August 9, 2017 by Holly Sands - Timeout Dubai Excerpt: Dubai - Are you perennially jolly and more than a little red in the face? Put all those Dubai brunches to good use and get yourself a job as Fairmont The Palm’s Santa Claus. A global recruitment hunt has been launched by the Palm Jumeirah resort as it seeks to find an in-house Santa for its 2017 Christmas festivities. The lucky candidate will win an all-inclusive trip to Dubai to stay at the hotel (with their guest) for three weeks between Tuesday December 5 and Tuesday 26, where between a few hours of Santa duties each day, they will be able to enjoy a “memorable” stay, followed by return flights home. Applicants from around the world are asked to upload a 30-second video to Instagram or Facebook, tagging #MyDubaiSanta and #FairmontThePalm, by Monday October 30. Think you’ve got what it takes? The key attributes required for the role include “having a jolly disposition, must be compatible with elves, must have a certain-sized waistline, needs a minimum length for his white beard and, of course, must ooze festive flair…”.If all that sounds like you, what are you waiting for?Check out the full job description **** Remuneration: In kind Job Summary: This festive season, Fairmont The Palm is looking for the jolliest, gleaming, funniest and red-faced Santa Dubai can imagine! Required for all typical Santa roles and responsibilities, the resort is looking for the crème de la crème of Santa’s, one that goes above and beyond the usual Christmas cheer and showcases themselves as being the best Santa that the region could ever have asked for SOURCE:. Carlo's note *** remuneration "IN KIND"
  5. ‘Santa Claus’ pleads guilty to marijuana-growing charges September 14,2017 by Guillermo Contreras - MySA Excerpt: Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, will have one fewer Papá Noel (Santa Claus) this year. James Earl Bailey, 69, a self-proclaimed hippie who had been on the lam for 14 years, pleaded guilty Thursday in San Antonio to charges of manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants. Since skipping bail in 2003, he’d settled in the northern Mexico town that borders Laredo and lived in a modest home there with the earnings he got from playing ol’ St. Nick. “Everybody knew him as Santa Claus in Nuevo Laredo,” said his lawyer, Tom McHugh. “He’d go into shops there and charge to take pictures with people and kids. He’d use that (money) to survive the year.” **** McHugh said his client began using pot as he followed the hippie lifestyle; he was in California in 1967 during the “Summer of Love” but moved to Texas. Had he remained there, Bailey could have legally grown marijuana — albeit fewer plants — in recent years when laws there changed, McHugh said. “The pot was for himself, and he got good,” McHugh said. “He had a good product. People began buying it from him.” But Bailey is no big-time dealer, and he’s not violent, McHugh argued. Indeed, Bailey stood out among the much younger, heavily tattooed, mean-mugging drug defendants in federal court. Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, Bailey’s locks were gray, he had to use glasses to read his court documents and he was given amplified headphones so he could hear U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad. The judge asked him if everything was correct in his plea documents, which contain a portion that says Bailey is a hippie. “Yes your honor,” Baily replied. “The only thing that’s different is I’m an older hippie.” Bailey faces up to 40 years in prison when Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia sentences him on Dec. 14. “He hopes the court isn’t going to be a grinch,” McHugh said. SOURCE: -
  6. 2017’s Most Popular New Toys for Kids This Christmas September 4, 2017 by Jennifer - Brostick.com Excerpt - You better watch out…because, let’s face it, Christmas is around the corner. It’s never too early to get a jump start on the coolest gifts for kids. There’s nothing worse than being under the gun, while people continually post the countdown to Christmas on social media (the stress is real!). We’ve scoured some of the top toy wish-lists and all-around great gift ideas . As a result, we’ve uncovered the best selling toys and games from the top toy retailers and found the best prices so you don’t have to. Shop 64 of the best toys below! SOURCE:
  7. Auditions for Chatham Community Players' 'Christmas Cards: Letters to Santa' September 13, 2017 by Community Bulletin - NJ.com Excerpt: Chatham - The Chatham Community Players is excited to present a holiday offering that will surely get your entire family into the holiday spirit. Open auditions for "Christmas Cards: Letters to Santa" by G. David Post will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 at Stanley Congregational Church, 94 Fairmount Ave., Chatham. Children only will be seen on Sept. 23 from 1-2 p.m. at the church. This production will be a variation on the very successful original "Christmas Cards", which was a creative collaboration of John AC Kennedy, Leslie G. Williams and G. David Post produced in 2013. **** Director Amy Sellars is looking for three men ages 30 to 60, one man 60-plus who can play Santa, four women ages 20 to 60 and three children ages 8 to 16, mix of boys and girls who are able to play a wide range of characters. Each actor will portray multiple characters in a variety show of holiday sketches. The diverse roles range from mothers to children, elves to animals, silly to serious. Auditions will start with cold readings from sides provided in small groups. The Chatham Players have an open call casting policy. All roles are open, none are precast and everyone is encouraged to audition. Any questions, call Gus Ibryani at 201-563-0362 or email casting@chathamplayers.org SOURCE:
  8. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY Wednesday, 06-Sep-17 04:07:42 PDT Walmart says these 25 toys will rule the holidays Parents who came up short hunting for a Hatchimal, the hottest toy of the last holiday season, are about to get a second chance. A newer version of the toy egg that hatches a host of magical creatures is expected to be in-demand again this year when it comes to gifts under the holiday tree, says Walmart in making its predictions for the top 25 toy picks for 2017. ... Ultimately, holiday shoppers will have more than 1,000 new toys from which to choose. "This list is just beginning,'' says Kehoe. "It doesn't stop until the doors close on Christmas Eve.'' A few of Walmart's choices were in line with the predictions of Amazon, which for the first time released its own top 25 holiday toy picks last week. Both retailers included the Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway and Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower. Walmart's Top 25 Picks o Hatchimals Surprise (*Coming soon, details to be released on Oct. 6) o Fingerlings o littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit o Num Noms Nail Polish Maker o FurReal Friends Roarin’ Tyler The Playful Tiger o Barbie DreamHorse and Doll o Fisher-Price Zoom ’n Crawl Monster o L.O.L. Surprise Fizz Factory o Soggy Doggy Board Game o Mayka Toy Block Tape o Frozen Sleigh (*Walmart exclusive) o Adventure Force Light Command Light-Up Motorized Blaster (*Walmart exclusive) o Monster Jam Grave Digger (*Walmart exclusive) o Huffy Electric Green Machine Trike o Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K o RECOIL Starter Set o New Bright Radio Control Tumblebee o VTech Pop-a-Balls Drop and Pop Ball Pit (*Walmart exclusive) o Radio Control DashCam (*Walmart exclusive) o Dusty the Super Duper Garbage Truck o Imaginext DC Super Friends Batman Batbot Xtreme o Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower o Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway o Mickey and the Roadster Racers Transforming Hot Rod Mickey o Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Baby All in One Nursery SOURCE
  9. Backlash Building Against The Man Who Invented Christmas ChristmasWeekly.com September 7, 2017 EXCERPT: There is a new Christmas movie headed to theaters this Christmas about Charles Dickens about his creation of A Christmas Carol and Christmas purists hate it. Already. The film has a stellar cast that features the dreamy-eyed Dan Stevens as Dickens and the legendary Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Here is the trailer: “This is a very presumptuous film,” said Christmas fan and would-be film critic, Arnold Yates, via MSN. “Charles Dickens was great but he certainly didn’t invent Christmas. Bah Humbug!” That sentiment is growing online as the preview makes the rounds. The movie purports to tell the story of the inspiration Dickens received in writing A Christmas Carol, a creation that supposedly saved his writing career. The bigger point seems to be the idea that because Dicken’s short story was so well received it also somehow saved Christmas in the process. Indeed, history recounts the surge in popularity Christmas enjoyed from 1843 forward in secular culture, both in England and in the United States. From that point forward society grew in appreciation of everything from Santa Claus to Christmas trees. But had that train already left the station when Dickens climbed aboard it? Indeed, that is true as well. Some 20 years previous to A Christmas Carol the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas was published and was already running on a traditional schedule every holiday season. Though few governments around the world recognized Christmas as a legal holiday it was widely celebrated faithfully in Christian churches and had been for centuries. We know enough of history for centuries before Dickens to know that while Christmas took a hit here and there it never suffered for want of attention. Many of the famous in history, from Christopher Columbus to George Washington and beyond famously celebrated Christmas and there is no denying it. This is what has so many Christmas fans upset, their love for Dickens notwithstanding. This movie, some contend, is just Hollywood’s way of promoting the secular Christmas and demeaning those who might have a spiritual tie to the season — people, indeed, like Dickens himself. SOURCE: https://christmasweekly.com/backlash-building-man-invented-christmas/
