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Germany Cake
Summary: Giant Stollen cake taken to historic Christmas market
Story No: 587963
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/06/2008 02:32 PM


1. Tilt down from Hofkirche church to band playing, men holding sign reading (German) "Dresden Stollen Festival"

2. Various of bands playing in festival

3. Wagon carrying giant Christmas "Stollen" cake arriving

4. Wide of wagon

5. Children looking on

6. Band playing, tilt up to church dome

7. Onlookers

8. Tilt down of Christmas tree

9. Wagon carrying "Stollen" cake arriving

10. Onlookers

11. Baker cutting first piece from giant cake

12. Wide of "Stollen" maid and royal master baker in front of giant cake

13. SOUNDBITE (German) Walther Saeurich, Royal master baker:

"The Stollen is 1.65 meter wide, 85 centimetres high and 4.20 metres long. It weighs about 3.5 tons, perhaps up to 200 kilograms more, it is hard to estimate."

14. Wide of Christmas market, people buying cake

15. People buying cake

16. Pan of people eating cake

17. SOUNDBITE (German) Vox Pop, Eva Jirginiva from the Czech Republic:

"It tastes very good, excellent, wonderful."

18. Close up of Christmas cake

19. SOUNDBITE (German) Vox Pop, Thomas Messner from Austria:

"It is delicious, really good. We come from Austria and celebrate the Stollen festival here for the first time and we are very excited."

20. Wide of market


The German city of Dresden celebrated the start of the Christmas season on Saturday by parading a giant stollen through the streets of the baroque old town.

Stollen is a bread-like cake traditionally made in Germany and usually eaten during the Christmas season.

Dresden's giant stollen ceremony is now a famous feature of the Christmas market which takes place in the city every year.

The cake weighed in at around 3,500 kilos (7,716 pounds) and measuring 4.20 metres (13.7 feet) in length and 1.65 metres (5.4 feet) in width.

Each successive year, more and more trade guilds, associations or crafts enterprises participate in the festival, and it has gradually become a platform for Saxon handicraft.

So far more than 700-thousand guests from all over the world have been attracted by the festivities.

On Saturday crowds of people gathered in the old town of Dresden, to get a taste of it.

The cutting of the cake is traditional, and the first cut is always made by the Royal Master Baker and the Stollen Maiden.

They use a 1.20 metre (3.9 feet) long silver-plated Dresden Stollen Knife for the first cut.

Then, the giant cake is cut into pieces and sold to the visitors.

More than 80 bakers and pastry chefs of the Trade Protection Society of Dresden Stollen participated in the process of baking.

Among many other ingredients, about 1,500 kilos (3.306 pounds) of flour, 2.5 million seedless sultanas, 455 kilos (1,003 pounds) of sugar, and 44 litres (9.6 gallons) of Jamaican rum were used to make the giant stollen.

Keyword wacky bizarre

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Subjects: Christmas, Baking, Fairs and festivals, Holidays, Occasions, Lifestyle, Cooking, Food and drink, Recreation and leisure
Locations: Dresden, Saxony, Germany
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(HZ) Thailand Golf Tree
Summary: Christmas tree made from thousands of golf balls
Story No: 547094
Source: AP Television News
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/14/2007 05:55 AM


Bangkok - December 13, 2007

1. Wide shot of the Golf ball Christmas Tree while some of the hotel staff decorate it

2. Close up shot of a staff member gluing a golf ball

3. Close up shot of hands while gluing a golf ball

4. Close up shot of a golf ball attached to the Christmas tree

5. Top wide shot of the golf ball Christmas Tree while the hotel staff are decorating it

6. Various close up shot of hotel staff member attaches golf ball

7. Close up shot of a girl looking at the golf ball Christmas tree

8. Wide shot of the other staff member trying to put more decorations on the Christmas tree

9. Close up shot of golf balls which properly attached to the tree

10. Top wide shot of the complete golf ball Christmas tree

11. SOUNDBITE : (English) Sanjog Modgil, Executive Assistant Manager of Amari Atrium Hotel.

"The reason why we chose that it because we want to promote Thailand as a golfing paradise in Asia as the same time we want to also make sure that after the tree is finished we want to give every balls to underprivileged children with some sticks to promote golf."

