A plan by a council-funded charity to ban the word Christmas from this year’s festive celebrations has been criticised by religious leaders of all denominations.
Oxford city council confirmed the events in the city would be renamed ‘Winter Light Festival’to make them more inclusive, provoking outrage among shoppers in the city who called for a return to tradition.
The idea has come from the charity Oxford Inspires, the cultural development agency for the county, which runs the celebrations.
Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: “I am really upset about this. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas.” Fr Brian Van-Dungey, a priest in Garsington, Oxon, said: “I am a Christian and pleased to see my Muslim brothers joining in the condemnation of this stupid and dangerous idea; this sort of thinking creates racial problems and should be stopped in its tracks.”
Rabbi Eli Bracknell, who teaches at the Jewish Educational Centre in the city, said: “It is important to maintain a traditional British Christmas. Anything that waters down traditional culture and Christianity in the UK is not positive for the British identity.”
Oxford Inspires spokesman Tei Williams said: “In Oxfordshire we have Winter Light which is a whole festival spanning two months. Within that festival will be Christmas Carol services.”
Source: The Telegraph
This year the theme for the Regent Street lights is ‘stars’ and the famous “mile of style” will be transformed into a winter wonderland for Christmas shoppers. Since the 1950s international celebrities have turned on the lights to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Past personalities include HRH The Prince of Wales, Kylie Minogue, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sylvester Stallone and Sir Ian McKellen.
Danny from McFly said: “We’re really excited to be switching on the Regent Street Christmas lights.
“So many great people have done it in the past. “It’s also fantastic that BBC Children in Need are involved. “Hopefully we can help encourage people to think of ideas to raise even more money this year”.
McFly are releasing an official single for BBC Children in Need, which helps disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The switch-on event is supporting the charity with many of the Regent Street retailers collecting donations throughout the week.
This year Hollyoaks star John Pickard, who plays the character Dominic Reilly, will MC the event and the London Gospel Community Choir will be performing a selection of songs from the stage keeping the audience entertained in the lead up to McFly switching on the lights.
The Regent Street Christmas lights are one of London’s major tourist attractions and draw a huge number of visitors each year.
source: This is Lancashire
For those that have a craving for the sweet stuff try this choco-tastic treat this Christmas. The yule Log or “Bûche de Noël” originated in France in the early 19th century as a large yellow cake spread with frosting. We prefer this version…
Preparation time: 1 day
Cooking time: 30 minutes
18 Chocolate Cookies Small pot of double cream – 250 ml / 225g
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon icing sugar
1. Mix the cream, sugar and cocoa in a basin. Whisk together for about 5 minutes or until the cream is stiff enough to stand in peaks.
2. Using half the cream spread consistently over the biscuits, when all the cookies are coated evenly sandwich them together to form a long chocolate log roll.
3. Wrap the roll of cookies in foil and then place into a fridge and leave overnight to harden.
4. The following day remove the cookie log from the fridge, unwrap and cover with the remaining double cream.
5. Gently drag a fork over the cream to make a a texture similar to ‘bark’ on the ‘log’ and finally decorate with icing sugar (as snow) and holly.
6. Enjoy as a great Christmas day desert!
To have a proper Victorian Christmas feast, you must have roast goose with the classic sage and onion dressing. The onions are parboiled first, so the stuffing will be pleasantly mild, and with the addition of apples, it is milder still.
9 pound goose 2 teaspoons coarse salt
For The Stuffing:
3 medium onions, peeled
4 large apples, peeled, cored & chopped (use tart apples, Granny Smith are best)
2 tablespoons loosely packed dried sage leaves, crumbled
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, cut into tiny bits
Garnishes: sliced apples, parsley or watercress
For The Brown Gravy:
Gizzard, neck, heart, liver and wing tips of the goose, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1-2 tablespoons rendered goose fat or cooking oil
3 cups stock or beef bouillon
½ bay leaf
3 sprigs parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
For The Port Wine Sauce
½ cup port
1 teaspoon mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Rub inside of goose with salt and set aside.
Parboil onion in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and, when cool enough to handle, chop them finely.
