SHORT IMPORTANT UPDATE: On Wednesday I linked to an excellent guide for resisting the Trump agenda. Now, the group producing the the guide, all former Congressional staffers, have posted a "prettier" version in pdf format at their brand new website, Indivisible Guide.
You can download the full document here and you can enter your email address there to receive updates as they are added.
Most of the western world uses the Gregorian calendar based on the solar year. Because the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar year, Hannukah can occur almost anytime between the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November and early January. More or less. It's complicated.
But this year, 2016 on the Gregorian calendar and 5777 on the Hebrew one, Christmas Eve and the first night of Hannukah (which begins at sundown), fall on the same day. This is only the fourth time this has happened since 1900.
An excellent reason to wish everyone both Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah as they both begin this evening.
So here is a combined Interesting Stuff today for the two holiday celebrations including a couple of old favorites and some new stuff too.
STEPHEN COLBERT CHRISTMAS SHOW
Let's start with a Christmas reality check specific to this year from Stephen Colbert – I promise, it gets better from here.
SAINSBURY'S 2016 CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL
I mentioned in last week's Interesting Stuff that I have come to appreciate Christmas commercials from some large advertisers. Not all, but most seem to be from Merry Olde England. I wish they were as creative at telling good stories the rest of the year.
A TRAVELING CHRISTMAS FROM H&M
The Swedish retailer engaged actor Adrian Brody and director Wes Anderson for this terrific Christmas tale.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
This wonderful story was first published too late (1956) to be part of my childhood holiday memories but I've read it many times so it's fair for me to pretend that it's part of my youthful history.
This time it is read by NBC News correspondent Keith Morrison with plenty of great and familiar drawings from the book.
YET ANOTHER PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE
This is the fourth year I have featured Penelope Keith's marvelous reading, as Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle, of And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree: A Cautionary Tale for Christmas Showing That it is Better to Give than to Receive.
In the comments on last year's posting of the story, the writer, Brian Sibley, left a note for us about the recording:
”You might like to know that I wrote this piece and that it was first broadcast on the BBC (Radio 4) on 25 December 1977.
“You can hear the original recording on my Soundcloud page here. You can read the script here.
And it seems only fair to let you know that Mr. Subley blogs here.
He also let us know that Timothy Bateson appears as Mr. Graball of Graball, Twister and Fleesum, and it was directed by John Theocharis. Here then is the marvelously funny Penelope Keith “Partridge.”
ANOTHER CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL
This one from Temptations cat treats.
FRANKIE'S HOLIDAY COMMERCIAL
And one more, this from Apple: Open Your Heart to Everyone.
THE STORY OF HANNUKAH
It really is a terrific story of a wonderful miracle and like so many holiday stories, it doesn't matter if it is true. Here's a short version from the History Channel:
A DRY BONES HANNUKAH
My Israeli friend, Yaakov Kirschen, has been writing and drawing his Dry Bones cartoon for more than 40 years. (You can follow him at The Dry Bones Blog.) This is his entry for Hannukah from last year.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Hannukah is also called the Festival of Lights. The Atlantic magazine this month has published a gorgeous series of photographs of Christmas lights from cities around the world.
The title, Festivals of Light gives the presentation a nice ecumenical feel for the double holiday this year.
The illuminated Christmas tree stands at the Christmas market behind the Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square on November 28, 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic.
People release floating lanterns during the festival of Yee Peng in the northern capital of Chiang Mai, Thailand, on November 14, 2016.
Christmas lights are seen illuminated on Oxford Street in London, Britain on December 9, 2016.
These photographs are much more beautiful full size. See them and many more at The Atlantic.
HELEN MIRREN'S CHRISTMAS WISHES
We began up top with Stephen Colbert and let's end with my most favorite elder actor, Dame Helen Mirren. On a recent Graham Norton Show, she was asked to deliver an inspirational Christmas message of hope for the audience. Here is what she said:
Whatever you celebrate this time of year, Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie the cat wish you
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.