The silliest Christmas stories of the season! A collection of festive tales that are sure to make you chuckle
19:58 GMT, 23 December 2012
22:43 GMT, 23 December 2012
By now many of us will have eaten too many mince pies, maybe hit the sherry a little bit hard and probably had at least one argument with a relative or an over-excited child in the grips of sugar delirium.
But this compilation of quirky and heartwarming seasonal stories will hopefully put a smile back on your face and take away some of the strain of the festive season.
A smashing Christmas! Photographer uses high speed camera to capture festive baubles exploding
While most people are carefully hanging up their Christmas decorations, Alan Sailer is blowing them up.
Alan, from Camarillo in California, creates the dramatic images by blasting baubles with hidden firecrackers, balls and marbles before capturing the impact on a homemade camera and a flash he built in his garage.
The 57-year-old bought parts off Ebay to create the $300 camera – which is based on a design by high speed photography pioneer Harold Edgerton – and sets the shutter speed at a one second delay.
Christmas with a bang: A small ball fired from an air cannon spectacularly destroys a gelatin-filled Christmas bulb. Alan Sailer creates the images using a hand-made high speed camera
Lights out: Plastic light bulbs from a car boot sale are destroyed by a flying marble
He then uses hidden firecrackers and various objects including marbles and ping pong balls – which are launched at high speeds from an air cannon – to create the dramatic images.
The explosive pictures do come with a risk though – the 20,000 volts of electrical power stored in the main capacitor is enough to kill and the microwave engineer often finds himself dodging flying shards of glass.
He said: 'Luckily I've only had minor injuries so far, I shoot a lot of glass so I can and do get the odd splinter. I protect my eyes very carefully.
Boom: A ping pong ball moving at about 100 metres per second hits a Christmas bauble filled with gelatin. The photographer has to protect his eyes from flying shards
Christmas cracker: A ceramic Santa mug is destroyed by a hidden firecracker
Explosion: Mr Sailer's hand-built camera is based on designs created by high speed photography pioneer Harold Edgerton
Spectacular: Launched from an air cannon, the marble has the same energy as a .22 caliber bullet fired from a gun
He added: 'This is not a very safe style of photography, I've not been hurt seriously but I do have to remain alert.
'Another thing most people don't realise is how much time I spend cleaning up.
'My pictures show amazing stopped explosions but after the flash is over, the target keeps exploding and throws debris over everything.
'The whole garage is covered in mess. I spend as much time cleaning as I do shooting.
'You can turn anything dangerous if you make it go fast enough.
'I love the surprise of high speed photography, of seeing something that you can't see without a fast flash.'
A mouse dressed as Santa is smashed by a speeding marble
Smashed snowman: A toy dinosaur looks on as a snowman is blown up
Shatter: Gelatine exploding with a brandy glass on top. Mr Sailer spends as much time cleaning up as he does taking the incredible images
Home for Christmas: Dogs that suffered terrible neglect all re-homed with families in time for festive season
Three dogs who were neglected so badly that they couldn't see or walk have all been re-homed with loving families in time for Christmas.
The three shih-tzus had to be rescued from the squalid conditions which left their coats so overgrown and matted with food and faeces that they couldn't see properly and had to drag their back legs when they tried to move around.
Lacy, Molly and Angus, who are now healthy, have each gone to new homes after it was estimated that they had been neglected for at least six months.
Christmas miracle: Neglected Shih'tzu dogs (L-R) Lacey, Angus and Molly, have found families who love them just in time for the festive season
Cute: Angus suffered abysmal treatment but is now a bundle of joy thanks to his new owners
Diane Dixon works at Frankham Fell Farm boarding kennels in Fourstones, Northumberland, where the three shih-tzus were housed after they were rescued by the RSPCA.
Despite having no intention of getting a dog, after getting to know Lacy, who is believed to be four-years-old, Diane decided she just had to give her a new home.
Diane, 56, from Newborough, Northumberland, said: 'I lost my German Shepherd last year and didn't think I was ready to replace him but when I met Lacy, I realised there was a big hole in my life.
'All three of them all been shaved after their fur was so drastically matted and they were very nervous.
Christmas cuddles: The dogs pictured with their new owners (L-R) Diane Dixon, May Bolton and Kay Cooke
'But it didn't take long to trust people again and we gave them lots of love and care.
'They hadn't seen anything for years and they had to get used to going for a walk.
'Lacy is brilliant. I take her to work with me every day now and she just runs around the place, she's such a happy dog now and she's getting much more used to people.
'Her hair has grown back to a normal length now and she is so beautiful. Her temperament is just lovely, you would understand her being aggressive now and again, but I've never seen a side to her at all.'
Lacy, Molly and Angus were saved after neighbours complained about an 'incredible odour' outside the property.
RSPCA officers found the animals living in 'quite disgusting' conditions, which left one inspector 'gagging' because of the stench.
A specialist dog groomer removed huge amounts of matted fur from the shih-tzus, who struggled to walk due to the weight of their overgrown coats.
The groomer said the dogs' coats were in the worst condition of any he had ever seen.
Molly, believed to be around five years old, was adopted by Kay and David Cooke from Hexham, Northumberland.
The couple were looking for another dog as company for their border terrier, Oscar.
Kay, 49, said: 'We saw an advert for Molly and I fell in love with her straight away. She was adorable.
'We wanted a friend for Oscar and so decided to meet Molly to see if the pair of them would get on.
'We knew that we would like a rescue dog as we wanted to give a dog who really needed to be loved, a good home.
Adorable: But the RSPCA prosecutor said Angus and the other dogs came from 'a case of the most extreme neglect you are ever likely to come across'
She added: 'When we first saw Molly, we took her for a walk. She was very tense so we stopped and I picked her up.
'As soon as she was in my arms, she just melted, and that's when I knew that I was going to love her very much.
'I would like to think that was the moment she felt safe.
'When Molly first came to live with us, she had no sensory experiences. I can't imagine how it must have been for all three of them living in those conditions.
'Her eyesight was atrocious because she hadn't been able to see for so long and she had no idea of how to walk up and down stairs, I think because she was just not used to them and hadn't developed the muscles as she had been locked in the same room for so long.
'Living in a three-storey house, she quickly got used to it, and now she flies around the place.
'We have had a lot of work to do with her, as it's harder to teach an older dog the basic skills you would easily drill into a puppy.
'But she has been worth every minute of it, and I'd like to think she is happier than she has ever been.'
Tina Bolton, 47, decided to re-home Angus, as her daughter May, 11, had always wanted a pet.
Happy now: The dogs needed extensive coaxing and needed to be trained to do basic things because of the ill treatment they had suffered
Tina, from Gosforth, Newcastle, said: 'We were looking for a dog for May – it's something she had always wanted.
'Noticing the advert for Angus, we enquired to know more about his background.
'We heard he had been living in really bad conditions, but we weren't told too many details – I think so it wouldn't have clouded our judgement of him.
'But, we found out later on how Angus and the other two dogs had been treated and it was such a shock.
'I don't know how anybody could neglect an animal like that.
'We didn't really know what we were taking on when we re-homed Angus, because we had no idea how his past might have affected his behaviour, and that's something I was of course wary of with a child in the house.
'But he has been nothing but fun. We've had no problems at all and he's just brought sheer joy into our lives.
'We have seen a big difference in him. He had never been stimulated before, and when he came to us, he didn't even know what to do with the toys we gave him, it was very sad.
'I don't consider myself to be a natural dog lover but Angus is adorable. We quite quickly came to see that he was really happy living with us and I don't think that it will ever come back to haunt us.
'He gets excited when I come home but I'm nothing compared to my daughter to him. He lives by her side, they're like soul mates.
'I feel quite humbled to think that I have given him a better life.'
Suffering: The shih-tzus' previous owner, Pauline Kinghorn, 62, was banned from keeping animals for life and was given an eight-week suspended sentence
The shih-tzus' previous owner, Pauline Kinghorn, 62, appeared at Bedlington Magistrates Court in November where she admitted four charges of failing to ensure the welfare of the animals in her care.
When sentenced, she was banned from keeping animals for life and also given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
During proceedings, the court was told by Clive McKeag, prosecuting for the RSPCA, that it was 'a case of the most extreme neglect you are ever likely to come across', and warned magistrates that the DVD showing the animals would fill them with 'revulsion, disgust and probably anger'.
CEL-E-BRATE! CEL-E-BRATE! Christmas tree decorated to look like villainous DALEK
This is the amazing Christmas tree that looks just like a Dalek from Doctor Who.
The tree was created by Dain Sandoval, 34, and his girlfriend Amy Olson, 35, who are massive fans of the television series.
Dain, 34, an IT worker from Chico, California, used plungers, drainpipes and light bulbs to create the festive decoration.
Doctor Who Christmas Special: This is the amazing Christmas tree that looks just like a Dalek from the popular sci-fi show
Festive fiend: The tree was created by Dain Sandoval, 34, and his girlfriend Amy Olson, 35, who are massive fans of Doctor Who
Dain said: 'My girlfriend Amy and I are huge Doctor Who fans. We were talking about the year's Christmas tree ideas and now neither of us are sure who first uttered the words “dalek tree would be funny” but it came to us and we ran with it.
'Daleks being the most hate-filled evil things and made into a symbol of joy, hope and peace is just really, really funny.
'Once the idea was hatched it was sketched on paper. We knew we would have to saw the top of the tree to a dome shape. Once we had the parts, it was fashioned in a few hours.
Dain and Amy used plungers, drainpipes, silver ribbon and a red lightbulb to create the festive science fiction decoration
He added: 'We ran white LED lights vertical for the bottom to create the 'panels', red glass balls in lines of four for the 'bumps'. Silver ribbon for the vertical neck panels and thinner ribbon for the head area 'bands'.
'The two arms were made from a sink plunger affixed to a sprinkler system pipe and a paint roller.
The two arms were then placed in one half a tissue box.
'The eye stock is my favourite part. It is a drainpipe with coupler that we ran a lamp wire though fitted with a 25 watt red light bulb.'
Laughs: The couple thought it would be hilarious to decorate their tree as a villain so intrinsically evil as a dalek
COOKS TURNING FROM TURKEY AND PLUMPING FOR GOOSE
Demand for goose meat on Christmas day has soared, according to retailers.
Sales of the traditional Victorian roast are up 50 per cent on last year at Morrisons, while Waitrose reported a 30 per cent rise.
M&S also saw a 16 per cent increase on sales of fresh geese.
Sales of goose have risen by 30% to 50% at supermarkets compared to last year
At Selfridges’ department store in central London, Goodman’s geese have even knocked turkey off the top spot for pre-orders following a 45 per cent rise.
Goose fell out of favour in the 1960s because it was seen as less healthy and versatile than turkey.
But nostalgic shoppers have sparked a revival for the traditional festive British meat.
Goose fell out of favour in the 1960s as Brits turned to Turkey as it was seen as 'healthier and more versatile' alternative, but is now surging in popularity
Andrew Cavanna, Selfridges’ fresh food buyer, said: ‘Cooking goose for Christmas is a combination of perceived luxury and the nostalgia of eating a dish that was a Christmas staple more than 100 years ago.
‘Turkey is native to North America, and not traditionally British, whereas goose is.’
By Louise Eccles