12. Various close up shot of the golf ball Christmas tree

13. Wide shot of complete golf ball Christmas tree


A hotel in Bangkok has unveiled a unique Christmas tree to celebrate the festive season.

The tree is 5.4 metres (17. 7 feet) high and 2.8 metres (9 feet) wide, and mainly made from thousands of golf balls.

19,888 golf balls to be precise.

It took a team of 10 hotel staff members 14 hours to place all the golf balls in position.

Sanjog Modgil, Executive Assistant Manager of Amari Atrium Hotel says the tree will promote Thailand as a golfing location and afterwards the balls will given to needy children.

The Christmas tree will be at the Amari Atrium Hotel, Bangkok until 26 December 2007.

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Christmas, Holidays, Hotel operators, Occasions, Lifestyle, Hospitality and leisure industry, Consumer services, Consumer products and services, Industries, Business
Locations: Thailand, Bangkok, Southeast Asia, Asia
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SNTV Bizarre Pudding
Summary: The 27th Great Christmas Pudding Race held in central London
Story No: S01723
Source: SNTV
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/18/2007 03:15 PM

SNTV Features

London's busy Covent Garden shopping centre was treated to a touch of extra colour and excitement on Saturday ( December 8).

The 27th Great Christmas Pudding race saw around 140 contestants take on an obstacle course, whilst carrying a Christmas pudding on a paper plate.


The 27th Great Christmas Pudding Race was held in central London on Saturday (December 8).

The charity event has taken place in Covent Garden every December since 1980.

Teams represent their schools, universities, companies or other organisations.

Stephen Melzack, one of the event's organisers, explained why the event was held in Covent Garden.

SOUNDBITE: (English)

"Here because we started when Covent Garden market started, thought it would be a good idea and it would build up hopefully to being a big London tourist attraction - lots of publicity, lots of people and the television as well so you can't go wrong."

SUPER CAPTION: Stephen Melzack, co-chairman Great Christmas Pudding Race

Covent Garden Piazza swelled with spectators as 23 teams, each with six participants donned fancy dress and raced around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles - all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate.

This year the festive mayhem focused on raising money for childhood cancers.

As usual, Covent Garden was full of its regular street entertainers who were putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event.

All in all, the perfect way to break up a day of Christmas shopping in Covent Garden's collection of stylish stores.

The winning team was Ernst & Young and the winning fancy dress team was BPP College of Professional Studies.

SHOTLIST: Covent Garden, London, December 8, 2007

1. 00.00 Establisher of Covent Garden street sign

2. 00.04 Pan of Christmas puddings

3. 00.09 Various of competitors before start

4. 00.24 Cutaway spectators

5. 00.28 SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen Melzack, co-chairman Great Christmas Pudding Race

6. 00.41 Woman impersonating Queen of England inaugurates race by cutting ribbon

7. 00.52 Start of race

8. 01.08 Competitors go over inflatable slide

9. 01.21 Various of race

10. 01.31 Competitor negotiates inflatable wall

11. 01.42 Competitor drops pudding at bottom of slide

12. 02.02 Winning team receive trophy from man and woman impersonation Queen and David Beckham

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Christmas, Holidays, Occasions, Lifestyle
Locations: London, England, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Europe
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Peru Guinea Pig
Summary: Regional government promotes low-cost alternative to Xmas turkey
Story No: 589003
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/15/2008 10:41 PM


1. Wide of several guinea pigs in a cage

2. Mid of guinea pigs in cage

3. Close-up of guinea pigs eating leaves

4. Mid of guinea pigs in cage

5. Wide of cooks presenting their typical dishes made from guinea pigs

6. Various of cooked guinea pigs

7. Mid of cooks showing the guinea pig dishes

8. Pull out of a guinea pig dressed up as Santa Claus

9. Mid of cooks holding a guinea pig dressed up as Santa Claus

10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Mario Sanguinity, Coordinator of Special Projects of the Regional Government of Callao:

"We have here dishes that are different from the traditional Christmas dish, where pork and turkey are usually used. Here we are using guinea pigs."

(Q: What is the purpose of this?)

"Well, these are typical dishes, not only in Peru but also in Chalacos (Callao). We have the Chalaco guinea pig, the cajatambino guinea pig, the guinea pig with peanuts, baked guinea pig and a wide variety of traditional dishes, we are simply changing the pork or turkey, for guinea pig."

