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There's a word that has become shorthand for 'the war on Christmas' with a side of 'political correctness gone mad': Winterval.
It began in November 1998. Newspapers furiously accused Birmingham City Council of renaming Christmas when it ran festive events under the name 'Winterval'. The council's then-head of events Mike Chubb explains the true meaning of Winterval.
READ ALL ABOUT IT:
- Politico: a short history of the War on Christmas.
- Time: a brief history of the War on Christmas.
- Salon: the right-wing invented the War on Christmas - and Christmas has always been commercial.
- A quick rundown of Christians banning Christmas.
- Kevin Arscott is the Winterval historian: his book, The Winterval Myth: A Festive Tale of Bad Journalism documents all the instances of Winterval being misreported. Here's the TL;DR version in the Guardian; here's the Daily Mail's apology in 2011.
- The excellent Oliver Burkeman says political correctness works. Here he is refuting Christmas controversies such as Winterval in 2006, and the War on Christmas in 2012.
- One casualty of the war on the War on Christmas - anyone need a lift to the airport?
- The Massachusetts Bay Colony vs Christmas.
- Oliver Cromwell vs Christmas, especially those pesky carols.
- The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving vs Christmas.
- Did King Herod really order the execution of all those baby boys?
- Was Jesus really born on 25 December? No, probably not.
- Did the Ancient Romans invent Christmas?
- Ten countries that banned Christmas.
- Waterford's annual Winterval is going strong.
- As is Distresstivus in Florida.
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/winterval.
WINTERVAL GIFTS GALORE FROM TODAY'S SPONSORS:
1. OXFORD GAMES are offering you 15% off any of their games - shop at oxfordgames.co.uk and use the code ALL15 at checkout. If you're in America, there's a special shipping option for you so you can get stuff mailed from Oxford Games's warehouse in the US rather than all the way from the UK.
2. POO-POURRI is the before-you-go toilet spray that obliterates the pong of poo. Particularly useful if you have a houseful of people over Winterval and they're eating a lot. Shop at poopourri.com and use the code WORDS at checkout for a 20% discount on your order.
3. BOMBAS spent years perfecting their socks so they are extra-comfortable and durable. They'll also donate a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair you buy. Get 20% any order of four or more pairs at bombas.com.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Mike Chubb runs the Ideas Factory events company. Hire him at theideasfactory.biz.
- The music is by Martin Austwick; I particularly like the versions of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and 'Little Drummer Boy' you can hear in the show.
- This episode was produced by me, with Cheeka Eyers and Devon Taylor.
- Find me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow or twitter.com/helenzaltzman.