Christmas fun, for elves of all ages

John
John Gushue
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You don't have to a kid to enjoy Christmas, but it probably helps. This week, we get in the spirit of the season, with a bunch of websites that adults can enjoy, with their kids in mind.

Portable North Pole

portablenorthpole.sympatico.msn.ca/home

When I get my third e-mail in as many days about Portable North Pole, I realized this MSN-sponsored attraction is a hit this holiday season. Here's how it works. You plug in some key facts (first name, age, etc.) about the munchkin of your choice, add a photo of your like, select some personalizing details, and provide an e-mail address where Santa can send a video message. When I signed up earlier this week, I found the server a bit slow, which led me to think it's become pretty popular. In any event, the message that arrived from Santa electrified our youngster.

You don't have to a kid to enjoy Christmas, but it probably helps. This week, we get in the spirit of the season, with a bunch of websites that adults can enjoy, with their kids in mind.

Portable North Pole

portablenorthpole.sympatico.msn.ca/home

When I get my third e-mail in as many days about Portable North Pole, I realized this MSN-sponsored attraction is a hit this holiday season. Here's how it works. You plug in some key facts (first name, age, etc.) about the munchkin of your choice, add a photo of your like, select some personalizing details, and provide an e-mail address where Santa can send a video message. When I signed up earlier this week, I found the server a bit slow, which led me to think it's become pretty popular. In any event, the message that arrived from Santa electrified our youngster.

White Christmas

gpsinformation.info/main/merryxmas.swf

As sung by the Drifters, and accompanied here by a bit of Flash animation. (You may remember this version of the song as the one that Macaulay Culkin sings along to in Home Alone, shortly before that infamous slap of aftershave on his cheeks.)

Dickens' Christmas

charlesdickenspage.com/christmas.html

Naughty or Nice rating?

www.claus.com/naughtyornice/index.php.htm

Has your munchkin been naughty, or nice? (Honestly ... don't you know by now?) Put a smile on a kid's face with this crowd pleaser.

A Christmas Carol

www.stormfax.com/dickens.htm

We owe a great deal of how we celebrate Christmas to Charles Dickens, whose A Christmas Carol is as popular now as it ever was. The book nailed down many things we enjoy at the season - not the least of which is the food. (Dickens gets a nod for popularizing turkeys, for instance.) The first page has tidbits and facts on Dickens and Christmas, while the second offers the entire (copyright-free) text.

NetFunCards

www.netfuncards.com/christmas-holidays-ecards.html

Yes, sending an electronic card is so, oh, 10 years ago, but it's still a decent way to send a quick note to friends, coworkers and relatives. NetFunCards offers a variety of animated cards; you may find them cheesy, but you may also enjoy the light spirit. A bonus: room to type a decent, personalized message.

Martha Stewart: Holiday

www.marthastewart.com/holiday

Sure, joke if you want about Martha Stewart (it's been a worldwide pastime for many, many years), but you have to hand it to the conglomerate-owning domestic maven: she knows how to throw a winding. And knit a throw, for that matter ... and bake cookies, make crafts, keep the kids busy and turn odds and ends into sparkling decorations.

Holdman Christmas

holdman.com/christmas/video.asp

Richard Holdman makes displays with his Christmas lights that are a little, um, impressive. With tens of thousands of lights, he synchronizes them to tunes like "Carol of the Bells," "Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bells."

Nigella's Christmas Kitchen

www.bbc.co.uk/food/christmas/nigella_index.shtml

One of the bestselling food books this year is Nigella's Christmas, the latest thud-packing hardcover by Nigella Lawson, one of the more prominent of the celebrity chefs. She's actually a really decent cookbook writer, and her shows are usually well produced. Here's the BBC companion to a series she produced on Christmas, well before the book ever came to be; among other things, you'll find some of her holiday recipes.

Non-stop Christmas Music

www.lite969.com/

Thirteen channels of it, in fact. If you'd like a little holiday-themed background music, you won't go wrong here; if the genre doesn't suit your mood, try another.

Giftzip

giftzip.com/

A handy tip for the last-minute shopper: a list of links to numerous online retailers, specifically to gift certificates you can purchase. Dozens of well-known retailers are listed.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: Drifters, BBC

Geographic location: North Pole, St. John's

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