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Christmas

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It’s the season for giving gifts - but in a market economy, it’s easy to lose sight of what it means to give a gift. Ben Watkin/Flickr

In a gift economy, what makes a Christmas gift good?

This time every year we feverishly try to find just the right gift for everyone on our list. Merchants seizing upon the frenzy promise more and more for less and less, seeking to awaken desires we did…
Large numbers of people who do not normally attend church still go there to celebrate Christmas. ManImMac

The church has left Christmas Day to the heathen … maybe

In my home city of Melbourne, an extraordinary cultural and religious drama is played out on Christmas Eve each year at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets. Thousands of people mill around…
50 Shades? How dare you! Olesya Feketa/Shutterstock

What the books you receive this Christmas say about you

Christmas is a time to give generously and receive graciously. And yet… And yet. Many of us have opened Christmas presents and thought: what does it say about me that you thought this – this! – was the…
Getting excited!! Christmas by Shutterstock

Seven ways that chemistry puts the magic into Christmas

From the enticing aroma of the turkey in the oven to the “whoosh’” of the flames as the brandy-soaked pudding comes alight, Christmas is a wonderful time for the senses. But have you ever considered the…
The ugly sisters have long been a staple. mangakamaidenphotography

Is panto what it was when you were a child? Oh, no it isn’t!

Now the pantomime season is well and truly underway, many will have heard a familiar complaint. It’s newfangled, it’s not what it was. What happened to the good old days, when panto didn’t involve 3D glasses…
Much has changed over the past 60 years – including how gay and lesbian Australia celebrates Christmas. Hotlanta Voyeur

Families we choose: an Australian gay and lesbian Christmas

I used to live in Brisbane, where, year after year on the afternoon of Christmas Day, a group of older gay men I knew would meet up in a pub. Spending some of the holiday season catching up with friends…
Fancy something a bit different this year? Caroline Yeldham, courtesy of the Leeds International Medieval Congress

What would you have eaten for Christmas in medieval times?

With Christmas almost upon us, there will be plenty of frenzied present shopping and meal planning. Haven’t made that Christmas cake yet? Fear not. If you were preparing the festive meal 600 years ago…
Put down the laptop and feel the cheer. Mike McCune

How mindfulness could give you the gift of a calmer Christmas

In the run-up to Christmas we find our to-do lists bloated with added chores: present shopping, card writing, preparing to travel or receive guests. We are bombarded with adverts telling us what to buy…
Welcome to the party: a time for giving. Frank Tasche

Priceless: the inefficient, but merry economics of Christmas

Fingers crossed, we are soon to be inundated with Christmas joy disguised as presents from our family and friends. I received my first card more than a week ago and a present – now sitting under the tree…
During post-war British rationing, Australians ensured the tradition of Christmas puddings survived. Victor Bayon

How Christmas pudding evolved with Australia

In a current TV advertisement for supermarket chain Aldi, a young traveller returns to his northern hemisphere village and shares his newfound knowledge of the Aussie Christmas. The villagers begrudgingly…
We know that social isolation can thrive in the suburbs - so how can we better plan our cities? Scorpions and Centaurs/Flickr

Lonely over Christmas: a snapshot of social isolation in the suburbs

Social isolation and loneliness are becoming common in our large cities. Our cities are sprawling, housing is becoming more unaffordable, people are travelling further and longer in their cars and household…
Do online shop staff do online shopping while at work in their online shopping warehouse? Jakub Kaczmarczyk/EPA

Shopping online at work? Feel free to blame your boss

On Friday we witnessed images reminiscent of the London Riots from a few years ago. People with a crazed look in their eyes descended on shopping malls to plunder their contents. They fought with others…

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