Korean protests in Santa suits occupy Seoul's streets, demanding removal of impeached president Park

Everybody knows that North Korea is a failed state basket-case full of starving people and multigenerational concentration camps, but South Korea is hardly the model of good governance: from the long-serving leader who stole $200M and gave it to his kids (who now live happily in America off his nest-egg) to those long-ago days of 1988 when the government kidnapped homeless people and developmentally delayed people and put them into forced labor camps -- some of which still operate today. Read the rest

Spike Jones Christmas is still the best Christmas

Spike Jones was one of those rare talents who stayed playful with his art. He recorded a ton of holiday music, sadly crowded out these days by insipid and derivative renditions that feel more like money grabs than celebrations. Case in point: his spirited rendition of Jingle Bells.

Spike inspired many great covers in his style, like this version by the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass:

Here's a lot more Spike if that tickled your fancy, ranging from serious to silly. Man, Spike and his musicians and singers were the tops in any style.

Spike Jones - Jingle Bells (YouTube / Jazz & Blues Experience) Read the rest

Father/son gingerbread Apple ][+

Nathan writes, "My son and I decided gingerbread houses were boring, so we built a gingerbread Apple II computer instead, including the interior with power supply, motherboard, and an expansion card." Read the rest

Atomic Age ladies of a certain age posing by Christmas trees

Aluminum, mylar, and space-age plastics await you as you take a trip through Christmases past with 43 prime examples of middle aged women posing by their mid-20th century Christmas trees. Apparently, either a dog or a drink was a required accessory. Crème de menthe, anyone? Read the rest

Merry Mixmas: another mashed up Christmas with DJ Riko

DJ Riko writes, "Pour a glass of egg nog and break out the gingerbread -- DJ Riko is back with another Merry Mixmas (MP3)." Read the rest

Why is KFC a Christmas tradition in Japan?

Around Christmas, many KFC restaurants in Japan see 10 times their average daily sales. Customers order their KFC special Christmas dinner weeks in advance or wait in line for hours to score a Kentucky Christmas dinner package including chicken, side dishes, cake, and even wine. WTF??! Marketing, that's what. From the BBC:

According to KFC Japan spokeswoman Motoichi Nakatani, it started thanks to Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the first KFC in the country. Shortly after it opened in 1970, Okawara woke up at midnight and jotted down an idea that came to him in a dream: a “party barrel” to be sold on Christmas.

Okawara dreamed up the idea after overhearing a couple of foreigners in his store talk about how they missed having turkey for Christmas, according to Nakatani. Okawara hoped a Christmas dinner of fried chicken could be a fine substitute, and so he began marketing his Party Barrel as a way to celebrate the holiday.

In 1974, KFC took the marketing plan national, calling it Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, or Kentucky for Christmas. It took off quickly, and so did the Harvard-educated Okawara, who climbed through the company ranks and served as president and CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan from 1984 to 2002.

The Party Barrel for Christmas became almost immediately a national phenomenon, says Joonas Rokka, associate professor of marketing at Emlyon Business School in France. He has studied the KFC Christmas in Japan as a model promotions campaign.

“It filled a void,” Rokka says.

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Santa teaches busy mum a lesson in charming Russian christmas ad

Enjoy Moskovskiy Kreditniy Bank's special Christmas commercial, wherein Grandfather Frost helps a businesswoman learn to appreciate her daughter and perhaps her place. [via] Read the rest

Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness: a Cthulhoid Christmas book

Back in 2010, John Holbo created a beautiful, illustrated cthuhoid version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas called "Mama in Her 'Kerchief and I in My Madness," and this curiousity has lurked on Flickr ever since -- until now, when it has emerged as an actual book that you can actually own and cower from -- with guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Read the rest

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” gets a tap dance twist

Broadway stars Laura Osnes and Christopher Rice pay homage to classic MGM films in this holiday performance. Read the rest

54 adorable holiday Yule Log animations, each by a different artist

Watching a real yule log burn is cool and everything, but Yule Log 2016 has outdone all previous years with 54 fantastical animations on a yule log theme.

All proceeds go to Camp Interactive, a kids' coding camp.

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This McDonald's "Warmest Greetings" cup is overflowing with the spirit of Christmas 2016

Yesterday they drew hands on the mitten thumbs to spread good cheer. Today they poked a hole in the cup to release a tubful of holiday joy.

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The Prince Christmas Tree

Lish Laynette posted her amazing Prince-themed Christmas tree on YouTube and Facebook.

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Graphic designer creates impeccably decorated sugar cookies

Los Angeles-based graphic designer Holly Fox combines her love of baking and design with these amazing iced sugar cookies.

You can see more of her designs on Instagram and even order some cookies for yourself on Etsy—although, unfortunately, Fox is already sold out through 2016. Here are some of my favorite designs:

mini monday

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PST

ringPOP

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 10, 2016 at 5:07pm PST

pastel ponies {🦄}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 30, 2016 at 5:50pm PST

cone collection

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 26, 2016 at 4:17pm PST

🍪

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 22, 2016 at 5:43pm PST

holiday ready

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 23, 2016 at 6:33pm PST

{feather flashback}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:28pm PST

purple pattern

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 12, 2016 at 5:18pm PST

🍋💛✨

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 1, 2016 at 5:47pm PDT

juicy

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Sep 25, 2016 at 5:43pm PDT

[color closeup]

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Aug 10, 2016 at 5:50pm PDT

pink lagoon

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Jul 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PDT

paint party

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on May 3, 2016 at 5:35pm PDT

[via Bored Panda] Read the rest

Probably fake: "Terminally ill boy who asked for final Christmas wish dies in Santa's arms"

Sorry, apparently this shit is fake because 2016. Read the rest

This massive holiday Gingerbread Castle is incredible (and edible)

This totally out-of-control gorgeous gingerbread castle is replete with elegant reclining peppermint bark reindeer and inlaid candy glass windows.

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Bowie and Bing play "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"

The performance is from the 1977 TV special "Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas." From Wikipedia:

Bowie's appearance has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at a time that he was "actively trying to normalise his career". He later admitted to having only appeared on the show because "I just knew my mother liked him". Buz Kohan was not sure that Crosby knew who Bowie was, but Ian Fraser claimed, "I'm pretty sure he did. Bing was no idiot. If he didn't, his kids sure did."

According to co-writer Ian Fraser, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy": "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?", Fraser recalls Bowie telling him. Fraser, along with songwriter Larry Grossman and the special's scriptwriter, Buz Kohan, then wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy". Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang the new tune "Peace on Earth", which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal.

A few days after the taping, Crosby said of Bowie, "clean-cut kid and a real fine asset to the show. He sings well, has a great voice and reads lines well."

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An AI wrote a Christmas song

It's not bad. In fact, this is a triumph: a Christmas song written entirely by an artificial intelligence at the University of Toronto. Yet it has that uncanny neural network je ne sais quoi in spades.

I swear it’s Christmas Eve I hope that’s what you say The best Christmas present in the world is a blessing I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.
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