Book of the day
Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days
(UK: Jonathan Cape, 2016; USA: Grove Press, 2016)
For years Jeanette Winterson has loved writing a new story at Christmas time and here she brings together twelve of her brilliantly imaginative, funny and bold tales. For the Twelve Days of Christmas – a time of celebration, sharing, and giving – she offers these 12 plus 1: a personal story of her own Christmas memories.
These tales give the reader a portal into the spirit of the season, where time slows down and magic starts to happen. From jovial spirits to a donkey with a golden nose, a haunted house to a SnowMama, Winterson’s innovative stories encompass the childlike and spooky wonder of Christmas.
Perfect for reading by the fire with loved ones, or while traveling home for the holidays. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic courtesy of one of our most fearless and accomplished writers.
Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days)
Facts of the day
1777 Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, was given this name by Captain James Cook during a visit to the then uninhabited coral atoll.
The island was originally discovered to Europeans in 1537 during the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Grijalva.
The island first became permanently inhabited in 1882 – by fishermen and coconut plantation works – by was largely abandoned again between 1905and 1912 after a series of crop-destroying droughts.
Eaten regularly as a snack or with meals, the dairy product Skyr is one of the most popular foods in Iceland. However, despite its popularity within the country, it is only now becoming well known outside Iceland.
Skyr is considered by many to be much like yogurt, but it is actually a form of soft cheese and is prized for having a high amount of protein and virtually no fat.
While there are recipes for making it, became it is produced via a bacterial culture you need some Skyr to make more Skyr. There are substitutes that can be used, but the end result won’t be quite the same.
Thirteenth Yule Lad
In Iceland, the thirteenth and last of the 13 Yule Lads visits at every home this evening. Tonight, Kertasníkir (Candle Stealer) will come and lurk behind children carrying candles in the dark, waiting for his chance to pinch them.
Candles used to be a luxury item that were, nevertheless, in huge demand on long Christmas nights. In the old days, candles would have been made from animal fats, and so were edible. This explains why Kertasníkir is so keen to steal the candles: he wants to gobble them up.
The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 32.56m (106 feet and 9 inches) long and 14.97 m (49 feet and 1 inch) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on 14 December 2007.
Will you get presents or coal and potatoes in your stocking tonight when Santa Claus comes?
The first book that was ever written by an author using the typewriter was Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
1475 Thomas Murner (Germany)
1609 Philip Warwick (UK)
1754 George Crabbe (UK)
1761 Selim III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
1791 Eugène Scribe (France)
1798 Adam Mickiewicz (Belarus, Poland)
1822 Matthew Arnold (UK)
1843 Lydia Koidula (Estonia)
1869 Henriette Roland Holst (The Netherlands)
1879 Émile Nelligan (Canada)
1880 Johnny Gruelle (USA)
1881 Juan Ramon Jiménez (Spain)
1911 Malcolm MacEwen (UK, Scotland)
1927 Mary Higgins Clark (USA)
1950 Dana Gioia (USA)
1973 Stephenie Meyer (USA)
Jokes of the day: Christmas Eve
Q: What monkeys sing on Christmas Eve in concert?
A: Jungle Bells, Jungle bells!
Q: What a big candle says to a small candle on a Christmas Eve?
A: I am going out for dinner tonight.
Q: What snowmen wear on the Christmas Eve?
A: Ice caps.
Q: If someone claps on the Christmas Eve then he should be called as —
Q: What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
A: It’s Christmas, Eve!
Q: What did the big angel say to the little angel on Christmas Eve?
A: Halo there
Cartoons: Randy Glasbergen, Christmas selection box, CartoonStock
Quote of the day
Neil Gaiman: ‘Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world’