Voices

On a recent trip to Paris, I noticed that the French are really quite tardy about taking down their Christmas decorations. I can't speak for the private homes of individuals, but in the streets, there they were, twinkling on against January's grey skies.

Avoid online shopping and sales - get to the Christmas markets

In a world dominated by tax avoiding shopping behemoths and faceless super chains, it’s nice to experience some interaction with stall owners

John Lewis finds its Faith after social media appeal for five-year-old bauble breaker

Little girl had written a letter with £2 attached saying ‘I’m sorry I broke a Christmas bauble on Saturday’

Asda gives working mums 'nativity leave' to see children in plays

With tea towels draped precariously over wise men’s heads, fidgeting shepherds and an audience of overanxious, camera-phone-toting parents willing their offspring not to fluff their lines, the annual nativity play has become a deeply loved and emotional Christmas tradition.

Ice hockey fans throw 25,921 teddy bears onto the ice in bizarre scenes in Calgary

The toys will be distributed to charities and children in hospital

Deals of the week - European city breaks, Christmas in the Cotswolds, New Year in New York

Under £200... European city breaks by train

Cresta has a range of deals on January city breaks to Europe. Examples include Paris, where three nights at the Hotel Jardins de Montmartre from 13 January is £175pp; or Bruges, where the Ibis Brugge Centrum from 17 January is £169pp. Both include breakfast and Eurostar. crestaholidays.co.uk

Waitrose to sell sweeter 'child-friendly' Brussels sprouts for Christmas

Children often reject the festive staple because of its perceived bitter taste

Cyber Monday: The 10 worst Christmas gift ideas for your girlfriend

Online retailers are bracing themselves for what could be the busiest, and most profitable day, for Internet shopping in history.

<b>5. Carluccios Beuno Festa</b> This is the first year Carluccio’s has produced an advent calendar and it was worth the wait. Besides the beautiful packaging, inspired by the colours of Bologna, each window reveals high-quality, foil wrapped chocolate in the shape of fruit, animal or something Christmassy. At 250g, there’s no skimping either. £10.95, www.carluccios.com

Rejoice, the Christmas chocolate calendar is upon us

People, I think it’s time we took a long hard look at this tradition, and ourselves

Timmy Murphy

Timmy Murphy and Dominic Elsworth face hearing over Newbury scrap

Tinie Tempah was one of the celebrity names at Newbury yesterday, jockeys' temper one of the talking points. An incident in which Timmy Murphy was injured after coming to blows with fellow-rider Dominic Elsworth on Friday is to be investigated by the British Horseracing Horseracing Authority, with a hearing scheduled for Thursday. The men could face charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.

The Christmas party season is extending into January

Businesses choose to come late to the (Christmas) party

December is typically when staff enjoy a cocktail of office Christmas parties, festive team lunches and client drinks, followed in the New Year by vows of abstinence and resolutions to hit the gym. The calorie counting may have to be delayed this year, however, due to a rise in companies holding their annual celebrations in January.

How to get the look: Brocade

Fancy pants!

This is your elephant name

In light of our Christmas appeal this year, we thought we'd help you find your elephant name. Elephants are more like humans than you might think. They can be gay, are left or right-handed, work as a society and even grieve like us.

PS4 goes on sale in the UK as Sony disables online features

Sony's rival to the Xbox One has now launched worldwide; the two titans of home gaming will now go head-to-head over Christmas

JD Sports shares jump on better-than-expected sales

An upturn in the fortunes of outdoor clothing brands Millets and Blacks helped owner JD Sports deliver a well-received trading update today.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone