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  1. If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong MyMerryChristmas.com B. Francis Morlan December 27, 2018 EXCERPT The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not? Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days. It does not have to be like this. You do not have to take down your tree. You do not have to kill your lights. You do not have to turn off your music. You can, instead, stand up to the madness around you and let Christmas linger a little longer. The secret to avoiding the post-Christmas blues is deconstructing it much the way you built it in the first place. For me, Christmas often gets started in July. It is easy then, in the heat of summer, to imagine the frosty glow of our Christmas windows, the frothy foam of our cocoa, and the homey warmth of the decorated tree. Of course, we can’t GET those things in July…but it’s fun to think of them as we sit in a darkened room and watch Christmas movies when it is blazing outside. This is classic, hardcore denial. And it is good for you. SOURCE: https://mymerrychristmas.com/christmas-blues/
  2. Mariah Carey will celebrate 25 years of her Christmas album in Atlantic City The Philadelphia Inquirer by Nick Vadala September 30, 2019 EXCERPT: It’s been 25 years since Mariah Carey dropped her popular holiday album, Merry Christmas, and now, the singer is celebrating the release with a yuletide tour that comes to Atlantic City this December. Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” tour hits AC’s Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena on Dec. 7. The stop is one of five planned shows from Carey on the East Coast this coming holiday season, with additional concerts scheduled to take place in cities including New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. SOURCE: https://www.inquirer.com/entertainment/mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas-tour-atlantic-city-hard-rock-20190930.html
  3. Early Christmas display causes Monroe resident to call the city Ken Brown Fox19 October 5, 2019 EXCERPT: Christmas in September ... It’s not a holiday you hear celebrated often in the fall, but the Schmitt family Christmas celebration took place in Monroe in mid-September this year. “Every year we get together for Christmas and we’ve done this for as long as I’ve known,” Monroe resident David Schmitt said. Schmitt is a native of Wisconsin and most of his family still lives there. At 54 years old, Schmitt is the youngest of nine siblings who still try to get together to celebrate the Christmas holiday each year. “The drive to Wisconsin, where my family is from, it’s kind of hard to do in December,” Schmitt said. “So this year we said, ‘How about Christmas in Ohio?’ September, good driving weather ... nice weather ... I thought, ‘Perfect, everybody could come here for Christmas.’” “As everybody gets older we don’t get to see each other as often and living so far away from each other. It was really wonderful to just be able to have everyone together,” Donna Schmitt said. To celebrate the early holiday family gathering, Schmitt decorated his house with lights and ornaments three months ahead of the actual Christmas holiday. The early appearance of Christmas décor had at least one resident concerned enough to call the city of Monroe. “All you had to do was pull in the driveway and ask us and we would have told you... probably offered you a beverage,” Donna said. The city asked the Schmitt’s to remove some decorations that were too close to the road. No citations were issued and the family was given 60 days to remove any other decorations that were not in compliance with the city code. SOURCE: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/10/05/early-christmas-display-causes-monroe-resident-call-police-city/3879715002/
  4. Michael Rielly

    'World's largest' Christmas maze now hiring

    World largest Christmas maze now hiring WTSP Andrew Krietz October 5, 2019 EXCERPT: Think you could play the part of an elf? What about a toy soldier? Enchant Christmas is hiring! Billed as the world’s largest Christmas light maze, Enchant Christmas is hiring hundreds of people for character actors and customer service roles. Interviews are expected to take place during the next few weeks at Tropicana Field, where the event will take place. People are asked to send a headshot and resume to flcasting@enchantchristmas.com for consideration to play a Christmas "enchantress," elf, toy soldier or townsfolk. Availability must be open for at least either Christmas Eve or Day, among other requirements. From Nov. 22 to Dec. 29, the ballpark’s outfield is slated to be outfitted with a massive light display and a Christmas market with more than 60 local food and merchant vendors. Tickets are $19.99 and are on sale now at stpete.enchantchristmas.com. People interested in customer service jobs are asked to visit the Tampa Bay Rays' website and click on "enchant opportunities." SOURCE: https://www.wtsp.com/article/entertainment/events/enchant-christmas-jobs-florida-tropicana-field/67-2cd0e276-95e3-473b-8bac-aa1b93b2551e
  5. Michael Rielly

    Children prefer simple objects over toys

    Children prefer simple objects over toys because they’re “not limited” to being a single thing For kids, versatility might be the way to go — as far as toys are concerned, anyway. Zime Science May 2, 2019 by Alexandru Micu EXCERPT: I have it on reasonable authority that kids are very likely to ignore a particular toy and make a starry-eyed beeline for the box it came in. I haven’t got any of my own, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of that, but I do have a cat — so I can relate to how confusing such an experience might be. But fret not, parents around the world, for science comes to the rescue. A new study from the University of Alabama reports that children, particularly those at preschool age, are probably attracted to generic objects because they make for more versatile toys. “The inclusion of generic objects like sticks and boxes may allow children to extend their play because the generic objects can be used as multiple things,” said lead author Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader, UA assistant professor of human development and family studies. “Pretend play such as object substitution has so many benefits, such as increased socialization and problem solving.” A cardboard box can become virtually anything in the mind of a child, the researchers say. In contrast, a spaceship or unicorn toy — despite being much more visually appealing — is doomed to remain a spaceship or unicorn for as long as you play with it. And therein lies the reason why children, especially younger ones, would generally prefer to play with the box. Children often substitute one object for another during play. A stick can become a sword, a rifle, or a pen. But such substitutions aren’t made lightly — the object has to have a passable resemblance to the one it’s being substituted for. As such, an object’s features such as shape or markings can disqualify it completely for a certain play-task. ... SOURCE: https://www.zmescience.com/science/children-toy-simple-objects-2353545/
  6. This was taken from the organizing committee on Facebook for Parade of Lights in Edmonton Santa's Parade of Lights March 13, 2019 @ 10:07 AM · Edmonton, Alberta "With sad hearts we announce that RWE Events will no longer produce Santa’s Parade of Lights. Thanks to all the sponsors, participants and most importantly, people of Edmonton for their support. We’re proud of our little parade and the joy it brought to so many people." SOURCE: I have been the Santa in this Outdoor Parade since it started in 2015. Of course I feel sad about #1, Edmonton losing a parade (Calgary has not had a parade for 6+ years) #2, That a big emotional thrill is now gone from this Santa's life. (Anyone who does a major parade in a large city, especially a Capital City, can attest to the emotions involved in getting ready for and actually partaking in the annual parade.) I got this email back from the people who have staged this parade in the last 4 years... Hi Carlo, We share your disappointment, believe me. Unfortunately, though, we just couldn’t get the financial commitment we need to keep it going. As you know, Canadian Tire dropped out as title sponsor last year (we don’t know why), and there just isn’t anyone else stepping up. Plus, we applied for a grant from the City and didn’t get it. It is very discouraging that there wasn’t enough support overall in Edmonton for this parade. However, we loved doing it and especially loved working with you every year! We really will miss that! Anyway, I enjoyed our experience last year and at the same time, anything is possible! Someone might step forward and make this happen. But for now, so long! Enjoy your Santa duties elsewhere this year. And remember – if we ever do resurrect the parade, you will be first Santa we call! Take care and thanks for your kind words, Carlo!
  7. Disneyland Float Collapse Launches Santa off Sled During Parade Date: 12/16/18 Author: Alexandra Deabler, Fox News According to WDWNT, the sleigh broke during the parade and launched Mr. Claus right out of his seat. He was left dangling by his safety harness while he waited for crew members to help him down. Link to Article: https://www.foxnews.com/travel/disneyland-float-collapse-launches-santa-off-sled-during-parade
  8. The competitive business of recruiting pro Santas The professional Santa business can be cutthroat and demanding — and sometimes, it takes an agent to guide the sleigh. BY ZACHARY CROCKETT DECEMBER 15, 2018 The Hustle EXCERPT: Eight years ago, Kelly Ferrell, a 51-year-old retired cop, was sitting on a bench at a shopping mall in Texas when he was approached by an unfamiliar woman. “Pardon me, sir,” she implored, “but have you ever considered… being Santa Claus?” Ferrell certainly looked the part: Since stepping down from the force, he’d grown a “big ‘ol white beard.” He was a little on the heavier-set side, with rosy cheeks and kind eyes He had, the woman said, the potential for greatness. And so, Ferrell “became” Santa — not by the grace of self-determination or the Spirit of Christmas, but the keen eye of a Santa scout. Beneath its wholesome exterior, the professional Santa business is a complex, occasionally cutthroat industry, where top performers are sought after much like professional athletes. But once you’re in the minor leagues, how do you learn the ropes? How do you navigate the business side of things, or negotiate contracts? You get a Santa agent. The Santa industrial complex As it turned out, the woman who approached Ferrell worked for the Noerr Corporation (now Cherry Hill), a Santa training and staffing agency. “I call them Santa wranglers,” says Ferrell. “They hang out at malls or other populated areas and throw their pitch at every white-bearded guy who comes through. They really beat the bushes to find us.” Intrigued by the adventure of it all, Ferrell agreed to give it a shot. SOURCE https://thehustle.co/professional-santa-claus-business
  9. Here Are the Toys Amazon Predicts Will Be Red Hot for the 2018 Holiday Season Fortune By Chris Morris August 28, 2018 EXCERPT: If you thought pumpkin spice lattes were being released too early this year, you might want to brace yourself for this one. Amazon has posted its predictions of the 100 hottest toys for the upcoming holiday season—nearly four months before Christmas. The list this year is loaded with familiar names like Lego, collectible toys and dolls, like LOL Surprise, and educational STEM-focused toys. It also includes a game called “Don’t Step In It,” where players have to avoid traipsing through unicorn poop. Happy holidays, America! While the timing of the list might irk some people the same way Christmas decorations in department stores on Labor Day do, it gives parents a heads up on which toys will be red hot this season, giving them a longer window to find the ones that often sell out (as Hatchimals did two years ago). That said, here are some of the items from Amazon’s list, which isn’t ranked, that are likely to be popular among kids this year. furReal Munchin’ Rex Already sold out, this plush figure responds with more than 35 sound and motion combinations when kids wave at it or feed it treats (which it might spit out if it doesn’t like them). LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit Lego is always a hit during the holidays. This year, the company’s $100, 878-piece recreation of the Hogwarts Great Hall is likely to be in demand. It measures over 14 inches high and 11 inches wide L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise What is it? Who knows? It’s not coming out until Sept. 25, but with a reported 60+ limited edition LOL Surprise dolls and accessories, it’s going to be hard to find. Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn Pretty much anything slime related is still red hot with kids these days. Throw in unicorns and the name “Poopsie” and it’s probably a lock that this $50 critter is going on their wish list. Harry Potter Coding Kit Young wizards in training can build their own wand and program it to perform all sorts of actions on tablet screens in this $100 STEM-focused toy. (It will be released Oct. 1.) What’s That Smell? If avoiding stepping in unicorn poop isn’t your thing, this $20 adult party game has players try to guess an item solely based on smell. Guess wrong and you must take the whiff of shame—three big inhales of “Stank” cards that feature “extra old toe cheese, diaper blowout, hot chunky vomit or … B.O.” You can find the complete 100-item list on Amazon. SOURCE: http://fortune.com/2018/08/28/amazon-hot-holiday-toys-2018/
