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This week's feature

Xmas Kitsch-fest – part 2

If the subject of Xmas kitsch crops up, sooner or later so will Bridget Jones and that Oh-so-one-of-a-kind sweater. But the Mark Darcy reindeer sweater is no whacky one-off: campy jumpers are all the rage. So for part 2 of the mag Xmas Kitsch (click here if you missed part 1), we take you into the kitschiest homes.

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So come in out of the cold, grab a cup of hot chocolate and settle down with issue 80 for a peek into some seriously decked halls. Once a year you renew those comforting yuletide traditions and root around in the attic for those boxes of Christmas paraphernalia, like:

  1. Amazing Grace Christmas house is the season’s YouTube hit
  2. Xmas candles, lights, and all that’s bright!
  3. 5 accessories for a 25th of December that’s kitsch AND chic
  4. Tom Fletcher, young adult lit author spins some new Christmas yarns
  5. A playlist of kitsch carols and gather-round-the-piano favs
  6. Family photos with a heaping helping of kitsch, please
  7. 3 questions to Lawrence Arcuri, the man behind the digital yule log

Fasten your seatbelts, destination pop culture!

Like Charles W. Howard, attributed, Legendary Locals of Orleans County, New York said:

They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart.

Top 10 cult Xmas jingles, carols, and ditties

Music - December 21, 2016

Oh those by-gone Xmas pasts by the fireside, voices raised in song, holding hands round the tree at grandma and grandpa’s house.

Crooners like Frank Sinatra spun the warm glow while a new generation of stars, like Kelly Clarkson, is busy updating some of those timeless yuletide melodies. From Jingle Bells to Silent Night, this line-up of oldies-but-goodies will warm your heart and send you skipping down memory lane. Here’s our line-up of best-of holiday season covers:

  1. White Christmas – Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, et al
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming Tonight – Bruce Springsteen
  3. Silent Night – Kelly Clarkson
  4. Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
  5. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire ) – Nat King Cole
  6. Winter Wonderland – She&Him
  7. All I want for Christmas Is You – Fifth Harmony
  8. O’ Holy Night – Mariah Carey
  9. Jingle Bells – Lauren Daigle
  10. That’s Christmas Night – Pentatonix

If you have a Deezer account, click here and cue up the playlist on our account.:)

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Artificial Xmas trees: a modern tradition

The infographic - December 21, 2016

During the winter holidays, there is no better way to start a debate then to ask your guests what they think of artificial Christmas trees. There are those in favor and those against, opinions always differ on the matter ! This year we chose to go all out kitsch with the artificial one (but don’t worry next year we will get a good old Normann ;)).

 

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3 questions to Lawrence Arcuri, the man behind the digital yule log

The 3 questions - December 21, 2016

It’s a 50-year-old tradition in The States – Americans plop down on the sofa to watch “The Yule Log, one long stationary camera shot of a fire burning in the hearth, accompanied by a 4-hour soundtrack (no commercials) of Xmas carols & songs. A look back over this odd-ball yuletide tradition with the guy who knows it best, Lawrence Arcuri.

Orange Pop: How did you discover “The Yule Log“?

Lawrence Arcuri: I first saw it in 1972 when my family moved from Ohio to New Jersey. I was fascinated, and watched the whole program that year, and I’ve watched it every year since. I even kept the faith from 1989 to 2001, when the show was cancelled because it brought in no advertising revenue, by playing a VHS cassette recording of it “to keep the flame alive.” Funny thing is, I began a collection of Xmas music because the tape had deteriorated from being played so many times, and when the tape went kaput in 2006, I was able to restitute it thanks to my collection. To celebrate the program’s 50th birthday, I’ve produced a new 5-hour version of The Yule Log. In my own humble way, I feel like the show’s second father, though I’m lightyears behind original creator Fred Thrower, since gone to brighter pastures.

O. Pop: Why do you think The Yule Log has become so popular in the USA?

LA: It all started in New York, where fireplaces are rare. It enabled New Yorkers to cozy up around the hearth they didn’t have. But it caught on nationwide for two reasons. First, the fire is great – a hearty, crackling, perfectly filmed blaze. The second reason is the soundtrack of magnificent Xmastide music. It’s the combination of these two elements that explains its success. A superb fire without the music wouldn’t cut it, as wouldn’t the reverse. But as is, “The Yule Log” is perfection. I watch it like I do films, from beginning to end, and I can sing all the songs, in order.