  10. James D. Rielly Foundation Receives 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status Rhode Island based charity helps the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders. Providence, RI (PRWEB) August 29, 2017 The James D. Rielly Foundation is proud to announce that it has been formerly granted tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Contributions donated to the James D. Rielly Foundation are fully tax-deductible retroactive to the founding of the organization. The James D. Rielly Foundation is also now eligible to apply for government and foundation grants, which will further broaden its access to resources and strengthen its ability to serve the members of the community. Funded entirely by private donations, The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer organization founded by Michael Rielly to honor the life and legacy of his grandfather, James D Rielly. The Foundation provides charitable support to the children and families of veterans, active military, and first responders. Born in 1908, James (Jim) D. Rielly was a lifelong resident of Bristol Rhode Island and well known throughout New England for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts. Over the course of his lifetime, Jim Rielly was the recipient of numerous awards and received letters of recognition from celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world; Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators Theodore Francis Green, Claiborne Pell, and John Chafee, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and even his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, just to name a few. Jim Rielly was best known as Rhode Island’s own “Santa Claus”, where he portrayed the role of Jolly Old St. Nick for over 60 years. Much of his time in the red suit was spent bringing joy to the children and families of servicemen and women and first responders. “In honor of my grandfather’s dedication to the community and those less fortunate, we established the James D. Rielly Foundation in his name”, stated Michael Rielly, James D. Rielly Foundation President. “Our mission is to preserve his legacy by providing charitable support to the children and the families of military and first responders hindered by economic status, physical or mental challenges.” The IRS letter granting James D. Rielly Foundation its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is available upon request. For donation inquiries, please contact info(at)jdrfoundation(dot)org or visit http://www.jdrfoundation.org. About James D. Rielly Foundation, Inc. The James D. Rielly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, organized exclusively for charitable, religious, fraternal organizations, and educational purposes, including, the distribution of funds primarily to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under 501(c)(3). The James D. Rielly Foundation believes in giving back to the community both locally and nationally. We believe helping those in need will inspire others to do the same and in turn, improve the quality of life for all. To learn more, visit: www.jdrfoundation.org. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. SOURCE: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb14586186.htm
  11. Bath Christmas market set to be biggest yet September 4, 2017 BY HARRIET NOBLE - Bath Chronicle Excerpt: Bath, UK. - This winter’s Bath Christmas Market is set to be the biggest yet with 200 wooden chalets selling an assortment of gifts and produce in Bath’s city centre. The festival, which will run from November 23 to December 10, is set to have 30 more chalets than last year. It is well and truly a South West market, as over 80 per cent of the produce comes from Bath and the surrounding areas. Vicky Bunt, Head of Events at Visit Bath says; ‘We’ve really listened to local businesses and residents and moved chalets into South Gate Street and Union Street to improve the flow and access for visitors as well as implementing a programme of community engagement activities in other corners of the city. The market will see an addition of only 30 extra chalets with more than 60 of the 200 hosting completely new businesses keeping the offer fresh and interesting for returning visitors. What sort of things are on offer at the market? Local artwork, handmade Christmas decorations, bespoke jewellery, homewares, festive food and drink, toys, accessories and gifts for pets. There will be plenty of street food and artisan markets. The Lodge will be making a welcome return as well. Located on Stall street, locals compare the venue to a cosy snow lodge. SOURCE:
