SMC Express Christmas Edition 2021

Happy Christmas from the SMC Express production team! We hope you all enjoy the festive features that follow!

Christmas Movies

Top Alternative Christmas Films Pg 4 - 9

Home Alone Review Pg 10

Christmas Food

The Best Christmas Dinner Pg 11 - 14

The Best Christmas Sweet Box Pg 15

Christmas Culture

When is the Best Time to Start Playing Christmas songs? Pg 16

Board Games for Christmas Pg 17

Santa Claus is Real Pg 18

How Different Cultures Celebrate Christmas Pg 19

Eco-Friendly Christmas Pg 20

Top alternative Christmas films to watch over the holidays

By Robert Wallace

When it comes to Christmas movies people always go to the “classics”. These are usually movies such as: The Grinch, A Christmas Carol, Polar Express, etc. But I am here today to offer you an alternative list of movies to watch this holiday season that vary from cheesy family films to creature feature, home-invasion horror and provide a good watch for the Christmas season.

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins is a film that has been enjoyed for years by many people. It follows a boy named Billy after he gets a strange pet from his father for Christmas with three very specific instructions. After he fails to follow those instructions, chaos ensues. The acting comes across as on the nose, but it works for the film being a corny 80s film. The practical effects are great for the time and they help sell the gremlins themselves, especially Gizmo, the central gremlin of the movie. The characters are lovable, and the plot is light–hearted fun. It has a little something for everyone.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

There is such a vast variety of Christmas movies that are brought up and enjoyed around Christmas time by people all over the world, but I consider the best to be The Nightmare Before Christmas. This is one of my favourite movies ever, it always gets me in the Christmas spirit. The movie is set in this incredible world based on the poem by Tim Burton, the plot is incredibly character driven and we see such diverse and fleshed out characters that really connect with each other and the audience.

We see our main character, Jack Skellington, getting bored of his life in Halloween-town and soon finds a portal to another land, this place is known as Christmas-town. He is quickly enticed by this town and finally finds what he feels he was missing; he then thinks he should introduce Christmas to the rest of Halloween-town but then it goes askew, chaos ensues and it ends with Jack returning Christmas to its rightful place and knowing that even though he enjoyed Christmas he knows that if he continues doing this he will be the reason that so many people do not get to experience the joy he feels from Christmas.

This story is told through a beautiful stop motion with an amazing soundtrack with classic songs such as “This is Halloween” or “What's this?”. In short, this is a timeless story that will be enjoyed every year at this time by many.

Krampus (2015)

Krampus is a horror film about the Austro-Bavarian legend of the same name. It follows a dysfunctional family after fighting over the days leading up to Christmas, causing Max Engel to lose faith in the Holiday season and summon Krampus. They then have to survive his onslaught and live through the night against all of his minions, monsters and the other denizens of the night. It is a mix of comedy and horror that I feel can blur the line at some points, getting lost in one side and forgetting the other, but the film manages to retain it well and keep focus. Another great thing about this movie is how it sets up all of the monsters and creatures including Krampus himself. They are foreshadowed and hinted at before they show up and I think they did this nicely. This all blends in to a film which I think gives a good watch for the holidays and can definitely entertain you over the holidays, as long as you don't take it too seriously.

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas is often regarded as one of the first slasher films ever made and while it was received with mixed reviews on release, it has since been praised by critics and fans alike for what it does in comparison to other slashers. It follows a group of sorority sisters who have to survive a Christmas with an unseen killer stalking them. The killer uses a phone to communicate and threaten the cast while they pick them off one by one which provides for some tension filled moments and one of the earliest uses of the “the call is coming from inside the house” moments although it wasn’t the first. Some areas of the film may be lacking but if there's one thing that this film got right, it was the kills. The budget of this film was 620,000 dollars and it made 4.1 million back at the box office. This was enough to spark a sequel/remake in 2006, and then another remake in 2019, but it's best you avoid the 2019 film and stick to the first two. Overall, Black Christmas is a timeless classic that not too many people watch these days, though it provides a great watch for the Christmas season.

Home Alone

By Conor McCarthy

Home alone is a classic film that every child has watched at one time in their life. It's a young child's worst nightmare to be left at home whilst your family goes on holidays and 8-year-old Kevin is forgotten when his family is in a rush to leave for their holiday in France.

After realizing he’s been left behind, he is happy to finally be in charge and not to be bossed around by his mam or dad. He is fine for a few days at home, doing what he pleases, leaving the house in a total mess as any normal 8-year-old would, eating without restriction and watching what he wants regardless of age rating.

Later in the movie he realizes he’s in trouble as he has some visitors. Thieves attempt to break into the house as they had been scoping it out waiting for the family to leave for their holiday. He realizes he has to protect the house and fend for himself.

Home alone is a brilliant movie and a Christmas classic that you should consider watching with your family at Christmas time. It being 31 years old doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the movie. My personal favorite moment in the movie is when Kevin hits Harry Lyme (one of the burglars) with paint cans. It’s a classic moment in the movie and has been recreated but never matched in future films. This film is a real gem and a true favorite of mine. I give it a 9/10 rating.

The Best Christmas Dinner

By Seán Kinehan and Conor Mulcahy


Seán’s Starter:

I personally would keep the Christmas starter nice and simple. Soup is always a good start to any meal. So, for Christmas dinner you should have some homemade vegetable soup. Whilst your soup is cooking a bit of fruit such as melon will please your visitors while they are waiting. Melon is a pleasant fruit everyone will appreciate over a Christmas dinner. Christmas Day tends to be a bitter and frosty winter day so the pleasant hot soup will warm them up.

Conor’s Starter:

I think prawn cocktail is a good starter for Christmas dinner. I think it’s still fairly simple, but it isn’t something you’d have every week so it’s still nice for Christmas. It’s nice and light so you aren’t full going for dinner.

Main Course

Seán’s Main Course:

The main course is the most significant part of any meal. So, it's crucial when cooking a main course that is impressive as this will be how the meal will be remembered. So, when meal that everyone has been looking forward to for a whole year. It is extremely essential and most furthermore I stress how important it is to make this meal spectacular.

The Christmas main course in my opinion should be kept traditional and simple. Some turkey and ham should be present on the dinner table and should be joined with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and gravy. Brussel sprouts are not necessary as I feel they’ve no place on a Christmas dinner table. Two types of potatoes should be made. Warm crispy roast potatoes as well as some mashed potato which will later be saturated with some delightful gravy. Carrots and cabbage should be kept aside with gravy poured over potatoes. Turkey and ham should also be kept aside.

Conor’s Main Course:

I keep it simple, like esteemed football player Callum ‘the dragon’, for my main course, apart from one thing I love Brussel sprouts. However, I think the most important part of Christmas dinner is gravy. I couldn’t imagine having it without gravy, it just wouldn’t be right. Plain stuffing is all that is nice, none of these raisins and you must have mash. Yorkshire puddings are also nice but they’re not a must have like turkey or gravy. Speaking of turkey, it’s something you only have at Christmas, but you’re rewarding for waiting the year for it. It must be juicy though, there’s nothing worse than getting all excited only to find dry turkey. You also need ham to complete the dinner. You must have carrots and roast potatoes too, but it’s not something you’d complain about if it was forgotten. So, my perfect Christmas main course is turkey, ham, mash, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, stuffing, loads of gravy and, of course Brussels sprouts.


Seán’s Dessert:

For me dessert is the part of the meal that everyone loves. The dessert does not need to be complicated for it to please your audience. The dessert in my opinion should be a simple jelly or preferably trifle with ice cream. The cold ice cream always goes down nicely after a heavy Christmas meal and the trifle compliments it perfectly.

Conor’s Dessert:

The best dessert for Christmas is definitely jelly and ice cream. After you’ve filled up on 2 or 3 plates of dinner the last thing you want is a filling cake or trifle. It’s a great way to cap off a great Christmas dinner and it never disappoints.

