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Showing posts from January 23, 2013


There is a thawed turkey reposing in my refrigerator, and in most department stores the Christmas tree has already become a blinking presence. That’s right: Thanksgiving is tomorrow!
   2011 has been all about doing “whatever” on a budget, unless, of course, you are part of the infamous 1 percent, in which case you might have spent 2011 throwing a lavish reality TV wedding. For most of us though, money matters, especially around the holidays. The jam-packed infographic below gives some tips for preparing for and celebrating Thanksgiving on a budget.
   I don’t think I’ve ever seen an infographic this long, or this thorough. A rundown of the least expensive stores, shopping tips for cutting on cost, and random bits of Thanksgiving trivia are all covered in detail.


The History of Up Helly Aa

   Up Helly Aa is a relatively modern festival.  There is some evidence that people in rural Shetland celebrated the 24th day after Christmas as "Antonsmas" or "Up Helly Night", but there is no evidence that their cousins in Lerwick did the same.  The emergence of Yuletide and New Year's festivities in the town seems to post date the Napoleonic Wars, when soldiers and sailors came home with rowdy habits and a taste for firearms.

   On an old Christmas eve in 1824, a visiting Methodist missionary wrote in his diary that "the whole town was in an uproar, from 12 o'clock last night until late this night blowing of horns, beating of drums, tinkling of old tin kettles, firing of guns, shouting, bawling, fiddling, fifeing, drinking, and fighting.  This was the state of the town all the night...the street was as thronged with people as any fair I ever saw in England".    As Lerwick grew in size the celebrations became more el…


Christmas has already raced past, which means that you’ve probably already begun the obligatory handful of days with your extended family. You’ve ‘been there and done that’ so many times you could literally write the script of what’s going to happen each year – including the usual cast of characters who never fail to make a repeat performance of what they did last year.    But in case Aunt Stephanie is running late and you’ve forgotten how she behaves with her gin – or in case your house is still a shambles from Uncle Jimmy’s rampage of yesterday, and you need reassurance that your weird family isn’t alone – here are the 10 people who are bound to make an appearance every year at every family’s Christmas party.

10. The Pouter

The pouter is usually a child under the age of 10, but occasionally it’s an emotionally stunted, spoiled adult. This person spends the entire evening impatiently waiting for present-opening time and complains about every event that precedes it. “Can’t we open …