In large bowl, combine onions, chopped apples, sage, pepper and butter. Stuff cavity of goose and Sew or skewer the openings and truss in the usual way.
Roast goose at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and turn the goose onto its side. After 1 hour, turn goose onto its other side. For the final 15 minutes, roast goose on its back. Baste every 20 minutes during entire roasting time. (Allow approximately 15 minutes per pound for the total weight of the stuffed goose, or 2 ½ hours for a 9 pound stuffed goose. The internal temperature should register 180 degrees when done, the legs should move up and down freely, and the juices should run a pale yellow.)
Prepare the gravy while goose is roasting. In a large saucepan, brown the goose parts, onion and carrot in the fat. When they are nicely browned, add the stock and seasonings. Simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour, skimming occasionally. Strain, degrease and pour into a warmed sauce-boat for serving.
For the optional port wine sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan. Just before serving the goose, slit open the breast and pour the sauce on top.
A Charleston radio station is observing Valentine’s Day with a reminder that Cupid sometimes misses his mark. WKLC-FM, better known as Rock 105, is giving away a free divorce. Valentine’s Day isn’t all hearts and flowers, says WKLC Program Director Jay Nunley. There is a darker side, he said, “where maybe you despise your spouse and resent the entire day.”
Through 4 p.m. on Thursday, Valentine’s Day, applications for the free divorce will be accepted on the classic rock station’s Web site, http://www.wklc.com. The winning name will be drawn at 5 p.m.
Nunley cautions that this is a real divorce and people shouldn’t enter if they aren’t serious. Also, people expecting a long, drawn-out legal battle should hire a lawyer because the Rock 105 contest is for a relatively uncomplicated divorce.
“Sure we can give away concert tickets, and we do,” said Nunley. “That’s going to make you happy for a little while. This is the chance to make someone happy for the rest of their life.”
Source: Google News (US)
Christmas is always an anxious time for animal welfare groups as they see an influx of unwanted cats, dogs guinea pigs etc. A recent article published in the Sunday Herald reported a slightly different version of the problem currently facing the Northern Territory in Australia. Abandoned baby crocodiles!!
At £130 each these cute baby reptiles are snapped up in their masses over the Christmas period, however, it becomes apparent that these reptiles do not stay small and cute for very long, with salt water crocodiles capable of growing up to 20ft in length!! Once they reach 30 inches in length it is a legal requirement for the owner to return the croc to the farm or pet shop that it was purchased from, but with no real incentive to do so it is common place for these animals to get released into the suburban jungle.
It is not uncommon to spot crocodiles outside shopping centres, on golf courses, in suburban streets or in town centres! No wonder online shopping is taking off down under!!
You may have noticed that this year Happy Christmas have teamed up with I Want One Of Those (IWOOT) to bring you great offers to help you save money across their unique and wonderful product range!! In the build up to this Christmas use the following Happy Christmas discount codes to save money…
£10 off when £60 spent
End Date: 1st Jan 08
£15 off when £100 spent
End Date: 1st Jan 08
£5 Off when £20 spent
End Date: Oct 08
Click here for I WANT ONE OF THOSE!
For a second year running UK high streets have completely sold out of the Nintendo Wii. Consumers are now desperately scouring the web in order to find the jewel in the crown of Christmas presents this year.
The Wii Console in the UK normally retails for £179 ($360) however online with auction sites like ebay, Wiis are exchanging hands at over £350 ($700) with one desperate buyer reportedly paying over £2500 ($5000) for one!!
We use a couple of games consoles providers for our Happy Christmas shop, so if you are looking to buy one give these a try. But make sure to let us know your stories and how you are get on!
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Great Britain has put a restriction on the movement of reindeers and other livestock this winter due to the latest outbreak of bluetongue disease.
With events and celebrations up and down the country looking set to be cancelled it leaves one big questions, how is Santa going to deliver his presents? He could always consider, the Tube, BA, or by Bus. However knowing what transport is like on the British Isles kids will still be waiting in March!
Don’t worry kids, I am sure Dasher , Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph will all be fine!