24 December 2015

24th December 2015

Here's a cracker joke that Adam made up:

Anyway, here we are on the last day of the Advent Calendar. Thanks to all 30 of our faithful visitors who checked in every day, and everyone else who we'd encourage to find out what you missed! It's been a busy December, Adam had 4 carol services to play at, while Sarah had 4 staff parties to attend. But we have enjoyed seeing so many people, and getting lovely cards and letters. Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year!

Final pun of the year:

23 December 2015

23rd December 2015

Penultimate day, so here's a round-up of all the Advent Calendar material we never got round to on other days. First up, I for one welcome our new robot reindeer overlords:

In other disturbing imagery, the Christmas tree at St Pancras this year was made up of the bodies of hundreds of stuffed animals:

A picture of Sarah's first watch, which her dad brought back from America in the early 80s:

And finally a Swedish sign that says (roughly) "All signs are prohibited except those signs which prohibit other signs" #logical:

22 December 2015

22nd December 2015

It's getting closer! Time for one of our Christmas traditions - it's the best Christmas film ever made:

There's a whole new article about the making of it in today's Guardian:
and it features some promotional photos I have never seen before.

So settle down and watch! "The cold wind it chills you, it chills you to the bone..."

21 December 2015

21st December 2015

From 1981, this is how Christmas ads used to be...

and if that's not nostalgic enough, show this to the younger folk and explain how Woolworths was like HMV, Toys R Us, WHSmith and Debenhams all rolled into one...

20 December 2015

20th December 2015

Today we shall enjoy some Christmas jokes and puns. First here's one from the mind of Professor Richard Dawkins:


19 December 2015

19th December 2015

All over the country, teachers' car boots have been filled with piles of books and paperwork that will stay there until January 4th! At last we have had a proper sleep, a decent breakfast, and finished writing our Christmas cards. So here's our Creeno Christmas card for 2015, riffing on the theme of how colouring in for adults has created a new wave of mindfulness and Zen amongst gullible book and magazine purchasers. Do send us a photo of your completed card!

17 December 2015

18th December 2015

Adam was born in 1970,  and in 1971 the Newcastle department store Fenwicks started a 44-year-old (so far) tradition of special Christmas displays in their windows. So he can really say he's grown up with them. The last display we saw was Christmas In Another World (2002) which was not as popular with the public but had a catchy tune!

You can see more pictures of the Fenwicks displays at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-16092911

Here’s a list of the themes from years gone by...
1971 - Camberwick Green
1972 - Chigley
1973 - Rupert Meets Santa
1974 - Sooty’s Circus
1975 - Aladdin
1976 - Fairytale Christmas with Cinderella
1977 - Treasure Island
1978 - Storybook Christmas
1979 - Wonderful world of Pantomime
1980 - A Christmas Carol
1981 - Alice in Wonderland
1982 - Arabian Nights
1983 - Fly to Fenwick’s for Christmas
1984 - Gulliver
1985 - Fairytale Christmas with Pinocchio
1986 - Christmas Circus
1987 - Magical Winter Wonderland
1988 - Purrfect for Christmas
1989 - Jungle Fantasy
1990 - Good Old Santa
1991 - It’s A White Christmas
1992 - Santa’s Christmas Party
1993 - Alice in Wonderland
1994 - Christmas Village
1995 - Santa’s New Store
1996 - Fairytale Christmas
1997 - Santa’s Christmas Pantomime
1998 - A Christmas Carol
1999 - Peter Pan
2000 - Christmas in Poodletown
2001 - Santa’s Journey
2002 - Christmas in Another World (the aliens!)
2003 - Santa’s Workshop
2004 - The Christmas Story
2005 - The Snowman
2006 - Gulliver
2007 - Winter Wonderland
2008 - Oliver Twist
2009 - The Christmas Story
2010 - The Night Before Christmas
2011 - 40 Years of the Fenwick Christmas Window
2012 - The Reindeer Express
2013 - The Enchanted Forest
2014 - Alice in Wonderland

17th December 2015

With only a week to go, it's time to get into the Christmas spirit! Here's a recipe for Glögg from our second-favourite Scandinavian cafe in London, the Nordic Bakery.

200ml Nordic Bakery blackcurrant cordial
500ml water
30g caster sugar
2 pieces of bitter orange peel
3 cinnamon sticks
2 pieces (approx. 1.5cm long) dried ginger
10 pods of cardamom
10 pods of clove
handful of raisins

raisins and almonds to serve

Put the cordial and water into a pan and bring to boil. Add all spices and raisins and let simmer for 1 minute. Take off heat and set aside for minimum 2 hours, preferably overnight. Pour through a sieve to remove all spices and raisins before serving. Heat the liquid up close to boiling. Add a couple of raisins and almonds into each glass and pour the glögg on top and serve immediately. For an alcoholic version pour 3cl vodka into each glass before adding the glögg.


16 December 2015

16th December 2015

Finnair (one of our favourite airlines, of course) has a new plane in its fleet, the Airbus A350, and on their website you can see photos of it being constructed. This one caught our eye, a Finn fin!

15 December 2015

15th December 2015

With only 10 eating shopping days until Christmas, it's time for a roundup of Christmas food news.

Top tip for the festive season is Zum Fest, a continental selection of biscuits, lebkuchen and chocolates:

Sarah got one of the best Secret Santas ever, not only some Percy Pig sweets, but also some socks!

You may be sick of my complaints about Maltesers, and how their advent calendar doesn't contain ANY, not even on the 24th!

Teaser indeed! Well, the controversy from the States is that the Reece's Peanut Butter Christmas Tree ... doesn't look like a tree! What do you think?

14 December 2015

14th December 2015

A guest post from our lovely and talented friend @maxnugget, with her latest craft idea.

Here's my how to guide for making yourself a cheap and cheerful Christmas dome. It even doubles as a lamp of sorts. The dome itself was £3 in a sale at TK Maxx and had a bizarre bouquet of feathers in it but they were very easy to remove. I used battery operated lights from IKEA for the base and covered them with cotton wool wadding which I then staple gunned to the base to keep the lights in place. (The battery housing stays outside the dome) After spray gluing the cotton wool I then sprinkled it liberally with fake snow from Poundland. I bought the model village figures online very cheaply from Bents Garden Centre, but really you could use any festive ornament. Finally I hot glued the models to the base and placed the glass dome over the top. It's a bit messy but fun to make and all in all I think I spent around £15!

13 December 2015

13th December 2015

Another couple of bad Christmas puns today ... we're working our way up to our favourite!

12 December 2015

12th December 2015

Christmas Eve may be Santa's busiest night of the year, but I'm sure he knows how much we appreciate all his hard work. Which is why today, thousands of people will dress up as their favourite gift-giver and march through the streets of London as the event known only as SantaCon.

Santas assemble at three different meeting places in central London, and then set off on a different routes through London, spreading glad tidings, visiting famous landmarks, and apparently enjoying the odd snifter along the way!

11 December 2015

11th December 2015

Today's post is all about carol services! Maybe you're going to one this Sunday, or next Sunday, or on Christmas Eve. Or maybe like me, you are doing all 3! So many different songs going round in my head as we practice all the choir pieces...
But the best one will be my school's carol service on Tuesday - 5 different choirs, congregational carols on the organ, readings and soloists. It's a fantastic time! Nothing sounds better than a choir of children singing their hearts out.
Here's a video of one of my favourite carols, "Tell Out The News":

And a carol I heard sung at St Alban's Primary School that is really beautiful, "In a Stable":

But in case you need something to dilute all the shmaltz, here is your cut-out-and-keep Carol Service Bingo card - just don't shout "House" too loudly! (thanks to The Church Sofa)

10 December 2015

10th December 2015

As people get into the Christmas spirit, so the trend for novelty jumpers is starting to rise again. Whether it's being a special snowflake, a knitted reindeer head, or comedy Christmas pudding boobs, you just can't get away from them.
In Saturday's Guardian, journalist Tanya Gold was wearing this exciting Hannukah jumper, complete with grinning dreidels and candelabra:

To find out more about dreidels, visit dreidelinfo.com

Bonus jumpers! The people of Toronto (like our friends Adam and Hannah) are massive baseball fans, almost as much as they are hockey fans. Their team is the Blue Jays, and in the 2015 season the Jays had two 11-game winning streaks, and claimed the AL East division title on September 30. They also took a five-game series against the Texas Rangers, advancing to the ALCS; a three-game comeback series victory had not been accomplished since 2012 by the San Francisco Giants.

So what better way to celebrate than with a Christmas jumper!

A Doctor Who Christmas jumper:

And finally some really bad knitting puns:

7 December 2015

8th December 2015

Our local Free Church has a new innovation ... a neon nativity! We've never seen one of these before, it's certainly striking but really tricky to take a good photo of it. So here are two, one showing its brightness, and one its detail.

We'd still love to see your own Christmas decoration, interior or exterior, you can share them with us on Facebook or email them to adamcreen@hotmail.com. Here's our tree!

7th December 2015

Today we celebrate the musical powerhouse that is Raymond Gubbay. At this time of year the concert promoter is in his element, with 12 top-name concerts at the Barbican in just 7 days. Where else can you see Fiona Fullerton (A View To A Kill, 1985) presenting Bond themes, and the acclaimed Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

And that's only one venue ... at the Royal Albert Hall you also have Carols by Candlelight five nights a week plus Aled Jones, The Nutcracker, Jingle Bell Christmas, Kings' College Choir...

These may be the concert-going equivalent of 1980s Hooked On Classics cassettes (also starring the RPO) but by heck are they popular!

6 December 2015

6th December 2015

Time for a nativity today I think. Here are some Russian 'Matryoshka' dolls that represent the major characters in the Christmas story ... including the animals! They are from John Lewis.

Do you have a nativity scene up? Or maybe your church has one. Do send us pics, or share them on Facebook, and we'll put some nice ones on here! And do enjoy lighting the second candle on your Advent Crown!

5 December 2015

5th December 2015

We're hoping that today is the day everyone puts up their decorations, so we can have some photos of interiors and exteriors that make us go wow! Do send us your snaps!

A round-up today of some of the other Advent Calendars you can access online - these will get you thinking and puzzling.

The first one is from the NRICH webiste - it has 24 different maths puzzles to try, some are games you experiment with online.

Their sister website PlusMaths has a set of Wild Maths activities to encourage creativity. Give them a go, but like this calendar, you can't click ahead, so keep visiting!

And finally for today, Chalkdust Magazine, a new publication for Maths fans, has a set of instructions for some Christ-mathsy crafts, like the Flexagon above.

4 December 2015

4th December 2015

When we first set up the calendar, the idea of Festive Fridays was that everyone would be visiting the site in their office, the music video would come on and spontaneous dancing would ensue. Not sure if that ever actually happened!

Today's video is a couple of GAP classics:

And as a bonus, another of their fab 'Holiday' videos.

(PS sorry for yesterday's link not working, it's a long time since I coded in HTML)

3 December 2015

3rd December 2015

We do have a couple of themes for this year's calendar, and maybe it's a bit early to be mentioning the first one, it may cause an immediate decline in viewing figure. But here we go ... Christmas PUNS!!


And a blast from the past - from 2007 here are some cracker "jokes" sent to us by Peter Tisi, friend of the calendar. They really don't make them like this anymore (thankfully).

PS Hello to all of Sarah's colleagues who are now fans of the calendar!

1 December 2015

2nd December 2015

Over 70 views on the first day, thank you very much! We have some goodies coming up this month, including just the thing to make your Carol Service go with a swing, Christmas crafts inspired by TV sitcoms, and possibly the worst Christmas jumper in the world.

We had lots of people tell us what their Advent Calendar was like this year. Andrew & Lynne have put up 24 post-it notes with surprises for each other written on the back (I can't imagine!), Hannah spent 10p on a beautiful Nativity artwork with traditional illustrations behind each door, and Shirley seems to have gone for Playmobil (always a top choice).

If I was going for a toy calendar, it would probably be the 2015 Star Wars pack, which seems to feature Santa AND R2-D2!

And you may not like this one ... it's the limited edition Lakrids calendar, direct from Scandinavia. 24 windows full of ...