  10. Dorcas Reilly, Creator of Green Bean Casserole, Dies at 92 Friends and family are mourning the creator of an iconic recipe and a Thanksgiving staple. NBC Connecticut By David Chang October 23, 2018 EXCERPT: Friends and family are mourning the creator of an iconic recipe and a Thanksgiving staple. Dorcas Reilly, the inventor of Campbell’s green bean casserole, died on Oct. 15. She was 92. “Dorcas was an incredible woman, whose legacy will live on in more than 20 million American households this Thanksgiving,” the Campbell Soup Company wrote on its website. Reilly, of Haddonfield, New Jersey, gained fame while working for Campbell’s Home Economics department in 1955. She combined green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup to create what was originally called “Green Bean Bake.” The recipe would later be known as green bean casserole, referred to by Campbell as “the mother of all comfort foods.” Dorcas left Campbell's in 1961 and returned in 1981 to serve as manager of the Campbell’s Kitchen. She then retired in 1988. Campbell's donated Dorcas’ original recipe for green bean casserole to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. A spokesperson described Dorcas as a person who was admired for her “humble and unassuming nature.” “Dorcas would often share that the first time she made her famous recipe, it did not receive the highest rating in Campbell’s internal testing," the spokesperson wrote. "Yet, it was her persistence and creativity that led to an enduring recipe that will live on for decades to come.” SOURCE: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international/Dorcas-Reilly-Campbell-Green-Bean-Casserole-Death-498372271.html
  11. U.S. Postal Service to Issue Classic Santa Stamps this Christmas Art Features Images from 1950s Coca-Cola Ads PRNewswie-USNewswire June 26, 2018 EXCERPT: It's beginning to look like a classic Christmas! This October, the Postal Service will ring in the 2018 holiday season with four Sparkling Holidays stamps featuring character-rich close-ups of Santa Claus. The Santa images are from Haddon Sundblom paintings created for The Coca-Cola Company holiday advertisements that ran from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom, a famed commercial artist, depicted a rosy-cheeked, smiling, grandfatherly man in a red suit that came to embody the very essence of "Santa." The Sparkling Holidays stamps will be issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Additional details will be announced before the stamps' release. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. SOURCE: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-postal-service-to-issue-classic-santa-stamps-this-christmas-300672388.html
  12. Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade on verge of cancellation after 108 years September 24, 2018 by Elisha Dacey- Global News Excerpt - The Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade says if they don’t get much-needed funding in the next two weeks, they will have to cancel the event. The event’s board of directors said Monday they’re short $68,000 needed to build a new Santa float and pay costs for the parade. If the money isn’t found by Oct. 5, the parade will be cancelled. **** “With this support confirmed in 2017, the organization began construction of a new float, which is on schedule for completion in early November 2018. In April 2018, the sponsorship was rescinded leaving a marked gap in the fundraising campaign.” They did not say who the sponsor was. The parade has run since 1909. The organizers are asking for donations through their GoFundMe page. SOURCE
  13. Rockettes’ Christmas Show Gets More Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall Variety by Gordon Cox October 2, 2018 EXCERPT The “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” may have been around for 85 years, but don’t call it old-fashioned. The annual Yuletide showcase for the Rockettes is getting a major tech upgrade this year, boosting the show’s immersive and interactive elements, incorporating drones in the performance and bridging tech and live entertainment in ways that will all come together in a brand-new finale staged by Tony-nominated director Sam Buntrock. Don’t worry: This year’s “Christmas Spectacular” will still have that traditional Nativity scene, replete with live camels, which has always come toward the end of the annual production. But the new finale — featuring performers interacting with animation on one of the largest 8K LED displays in the world; 100 small, flying drones; live aerialists; and, of course, a new number for the Rockettes — will turn its attention to the North Star. “It’s an expressionistic sequence,” says Buntrock, known for meshing technology and theater in stage productions like the 2008 Broadway revival of “Sunday in the Park With George.” “It traces the North Star through time, and fragments that into points of light that then get carried forth into the world, in the tiny points of light on a Christmas tree or on a candle. It has this sense that the Christmas lights have an origin story — like Batman.” SOURCE: https://variety.com/2018/legit/news/christmas-rockettes-radio-city-music-hall-1202964995/amp/
  14. What To Eat This Holiday If You Live In The UK: Christmas Tree-Flavored Chips FoodBeast.com October 6, 2018 EXCERPT: In the UK, propped among other varieties of chips (we're talking potato chips not fries), are a supermarket chain's newest holiday flavor. Snack brand 'Iceland' released "Christmas Tree Flavour Salted Hand-Cooked Crisps" throughout UK grocery stores. The ingredients are pretty simple: potatoes, sunflower oil, pine oil, and pine salt seasoning — an expected combination to create a piney, woodsy taste. A pine-flavored chip definitely sounds odd, but the flavors may taste similar to rosemary. Not so outlandish now, huh? But, whether it is a marketing ploy or not, this festive flavor breaks away from the flavors that we, as a society, have grown to associate with the holidays: pumpkin spice, peppermint, etc. As of now, these chips are only available in the UK but, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it popped up in Trader Joe's shelves. Yet, for now, the British are winning the oddest potato chip flavor contest (sorry Lay's). SOURCE: https://www.foodbeast.com/news/what-to-eat-this-holiday-if-you-live-in-the-uk-christmas-tree-flavored-chips/
  15. Pre-lit Christmas trees: How to style and where to buy Here's a selection of the best pre-lit Christmas trees available to buy... Country Living By Katie Avis-Riordan Sep 3, 2018 EXCERPT: Come Christmas, many people choose a pre-lit Christmas tree over a real, traditional Christmas tree. Whether it's a fibre optic Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree decorated with LED lights, a pre-lit tree can look fantastic in your home and save you from buying a new tree every year. So here's everything you need to know about this type of Christmas tree, including how to style one and where to buy them... What are pre-lit Christmas trees? A pre-lit Christmas tree consists of an artificial fir tree which comes already pre-wired with lights. These lights cannot normally be removed from the tree as they are built into the tree's design. Pre-lit trees are illuminated with mini bulb lights, LED lights or fibre optic lights. They come in all shapes and sizes, from tabletop trees to 7ft trees or even larger. The benefits of a pre-lit tree As pre-lit Christmas trees are artificial, you won't have to deal with the hassle of clearing up pine needles. Another bonus to buying a pre-lit tree is that you won't have to sort out your pile of tangled fairy lights or make the effort to string lights on the tree – it's already been done for you. Plus, you can do your bit for the environment and use the tree again year after year to minimise waste and be more eco-friendly. How to style pre-lit Christmas trees Here are some Pinterest ideas to give you inspiration on how to style pre-lit Christmas trees... 1. The natural look This look wants to make it appear as if you've plucked a tree straight from a snow-covered forest and brought it inside to nurture and decorate. 2. The Scandi look Simplicity is key for those pre-lit Christmas trees which display only the shape of the tree's twigs and branches. The lack of greenery makes the lights, and any other decorations you choose to hang from it, stand out even more. ... SOURCE: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/interiors/a22859768/best-pre-lit-christmas-trees/
  16. Albion cuts the ribbon for new Santa mural 22 July 2018 Orleans Hub EXCERPT: The 24-foot-long mural was an Albion Rotary project and included many community donations. The mural commemorates the life and work of Charles W. Howard. In 1937, Howard founded a Santa Claus School in Albion, dedicating his life to establishing a high standard for Santas everywhere. “To play the part of Santa is a privilege, not a job,” Howard said. He served as the Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for nearly 20 years. Howard died in 1966 but the Santa school continues today in his name in Midland, Mich. The Rotary Club also wanted the mural to highlight Albion’s extraordinary downtown, Courthouse Square and the Erie Canal Source URL: https://orleanshub.com/albion-cuts-the-ribbon-for-new-santa-mural/
