NORAD Santa Tracker

If you fancy a more high-tech approach to your Christmas Eve, once again NORAD is tracking Santa.

Most of the time, the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) watches the skies and keeps its airspace safe, but since 1955, the organisation has also set time aside to help children track Santa’s progress around the world.

The NORAD Track Santa website holds hours of fun for children, including Christmas Calendar games, Santa’s Village, and even a virtual theatre and music hall.

On Christmas Eve itself, you can track Santa across the world, watching him deliver presents to children everywhere.

Take a look at the NORAD Track Santa site here and tell us if you’ll be checking in.

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Friday Five: Christmas Songs

It’s Christmas! Nearly.

As this is the last Friday Five before Christmas, what better way than to sing your heart out to some timeless classics?

Here’s our festive playlist:

1. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
A latter-day Christmas classic, Mariah’s tune is still a staple of karaoke bars all around.

2. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
Combining a serious message with an amazingly Eighties production, the original Band Aid is still the best.

3. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty McColl
A folk-infused subversive spin on the Christmas song, complete with swearing and romance.

4. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
One of the first ‘properly’ Christmas singles, capturing the innocence of the festive period and boasts an adorable children’s choir.

5. Last Christmas – Wham!
A melancholy but catchy tune, this remains one of Wham’s biggest hits.

Let us know your favourite Christmas songs and keep up with our advent calendar here.

Got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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A gingerbread bank

As the Great British Bake Off has shown us, impressive structures can be made from gingerbread.

But how about a full-size, functioning bank branch, complete with ATMs?

Built in Philadelphia, the bank uses an incredible 5,000 pounds of gingerbread to promote PNC’s annual Christmas Price Index.
After six months of planning and development, the gingerbread bank took only four days to build – but sadly, to make it weatherproof, the gingerbread was rendered inedible.

Read more about the fun idea here and let us know if you’d like to see gingerbread banks where you live.

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Cadbury’s advent calendar truck

Cadbury have created a ‘remarkable advent calendar’, touring the UK with 24 branded trucks that recreate the countdown to Christmas.

If you’re lucky enough to have seen one already, the chocolate brand’s trucks have been visiting different towns and cities throughout December, bringing sweet treats to locals.

With the help of social media, the location of each day’s truck is announced a few hours before its arrival, helping to build excitement.

Watch the video below for more and keep an eye out in your area…

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Friday Five: Best Christmas ads of all time

Friday Five: Best Christmas ads of all time As everyone gets into the festive spirit, Christmas is the perfect time for brands to create memorable ads.

Here are our all-time favourite Christmas ads – and it’s a nostalgia fest:

1. Coca-Cola: Holidays are coming (1995) – As it’s the ad’s 20th anniversary, it’s only right to showcase the spot that lets everyone around the world know that Christmas is coming.

2. Yellow Pages: Mistletoe (1992) – This sentimental classic is famous for its adorable child characters, capturing the innocence of the festive season.

3. John Lewis: Snowpeople in love (2012) – Since 2007, John Lewis has taken the UK by storm with its annual Christmas ads. This heart-warming journey of a snowman in love saw John Lewis reap record profits.

4. Sainsbury’s: Christmas is for sharing (2014) – An emotional (and controversial) ad which became a talking point last Christmas.

5. Toys R Us – Magical place (1989) – With a classic jingle, this old-school ad is still very much in the hearts of Eighties and Nineties kids everywhere.

Tell us which Christmas ad is your all-time favourite – or what else should appear on our list?

Got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Selfridges’ cosmic Christmas window display

Have you seen Selfridges’ cosmic Christmas window display?

Every year, the biggest and the best department stores around the world compete for the most creative Christmas window, and this year is certainly no different.

Selfridges has teamed up with SFX company Artem to create a breathtaking mechanical sculpture of the solar system.

The 2.8m gold and chrome model has been built to mimic the rotation of the planets, moving every day and night up until the New Year.

With the installation only taking eight weeks, Selfridges has put together a clever time lapse film revealing each stage of the stunning window display, from design to completion. 

Watch the video below and tell us what you think of the display.

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Max out your Christmas with IKEA

IKEA’s new interactive ad lets you select how festive a family really gets over the Christmas season.

‘Max Out Your Christmas’ gives you the chance to experience three very different kinds of family festive fun – you can change the atmosphere at any time by simply clicking the control panel in the centre of the video.

From a calm and intimate family affair to outrageous Christmas jumpers, fake snow, and even a choir, the contrasts aren’t exactly subtle, with ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ acting as a background to the whole ad.

Take a look at the ad below and tell us how festive you’re going to be this year.

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