How much does it cost to decorate your house with Christmas lights?


Rob Cockerham went around his neighborhood and estimated how much his neighbors were paying in electricity charges for their Christmas lights. For the house above: 2,135 watts = 26¢ per hour.

She & Him's yule log app

Yuleeee

The lovely and talented M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel have released a simple and fun free iOS app called "A Very She & Him Christmas: Yule Log." Cozy up to the fire and listen to "I'll be Home for Christmas" from their now-classic A Very She & Him Christmas album.

Holiday music: "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights"

NewImageIn their continuing fight against bad holiday music, our friends at the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation have released Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights. This new double-CD set explores "the relationship between (Hanukkah and Christmas) and their impact on acculturation and negotiations of personal, social, and communal identity within American culture." Yeah, that, and it features killer tracks like The Ramones' "Merry Christmas I Dont Wanna Fight Tonight," Woody Guthrie's "Hanukkah Dance," Bob Dylan's "Little Drummer Boy," and The Klezmatics' "Hanukah Tree."

Co-founded by my pal David Katznelson, the Idelsohn Society is a non-profit dedicated to the musicology and exquisitely-curated reissues of incredibly strange, offbeat, "space age," and fantastic vintage Jewish albums by the likes of Irving Fields, Gershon Kingsley, and The Barry Sisters. Like all Idelsohn Society releases, "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" includes killer liner notes, such as essays Greil Marcus and renowned Washington University historian Jenna Weissman Joselit. "Twas the Night Before Hanukkah" is truly an instant interfaith classic. Check out these sample tracks:

And if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Idelsohn Society is hosting a record release party and concert on the last night of Hanukkah, December 15, at the fabulous Brick and Mortar Music Hall. The concert, "Twas the Last Night of Hanukkah," will feature performances Sway Machinery featuring Jeremiah Lockwood, Luther Dickinson(North Mississippi All-Stars, Black Crowes), Thao, Rebecca Bortman, Ethan Miller (Howlin’ Rain, Comets on Fire), Lyn Burton (of the Burton Sisters), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), members of Antibalas, and others.

Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights

Hubble Space Telescope Advent calendar

Starting tomorrow, you can visit the Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar for daily pictures of the cosmos.

Petri dish Christmas ornaments

Is it too early to talk about how much I like these? I hope not.

Please note these are not actual bacteria, but watercolor paintings sealed in resin inside real petri dishes.

Check out the full collection at Etsy

The CW had better not be pulling our legs about this alleged Muppets holiday special

Dear readers, do not mistake this story for official facts just yet, because it looks like all we're getting from CW president Mark Pedowitz is a fleeting promise for some sort of Muppets holiday special on his television channel. He didn't use the word "new," what he said was this: “I can promise another Muppets special this holiday season.”

Whoa there, Mark Pedowitz. While many of us would be unbelievably excited to see a brand new Muppets special this holiday season, are you really "promising" this kind of thing? I mean, is this thing in super secret development or something? Because it's August, and the holiday season is a mere three or so months away. Unless you're referring to what I call "Commercial Christmas," which starts in one month. That's even less time to spring a surprise Muppet holiday special upon the world! I feel like if such a special was happening, we would have heard about it earlier than this.

Then again, the Muppets are magic, and I believe in their ability to throw such a show together at the very last second, when all hope has been lost.

Read the rest

Christmas gun ads

On How to Be a Retronaut, a seasonal gallery of Christmas gun ads, including this sugar-addled, gift-crazed lad with a rifle and a thousand-yard stare.

Christmas Guns

Young Bison's Christmas song

Lee Winters’ Last Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Young Bison's "Lee Winters’ Last Christmas," which I found on the 2007 edition of the SSMXMAS collection. I don't know anything about the band, but this sweetly melancholy Christmas song makes me happy every time it shuffles into my player.

Lee Winters’ Last Christmas by Young Bison

How To: Wrap a baby in swaddling clothes

There is no excuse for crappy nativity scenes. I can't help you with building the manger, though. Ask Mark.

Video Link

Jingle Bells in space: the historic recording

Patrick sez, "Last year Boing Boing had a post about the first song ever played in outer space. On December 16 1965, the Gemini 6 crew played Jingle Bells while in Earth's orbit. I really wanted to hear that song, but there was no audio file to be found online. So I tracked it down. I have posted the recording of this historic event on YouTube."

The Song from Outer Space (Thanks, Patrick!)

SantaCon 2011: Naked Santas World Record


[video link]

Funny man and filmmaker Mark Day shares his videos embedded above and below, and explains:

Tex Allen of WhyTheNose.com reminds revellers that it's not illegal to be nude in San Francisco (lewd is, of course, another matter), during an apparently legitimate Guinness World Record attempt to assemble the most naked Santas in one place, at Washington Square Park in San Francisco during SantaCon 29011. No word on when the record is actually ratified.

Of course, several hundred suit-optional Santas opted to keep their clothes on.


[video link]

Santastic Six: killer mashups for the holidays


djBC has released the sixth Santastic collection, a set of holiday mashups from some of the greatest sonic plunderers in the world (earlier efforts). As always, the Santastic mixes are fantastic. If you want my favorites, try Divide and Kreate's Santatage (MP3) (mashing Otis Redding vs The Beastie Boys vs Run DMC); ATOM's Wonderland Walker (MP3) (mashing Peggy Lee vs Fats Domino vs Bjork); and djBC's Mashing Christmas (MP3) (mashing Danny Elfman vs The Supremes vs Jimmy Stewart).

Santastic Six: 100% Holiday Mashups and Remixes (Thanks, djBC!)

Modern-abstract walnut-wood nativity scene


Etsy seller Bunnywithatoolbelt made this "white and walnut" abstract nativity that reminds me of Danish modern furniture crossed with classic starburst clocks.

Nativity Set - white and walnut (via Making Light)

Zombie nativity scene


Since you know that November 1 is the day that retailers bust out their Christmas dross, why not combine Hallowe'en and Xmas with this zombie nativity scene from Etsy seller fetishforethics?

(via Making Light)