On Christmas 2017, there's plenty of stories and essays around the world to make the occasion—including one about a Canadian man who has kept an unopened mystery gift for nearly half-a-century. "Maybe I don't want to know what's inside it," he says. "It's more exciting right now not opening the thing." Details on that and other holiday themes:
- The unopened gift: A teenage Adrian Pearce of Edmonton got dumped by his girlfriend 47 years ago just before Christmas, and she simultaneously handed him a present. He has yet to unwrap it, even though he puts it out under the tree every year. Or at least he did, until his wife put her foot down. The CBC has the story.
- Old crazes: The New York Times looks back at six toy crazes of years' past, incuding the hula hoop, the Cabbage Patch Kids, and Rubik's Cube, and explores why they fascinated kids and grownups alike.
- Best Christmas song: It's often an annual debate, but Michael Brendan Dougherty thinks he's settled it. "Fairytale of New York" isn't just "the "greatest Christmas song of all time," its poignant, compact lyrics make it a "salve to the soul." He explains in detail at the Week.
- 'Home Alone' twist: At the Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan floats what she admittedly writes is "the most lunatic film interpretation ever" but one that she insists makes the Christmas movie staple Home Alone much better: Kevin McAllister is actually dead the whole time.
- No more George Bailey: The Wall Street Journal looks at how the decline of rural lending typified in It's a Wonderful Life is putting a serious squeeze on small businesses. As banks shutter local branches in far-flung locales, it's becoming more difficult for small-town businesses to survive.
- Returning gifts: For those looking to return gifts that didn't quite cut it, the AP looks at the policies at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. One example notes confusion in regard to Amazon: The site's "policy is generous, but the return policies of third-party sellers on Amazon can vary." The story explains what to look for.
- Alone at Christmas: Those spending a solitary day may not feel so great about that—but only because everybody is telling them how sad their plight is, writes British philosopher Julian Baggini in the Guardian. The problem is we've "pathologized" loneliness. "It’s important to remember that lacking company is not a character fault and does not necessarily lead to misery," writes Baggini. "Being alone may be a problem, but making the lonely feel like sad freaks is an even bigger one."
- A Christmas selfie: Tweeted by first lady Melania Trump.
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