1. Did you know: It is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day. Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. That law has never been rescinded so mince pies are illegal.
2. Did you know: Goose is the only bird you can eat legally on Christmas day! In 1588 Elizabeth I enacted a law making it an offense to eat any other bird on Xmas day.
3. Did you know: Christmas crackers were invented almost by accident by Tom Smith in 1847 originally using sweets in a twist of paper. The tradition is now only found in the UK.
4. Did you know: 7 out of 10 dogs will recieve a Christmas present in the UK.
5. Did you know: Over 200,000 trees are felled each year to make the 2 billion Christmas cards that are sent in the UK over Christmas.
6. Did you know: Dido, Annie Lennox, Sir Isaac Newton, Anwar Sadat, Humphrey Bogart and Sissy Spacek all share their birthday with Christmas Day.
7. Did you know: Santa Claus is real and based on St Nicholas of Myra, ‘Sinterklaas’ who lived in 4th century Byzantine Anatolia and gave secret gifts. Did you also know that the Coca Cola Company invented his distinctive red suit.
8. Did you know: Over 10 million turkeys are eaten over Christmas.
9. Did you know: Xmas originates from the greek letter chi, pronunced with an aspirated (kh), which is the first letter of Christ’s name.
10. Did you know: That Christmas day used to be on the 24th December but was moved in the 15th century for political reasons.
Homless and vulnerable people at hostels and care homes for the elderly in Milan are in line for a luxury Christmas lunch after officials donated £350,000 worth of seized caviar to them.
The 40kg haul of top-grade Beluga caviar was discovered during spot checks on strictly controlled foodstuffs.
Authorities decided there was too much of the delicacy to dispatch to restaurants quickly so it was given to the canteen of a hostel to be served up on Christmas Day.
Juri Mantegazza, a spokesman for the Italian Forestry Corps in Milan and who seized the caviar, said: “Tests carried out on the caviar showed it was edible, but as it does not keep very long and there was not enough time to arrange for it to be distributed elsewhere, we donated to a local charity. We have, however, kept a small amount as part of the investigation.
“I understand that the charity will distribute the caviar to various hostels in the Milan area and they will serve it as part of the Christmas Day lunch for the homeless.
“It’s a little Christmas present for those who wouldn’t normally eat caviar.”
Father Virginio Colmegan, of the Casa della Carita (House of Charity) said: “Every gift we are given is warmly accepted even if the majority of our guests don’t even know what these little black balls are. What is important to remember is that even the poor have rights and dignity, more than the desire for luxury items.”
Father Roberto Davanzo, of the Carita’s charity in Milan, said: “We are against all forms of waste and if this was the only alternative then it is warmly accepted. Even homeless and tramps have the right to try at least once the food of the rich.”
Beluga caviar is found in the Beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, but it is considered an endangered species and there have been several trade bans in an attempt to save the fish.
Source: The Scotsman
An old favourite, Charades is great for family get-togethers, such as a “Charades Party” at Christmas-time. All you need is a stop watch!
Basically, Charades is pantomime: acting out a word or phrase without speaking. For example, “football” could be broken down into “foot” and “ball.” “Softball” might be more interesting.
Charades can be played with any type of word or phrase; but with kids, you may find that movie titles work best. Sleeping Beauty, Lion King… Most kids are familiar with many simple movie titles. And even the youngest can do Pinocchio!
Usually Charades is played by two competing teams in a race against time: each time a player acts out a phrase, a stopwatch is used to track the time, with a maximum of two (or three) minutes for each turn. The team with the least amount of total minutes and seconds wins. With young kids, however, you might want to skip the stopwatch and the competitive element.
Charades: getting started
There are many variations of how to play Charades, but here’s one format:
Divide into teams, move into separate rooms.
Think of a bunch of titles to be acted out, and write each title on a slip of paper.
These slips of paper will be given to the opposite team.
write a player’s name on each slip of paper: make sure that young kids get easy titles to act out.
First, indicate to your team whether you’re going to mime the title of a movie, book, tv show. (make the appropriate signs for these)
Next, indicate how many words are in the title. (Hold up the number of fingers.)
Next, indicate which word you want to start acting: hold up three fingers for “Third Word”, and so on.
IMPORTANT: Act silly!
This can be a highly entertaining game especially if the alcohol has been flowing!!
Players take turns counting, beginning with one. Every time a player gets to a number that’s divisible by seven (7, 14, 21) or has a seven in it (17), they must say “Buzz” instead of the number.
