December 21, 2015
The big music news this shopping season is that "Wonderful Christmastime," the cover of Paul McCartney's insipid holiday hit by indie-rock band the Shins, has surpassed Mariah Carey's superior 1994 perennial "All I Want for Christmas is You" as the most-played song in retail outlets in the run-up to Christmas Day. That's according to PlayNetwork, a service that helps retail brands maintain an endless holly-jolly loop allegedly conducive to making...
December 20, 2015 |
After a brief flirtation with normality during the weekend, the weather in Christmas week evidently is going to feel a lot like Easter. White Christmas? Santa's sleigh had better have wheels. Forecasters say the highs Christmas Eve should reach the mid- to upper 60s, about normal for the latter half of April. In the meantime, an impressive streak is about to end. Saturday will be the first day of below-normal temperatures in 24 days. Through Thursday, official temperatures in Philadelphia were running almost 12 degrees above normal this month, which almost certainly will become the warmest December on record.
December 13, 2015 |
Most folks would view this astonishing run of record warmth as an early Christmas present from nature. Steve Cannon isn't one of them. He is the guest services manager at the Jack Frost-Big Boulder ski resort, where only one of 35 trails is open this weekend and where it's been too warm to even make snow on many nights. "I've been here 13 years, and this is the craziest start to a ski season," he said Friday. Naturally, Poconos ski operators would prefer people in the Philadelphia region to be thinking snow.
December 7, 2015 |
Fashion has invited embroidered navies, twinkling turquoises, sequined fuchsias, and austere aubergines to its annual red-and-green Christmas party this year. So instead of the usual warm glow, the vibe this holiday season is more icy chic. And this cooler-hued mood will likely spill onto the 2016 red carpets, from the Academy Awards to the Academy Ball. "I've been selling lots of magentas, blues, and purples," said David Schwartz, co-owner of the time-honored Center City women's special-occasion boutique Sophy Curson.
December 21, 2014 |
The question is a December evergreen: Are we going to have a White Christmas? The answer this year, is almost certainly no - the same answer as in most years. So why does the question keep popping up every Christmas season with the regularity of bad holiday music? Around here and for an overwhelming majority of the nation's population - not to mention Bethlehem, in the Holy Land - snow at Christmas is decidedly the exception. Only seven times in the last 56 years has an inch or more of snow been on the ground officially in Philly on Dec. 25, most emphatically in 1966, when a foot fell from a storm that continued into the early-morning hours.
December 1, 2014 |
A cookie roof, sweet-and-sour candy shingles, pretzel doors and chimneys, and snowdrifts of frosting. It's not a holiday fantasy - it's the recipe for a real, live gingerbread-house workshop in Chestnut Hill. Bredenbeck's Bakery at 8126 Germantown Ave. is hosting its third annual season of classes, teaching the art of making gingerbread houses. The tradition began in Norway for Christmas and Easter and was brought to America by immigrant bakers. "There's no wrong way to decorate a gingerbread house, and any age can do it, so it's great for families," says Bredenbeck's owner and operator, Karen Boyd Rohde of Fort Washington.
December 7, 2013 |
When Welsh singer Judith Owen moved to Los Angeles with her husband, comic actor and radio host Harry Shearer, in the 1990s, she found she wasn't so fond of sunny southern California during the holiday season. "I was feeling quite depressed because it all looked so lovely and I couldn't actually cope with Christmas in a hot, beautiful place," Owen says. She and Shearer are on a transatlantic conversation on her iPad from their home in London. "It made me feel terrible, and yearn to be somewhere that's dark and miserable.
December 26, 2012
Christmas is the only religious holiday officially recognized by the U.S. government. Federal employees get the day off, or are compensated extra for having to work. Does that make America a Christian nation? Not really. Sure, 78 percent of Americans describe themselves as Christians, but many don't attend church regularly or read a Bible. Then there's the nearly 5 percent of Americans who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or another religion; the 4 percent who are atheist or agnostic; and the 12 percent described by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life as "nothing in particular.
December 19, 2012 |
WITH DEC. 25 a week away, it's time to ask: Any shot at a White Christmas? The answer for Pennsylvania, according to weather.com, seems to be: Yes, no, and maybe. And even that may be optimistic. According to the website's White Christmas map, snow is "likely" early next week in the western half of the state, "possible" along a band from Harrisburg to Scranton, and "not likely" in Philadelphia, its immediate suburbs, New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Maryland. But even in Pittsburgh and State College, there's no more than a 20 percent chance of snow on Christmas or the day before, according to weather.com's own extended forecasts.
December 18, 2012 |
With Dec. 25 a week and a day away, it's time to ask: Any shot at a White Christmas? For Pennsylvania, Weather.com's answer seems to be: Yes, No, and Maybe. And even that may be optimistic. According to the website's White Christmas map, snow is "Likely" early next week in the western half of the state, "Possible" along a band from Harrisburg to Scranton, and "Not Likely" in Philadelphia, its immediate suburbs, New Jersey, Delaware and Eastern Maryland. But even in Pittsburgh and State College, there's no more than a 20 percent chance of snow on Christmas or the day before, according to Weather.com's own extended forecasts.