O. Pop: Why is it so important to broadcast this show every Xmas Eve?

LA: It’s that special moment when you can sit down and take off your shoes. The cars are parked, the cookies baked, gifts bought, and there’s really nothing left to do but relax and soak up the glow and bask in the holiday spirit with your loved ones. That’s what Xmas is all about and that’s what “The Yule Log”’s all about. Modern life is so hectic you have to take the time to slow down and enjoy life. And it’s a moment of delicious anticipation, too. Some claim the best part of Xmas is looking forward to it. It’s the same for “The Yule Log”: many spend the year looking forward to that special moment

lawrence-acuri-feu-cheminee-yulelog

Lawrence Arcuri and his vinyl Xmas music collection © theyulelog.com

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Amazing Grace Christmas house is the season’s YouTube hit

A picture says it all - December 21, 2016

When it comes to the category ‘larger than life,’ Americans are the champs. And that holds just as true for Xmas decorations. Reigning supreme is Richard Holdman, whose home in Pleasant Grove, Utah is better known as the “Amazing Grace Christmas House.” Photos and videos of it have gone viral, thanks to an amazing light show and a choral/dance remix of “Amazing Grace.” Racking up millions of views, Richard Holdman’s creation is proof that deep tradition, techno, and a dash of kitsch works just fine.

But success breeds jealousy, and many a DIY deco enthusiasts are nipping at Holdman’s heels, notably one serious contender in El Paso, Texas where the Great Christmas Light Fight is coming down to the wire. The championships are on and the competition is fierce.

 

ELSEWHERE ON ORANGE POP

A picture says it all: Christmas at the White House – Kitsch with a capital “K”

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Why are family photos such a kitsch-fest?

The killer question - December 21, 2016

One Xmas tradition there’s no getting around is the family photo, and they tend to veer towards high kitsch. The site Awkward Family Photos is all about this thigh-slapping genre.

The site has become a Web fav in no time. It poses the simple question: what is it about Xmas photos that makes them so hilariously kitsch? Families want to save the moment and often pull out all the stops. It’s tough sometimes to strike a natural pose in your Xmas sweater, but hey, it’s for the family so you swallow your pride,” explains Mike Bender – creator of the site Awkward Family Photos – at Rue 89.

It’s actually this combo of awkwardness and over-the-top décor that makes them so campy. One thing’s for sure: the international success of Awkward Family Photos goes to show that stilted family photos are a global thing.

photo-famille-kitsches-awkward-family-photos

You see? Your family’s pics could be worse.;) © awkwardfamilyphotos.com

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Tom Fletcher, the young adult lit author shakes up the list of Xmas classics, sowing mirth worldwide

Who's who - December 21, 2016

Former singer/songwriter for the English group McFly, a band that had a nice run of success, Tom Fletcher was a total novice when he waded into the world of children’s books in 2012. He wrote the best-selling children’s book “The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas” with another McFly alum, his friend Dougie Poynter. The book sold 72,000 copies, combining a funny ginormous dinosaur with a lot of Xmas kitsch.

The two friends did the voiceover for the video and digital versions themselves. It’s a kitschy, fun, fan-fest you don’t want to miss!

They followed up on their phenomenal success with more great tales on the twin theme of thunder lizards and scatology, and in October, Fletcher started writing his first young adult lit title: “The Christmasaurus. It’s the story of the zany adventures of young William Trundle on Xmas Eve. Hot off the presses, the book seems to have already caught Hollywood’s eye. Makes sense: Xmas and dinosaurs are kids’ two favorite things!

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TOP 5 outfits for yuletide chic

Gimme 5 - December 21, 2016

1. The digital Xmas jumper: That sweater grandma knitted you is kitsch alright, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what the brand Digital Dudz has come up with: the cyber yuletide jumper! I kid you not – with a fireplace blaze cozily crackling away on your sweater front, you’ll be a hit around the eggnog bowl.

pull-noel-digital-dudz

Can’t roast chestnuts over this open fire © morphsuits.fr

2. Xmas Present Suit: For those who, tongue-in-cheek, deem themselves God’s gift, get yourself a nice new suit from Shinesty. Beats your father-in-law’s lime-green corduroy 3-piece suit.

costard-noel-paquet-cadeau-costume-kitsch

Surprise! © shinesty.com

3. Shake up your make-up: Make-up artist Nasia Belli’s Instagram account is a treasure trove of ideas for your alternative Xmas and killer kitsch-fests! You’ll be the coolest adult with the youngster set.

maquillage-noel-kitsch-nasia-belli

The decorating doesn’t stop when the tree’s trimmed © Nasia Belli

 

4. The Xmas hat: You can always dress down, then go bananas on the hat. Jeans, T-shirt… and a Xmas turkey on your head or why not throw restraint to the winds with a Xmas jumper hat.

bonnet-noel-kitsch

It’s a twofer © claires.fr

5. Reindeer antlers… for your cat: Our furry friends have as much right as we do to enjoy the holiday spirit. Dress your pet up to the nines and spread that yuletide magic. Rudolph’s antlers transform your cat into the chicest pet in town.

chat-deguisement-noel-kitsch

Meooooow © LolPetShop.com

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The best programs to watch on TV

Stories - December 21, 2016

What can be nicer than watching a good movie at home during Xmas time?

As every year during holidays, TV is switching to Xmas mode. As usual, channels offer special episodes, dedicated TV shows and of course some cult movies like Home alone or It’s a wonderful life that we’ve already seen like a hundred times. But we can’t help watching them again, no matter how kitsch they can be!

This year, there is a wide variety of programs for us to watch. Reality TV offers us special programs, such as Strictly come dancing. The celebrities will dance on classic Xmas movie soundtracks including Frozen or Home Alone on BBC. Moreover, many channels will broadcast special Xmas episodes of Grantchester on ITV or Doctor Who on BBC.

If you’re note a movies or series addict, another must-watch is a documentary about the musical show, West Side Stories on BBC 2. The channel will broadcast the making-of this classic film to celebrate its upcoming 60th anniversary.

So let’s enjoy this time comfortably at home, watching cult movies, in front of some warm chimney fire… #comfy

Check out the trailer of the BBC:

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How can your home become an absolute wonderland for Xmas?

Stories - December 22, 2016

Xmas is coming and you still haven’t had time to make your home a magical place for your guests? Do you want to make every room look as festive as possible? Some very inspired Youtubers can help you achieve this goal!

One of them is Gabriella DeMartino who gives tips and tuts to transform your place for Xmas on her Youtube channel Fancy vlog. Indeed, the Youtuber has redecorated her whole apartment, bathroom included! Shiny little cups, Pink Xmas trees, vintage Xmas cards, some toys, little houses… Nothing has been forgotten to spread the Xmas spirit in every room. The flat looks like an old place from an ancient century. And it’s beautiful J . If you want to transform your home, her videos will inspire you for sure! Besides, Remlife can help you throughout your shopping marathon.

Do you want more Xmas inspiration? Check out the whole tutorial made by Gab:

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Beard lights: the new trend of this season

Stories - December 23, 2016

Do you think that hanging decorations on your Xmas tree is something as traditional as trendy? Well, some people called “Hipsters“, wearing blog glasses, with long hair, checkered shirts and tattoos “ have gone beyond that. Indeed, some of them like to hang garlands and lights… to their beard!

Lighting seems to be the new fashion trend. Indeed, bearded gentlemen could find special decorations at East Village E20’s Christmas market in East London on December 11.

Unconventional as usual, hipsters are certainly able to mix kitsch with their sense of originality. They can use plenty of accessories: bags of glitter, bells, knits and even candies. It proves that, white or not, Beard and Xmas perfectly come together 😉

Besides, some girls have switched to Xmas hair. Yes, girls can be stylish, even with Xmas trees!

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When the Stranger Things universe meets Xmas

Stories - December 26, 2016

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for several weeks, you’ve certainly heard about “Stranger Things”, the new TV show launched in July by Netflix. The show has become a real phenomenon of pop culture, so be sure to be asked for Stranger Things presents for xmas by the youngest members of your family!

One of the main symbols of the show is a Christmas light to communicate with the universe. You’ll find many tuts on the web to learn how to make your own. But if you’re not the best apprentice in town, you can buy one on Etsy to make your wall look the same as in the show.  If you need more and want the whole Stranger Things toolkit, the website Cnet made the perfect gift list based on Stranger Things. And above all, don’t miss these jumpers featuring the best icons of the story!

Last but not least, you can see a really funny mashup, created by Youtube user OnlyLeigh where the Stranger Things universe gets transplanted into the world of… Charlie Brown, and it’s pretty hilarious! Check out this great video right below:

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Holidays + Video Games = perfect memories for all generations!

Stories - December 27, 2016

Xmas is just one of the best moments in the year to spend a good time playing videogames with our family. Who has never enjoyed parties with Mario, Sonic or Zelda with his siblings or cousins all day long (or even more)?

Nowloading, a fanzine dedicated to videogames, has gathered memories from its team about their holidays gaming. They all explain why video games made (and still make) their holidays such a special opportunity to gather around and play for hours with their family and friends. For some of them, gaming means keeping traditions alive, in addition of bringing people together, no matter their age, from the little brother to the 30-year-old cousin. For others, it’s just finding something in common with every person that joined them for Xmas…

Many people love holidays, and even more like video games, so the link between the two is pretty obvious here: a simple, warm and enjoyable time with the ones we love 😀

Check out their stories with this video below:

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See you next week!

To be continued - December 21, 2016

Next week, we’re gonna tell you about the biggest pop culture stories of the year!

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