Sunday, 23 December 2007

Mousetrap - 130

Santa’s back
A quick reminder of this site, which I’ve mentioned every year. It’s run by the combined USA-Canada NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). And it ‘tracks’ Santa’s travels. You go read about why the military wound up running a kiddie service for more than half a century. And let the kids enjoy the rest of the site.

Happy Holidays
In a world where business and friendships cross borders, time zones and continents, it can be difficult to remember or keep track of regional differences for small things like public and bank holidays in different locations. Each of these sites has a slightly different way to help you do just that.
time and date calendar — No-nonsense national calendars
Earth Calendar — Lets you find holidays by date in different countries and for different religions.
The Q++ Holidays Portal — Run by a diary publisher, this one has month-by-month listings that show which countries have a holiday on a certain day, country-by-country listings if you want to check on a particular country, and a set of religious calendars, including ‘Chinese (both lunar and solar), Coptic, Christian, Hindu (both lunar and solar), Jewish/Hebrew, Muslim/Islamic/Hijra and Orthodox.’ Note that some of the info is available only under license.
GTS World Holiday Calendar — A daily list (with an RSS feed you can subscribe to), country-by-country search, and one that you can export to a calendar app on your PC.
Country Reports’ World Holiday Calendar — Pretty much the easiest to use, with the whole month displayed, with days marked with holidays and the country or countries that that observe them. Unfortunately, this one’s woefully incomplete. — Self explanatory name, no? The current year’s holidays can be viewed free. Others need a paid subscription.
Phew. That was a lot of work. Now I need a holiday. Or maybe Editor Sahib will send me a nice present, you think?

What the Dickens
Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The full text, as it was originally published, with reproductions of the illustration plates as well. Great holiday reading for you and the kids, if you haven’t read it before. ‘And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!’

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 23rd December 2007.

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