11. Mid of dishes that have been prepared using guinea pig

12. Close up of a baked guinea pig head

13. Mid of trays with guinea pigs and the names of each dish

14. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Silvia Carazas, Callao resident:

"This is great for change because we always have the traditional meat, which is turkey or pork, so in order to add some variety, this animal that has a very nutritious meat, rich in protein and cholesterol free."

15. Pull out of a woman holding a Guinea pig dressed as Santa Claus

16. Wide of cooks showing their guinea pig dishes


Officials in the coastal Peruvian province of Callao on Monday hailed the guinea pigs as a low-cost, low-fat alternative to a traditional turkey or roast pork Christmas dinner.

Guinea pigs can feed seven or eight for just over three US dollars, Callao official Mario Sanguinity said.

The presentation included a live guinea pig dressed as Santa Claus and eight of its comrades laid out fried, broiled and roasted in traditional dishes from different regions of Peru.

Callao resident Silvia Carazas said she plans to make the switch to guinea pig at Christmas as it's "rich in protein and cholesterol free."

The tiny cuts of white meat are often compared to rabbit and dark chicken.

Called "cuy" in Peru, guinea pig is a stable source of income for farmers and holds an elevated place in Andean folklore.

A painting of the Last Supper hanging in the principal cathedral of the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco depicts Christ and the 12 disciples dining on guinea pig.

Keyword animals wacky

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Subjects: Pig farming, Christmas, Local governments, Livestock farming, Agriculture, Industries, Business, Holidays, Occasions, Lifestyle, Government and politics
Locations: Lima, Provincia de Lima, Peru
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(HZ) France Christmas Deserts
Summary: Christmas tradition of 13 desserts
Story No: 586927
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/01/2008 05:37 AM


Aix en Provence, 18 November 2008

1. Various of market with Mireille Fouque doing shopping

2. Street view Aix en Provence

3. Mireille Fouque buying Christmas cake

4. Various Mireille Fouque buying Calissons

5. SOUNDBITE: (French) Clotilde Maltese, Biscuit Maker:

"They are made with a melon confit which we crush with almonds, we can add other fruits as well but the base is one third melons, one third almonds, and one third of sugar. Then we shape them with this machine, at the bottom we place a sheet of starch paper, we can then pick them out and cook them in the oven."

6. Mireille Fouque in kitchen

7. Close up fire

8. Mireille Fouque cooking and saying

UPSOUND: Mireille (French) "In Provence what we call 'the night of Christmas' Christmas is the evening of 24th December, called the Calenda Eve, which comes from the word 'calendar'."

9. Mireille Fouque putting food onto a plate

UPSOUND: Mireille (French) "A bit of cod, especially with this juice, the red snapper , voil�."

10. Close up finished dish

12. SOUNDBITE: (French) Mireille Fouque , Association for Provencal Christmas Traditions:

"Christmas eve is for us the most important evening of the year, with extremely important rituals.

13. Cathie Duchene setting the table

UPSOUND: (French) Cathie Duchene "The first table cloth corresponds to Jesus, the second to Mary, the third to Joseph."

14. Cathie puts nativity statues 'Santons' on the table

15. SOUNDBITE: (French) Mireille Fouque, Association for Provencal Christmas Traditions:

"Every dessert has a meaning. For a start there are 13 as Jesus and the 12 apostles. Every dessert belongs to a group. The first is the 'mandians' representing the dresses of the different orders like Franciscans and other orders.

16. Wide of Cathie putting dates on the table

17. Various of the dessert table: dates, calissons; hazelnuts, nuts, fruits. Dates again. Gibassier. Candy fruits. Nougat.

18. Close up figs

19. Close up walnuts

20. Biscuits and nuts on plates on table

21. Close up nougat

22. Cathie lighting the candles UPSOUND: (French) Cathie Duchene

"We have the thirteen desserts, we can light the last candle."

23. Wide market scene in Aix en Provence

24. Mid shot market stall

25. SOUNDBITE: (French) Voxpop - no name given: "Dates...I don't know"

26. SOUNDBITE: (French) Voxpop - no name given: "Nougat, Fougasse (a type of bread), the Yule Log...No?"

27. SOUNDBITE: (French) Voxpops - no names given: "Calissons d'Aix (an almond sweet), figs, nuts, oranges, mandarins... that's it, sorry!"

