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

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
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Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas