Santa's privacy policy

"Santa's Privacy Policy" is a McSweeney's classic from 2010. On the one hand, the joke is pretty much all in the headline and doesn't really need much elaboration. On the other hand, this is pretty well done.

We obtain information from a variety of sources. Much of it comes from unsolicited letters sent to Santa by children all over the world listing specific items they would like to receive for Christmas. Often these letters convey additional information as well, such as the child’s hopes and dreams, how much they love Santa, and which of their siblings are doodyheads.

The letters also provide another important piece of information—fingerprints. We run these through databases maintained by the FBI, CIA, NSA, Interpol, MI6, and the Mossad. If we find a match, it goes straight on the Naughty List. We also harvest a saliva sample from the flap of the envelope in which the letter arrives in order to establish a baseline genetic identity for each correspondent. This is used to determine if there might be an inherent predisposition for naughtiness. A detailed handwriting analysis is performed as part of a comprehensive personality workup, and tells us which children are advancing nicely with their cursive and which are still stubbornly forming block letters with crayons long past the age when this is appropriate.

Our network of fully trained, duly deputized mall “Santas” file reports from the field, telling us which children are well-behaved, which are elf-phobic, which are prone to sphincter control issues, and which are squirmy beard-pulling monstrous little brats.

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Soviet space-program Christmas cards

"Soviet Christmas card" sounds like a mere kitschy improbability, but what if I told you that they were space-race-themed Soviet Christmas cards? It's a Christmas miracle, dude.

Old Soviet Christmas card collection (via Richard Kadrey) Read the rest

Star Trek mummer's play

"King Boreas and the Vulcans" is a Star Trek-themed rewrite of a traditional mummer's play, by the delightful (and sadly departed) John M Ford and friends.

Kirk: In comes I, old Captain Kirk All my fans know I’m a...great actor, Brilliant novelist, and a swell guy besides I come here from space My rug glued in place I come with my ship To shoot from the hip I come with my crew Scott: It’s something to do. Chekov: We know he’s a jerk. McCoy: Yes, but it’s work. Kirk: A ship, a ship For me and my supporting cast For we are the merry Starfleet That seek out new worlds We are the merry Starfleet That necks with your girls We are the merry Starfleet All frequencies hail

King Boreas and the Vulcans (via Making Light) Read the rest

NSFC: Cyriak's horrific Christmas animation

"The Spirit of Christmas," a video from UK animator Cyriak, is not really like anything I've ever seen.

Christmas specials: obscure, common, and weird

Zack Smith has done a deep roundup of the best in Christmas Specials, "with a number of links to unedited versions of lesser-known specials including an unedited MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS with original commercials, a "Shalom Sesame" from Israel with a Hanukkah theme and a British airing of Raymond Briggs' THE SNOWMAN with a live-action intro by David Bowie as the grown-up version of the little boy in the story. The Star Wars special is not in here because, well...the world has suffered enough. Also wrote up a look at the many specials of Rankin-Bass, and how they do or don't tie into one another.

The Spirit of Christmas Specials, Conclusion: Beyond Charlie Brown and the Grinch! (Thanks, Zack!) Read the rest

Vince Guaraldi Trio: "My Little Drum," from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

The Vince Guaraldi Trio performing a sweet holiday classic.

The best weird and wonderful Christmas videos you ever did see!

A collection of weird, vintage holiday gems!

What to drink this winter — according to Smithsonian

Smithsonian's Food and Think blog has a (Northern-hemispherically biased) list of ideal Christmas/wintertime drinks — along with some cool history about where those drinks come from and how they're made. For example, Imperial Stout beer was invented in the late 1690s as a way to help delicious English stout beer survive frigidly cold Russian winters. Raise the alcohol content — and bam! — beer fit for a czar. Read the rest

Red-nosed reindeer are real

It's true! Science proves it!

And it's more than just an effect of infrared imaging. If you duck over to Joseph Stromberg's post at the Surprising Science blog, you'll see a photo of a real, live reindeer with an adorably red nose (and upper lip).

Turns out, it's the result of an evolutionary adaptation. Some (but not all) reindeer have noses full of densely packed blood vessels — a difference that makes those reindeer better at regulating their own body temperatures.

To come to the findings, the scientists examined the noses of two reindeer and five human volunteers with a hand-held video microscope that allowed them to see individual blood vessels and the flow of blood in real time. They discovered that the reindeer had a 25% higher concentration of blood vessels in their noses, on average.

They also put the reindeer on a treadmill and used infrared imaging to measure what parts of their bodies shed the most heat after exercise. The nose, along with the hind legs, reached temperatures as high as 75°F—relatively hot for a reindeer—indicating that one of the main functions of all this blood flow is to help regulate temperature, bringing large volumes of blood close to the surface when the animals are overheated, so its heat can radiate out into the air.

Also: red-nosed reindeer on treadmills, you guys. This is clearly the most adorable science of the holiday season.

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Via Bart King

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Santacon 2012: Why the nose, Santa?

SantaCon 2012, official "Why the Nose" edition, San Francisco. Music by Kevin MacLeod, video by Mark Day.

Disneyland Haunted Mansion in gingerbread

Ray writes, "Some very talented gingerbread architects were able to convert Ray Keim's New Orleans Paper Model Kit into templates that they used to design and build a gingerbread version of Disneyland's haunted mansion. I thought it was brilliant!"

New Orleans Square Gingerbread! (Thanks, Ray!) Read the rest

Sciencey Christmas from Digital Science

The folks at Digital Science made a great, cute Christmas video -- I love the grand finale and the exploding pud!

Digital Science Video Read the rest


Breokz uploaded a photo of "Xmas at the lab of Avans University of Applied Science." Chemistry may all be "pretty colors and things that go bang," but it sure makes for a festive tree.

True Chemistree ( Read the rest

Santa and an adoptable dog in Las Vegas

Photographer, animal-lover, and Boing Boing reader heiney shares this photograph in our Boing Boing Flickr pool, and explains that this was a shot from the Animal Network Holiday Adoption Low Cost Vaccination/chip Photo Event at Ann Road Animal Hospital, Las Vegas NV.

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Wham's "Last Christmas" remixed, with erotic butter art dancing (messed-up holiday music video)

Dylan Mitchell-Funk remixes a Wham! holiday classic, with a woman dancing erotically on cubes of melting lard.

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