28. SOUNDBITE: (French) Voxpop - no name given: "I give you the complete list: raisins, almonds, hazelnuts, calissons, figs, dried almond cakes...and then... how many did I say?"

29. Close up fire

30. Close up cake

31. Close up sweets

32. Close up chocolates and nougat

33. Mireille and Cathie at table UPSOUND: (French) Mireille: "With the 13 desserts we have to drink 'Figoun' which is mulled wine."

34. Cathie drinking


Few nations are as serious about their food as the French.

So Christmas dinner in France is bound to be a culinary delight regardless of taste or budget.

There isn't a set Christmas dish in France. Regional traditions dictate the menu.

But in Aix en Provence the Christmas Eve's meal is an inalterable and respected institution - a feast where 13 desserts are served.


The city of Aix en Provence, in southern France is getting ready for Christmas.

And so is Mireille Fouque.

As a member of the Association for Provencal Christmas Traditions, she's charged with ensuring that centuries old regional practices are maintained and passed on to younger generations each Christmas.

Today Mireille is shopping at Aix market for the "Table des 13 desserts" - which in effect is Christmas pudding 13 times over.

Dessert is serious business in Aix. As Christmas drawers closer, shoppers will have access to a separate covered market area that specialises solely in ingredients for the 13 desserts.

13 represents the number of people at the last supper - Jesus Christ and his 12 Disciples. The table is decorated with three candles representing the Holy Trinity.

The thirteen desserts can vary slightly depending on region, but are generally a mix of fruits, nuts and sweet delicacies that are laid out on the Christmas table as carefully as the Nativity scene.

Each sweet has a meaning:

Black nougat made with honey and almonds symbolises evil.

White nougat made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and almonds symbolises good.

Dried figs, almonds, hazelnuts and raisins (dried grapes) represent four religious orders of monks - Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelite Nuns and Augustinians.

Dates are all important - they symbolise the safe journey of Mary and Jesus from the East.

Other desserts vary depending on the region. They include oranges, clementines, apples, pears grapes, quince paste, melon, Calissons d'Aix (almond-paste pastry with icing) and oil cake called Fougasse or Pompe � l'huile (made with Orange Flower Water and Olive Oil).

In Aix, the 'Calisson' is a must-have among the 13.

Mireille gets hers fresh from the local patisserie.

The owner explains they are made with a mix of melon, crushed almonds, and sugar.

Back at her home in Aix, Mireille is preparing a typical Christmas dish - red snapper and cod in saffron sauce.

She explains that Christmas Eve in Provence is when the main Christmas feast is eaten.

The table is set with three immaculate table cloths. Cathie, Mireille's daughter in law explains that they symbolise Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The family enjoys a meal of vegetables and fish - meat is forbidden at Christmas Eve.

Then after 13 glorious desserts comes the 'Figoun' - a mulled wine representing Christ.

For Mireille, the ritual is as important as the taste of the cuisine.

One thing for certain is that the people of Aix will eat well this Christmas. What's not so sure is whether they'll get it all in the right order.

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Christmas, Holidays, Holiday shopping, Occasions, Lifestyle, Shopping, Holiday shopping
Locations: Aix-en-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
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UK Pudding Race
Summary: Edit :Teams compete in a Christmas pudding race
Story No: 588072
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/08/2008 01:40 AM
People: Queen Elizabeth II


1. Wide of contestants doing group warm-up

2. Queen Elizabeth II lookalike cutting ribbon

3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Louise Selman, Area Volunteer Manager, Cancer Research UK:

"It's really just complete pandemonium, we're teams of six running around various obstacles in fancy dress holding Christmas puddings."

4. Pan of Christmas puddings

5. Various of race

6. Contestant running to finish line


Competitors in fancy dress took part in the 28th annual Great Christmas Pudding Race on Saturday in London to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Queen Elizabeth II lookalike Mary Reynolds cut the ribbon to open the event.

People dressed as reindeer, pigs, penguins and puddings were among 18 teams who navigated their way around an obstacle course in Covent Garden, whilst carrying Christmas puddings and being pelted with foam, flour and water.

To date, the Great Christmas Pudding Race has raised more than 890 thousand pounds sterling (1.3 (m) US dollars) for Cancer Research UK.

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Medical research, Health
People: Queen Elizabeth II
Locations: London, England, United Kingdom
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US Pets
Summary: White House holiday video of Bush's dogs
Story No: 469244
Source: POOL
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/07/2005 04:18 PM
People: Dick Cheney, George Bush


1. US president and his dogs in Oval office (UPSOUND: (English) US President George W. Bush: "What is it we have here?")

2. Medium shot of dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, at the Oval Office

3. UPSOUND: (English) US President George W. Bush

"Now Miss Beazley, I understand you have been a media hound."

4. Close-up of Miss Beazley

5. UPSOUND: (English) US President George W. Bush

"Well perhaps this is a case of sibling rivalry. Both of you are an important part of our family and you have to remember the true meaning of a holiday season. Now you two run on, I've got a lot of work to do."

6. Various shots of Barney and Miss Beazley running around the White House

7. Computer screen with "pup poll" headline

8. UPSOUND: (English) Lynne Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife

"The numbers are way down but don't worry about it. Remember polls are just a snap shot in time, that's right. And besides look, Miss Beazley's numbers are way up."

9. Various shots of Barney with Miss Beazley's Christmas presents

10. UPSOUND: (English) Laura Bush, US First Lady

"Miss Beazley, where are all of your presents? I know I put them under the tree earlier. Who would have moved them, Barney?"

11. UPSOUND: (English) Laura Bush, US First Lady

"Barney and Beazley, I am really happy to see you have got into the holiday spirit. These are very thoughtful gifts for each other. I'm glad that you are thankful for the holidays. President Bush and I wish everyone a very happy holiday."

12. "The End" on White House holiday greetings card, hands turn page


The White House released its most recent holiday video on Wednesday, starring Barney and Miss Beazley, the 'First Pets'.

US President George W Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, have taken part in this year's festive production to coincide with the Christmas season.

This year's edition of the annual affair from the"Barney Cam" focuses on Barney's jealousy of Miss Beazley.

Both Barney and Miss Beazley are Scottish terrier dogs.

In one part of the video, Lynne Cheney talks to Barney about recent "pup poll" ratings, showing declining poll rates for Barney and increasing popularity rates for Miss Beazley.

With Wednesday's release, Barney has now starred in a White House video for the fifth straight year, while for Miss Beazley, this year marks her debut.


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Subjects: Pets, Lifestyle
People: Dick Cheney, George Bush
Locations: District of Columbia
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(HZ) Finland Santa
Summary: Santa Claus meets visiting children while he prepares for Christmas day.
Story No: 547532
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/18/2007 04:12 AM


Rovaniemi, Finland - 13 December, 2007

1. Various exteriors of Santa's Village

2. Mid of child sledging

3. Wide of Santa's home

4. Close of sign reading Santa Claus

5. Various of Santa surrounded by children

6. Close of Santa

7. Close of children

8. Mid of woman holding child

9. Wide of Santa singing with children

10. Close of child singing

11. Pan of Santa

12. Close of present

13. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"As Christmas gets closer there is the weather, we have to look, you know, long distance and plan according to the weather. Which route to take with Rudolph."

14. Close of Santa reading letters

15. Various exteriors of post office

16. Wide of interior of post office

17. Mid of elf working

18. Close of letters being stamped

19. Close of stamps on letters

20. Various of elves sorting letters

21. Various close of letters

22. Tilt up from sack full of letters to Christmas tree

23. SOUNDBITE: (English) Maria Elf

"Last year Santa received 750,000 letters, and this year we already have got about 300,000, and it's coming every day more and more."

24. Various close of letters without stamps or address

25. SOUNDBITE: (English) Maria Elf

"Of course I have here some letters, as you see we have letters that come here even if the don't have any stamp, or even if they have like this 'Santa Lapland'."

26. Various of letters on table

27. Close of sack

28. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"When its written on the paper it last a hundred years, at least even more. And then of course kids do a lot of drawings, lots of beautiful pictures and drawings. They put their photographs in there, it's really good, it's really very nice reading."

29. Tilt up from Santa's feet

30. Various of Santa

31. SOUNDBITE: (English) Bobby

"Santa brings all the presents, and who's been bad then they can't get any presents."

