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

How to get the look: Brocade

Fancy pants!

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.

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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine