Arts and Entertainment

Old luvvies act with gay abandon  in a classic festive sitcom

Issy, age 11

'All I want for Christmas': Letters from Santa's postbag

From requests for Lego and leg warmers to a popcorn maker and a Puffle, letters to Santa are an art form in themselves. Clare Dwyer Hogg delves into the world of children's wishlists.

Arthur Christmas (U)

Voices of: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Kevin Eldon

Analyse this: Will David Cronenberg get to heart of Sigmund Freud?

Cronenberg is the latest director to give Freud the movie treatment

Just 149 days left to go... Christmas comes early to Harrods

Wizzard once wished it could be Christmas every day. Well this year, half their dream has come true

The Blagger's Guide To...Literary Agents

Wet nurse, guide – or a fox in the henhouse?

Steve Richards: Out of the media limelight, but obsessed with headlines

In some ways the Osborne/Brown technique is highly effective, conferring on elusive public figures a gravitas that ubiquity always undermines

AC Grayling: 'Work was my way of dealing with my sister's murder'

Religious morality cuts across the grain of human nature It tends to ask us to deny things that are natural to us: restraint in sexual matters, fear of the body. In the humanist tradition, the way we think about flourishing lives has to be premised on facts about what it is to be human, rather than needing to pass some kind of purity test for an eternal afterlife. You can be a moral person by simply recognising the responsibility you owe to other people.

Lapland: the far-from-wonderful wonderland

It was supposed to be a fun-filled day out for all the family in the run-up to Christmas.

Wallander's last stand: Katy Guest's essential literary look-ahead

Henning Mankell wraps up the detective's final case, plus new work from Ali Smith, Graham Swift, Joyce Carol Oates and a host of others looks set to make this a thrilling year for readers

Christmas at airport for Europe's stranded travellers

Hundreds of travellers trapped by icy weather spent Christmas Day queuing for flights in Europe on Saturday after sleeping on camp beds overnight in Paris and Brussels airports.

Boris Johnson: 'Heathrow chaos must teach BAA serious lesson'

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said airport operator BAA had "very serious lessons" to learn from the chaos caused at Heathrow by this month's snowfall.

Business Diary: Roubini splashes out on a new pad

Doom pays. Nouriel Roubini, an economist who specialises indismal forecasts about the global financial system, isn't doing too badly himself – and the US housing downturn has done him a favour. Public records reveal he has just splurged $5.5m (£3.5m) on a penthouse in New York's East Village. It sounds like a lot of money, but the purchase price is 25 per cent lower than what Roubini would have had to pay at the peak of the market in September 2008, when the credit crisis intervened – and gave him his opportunity to shine so brightly.

Diary: Thompson extends seasonal goodwill to old pal Murdoch

At this time of year, it behoves us to forego the cynicism and embrace child-like romanticism. So hats off to Mark Thompson for lighting that path with the most touching show of faith since Clarice Starling led a census-taker into the sitting room with a cheery: "Now Hannibal, darling, you will play nice, won't you, while I pop down the offy for a nice bottle of Chianti. I've left the fava beans in the saucepan by the stove to soak."

The Timeline: Saint Nicholas

3rd century: Old Saint Nick

Album: Saint Etienne, A Glimpse of Stocking (Foreign Office)

Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music
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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones