Another Kind Of Advent Calendar 2020: December 2nd

Black and white postcard from 1914 of a small and grumpy tabby cat dressed in a winter coat and muff, pulling a sled piled with presents.
“Honestly, Tabby. I told you we should have taken the bus…”

Welcome to the Another Kind Of Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve, I’ll be posting a little something unexpectedly Christmassy for you in honour of the festive season. It’s been the weirdest year, so let’s have a bit of fun…

After yesterday’s aquatic Christmas tree, hiding behind the second door of the Another Kind Of Advent Calendar is an old festive favourite round these parts…

Yes! The Grumpy Victorian Kittens are back! And this year they’ve been Christmas shopping – although this particular kitty looks quite seriously grumpy about it.

I can relate.

Actually, this one isn’t technically Victorian since this photo was taken in 1914, and she comes from the collection of the New York Public Library, which probably explains a lot – she’s definitely got that New York [c]attitude!

In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen such an exasperated and fed up kitty in a long time (and I once had to give a cat a bath). She quite rightly looks like she wants to escape from this weird human who has put her in these stupid clothes to take stupid photos of her and go home to curl up in front of the fire. I don’t blame her…

If you’re feeling festive, you can find lots more Christmas reading and watching from me here – there are now over a decade’s worth of seasonal posts to explore…

Another Kind Of Advent Calendar 2020: December 1st

Welcome to the Another Kind Of Advent Calendar! Every day for the next twenty four days, I’ll be posting a little something unexpectedly Christmassy for you in honour of the festive season. It’s been the weirdest year, so let’s have a bit of fun…

Behind the first door of our 2020 Advent Calendar is a scene from a 1950s Christmas in Florida. We’ve visited Floridian festivities in previous years, but this time our stopping point is a little more glamorous than simply joining Santa in chilling on the beach (sorry Santa!).

Today we are visiting the Wheat family in Fort Lauderdale – and like Floridians at Christmas generally, they don’t necessarily do things the traditional way. I mean, I don’t know about you, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a floating tree in your swimming pool, is it!?

If you’re feeling festive, you can find lots more Christmas reading and watching from me here – there are now over a decade’s worth of seasonal posts to explore…

Post Early For Christmas: Lockdown Edition

A young woman in WAVE uniform stands in front of many sacks of mail, holding Christmas packages (1944)
New Orleans (1944) – WAVE Ensign Sarah B. Corkern, USNR, on duty at Fleet Post Office, holds two of many Christmas packages destined for US troops serving abroad

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to start December on Another Kind Of Mind by reminding you all to post early for Christmas – and this year, it’s not just me (or Ensign Corkern) who is suggesting this!

With so many of us unable to gather together this Christmas due to COVID restrictions, there will inevitably be more strain on the postal service as we send cards and presents to loved ones we can’t visit – just as during the war years

Christmas is always the busiest time of the year for our posties to begin with, and this year they’ve been working extra hard anyway due to all the online shopping we’ve been doing due to lockdown.

Then there’s the lovely ladies who work behind the counter in my local Post Office – they’ve done a sterling job of looking after the public during both lockdowns here

And on this side of the Atlantic in the 1940s, I was amused to find this wartime newsreel item on the subject of addressing your envelopes properly. This is as important today as it was then

And, as ever, here are the last posting dates for the four countries who visit Another Kind Of Mind most!

The Post Office

USPS

Australia Post

Canada Post

Christmas in Space: The ISS Edition

ISS-38: Astronaut Mike Hopkins on a Christmas Eve Spacewalk (2013)
ISS-38: Astronaut Mike Hopkins on a Christmas Eve Spacewalk (2013)

Imagine Christmas in zero-gravity. Pouring the gravy on your turkey dinner would certainly be a bit of a challenge for a start. I’m not sure how you’d even begin to wrap your pressies up without the sellotape, the wrapping paper and the present floating away. And I don’t think space stations actually have chimneys for Santa to get down anyway, so how would your pressies be delivered in the first place?

There are, however, a small group of quite amazing people who have faced all these things and have actually managed to spend Christmas in space. These fantastic photos (below) of the festive season onboard the International Space Station (ISS), Mir, and Skylab are from the NASA archive, and are a glimpse into what Christmas is like when you’re in earth orbit and very far from home…

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And as a bonus, here’s the famous video of astronaut and social media star Commander Chris Hadfield performing the David Bowie classic ‘Space Oddity’ while actually in space. How rock n roll is that?

For much more Christmas stuff, direct your mouse into orbit here.

Santa Claus, the Pub Crawl

Festive_overspill_at_the_Worlds_End,_Camden_High_Street_NW1_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1617299

Blimey. Not sure I should have had that third helping of sherry trifle – I’m seeing multiple Santas now! This jolly festive overspill was snapped at the famous World’s End pub in Camden, North London in 2009.

This was one of the first images I found while hunting for Christmassy blog post stuff on Wikimedia Commons this year, and I couldn’t resist sharing it. Because, in the end, how many Santas are too many Santas!?

I think there’s no such thing, so many more Santas (both old and new) will be winging their way to you in the run-up to Christmas day – welcome to Santa Week on Another Kind Of Mind!

For lots more Christmas reading (and viewing) from me, click here

 

Bringing in the Mistletoe (1959)

Boys from Trawsfynydd collecting holly and mistletoe to sell (December 1959)

I’ve been seeing a lot of Christmas decorations going up this last week or so (although someone on my street has actually had their tree up since Halloween!). I’m still catching up a bit, I’ve only just dragged my tree out of the cupboard where it lives for the rest of the year – although I have bought some cute new ornaments already and have been wondering where I might get some sprigs of holly to add to the festive wreath I hang on my front door.

These cheerful young lads might have helped me in that last respect. They’re from the Welsh village of Trawsfynydd, and they have been preparing for Christmas in traditional fashion by gathering festive greenery from the local area.

Photographer Geoff Charles has caught these 1950s schoolboys on their way to the market to sell their carefully gathered bundles of holly and mistletoe; green winter treasures that are destined to decorate the houses and cottages of the village for Christmas – and earn these young entrepreneurs a bit of pocket money towards festive expenses too…

The lads in this charming 1959 photograph from the National Library of Wales collection would have had an amazing natural environment to grow up in, and Christmas traditions connected to the landscape like gathering seasonal greenery for the home or for sale would likely have been a longstanding custom repeated by successive generations of kids and adults.

Bringing in the mistletoe and taking it to market was a tradition rich in symbolism elsewhere too, which you can see in these 18th and 19th-century images of mistletoe sellers from France and Switzerland. It is pleasing to report that mistletoe markets remain part of the Christmas season in numerous places to this day.

For lots more Christmas reading (and viewing) from me, click here

 

Playlisting: Hail Santa!

Embed from Getty Images

Christmas is Metal.

No, really. It is. It is known.

You need to trust me on this. It’s true. Christmas goes all the way up to eleven and then some…

Continue reading “Playlisting: Hail Santa!”

Post Early For Christmas… Again!

Christmas_Mail_09343u_original
‘Christmas Mail’ (c. 1910-15)

In recent years, we’ve met the world’s most organised dog, a clumsy wartime comic and some of the people of Christmas, Florida (watch out for more from them soon!), who were all united in explaining how to get your cards, presents and letters to Santa in the post in plenty of time for the festivities.

I’ve been a bit rubbish with my Christmas post this year, but I loved these festive mail-related images. The black and white photographs are all American, probably taken in and around the Washington DC area, and the brightly coloured adverts (below) are from wartime Britain again.

Continue reading “Post Early For Christmas… Again!”