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Christmas Special

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290065.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:58 am Reply with quote

Not sure what we're doing for Christmas yet, but I guess here is the place to put your ideas...

290067.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:02 am Reply with quote

Question: How can we guarantee a white christmas for the whole world?

Answer: Turn the sun off

What would happen if the sun went out one day? Probably lots of stuff, but one of the better things would be that we'd get about 100 meters of snow falling over the whole planet. Yay!

Oh, but the bad news would be that the snow would be made of our atmosphere freezing solid.

Explanation here

290409.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:32 pm Reply with quote

From the outer boards (unverified):
Following a tip off at work, I found this out today. The Twelve Days of Christmas is a traditional, and so non-copyright, work, apart from...
which was introduced in an arrangement by Frederic Austin, and is owned by Novello & Co, Ltd. The irony of this is that it's the one line everyone really likes to belt out.
I don't know. First Happy Birthday and now this.
EDIT: The words "five gold rings" weren't introduced, just the tune and arrangement for that particular line, which subsequently became fairly standard.

Mr Grue

Largely a traditional work, but the tune accompanying the phrase 'Five Gold Rings' first appeared in an arrangement by Frederic Austin, which is owned by Novello. This 'Five Gold Rings' element is copyright! Anyone wishing to arrange this should speak to (and ask specifically for) the copyright department at Novello and Co Ltd (020 7434 0066)

290410.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:33 pm Reply with quote

The 12 Myths of Christmas – Telegraph article:

290421.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:46 pm Reply with quote

One of the myths is apparently that there's an unrepealed law which prohibits mince pies.

290470.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:36 pm Reply with quote

I know Mr Grue tolerably well, so I'll ask him if he has a definitive source for the Five Gold Rings thing - it's his sort of field, so he may well have found one.

As far as I can see, the reason it's not in fact illegal to eat mince pies is that when Charles II came to the throne, he passed legislation which declared null and void all laws passed since 1642. I've a number of anecdotal citations of that fact, but have yet to find a proper legal citation of it. That said, The UK Statute Law Database shows no acts still in force dated between 1642 and 1660.

Another one which is oft claimed still to be in force is the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act 1551, which made attendance in church on Christmas Day compulsory and also forbade one to ride there - one had to walk. It's not on the UKSLB though, so I don't think it can still be in force either.

Last edited by suze on Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

290486.  Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:16 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, suze, that would be great.

290577.  Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:24 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
One of the myths is apparently that there's an unrepealed law which prohibits mince pies.

As well as the Telegraph article, I think that one's been discussed and generally debunked on the outer forums.

I do find it odd, though. Cromwell passed laws that banned all sorts of Xmas celebrations, yet everyone just focusses on the mince pie thing.

291582.  Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:53 pm Reply with quote

During WW2, cutting down trees for Xmas was forbidden - a rule which was widely ignored.

S: Western Daily Press, 8 Dec 07

303922.  Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:35 am Reply with quote

Further to our on-going campaign to demolish the myth that there was once an idyllic, traditional Christmas, which has been destroyed by the forces of materialism, secularism and multiculturalism, here is an interesting note from a memoir written by the son of a Scottish minister of religion. He is talking about Aberdeen in the 1930s, in a church-going community:

Though carols were sung in church services during December, Christmas was not especially religious for us or those around us. No church service on a weekday Christmas, no watchnight service. Some shops remained open all of Christmas Day. Many fathers were at work. Post was delivered.

S: “Monkeys, bears and gutta percha” by Colin MacLean (Tuckwell Press, 2001).

316647.  Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:02 am Reply with quote

c&p-ed in full from New Scientist:

I'm sure you're thinking: "Health boost, what health boost?" And indeed our Christmas eating habits have a deserved reputation for being unhealthy, but the worst effects can be pinned down to overconsumption, too many mince pies, chocolates, and salt-laden peanuts; plus, of course, way too much alcohol.

The Christmas dinner itself needn't be unhealthy at all, and even has some health benefits.

Take the cranberry sauce. Cranberries have recently been found to kill bacteria that cause food poisoning, to reduce dental cavities by stopping bacteria sticking to the teeth as "plaque", to stop drug-resistant E. coli bacteria causing urinary tract infections, and they have even been found to inhibit certain cancers. That's not to mention the berry's ability to fight gut infections and ulcers, as well as combat heart disease with its hefty dose of antioxidants that boost levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.

Perhaps disappointingly, the centrepiece of your meal, the turkey, is the least exciting item on the plate in terms of its health benefits. But it does provide a low-fat source of protein, as long as you don't eat too much skin. It is also a good source of niacin, which can also boost HDL cholesterol and is important in the functioning of the digestive and nervous systems. But don't wash your bird, you'll splash food-poisoning-causing bacteria all over your kitchen.

Moving onto that divisive little vegetable, the Brussels sprout – a traditional Christmas vegetable in the UK. While some people can't stomach their strong cabbagey taste, many people love them. What everyone agrees on, though, is that they are surprisingly healthy. Sprouts are packed with folate (needed to make red blood cells and prevent anaemia) and vitamin C. Like all "cruciform vegetables", a group that includes cabbage and broccoli, they also contain substances that stimulate the body to make an enzyme that may help to prevent cancer.

But what about a fatty roast potato? That has to be unhealthy doesn't it? Well, no. If you cut them into large chunks to avoid them soaking up too much oil (olive is best; definitely not lard!), they are a reasonably healthy source of potassium, as well as vitamins C and B6, folate, and roughage. However, the humble spud's secret weapon is the presence of chemicals called kukoamines. Until recently, it was thought that they only occurred in an exotic plant used for Chinese medicines. They have been found to lower blood pressure.

For the stuffing, while fatty, salty sausage meat has been linked with obesity and, more worryingly, cancer, chestnuts are both tasty and nutritious. They are the only low fat nut and the only nut to contain decent levels of vitamin C. They also provide a source of minerals such as phosphorus and potassium, which promote healthy nerves, muscles and heart, as well as being packed with complex carbs for energy.

Moving onto the gravy. OK, there's not much health boost going on here, but make a gravy from the turkey juices with the fat poured off, and you will at least have a tasty accompaniment to your Christmas Day feast.

And finally the Christmas pudding. The dish only becomes fatty when you pour cream or brandy butter over the top. If you go for a traditional pud, stuffed with dried fruit, then you'll be giving you body a good helping of roughage, carbs for energy, as well as potassium and iron.

316712.  Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:37 am Reply with quote

Has anyone ever come across, or is bothered about, the myth that xmas is disrespectful because it's using an X instead of "Christ".

It's what my mum used to tell me, at least.

316788.  Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:11 am Reply with quote

I think xmas is older than Christmas, isnt it?

316889.  Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:29 pm Reply with quote

I've always found that one a little unsatisfactory. The idea that Xmas is disrespectful or modern is one I've only ever encountered in the debunking thereof (I always avoid it myself, but only because it's bloody ugly), and likewise the claim that it's intended to "take the Christ out of Christmas" (the debunking of which is mildly unsatisfactory as well, to the extent that, while that isn't the origin, it could still be argued to be its effect for those few people who aren't familiar with Classical Greek, of whom I am assured there are some somewhere).

317366.  Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:07 am Reply with quote

I rather think you're right, Alf. That was my first reaction anyway. The only way I thought it could work would be:

"What does Xmas stand for?"

But it should probably be consigned to the scrap-heap (or saved for the Christmas Telegraph column)


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