Best Christmas Sweet Box

By Cian Kelly

There is a long-time debate about which is the best Christmas sweet box on the market. The main four in this debate are Celebrations, Heroes, Quality streets and Roses. There is such a vast variety of sweets in these boxes which have many different name brands, such as Heroes having sweets like Twirl or Crunchie or Wispa, Celebrations have Maltesers or Bounties and many more. There are good sweets and bad sweets in all the boxes, and everyone has a different opinion on which is the best. Personally, my favourite would be Celebrations just because they have so many sweets that I really enjoy, the second on my list is Heroes, again because they have so many of the most popular chocolate bars, then it would have to be Roses because it has some nice sweets, but it is just not my top sweet box. Finally, it would be Quality streets, this is last on my list just because it does not really have any sweets that I really enjoy like the other boxes do. We also have collected data from around the school from the first-year classes and some teachers, data collected from 56 students and teachers. We have found that Celebrations were the most popular with 32 votes for first place, coming in second was 28 votes for Heroes and then Quality streets got 4 votes and then finally roses got 3 votes.

When is an appropriate time to play Christmas music?

By Jack Norris

Today I am going to be settling this worldwide debate for good: when is it appropriate to start playing Christmas music? Is it November first? Late December? Or anywhere in-between? Most people will agree it is simply not okay to play Christmas songs on November 1st, Halloween has just ended and people still have their Halloween decorations up. It is also just too early; Christmas is over 40 days away and people would still be playing Mariah Carey? Many trusted newspapers such as The Independent and The Telegraph have wrote articles discussing the idea of potentially banning Christmas advertising as a whole until December first.

Then you have the opposite, playing Christmas songs too late into the festive season. It might not be too common but there's a few people that believe Christmas songs shouldn't be played until mid-December and that’s way too late! That gives us no time at all to settle into the festive mood that Christmas brings.

I believe the perfect time to start playing Christmas music is when The Late Late Toy Show starts, this show, I believe marks the start of the Christmas season as many families try to have their Christmas trees up by the time the event is on. This show is also loved by children around the country and makes them realize what they can get and start thinking about the presents they want to ask for. With most families having their decorations up and children waiting in anticipation for what Santa will bring them, I believe late November is the perfect time to start listening to your favorite Christmas tunes.

Board Games for Christmas

By Ríon O'Neill

Board games traditionally are always more common in the festive season, I’m sure many people can recount a game of monopoly, scrabble or cards played on Christmas day. This season, I felt was a great time to talk about these classic games which people have such fond memories of.

When you think about board games, your first thought may be of Monopoly, the board game which is arguably the most famous. Christmas is a time when people often socialize most with many family members with everyone meeting together, so this is when Monopoly is at its best and the big group experience can be at its whole. Another board game fully experienced with a large group is Cluedo. I feel that Cluedo is one of the best games for the season because it is collaborative and requires the cooperation of all players, making it an experience which feels shared by everyone.

Lastly, my personal favorite group board game to play is Uno. The more players participating in Uno, the more dynamic the game mechanics become and creating a more strategic game. This makes it what I believe to be the best game for a big group of people. These are my choices for the best Christmas board games

Santa Claus Is Real

By Lee Burke

Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and Saint Nicholas is a man who is known for delivering presents across the globe to every child on his list. Many people are convinced that Santa is not real, but I am here today to prove to you that Father Christmas is very real.

One point that many people have is that it is impossible for one man to travel across the entire world in one night, not to mention he eats cookies, drinks milk, fills the stockings and delivers presents. I have watched a video which I have linked and credited that proves that it is possible, and that Santa is a genius in disguise. Santa must go to 132 million homes worldwide during Christmas, with only 42 hours a night Santa must stop at 1178 homes every second, that means he has a fraction of a second to climb down the chimney, fill the stockings eat the biscuits and climb back up the chimney. That sounds impossible but it isn’t for Santa because he is a master of science.

Now I will explain how this is done, the journey is 24,860 miles and to do this near impossible feat he would need to be going 7800 times the speed of sound but that’s impossible so Santa creates rips in time and space, this would give him months to deliver presents while only a few minutes would seem to pass for us, thankfully we leave out biscuits for him on his long journey.

Furthermore, there is the massive toy sack which people would wonder how he could stay in the air with so many presents. Now if every good kid gets a toy weighing two pounds Santa's sleigh would weigh over 660 million pounds heavier than 1400 statues of Liberty. The only way he could fly with that weight is because his sack is a toy maker. His toy maker could transform chimney soot and other carbon into gifts.

