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.

Christmas films: the quiz

It's nearly Christmas, and there's nothing better to get you in the mood than snuggling up to a festive film.

Guitar trio: (from left) Gordon Skene, Scott Hutchison, and Billy Kennedy of Frightened Rabbit on stage this year
Google is marking Christmas on its page

Christmas 2013: Google brings festive cheers to its page

Those wacky folks at Google have got festive today, adorning the top of their page with a snowy woodland cartoon.

Miley Cyrus' new video for 'Adore You' drops on Thursday and, if the teaser is anything to go by, it's as controversial as ever

Miley Cyrus: 'Adore You' teaser video clip posted on Instagram

The pop star is back on usual controversial form in her latest music video

Phil Jones is enjoying his current role under David Moyes at Manchester United

Phil Jones: There is now an understanding between David Moyes and the Manchester United team

Defender claims the side are now gelling under the new manager

Michael Caine stars in the Muppet’s take on Dickens’ tale, 'A Christmas Carol'. Keeping the morals of the original story the Muppet’s add a touch of light-hearted frivolity to an enjoyable family film.

The best films to watch on TV this Christmas

For those who couldn't bear another run of Love Actually...

Vernon Philander opted to block for the draw

South Africa booed after stalling in record run chase

South Africa passed up the opportunity to set a world-record fourth-innings run chase in an anticlimatic end to the thrilling first Test against India in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Feast day: Christmas tea for a family in 1919. Menus change, but not the spirit

Christmas should be as much about the elderly as it is the young

Making time for our elders at Christmas makes the season more meaningful for all invoved

Harriet Walker: Christmas is as close to crawling back into the womb as we’re likely to get

I love Christmas but don’t worry, I’m not going to proselytise about it. I won’t pretend it’s any more than an excuse for gluttony and for corporations to sell people tat they don’t need. I go into the festive period with my eyes open, thanks very much, and I’m more fascinated than I am fanatical. But I do love it.

Batten down the hatches – its Defcon Crimbo

Here comes the Christmas juggernaut. Batten down the hatches. Raise the mistletoe. Double the electricity bill on exterior festive lighting. I'm very bah humbug regarding Christmas whereas Stacey is full steam ahead – Defcon Crimbo.

Michael and Martin Gray have had their picture taken together with Father Christmas annually for 30 years

Two brothers get photo taken with Santa every Christmas for 30 years

Michael and Martin have had their picture taken with Father Christmas every year since 1980, now they are getting their children in on the act

Light snow covered areas of Cumbria and Northumberland earlier this week

UK weather: Bookies slash odds of white Christmas

At least one bookmaker has halved the odds of a white Christmas in just 24 hours as forecasters predict cold could turn rain to snow

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Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
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Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
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sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
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The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
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Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
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Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
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BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
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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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Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little