  17. Bloomex Supports Canadian Troops Through Operation Santa Claus June 28,2018 Press Release- Ottawa, Canada, June 28, 2018 --(PR.com)-- Bloomex has partnered with the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) and their Operation Santa Claus program, which sends care packages to deployed Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members over the holiday season. Bloomex will provide Canadians with the opportunity to create free personalized greeting cards to express their thanks and well wishes to the troops. The goal is to send one card for every active deployed Canadian soldier who is overseas this December, which could be as many as 3000 men and women. Every year, thanks to partnerships from corporations in Canada and community involvement from Canadians, Operation Santa Claus delivers holiday packages to deployed CAF members worldwide. The packages contain gifts that are uniquely Canadian to remind our soldiers of home while they are away from their loved ones. "We truly appreciate the effort and dedication of our CAF men and women," says Sue McDonald, Director of PR and Corporate Sponsorship at Bloomex Canada. "We wanted to provide a way for Canadians to recognize the sacrifices our soldiers make, especially when they have to be so far from family and friends during the holidays." Receiving an Operation Santa Claus care package has proven year after year to lift the spirits of the brave men and women of the CAF, their kind words of appreciation make our efforts that much more meaningful. "Thank you so much for the extremely thoughtful Operation Santa Claus package that we each received. Please pass our thanks to all of the partners and let them know that receiving the packages really did improve our morale and made Christmas more enjoyable for all of us!" – Lietenant-Colonel 2017 About Bloomex Canada Bloomex is the largest florist in Canada. Orders are taken and processed through the company's site at www.bloomex.ca or by phone, and then delivered to customers via local courier. In addition to flowers, Bloomex offers a variety of other gift items including plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, sweets and treats, balloons and other items. The company serves Canada, the US, and Australia. About Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is responsible for administering Non-Public Property (NPP) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and for delivering selected public morale and welfare programs, services, and activities to eligible members and their families on behalf of the Chief of Military Personnel. CFMWS mission is to enhance the morale and welfare of the military community, thus contributing to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Contact Information: Bloomex Canada Heather Ireland 613-228-2727 Contact via Email www.bloomex.ca Read the full story here: https://www.pr.com/press-release/757912 Press Release Distributed by PR.com
  18. It's always Christmas in North Pole, Alaska May 16, 2018 by Amanda Bohman - Daily News Miner Excerpt: FAIRBANKS - North Pole’s town motto is “Where the spirit of Christmas lives year round,” and the city website—www.northpolealaska.com—has a counter showing how many days are left until Christmas, but there’s more to do in North Pole than check out where Santa Claus lives. The community 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks down the Richardson Highway has a network of trails, including an exercise path with stations for doing different kinds of strength training, a new library and a growing inventory of parks, including a music park, a dog park, a newly-expanded skate park and a new memorial park dedicated to people in uniform who have died in the line of duty. **** The Santa Claus House, the red and white building beside a 42-foot tall, 900-pound Santa Claus statue, was originally a trading post and served as the first post office in North Pole. It’s now a gift shop and a top attraction along the Richardson Highway, where visitors can meet St. Nick and pick up some Christmas treasures. The Christmas-themed town of about 2,000 people is home to a large concentration of military veterans and hosts one of the most patriotic Fourth of July parades in the area. A street fair follows with games, family-friendly activities and vendors. One of the features of the block party is an ice-carving demonstration. SOURCE
  19. Michael Rielly

    Tis the Season for Christmas Movies

    Tis the Season for Christmas Movies MyMerryChristmas.com May 22, 2018 EXCERPT: A new survey commissioned by MyMerryChristmas.com has determined that 46 percent of annual Christmas movie watching happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The survey, conducted over a three day period offline in 7 American cities, reveals some surprising facts about summer Christmas movie watching in America. More than 1 in 3 Americans will see something Christmas-related at home during the dog days of summer and of those a whopping 82 percent watch a Christmas-themed show on purpose. The primary reason people watch so much Christmas during the off-season? Simple. There just isn’t time to see it all when it is Christmas in December. MyMerryChristmas.com has conducted regular surveys since 1998 and this survey actually stemmed from another that wanted to determine if President Trump had actually affected how people were saying “Merry Christmas”, as he has claimed (he hasn’t, by the way). But one of the ancillary questions on that survey, asked many times before in the past, was about Christmas movies. In studying those results a curious trend emerged that caused us to commission another survey just about Christmas movies. Perhaps most revealing in the survey was not the fact that Christmas movies are watched but rather which Christmas movies were viewed during the summer months. Of more than 1800 respondents, here is the compiled top-ten of Christmas movies of summer: Bad Santa The Muppet Christmas Carol The Polar Express Scrooged The Santa Clause While You Were Sleeping Home Alone Die Hard Christmas Vacation Elf This is a vastly different list than you traditionally see about Christmas movies in December. Some of these movies traditionally never make the top 25 much less the top 10 in December. But where are the customary classics like It’s a Wonderful Life? Those movies, the survey says, are seemingly reserved as must-watch, during the season. The summer top ten tends to be movies that respondents claim they just didn’t get time to watch the previous year. The Hallmark Channel made a splash in the news early this year for their announcement of the production of 34 new Christmas movies in 2018. That heavy production schedule is indicative not only of how popular Christmas is as a movie theme but also of the appeal of year-round Christmas movies. Hallmark famously airs Christmas movies of the past to terrific ratings during the months of summer – a counter-trend to traditional television viewing habits in America. Another interesting tidbit revealed by the summer Christmas movie survey is that the decline of Hollywood’s traditional summer blockbuster has seen the gap filled by the tried-and-true Christmas movie. 76 percent of respondents said they spend more time watching Christmas movies during the summer and less time watching the latest release at the local theater simply because old Christmas movies are more reliably entertaining. For more information about our Christmas summer movie survey, please take a listen to the latest episode of the Merry Little Podcast. SOURCE: https://mymerrychristmas.com/tis-the-season-for-christmas-movies/
  20. The star atop Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is getting a makeover May 21, 2018 Timeout.com By Jennifer Picht EXCERPT: Pardon our interruption on things to do in summer updates, but we need to share some news for all you Christmas fanatics. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree—the nexus of the holiday season in New York—is getting a new Swarovski star this year. The crystal brand is working with accomplished architect Daniel Libeskind to design a stunning tree topper set to debut on November 18. Like most stars, this new reiteration is inspired by the cosmos and includes dramatic architectural lines and geometries in true Libeskind fashion.n Libeskind says, “The new Swarovski Star for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is inspired by the beauty of starlight—something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world. The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace. I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.” We can’t wait to see it. Except, we’d really like to enjoy the warm weather, drinking outdoors and visiting beaches in NYC first. SOURCE: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/the-star-atop-rockefeller-centers-christmas-tree-is-getting-a-makeover-052118
  21. Santa Claus-themed letter wins national UPU contest May 11, 2018 by Vietnam Plus Excerpt: Hanoi (VNA) – A letter about Santa Claus written by an eighth grader in Hai Duong province has won the first prize of the 47th International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People in Vietnam. Nguyen Thi Bach Duong, an eighth grader at the Nguyen Trai Junior High School in Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province, won the top prize of the contest, which was launched globally by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). **** This year’s contest is themed "Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?" In her letter, Duong imagined herself to be a real letter which was written by an editor of The Sun newspaper of the US in 1987 to reply to the question “Is there a Santa Claus?” asked by an eight-year-old reader. With a natural, pure and humane writing style, the letter combined messages calling for love and respect for children along with attention to disadvantaged and unprotected children. It makes readers think about a world free of wars, violence, poverty and injustice. SOURCE
  22. Michael Rielly

    How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life

    How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life New York Times By John Herrman February 27, 2018 EXCERPT: As the ranks of tech-industry critics have expanded, it has become harder to tell what common ground they occupy. Across various political divides, there is a sense that Facebook, Twitter and Google exert too much influence on the national discourse; closely connected to this is the widespread concern that we users have developed an unhealthful relationship with our phones, or with the apps on them. But on any more specific claim than that, consensus becomes impossible. The sudden arrival of a new class of tech skeptic, the industry apostate, has only complicated the discussion. Late last year, the co-inventor of the Facebook “like,” Justin Rosenstein, called it a “bright ding of pseudopleasure”; in January, the investment firm Jana Partners, a shareholder in Apple, wrote a letter to the company warning that its products “may be having unintentional negative consequences.” All but conjuring Oppenheimer at White Sands, these critics offer broadsides, warning about addictive design tricks and profit-driven systems eroding our humanity. But it’s hard to discern a collective message in their garment-rending: Is it design that needs fixing? Tech? Capitalism? This lack of clarity may stem from the fact that these people are not ideologues but reformists. They tend to believe that companies should be more responsible — and users must be, too. But with rare exceptions, the reformists stop short of asking the uncomfortable questions: Is it possible to reform profit-driven systems that turn attention into money? In such a business, can you even separate addiction from success? SOURCE: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/magazine/red-dots-badge-phones-notification.html
  23. Michael Rielly

    Toys R Us announces final store closures

    Toys R Us announces final store closures Remaining 75 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores will close by April 24th. Toy News Online April 11, 2018 Jack Ridsdale EXCERPT: Toys R Us administrators Moorfields have confirmed the closure dates of the final Toys R Us stores in the UK. The remaining 75 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in the UK are to close by Tuesday, April 24th 2018. All 2,054 employees have been informed and will be paid up to and including their last day of employment. Stores will continue to trade as normal up until the dates listed below and the nationwide stock discounting programme has been extended further. Discounts of up to 70 per cent are available throughout the stores, with all bikes, car seats, strollers and action figures currently on offer at half-price. Further 'Manager’s Specials' deals are available on selected products in stores. “We are grateful for the hard work of everybody at Toys “R” Us’ during this extremely difficult and challenging time," said Simon Thomas, joint administrator and partner at Moorfields. "We are working closely with the 2,000 employees affected by the closures to ensure they receive the support they need for redundancy and other compensatory payments." “The stores across the county will be open as usual until the last day of trading and we would encourage shoppers to make the most of the great deals on offer. Extended discounts of up to 70% are in place from today and offers are available on some of our best-known brands.”
  24. 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"
  25. Tracking down a child letter writer — 87 years later Jan 4, 2018 by Dale Brumfield - News Leader Excerpt - What are the odds of finding a girl who wrote to Santa in 1930? We did, though. Not only is one of our history article subjects still alive but also she still lives here. Staunton woman Millicent Hall Brubek’s childhood letter to Santa Claus was published not once in the Staunton News Leader, but twice — and 87 years apart. “I was rather surprised to see it,” the 97-year-old retired psychiatric nurse says of finding her letter (first published Dec. 24, 1930) republished on Dec. 19, 2017, in the same paper in a feature on letters to Santa from the past. **** Like most children at the time, Millicent asked Santa for nuts, candy and oranges at Christmas, in addition to small, utilitarian articles, such as gloves and dishes. “I had a stocking but I don’t remember where I hung it, because the stove was in the middle of the tea room,” she says of her early Christmases at the inn. She pauses in thought. “That’s why I warned Santa [in the letter] to not come down the chimney!” Today the Tumble Inn is long gone and Millicent is surrounded in her Staunton home with childhood memories and memorabilia of her life there. SOURCE:
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