Another point is his lists, you must be thinking how one person can know what every single child on the planet is doing to make sure they are being nice and that they are not being naughty, what he does is he runs a naughty nice algorithm with more computing power than Google. That is why he lives in the north pole. He lives there so he can keep all his servers cool.

Now that I am done explaining the science of how he could exist, now I will show you factual evidence that he is real. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. He became known as the protector of children and sailors and was associated with gift-giving. He is also known as Nicholas of Myra or Nicholas of Bari. The way he became a saint is remarkably interesting. One day, he came across a woman with a withered hand. Stopping, he approached her, laid his hand on her, prayed to God, and made the sign of the cross. The hand miraculously became whole. This was the earliest miracle that has been attributed to Saint Nicholas.

The Origins and Culture of Christmas

By Nate Rivers

Christmas is a holiday celebrated by billions worldwide with families across the globe coming together. It is an integral part of the Winter season, so it is important to know where the roots of this tradition originated from.

The first known time Jesus’s birth was referred to as being on December twenty-fifth was in the fourth century by the Romans whereas the history of Santa Claus stems back to 280 A.D. with him originally being referred to as St. Nicholas. Legends say that St. Nicholas gave away all his wealth to travel the countryside and helped the poor and sick with one of his most famous stories being when he saved three girls from slavery.

He was also made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. When the respect of saints was in a decline, St. Nicholas kept a positive reputation due to his care for others. He is regarded as the protector of many types of people, from prisoners to orphans to sailors. In the Middle Ages, devotion to St. Nicholas from people in all parts of Europe was prevalent.

Although little is known about St. Nicholas’s life, his kindness and generosity has shown to have an expanding positive effect across millennia. The name Santa Claus originated from his Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas which is an abbreviation for Sint Nikolaas. This name along with Saint Nicholas’s reputation was the basis for the legend he has grown to be with pieces of media such as the 1823 poem ‘’A Visit from St. Nicholas’’ developing the idea of him climbing down chimneys and Coca-Cola popularizing his red clothes being part of the creation for the Santa we know today.

Christmas is celebrated across the world with many traditions in our culture such as Santa, carols, presents and mistletoe. However, not all cultures celebrate the occasion in the same ways, Christmas is prominent in over 160 countries so variation in the event has developed overtime.

Examples of this are India using a mango tree for their Christmas trees instead of the traditional evergreen tree, or how people in Australia use decorations like seashells for their trees due to the weather being warm in the Winter for them. Christmas is a relatively new tradition in Japan so people in the country commonly get KFC or go to a restaurant instead of cooking themselves.

Another country which uses different decorations for their trees is Ukraine, they wrap their trees in webs due to an old legend about a spider coming to a poor family’s house and turning his webs into gold. In Serbia, two Sundays before Christmas, children tie up their parents and their parents must offer them presents as a ransom to set them free. There are many differences in Christmas tradition in different countries but one aspect of Christmas present in all cultures is the sharing of the event with others because Christmas to many, is all about coming together

Eco-friendly Christmas

By Rory Moloney

This article will examine how we can all have a Greener Christmas. One way we can do this is to reduce food waste. On Christmas day, families tend to get a lot more food than necessary and a lot of food goes to waste because of this. So, when buying food for Christmas this year, be mindful of how much you are going to use and what will be left over and thrown out.

Another way in which we could make our Christmas greener is using an alternative to coal. Coal is one of the most used fossil fuels in homes across the globe. I know some families will want to use coal in fires at Christmas but there are alternatives such as loose anthracite, phurnacite and supertherm. These are all products that you can use to have a smokeless fire which will reduce the amount of carbon emissions and then in turn reducing the contribution to global warming

The last way in which we can make our Christmas eco-friendlier is recycling our wrapping paper, lots of us forget that we must recycle it. The main waste from Christmas is wrapping paper. Only some wrapping paper can be recycled so make sure when buying it that you look out for brands of wrapping paper that can be recycled so you are not wasting tons of wrapping paper this year.

These are some of the many ways we can become eco-friendlier this Christmas.

Editing done by Robert Wallace, Ríon O'Neill and Cian Kelly.


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