32. Various of Santa meeting children

33. SOUNDBITE: (English) Denise

"A Nintendo DS."

34. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"Getting ready for christmas is something very special because, I think one thing is, you make a present for somebody and there is a lot of thoughts and warm feelings."

35. Close of table with presents

36. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"It's funny, Rudolph, as Christmas gets closer, he gets very anxious, you know. He goes and he organises the other reindeer, because he really likes it, it's an important job of course."

37. Various of Santa

38. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"Because it is an ongoing process, the elves are making the toys and sorting out the letters, because a lot of the letters come even after Christmas, because people send them a few days just before."

39. Close of fireplace

40. SOUNDBITE: (English) Santa Claus/ Father Christmas

"I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year."


Christmas is coming and things are getting busy at Santa Claus' village just within the arctic circle in Finnish Lapland.

Santa's post office has received already more than 300,000 letters this year.

It is expected that in total he will receive over 750,000 letters from children all around the world, according to the elves.

And children who have been lucky enough to make the journey to his home in Lapland, have the chance to meet Santa Claus himself.


Santa Claus' village at the Arctic Circle in Lapland is an especially busy place in the days and weeks before Christmas.

Children play in the snow, whilst inside his home Santa meets dozens of visitors each day.

Santa says that as Christmas day gets closer he and Rudolph, the reindeer, start planning the route they will take to deliver all the presents.

They don't follow a certain route each year, as their journey will depend on the weather.

Ever wondered with happens to all the Christmas letters sent to Santa Claus at the North Pole from all around the world?

Many actually end up in Santa's mailbag after arriving at his post office in the Santa Claus village.

Before they are delivered to Santa's office they arrive here at the post office on the Arctic Circle, which is run by a team of international elves.

They are sorted by country and then passed on to Santa Claus himself.

Last year Santa Claus received over 750,000 letters, and already this year more than 300, 000 children's letters have arrived.

Inside the post office elves are frantically helping Santa to read all the letters.

Some arrive with brightly coloured designs and unusual requests.

Letters arrive from around 196 different countries.

One of the elves lending Santa a hand is Maria Elf.

She says last year Santa Claus received 750,000 letters.

Even letters without a stamp, which are addressed vaguely with something like 'Santa Claus, North Pole', often end up here.

Santa says he prefers hand written letters because children often draw beautiful pictures for him.

One of the children visiting Santa is Bobby from Ireland.

He says children who misbehave receive no presents from Santa.

Whereas Denise is hoping to receive a Nintendo DS video game from Santa.

Yet for Santa it's the giving of the presents that is very important.

He says preparing a present for someone gives you a special feeling.

Santa says as Christmas gets closer, Rudolph begins to organise the other reindeer for the long journey on Christmas eve.

For Santa preparing for Christmas is an ongoing process.

He says many letters arrive just before Christmas, while the elves are finishing making the toys.

Since 1985 Santa Claus has received 11.1 (m) million letters from 194 countries.

In Spring 2006 Santa Claus replied to about 47-thousand letters in eight different languages: English, Italian, Polish, Finnish, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

About one in ten children who wrote letters got a reply - if they gave their full address and wrote a proper letter rather than just a Christmas present list.

Whether he is called Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Joulupukki in Finnish or Babbo Natale in Italian, many people across the world believe that the mysterious old man in the red suit brings the spirit of Christmas alive for children.

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Postal service, Video games, Shipping, Transportation and shipping, Industrial products and services, Industries, Business, Games, Recreation and leisure, Lifestyle
Locations: Rovaniemi, Lapponia, Finland
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(HZ) UK Victorian Christmas
Summary: Victorian style Christmas celebrated in stately home
Story No: 589348
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Date: 12/20/2008 06:04 AM
People: Prince Albert


AP Television

Uppark House, Petersfield West Sussex, 9th December 2008

1. Wide shot of Uppark House.

2. Mid of a lady in Victorian costume arranging a stand of holly inside the house

3. Mid of decorated Christmas tree with the presents

4. Close-up of a slice of dried orange and a bunch of cinnamon tied with brown string. Zoom out to show more of tree with other bunches of orange and cinnamon with some battery operated candles and white decorative strings.