If one person forgets to say “Buzz,” everyone has to start over. If this is too hard for younger players, say “Buzz” for every number that’s divisible by five.
If you want a real challenge, try Fuzz Buzz. Say “Fuzz” for every number with a three in it or that’s divisible by three, and “Buzz” for every number with a seven in it or that’s divisible by seven.
Learn more about your family history, create your own homemade version of the ever-popular Trivial Pursuit game.
Before play begins, family members write down trivia questions that only relatives might know: “How did Jon get his scar on his leg?”, “What is Autie Jan’s middle names?”, and so on. For a multimedia effect, cards can also ask questions about accompanying photographs or tape recordings etc.
The game can then be played in any number of ways–individually, in teams, on a game board or just as a quiz contest.
Try an adult version for extra fun
To begin, make sure everyone has a pencil and some paper. Allocate one person as the timekeeper. The timekeeper picks a letter, tells it to everyone else and shouts “Go!” and starts the timer.
Players then write as many words as possible that start with that letter. When a minute is up, the timekeeper says “Stop!” and all the players put down their pencils.
Count one word as 1 point. Words spelt incorrectly are not counted. Now, give everyone one more minute to write a sentence using as many of the words they have already witten down, again counting each use of a word as 1 point.
Tally up the scores from both rounds, the winner is ther person who has the most overall points.
London firms are splashing out £100million on staff parties over just two nights as the capital celebrates the biggest party season of the year.
Hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars will be full to capacity tonight as around one million workers down tools to celebrate ahead of the Christmas break.
Analysts today revealed that London companies had sanctioned between £80million and £100million on two massive party nights, last night and tonight.
The figure is down slightly on last year, when £120million was spent over the Thursday and Friday nights before Christmas, with the fall blamed on the credit crunch.
Companies have swapped huge company bashes for smaller departmental events, as well as sharing venues with other firms to cut costs. Many firms are moving their annual bash to January to secure a better deal
Source: Mail Online
It took the Holleys five years to prune the evergreen into the perfectly round shape it is today.
The couple achieved the life-like effect by spraying the branch tips with diluted white emulsion paint, using plywood for the leaves and attached toilet ballcocks for the berries. It is proving a much-loved local landmark in the front garden of their home in Yeovil, Somerset.
Grandfather-of-two Roger, 60, said: “We’re so proud of our Christmas pudding. It’s taken a lot of work to make it look this good, but the effort was worth it. “The tree is a real favourite with the neighbours, and the local schoolchildren just love it.
“It’s become something of a local phenomenon among residents, who say it looks good enough to eat.”
The incredible pudding is made up of two 25-year-old conifers which Roger merged together to make a ’single’ tree. Roger and Valerie, both keen gardeners, began pruning the tree into its round shape five years ago. They spent hours every summer intertwining its boughs and trimming its tips to give it the cylindrical shape.
Retired Roger, said he was given the idea to transform it by his granddaughter. “She took one look at the tree and said ‘That looks like a massive Christmas pudding!” he said.
Source: The Telegraph
Lap lands Selfridges Santa landed with the sack despite his chief elf warning him on plenty of occassions. Claus was kicked out of Selfridges’ grotto for inviting a grandmother to sit on his lap
Andrew Mondia, 32, had been hired by Selfridges as one of their troupe of Santas dishing out Christmas cheer and presents in the London store’s grotto. But he claims he was sacked after only three days on Monday after a grandmother complained that he had invited her to sit on his lap.
Mondia, who splits his time between acting and promotional work, said he was sad that he offended one of his clients. “I had no intention of offending her, I just wanted to include her in the moment. Christmas is for adults too,” he said.
The company said it is made clear to potential Santas during their training that no one should sit on Santa’s lap and Santas must certainly not “promote or proactively seek” anyone to do so.
Brings a new meaning to Santas Sack!!
The head of Britain’s Christmas tree-growing industry has likened artificial versions to “toilet brushes” and claimed they are damaging to the environment.
Roger Hay, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, admitted sales of real trees are likely to fall this year as a result of Britain’s worsening economy.
But he insisted they look better and cause less damage to the environment than “junk food” artificial trees, particularly as they can be recycled into compost.
One in three of Britain’s 25million households – around 8million – bought a real tree last year.
But 25 per cent price rises because of import costs and the pound’s weakness mean real trees cost up to £40 this Christmas, compared with less than £10 for a fake one.
Source: The Telegraph