  12. Santa set for early appearance at Houston flood relief shelter September 3, 2017 by ABC 13 Excerpt: - HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --It may be September, but Santa Claus is set to make a special appearance in Houston to visit with children staying at the shelter at NRG Center. One day after a visit by President Trump and other dignitaries, St. Nick and Mrs. Claus will be on hand today with nearly 900 stuffed animals for children affected by the flood. Santa sightings are rare during this time of year, but not unheard of events. SOURCE:
  13. Challenge to uplift troops at Christmas August 14, 2017 by Boni Holmes - Fraser Coast Chronicle Excerpt: - Maryborough, Australia. A CHRISTMAS care package filler will become the community challenge for this year's CraftFest. Maryborough Artisans who host the CraftFest in the City Hall in November each year decided in the last few years to add a challenge. "Last year was Sew An Apron and we got over 120 entries which we donated to the Royal Flying Doctors who sold them as a fundraiser,” artisan Lesley Mason said. "This is aside from our major beneficiary who receives our profits. "It was such a success last year we decided to give the community another challenge.” So members decided with it getting close to Christmas they would do a Christmas stocking. Lesley said they saw an article in the Maryborough Herald where Tam Geritz was organising care packs for the troops. "So we contacted Tam and the idea was born,” Lesley said. Lesley spoke with her friend and RSL promotions manager Siona O'Regan and asked her to sew a stocking. **** "We have a good following of sub-branch members and we have a very rich military history in Maryborough,” Jason said. "I think a lot of the public and our patrons in particular are getting right behind it. "We hope to smash Tam's record of 250 last year and double that. "When I was overseas we got a small washing bag sent over, which were handmade - I still have mine at home. "So I know that these little mementos like the stocking will be something the soldiers will keep from their deployment.” SOURCE:
  14. Londonderry Mall Santa feels the Christmas love while in hospital September 1, 2017 by CATHERINE GRIWKOWSKY - Edmonton Journal Excerpt: Edmonton, Alberta.- When Cecil Hawley looked at photos of himself as Santa posing with kids at Christmas, he smiled for the first time in two months. Hawley, 68, has been Santa at the Londonderry Mall for years, but has been in the University Hospital for two months with an undiagnosed illness. His granddaughter, Nicole Hawley, put out a request on social media for photos with her grandfather to offer him a little early Christmas cheer, expecting a dozen or so photos. “At this point, we could probably wallpaper a house with all the photos we’ve gotten,” she said. Since her request Wednesday, she has received hundreds of photos, videos and stories. Family from Ingonish, N.S., that she had never met began reaching out. “Just to see the change in him, that smile, when we read him the letters and show him the pictures and some of the videos, it really lifted our hearts,” said his wife, Dana Hawley, who portrays Mrs. Claus. The couple started doing Santa photos by donation for the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Then they were approached by Londonderry Mall, where they have been ever since. **** In a quiet moment at the mall one day, a man walked by and Cecil Hawley said to come sit with Santa. When he asked the man what wanted for Christmas, he said he needed to change his life. Cecil Hawley told the man the power to change your life comes from within your heart and your mind. Before he left, he told Cecil Hawley he had given him the best thing. “He said, ‘I was leaving here to end my life,’ ” Dana Hawley recalled. Since that Christmastime, he has come back every year, thanking him for giving him his life. The family said they have been shown the power of love in all the responses coming from people who have sat with Santa over the years. “With everybody’s support that we have, we know we’re going to get through this,” Dana Hawley said. SOURCE:
  15. Christmas decorations in August spark online backlash August 23, 2017 by Krista Thurrott - Yahoo Style Excerpt: If you’ve visited Costco recently or perused the seasonal aisles of Walmart, you’ll note that Christmas decorations are already hitting the shelves. Surely you’ve had thoughts about the holidays when presented with Christmas lighting displays while you’re still seeking out end-of-summer sales, but one mom took it a step further. Mumsnet, a U.K.-based online forum for parents, is a place where people ask questions and seek support from fellow parents, with topics ranging from wedding planning to childcare. One user took to the forum to express her disgust with Christmas in August after seeing cards for the holiday lining a display. **** “I love Christmas and am not averse to a bit of early planning/present buying. I do wish we could wait for the last thing to finish before moving on to the next thing… Last year I was all Christmassed out by the time we got to it!” wrote a forum frequenter. “Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year but even I agree with you. I don’t want to see any of it until November,” added another. The topic was aflame with a number of users admitting to taking advantage of the summer bargains to get some of their holiday shopping done. Lack of holiday hysteria and dispersing the cost of Christmas were just two of the reasons mentioned to get holiday shopping started in the summer months. “I started my Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago! It’s the only way to avoid the manic shops during the holidays,” admitted one forum poster. “Not a good time to say I’ve bought all but six Christmas presents then. I love Christmas and shop early to ensure I can spread costs and take advantage of summer sales,” adds another commenter. SOURCE:
  16. Hatfield’s Santa won’t let ‘old bones’ stop his duties August 24,2017 by Sophie Blackman - Welwyn Hatfield Times Excerpt: Hatfield, UK - Hatfield’s very own Father Christmas is putting his feet up after having a total knee replacement for the second time in three months – but says he’ll be back in his sleigh by December. Roger Bartlett, 72, underwent the knee replacement recently after previously having two hip replacements and a hip revision operation. Roger has played Santa Claus to thousands of children in the Hertfordshire area over the past 30 years. Despite all the operations Roger – who can boast he has a Father Christmas beard most of the year – has never missed a single event at schools, churches, pubs and hospitals throughout the region. **** The man behind keeping Santa up and running is Spire Harpenden Hospital Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Brian Bradnock who has carried out all five hip and knee operations. Mr Bradnock said: “Roger really is an amazing man. He is determined that nothing will slow him and so after each replacement he works hard at his physiotherapy to make sure his recovery is as good and quick as it possibly can be. “He is also a fantastic advertisement for replacement surgery, proving that a damaged or worn out natural hip doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy an active lifestyle whatever your age.” SOURCE:
  17. Christmas in August

    Christmas in August Sparta church shares HOPE with family of 8-year-old fighting leukemia August 22, 2017 By: Amelia Wigton - CCheadliner.com Excerpt: It was a hot August afternoon, but that didn’t stop Santa Claus from visiting 8-year-old Shelbee Maudlin, his two brothers and his older sister. “I was on my sleigh and it gave out on me just over Ozark. So, these guys gave me a ride,” Santa said, pointing toward the Christian County Sheriff deputies. “Reindeer don’t like this hot weather.” Just minutes earlier, as the caravan pulled into the Maudlin driveway in the country in Stone County, sheriff deputies turned on lights and sirens and the younger children came running. Shelbee, however, didn’t move as quickly and was a bit shy. “He had treatment yesterday,” his dad, Matt Maudlin said. “We go back to Memphis on the 16th for a spinal tap.” Shelbee was diagnosed with leukemia last year. “We just started phase 2 of treatment. He has 120 weeks left. We will go back to Memphis seven or eight times,” Matt said. “You never thought you’d have to fight for your kid every day.” Members of HOPE Church of Sparta, where the Maudlin family attended before moving to Reeds Spring, organized the summer Christmas celebration. The church collected toys for the children as well as food for the family. Diana Arthur, associate pastor of HOPE Church of Sparta, said it was a labor of love. “All of them would sit on the front row and raise their hands and praise God,” she said about the Maudlins when they attended HOPE church. “They are just an amazing family.” Santa volunteered to leave the North Pole to deliver the gifts, with the help of deputies of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office. The church also collected a love offering. “We still consider you a part of the HOPE family,” Pastor Michael Hamilton said before presenting the family with an $870 check, as well as a cash from donation collected at the Christian County Sheriff’s Office. “Before we go, we’d like to have prayer for your family,” Hamilton said. “It’s been our privilege to spend Christmas with you all. We’re a little early.” Making a circle, many holding hands, everyone gathered around and bowed their heads. “We love him, but we know you love him so much more,” Hamilton prayed. “Bring healing and health and a long life for him.” SOURCE:
