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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.
2018 update: There’s a Winterval-themed riff on the Christmas sweater available at theallusionist.org/merch, for all your multidenominational festivewear needs.
READ ALL ABOUT IT:
Politico: a short history of the War on Christmas.
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.
The Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving vs Christmas.
Did King Herod really order the execution of all those baby boys?
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.