5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sarah Stevens, Uppark House Manager:

"What we're doing is showing the below stairs, the servants areas, so they're very much part of what's going on for Christmas but they're actually working through the Christmas period. But they're the ones that are going to be doing all the preparation, getting everything ready for the family who will then be entertaining and enjoying Christmas. But equally the servants will be, but in a much more simple way."

6. A lady in Victorian costume puts a pudding onto the Welsh Dresser and walks away to the right.

7. Mid shot of an old copy of the Times newspaper.

8. The lady in the Victorian costume walks in from the right and tidies the Welsh Dresser.

9. Close of the china tea service on the kitchen table. Pull back to show big fan napkin, and the edge of a platter of food on the table. UPSOUND (English) Sarah Stevens, Uppark House Manager

"This was the only room that was actually damaged in the fire"

10. Mid of table with platter, which is a salad in the centre of the table surrounded by cups and saucers and plain brown Christmas crackers decorated with the orange and cinnamon seen on the tree.

11. A close-up of a hand stirring the mincemeat with a wooden spoon.

UPSOUND (English) "It's pretty concrete like actually. It wasn't this bad when I put it together on Friday night."

12. A tray of mince pies is placed on the table.

13. Close of the branch of a Christmas tree decorated in red balls in front of a knife-polishing machine.

14. Copper pots in the scullery.

15. A shot of the carefully folded napkins

16. Neat piles of candles and candlesticks in the candle room on top of a wooden dresser.

17. Zoom out from crest of dolls house to reveal whole house

18. Various close shots of dolls and rooms in dolls house

19. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sarah Stevens, Uppark House Manager:

"The dolls house, it dates from around 1730, so it is of a very similar time and style as this house. So it is very much a representation of the house although it's not Uppark itself. It's not based on this house. You have at the bottom the servants rooms; they obviously have the lower ceilings and that's where all the work is being carried out. Then on the next floor you have the taller ceilings, much grander rooms with paintings on the walls, and even so far as the service for tea is made out of silver which would have been very similar to what you would have had here in the house itself."

20. Close of the front door of the dolls house with a scale-sized tree either side.

21. Close of the housekeeper doll with a china tea service and tiny decorated Christmas tree and some presents at the base of the tree.

22. Close up of the mini-presents showing the detail of the workmanship, including a name and address.


Christmas is coming and people across the world are decorating their homes.

In the UK, one country mansion is looking to the past for inspiration.

Uppark House on the South Downs in Southern England, is re-creating a traditional Victorian Christmas both in the main house and in the servants quarters.


Uppark House is a time capsule of early Victoriana.

The English Baroque-style stately home boasts an elegant Georgian interior which has been richly decorated for Christmas.

Uppark House is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.

House manager Sarah Stevens explains that they have re-created a Victorian Christmas both upstairs in the main house and 'below stairs' in the servants quarters where all the work to keep the house running takes place.

In the servants quarters, Christmas was a simple affair in the Victorian era.

Brown paper wrapped presents wait under the tree which was decorated with dried orange and cinnamon, inexpensive items available to the housekeeper.

Glass baubles would have been the preserve of the rich, and only used upstairs.

'Below stairs', the housekeeper was the boss and responsible for the smooth running of Christmas.

The Uppark kitchen is the centre of activity, with food grown locally and prepared on demand.

Even servants' table is laid for Christmas dinner with the best china and neatly folded napkins.

With no electricity, and gas only in the cities, candles were the main source of light, even on the Christmas tree.

Even the house's famous mid-eighteenth century dolls house is decorated in Victorian style with the tiny housekeepers' rooms decorated for Christmas with simple trees and tiny presents.

Stevens says the style of the dolls house reflects that of the main building.

It was during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) that many English Christmas customs first became widespread especially the practice of decorating a fir tree in the home.

Queen Victoria's German born husband Prince Albert's popularised the German custom of Christmas trees in England.

The royal family had a Christmas tree at Windsor every year after the couple's marriage in 1840.

Keyword wacky

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Subjects: Christmas, Home decor, Holiday decorating, Holidays, Christianity, Occasions, Lifestyle, Home and garden, Holiday decorating, Religion, Social affairs
People: Prince Albert
Locations: United Kingdom, England, Western Europe, Europe
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