  18. Rebecca Johnson Lapland death trial due to begin on Wednesday (late submission due to upgrade) August 22, 2017 by Craig Smith - The Courier UK EXCERPT: The murder trial of a Czech man suspected of killing a Fife woman in a remote village in Finland is expected to begin on Wednesday.Radek Kovac, 36, who also goes by the name of Karel Frybl, stands accused of stabbing his then girlfriend Rebecca Johnson to death in the village of Kuttanen in the far north of Finland on December 3 last year. Ms Johnson, who was 26, originally came from Burntisland and had been working as a tour guide on Santa Claus-themed trips in Lapland at the time of her death. The discovery of her body sparked a huge police manhunt which involved snow scooters, sled dogs and a helicopter near the Finnish border with Sweden, and Kovac was eventually tracked down in the frozen wilderness suffering from hypothermia in temperatures of -30C. He was taken into custody and chief prosecutor Juhani Mäki formally pressed homicide charges against him at a court hearing on August 9. **** The hearing will take place at Lapland District Court in the town of Rovaniemi, which has jurisdiction for the municipality of Enontekiö where Ms Johnson died. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and may be better known by some as the “official” home town of Santa Claus, with thousands of visitors each year flocking to the area for festive activities or to view the Northern Lights. SOURCE:
  19. Mums moan about shops which are ALREADY selling Christmas cards in August… so when is too early to start preparing? August 21, 2017 by Josie Griffiths - The Sun Excerpt: UK- A MUM has slammed super keen shops which are ALREADY selling Christmas cards and chocolates - before the kids have even gone back to school. The Mumsnet user's tongue in cheek post was entitled "Am I being unreasonable to think it's TOO F***ING EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS!" Among her moans were that Oxford Street already has its displays up, Tesco is selling "Christmas bloody chocolates" and charity shops have cards for sale. She added: "IT'S A WHOLE THIRD OF A YEAR UNTIL CHRISTMAS". PumpkinPie2016 was equally annoyed, saying: "A pub near us has their 'Christmas bookings now being taken - hurry to avoid disappointment' banner up! "I like Xmas just as much as the next person but it's way too early! I swear it gets earlier every bloody year!" **** Meanwhile, Bisquick joked: "Christmas is precisely 18 Sundays away. I'm literally counting down the days. "Then again, I'm humongous, pregnant with a hopefully rainbow baby, weepy and emotional, due on Christmas Day and just really wishing the intervening weeks away. "For everyone else yes it's probably way too early." Another organised mum said: "I'm glad things are starting to appear in shops. It makes buying on a budget a whole lot easier when I can start now." SOURCE:
  20. Annual SIDS Walk to be held Aug. 26

    Annual SIDS Walk to be held Aug. 26 August 21, 2017 by Beverly van Buskirk - LeMars Daily Sentinel Excerpt: LE MARS, Iowa — The recreation trail at the Willow Creek Golf Course in Le Mars will be busy Saturday, Aug. 26, with people participating in the Iowa SIDS Foundation-Siouxland Walk for the Future. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration at the Le Mars Municipal Park shelterhouse. Activities include family walk, raffle, silent auction, memorial balloon release, and refreshments. SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is the sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant younger than one year of age. **** “This year we are going to have some extra guests,” Jeneary said. “The Jolly Old Elf himself, Santa Claus is coming. A friend of ours knows him and he heard about our SIDS work.” There will be an opportunity to take a picture with Santa, for a suggested $5 donation. “Santa says this is just a little checkup halfway through the year, make sure we’re on our toes,” Jeneary said with a smile. SOURCE:
  21. Deutsche Post eyes record Christmas parcel business in Germany August 21, 2017 Reuters Staff Excerpt: BOCHUM, Germany, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Deutsche Post DHL is expecting another record year for parcel deliveries in Germany during the crucial Christmas period, a company executive said on Monday. Like other postal and logistics companies, Deutsche Post DHL is benefiting from the rise in online shopping, delivering packages ordered from websites such as Amazon.com and Zalando. The company is expecting to deliver around 8.7 million parcels a day this Christmas, management board member Juergen Gerdes said at an event in Bochum, Germany. In the run-up to Christmas last year, Deutsche Post delivered over 8 million parcels per day in Germany. On a normal day, it delivers around 4.3 million parcels. SOURCE:
  22. Tulsa Christmas Parade will be held during daylight hours Better turnout, young children and warmer weather cited as reasons for change Aug 10, 2017 by Bill Sherman - Tulsa World Excerpt: Tulsa - For the first time since the mid-1980s, the Tulsa Christmas Parade will be held during daylight hours, it was announced Thursday by Arthur Greeno, parade chairman. Tulsa’s 91st Christmas Parade will be held downtown at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. “We’re super excited about it,” Greeno said about the time change. Historically, there was a better turnout when the parade was held during the day, he said. Paul Ross, vice president of American Waste Control, the chief sponsor and organizer of the event, said that in 1952, some 250,000 people attended the daylight parade, and he would like to see similar numbers in the 2017 parade. Last year an estimated 30,000 attended the evening parade. **** A Soldier’s Wish, which works to meet the needs of military personnel and their families, will again be the beneficiary of the parade, he said. The event raises more than $5,000 each year for the charity. Registration opened Thursday for floats to be in the parade. Ross said he hoped to see more marching bands, which were popular last year. SOURCE:
  23. No, no, no: BT’s Christmas shop couldn’t be open already, could it? Retailer ‘responding to customer demand’ for Christmas shop in August August 18, 2017 by Conor Pope - Irish Times Excerpt: Dublin - Happy Christmas everyone! Too early? Brown Thomas certainly doesn’t think so and is dangerously close to making Wizzard’s wish that it could be Christmas every day come true. It opened its dedicated festive shop on Dublin’s Grafton St on Thursday morning, a full 130 sleeps before Santa Claus starts ho ho hoing his way down from the North Pole. While it is absolutely not the season to be jolly - and not even remotely close to it - the upmarket retailer was entirely unapologetic about giving over a large chunk of the top floor of its flagship outlet to Christmas . Many of the shoppers coming up the escalators to the top floor of Brown Thomas looked entirely bemused by the sight of all the Christmas trees, snow globes, baubles and the twinkling fairy lights as group buyer Edel Woodsdefended the move. “It may seem absurd to some people but others will love it. I think it is a real Marmite thing. What we are doing is responding to customer demand,” she said. **** The baubles range in price from €4 to €18 while a complicated-looking gold carousel which lights up and plays Christmas music as it moves is selling for €400. Speaking of Christmas music, the good news for shoppers - and more importantly staff - is that Brown Thomas will hold off on piping a suitably festive soundtrack throughout the store until the middle of October. By then many of the highly priced trees will be gone, said Woods. The fake plastic trees are always a big seller despite costing between €225 and €350. SOURCE:
  24. Inverness restaurant puts up CHRISTMAS TREE – over four months before the big day August 16, 2017 By Jonathan Whitelaw - The Sun Excerpt: Inverness - A RESTAURANT has put up its Christmas tree already. Staff at The Fluke sports bar in Inverness have decorated the festive favourite with a whopping four MONTHS to go. **** The tree has taken centre stage in the Inverness restaurant 130 days before Christmas Day. It’s part of the venue’s promotion for the busy festive season – with punters told they can book their celebrations already. We told you earlier this month that Selfridges launched its festive shop — a move that was branded “ridiculous” by shoppers. The department store said it was the first in the world to show festive spirit, but not everyone was impressed. SOURCE:
  25. Christmas cards signed by The Queen sell at Moore Allen and Innocent A collection of Christmas cards documenting the Royal Family over the decades took a total of £1530 at auction last week August 12, 2017 by Francea Alllitt - Antique Trades Gazette Excerpt: A total of 35 cards, each signed Elizabeth R and Philip, were offered at Moore Allen & Innocent’s antique and general sale in Cirencester on August 4. Most were presented as lots of three and each was estimated between £30 – £150. Many took mid- or top-estimate prices. However a collection of three from 1959, 1960 and 1961, the earliest group offered, sold for £280. The latest cards to be offered were from 2000 and 2001, showing just The Queen and Prince Phillip. These sold for £120 against a high estimate of £40. SOURCE:
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