275x250.jpg A pilot in New Zealand couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a shark swimming/flying past him at 7,000ft.

He'd been preparing to land a passenger jet Christchurch International Airport when he spotted the 1.5m long shark staring back at him.

But there was no need to worry -- because the shark in question was actually an inflatable remote-controlled toy which had flown off.

The 'Air Swimmer' toys have been a popular present this Christmas and police have been bombarded with reports of escaped inflatable sharks.

Experts say that other than giving the pilot a shock, the helium-filled shark was unlikely to pose any threat to the flight.

275x250.jpg A bungling burglar who tried to steal Christmas trees from a nursery has been caught -- after police simply followed a trail of pine needles.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police say they just had to follow the fallen green spikes for half a mile to get their man.

Five trees had been pinched from Park House Nurseries in Spenborough and sure enough after following the needle that's what they found dumped in a garden.

A police spokesman said: "The foliage led officers to a house where the stolen trees were found and recovered. As an extra present, officers also found a cannabis farm at the address."

A spokesperson from the nursery said the trees had been marketed as low needle drop trees… but had still dropped enough for them to follow.

275x250.jpg Today is officially the day when Britons finally start to feel 'Christmassy', a study has discovered.
 
A survey of 2,000 people found the festive feeling only arrives when we’ve ticked off 60 per cent of the Christmas shopping and started counting down the days until the festive break.
 
Putting up decorations, wrapping a handful of gifts and hearing festive songs also contribute to the uplift in our mood, as does the office Christmas party.

Other things which will make this Thursday Christmassy include turning on the Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies and eating the first mince pie of the year.

Constantly hearing Christmas songs is also said to make many people feel Christmassy… thought we find it just makes us feel mad.

You'd have thought he'd be busy making last minute preparations for tonight - but this surveillance footage shows Santa is still finding time to fight crime.

Police in Sicilly say this footage shows a policeman arresting a suspected mafia member who was collecting protection money from a shopkeeper.

The video - shot with hidden cameras - shows the alleged mobster going into the store and taking money from the cashier.

But as he walks out and to his car he is jumped on by undercover officer, and one in a less inconspicuous red Santa costume.

So far police haven't explained why the officers was dressed as Santa. By which we obviously mean (if any kids are reading this), police haven't explained why Santa was helping them out.


275x250.jpg What is it with nano-scientists and Christmas? Last year they created the world's smallest snowman - this time it's Christmas cards.

Engineers have produced the world's smallest Christmas card which measures just 200 micro-metres wide by 290 micro-metres tall.

In case you don't know exactly how small that is (a micro-metre is a millionth of a metre) the card is invisible to the naked eye and you could fit 8,276 of them on an area the size of a stamp.

Which means if you forgot to send anyone a card this year, you can always tell them you sent them one of these and they must have lost it.

275x250.jpg A retired teacher has entered the record books after being recognised as the biggest collector of Santa Claus-themed memorabilia in the world.

74-year-old Jean-Guy Laquerre from Quebec, Canada, has accumulated an incredible 25,189 festive items from 33 countries over the past 22 years.

His record-breaking collection, which is still growing in size, now take up most of his house, but it all started with a single Santa Claus statuette he was left by a dead relative.

That inspired he to acquire more and more, but now Jean-Guy has a band of helpers who send him Santa Claus gifts from antique shops and garage sales… whether he wants them or not.

275x250.jpgThe average mum will spend 42 hours preparing for Christmas by the time the big day arrives, a study has revealed yesterday.

That means the equivalent of almost two days will be taken up choosing, buying and wrapping presents and taking care of food shopping.

On top of that she will have spent time putting decorations up around the house and on the tree, and cleaning up in preparation for visitors.

Researchers found the biggest chunk of time is taken up by present buying, with a staggering 20 hours and 13 minutes spent visiting 42 different shops.

After the mammoth shopping spree, mums then spend almost four hours wrapping 39 different presents. Dads meanwhile begin their preparation at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

275x250.jpgA bus driver who was filmed veering into the wrong lane to 'brutally murder' a snowman has been forced to resign.

The Frostie killing happen on the University of Illinois campus after students built a large snowman in the middle of a road.

While other drivers were slowing down to carefully navigate around the obstacle, one bus driver seems to have taken exception to the snowman.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows him veering his bus onto the wrong side of the road to smash into the figure an obliterate it.

But while the students enjoyed the snow massacre, bus bosses were less impressed and say the driver has been forced to resign. And that's snow joke.

275x250.jpgThey're slightly more macabre than the typical teddy bear, but a range of 'roadkill' soft toys are expected to be a Christmas hit.

Created by designer Adam Arber the toys look like animals which have been run over -- complete with plush blood and guts.

Currently there are three squashed-looking gruesome characters, Twitch the Racoon, Grind the Rabbit and Splodge the Hedgehog.

All come with a body bag and an identity tag and their insides can be pulled out and then packed back inside.

Makers say they make perfect gifts for sociopaths… and could be ideal for traumatising your little one on Christmas morning, though they suggest not gifting them to under 14s.

275x250.jpgAfter finding out her boyfriend was cheating on her, Leanne Joseph decided she didn't want to open the Christmas gifts he had bought her.

She also didn't want anything around the house which reminded her of the love-rat -- so instead she put the eight wrapped presents up for auction on eBay.

The 24-year-old said in her listing that her former boyfriend normally bought her jewellery, perfume and underwear and  she expected more of the same this year.

She added that her likes (which he knew) include pink girly items, bling and designer labels.

Bids have already reached over £200 for the presents - which could be a lot for a card saying he has met someone else.

275x250.jpgBoffins say they have finally cracked the all important Christmas secret of ensuring you win a cracker pull.

They say the formula 0=11xC/L+5xQ - which uses info on the length, circumference, and quality
of the cracker - can be used to make sure you end up with the prize.

Using the formula is said to give a two digit figure between 20 and 55 degrees, the ideal angle below the horizontal at which to pull.

While countless people will be sure to use the calculation to work out the angle with which they need to pull the cracker to get the big bit, it's not exactly be in the sprit of Christmas is it?

275x250.jpgRather than listening out for the sound of the bells on his sleigh, children can now follow Father Christmas's progress on Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps.

The US military's North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa for over 50 years - thanks to their radar system and satellites.

But this year, children around the world are receiving live updates since Santa set off at 11am (GMT) and seeing his movements plotted live on online maps.

NORAD say they are able to do this because Rudolph's nose gives off an infrared signature, which their satellites can detect… remember these are the people keeping America safe.

Christmas diners must sign pudding waiver

275x250.jpgA restaurant in London is making diners sign a legal waiver before they can tuck into a traditional Christmas pudding.

High Timber introduced the legal document because their puddings contains solid silver pieces - a tradition dating back hundred of years.

But bosses were worried that if a diner chipped a tooth or swallowed one of the coins - worth £15-£75 and in four of every 30 puds - they could sue the restaurant.

The waiver read: "I absolve High Timber from blame should I come to harm including a chipped tooth, or any injury as a result of swallowing it."

So far non or the diners have come to any harm… but some have tried paying for their meal with half-chewed silver coins.

275x250.jpgA US zoo has raised $20,884 (£13,000) this Christmas -- by selling jewellery and other gifts made from Reindeer poo.

For several years Miller Park Zoo in Indiana have taken Reindeer poo and dehydrated and sterilised it before painting it with glitter.

The mess is then fashioned into 'gems' and used to make necklaces, earrings, ornaments and Christmas tree decorations which are sold in the gift shop and online.

This year they produced 300 necklaces and more than 2,000 ornaments which have been sold for $7.50 to £10 to people all around the world.

On hearing the Reindeer poo designs had raised so much money this year, one zoo boss said "No sh*t, really?"

275x250.jpgA man wearing a Santa suit, false beard and sunglasses has robbed a bank at gunpoint.

The Father Christmas walked into the SunTrust Bank in Nashville and demanded the teller gave him cash -- he then pulled out the gun.

As he stuffed the wads of money into his sack, he told staff he would "kill everyone" if they put dye packs in with the notes or tried and funny stuff.

It is not known why Santa has turned to a life of crime... but some people speculate his elves have demanded a pay increase this year.

275x250.jpg Residential Christmas light displays are responsible for nearly half a million road accidents each year, it has been claimed.

Experts claim that as many as 73 percent of drivers get distracted by houses with brash light displays - which can sometimes look like a seasonal version of Las Vegas.

As a result they say 2 million drivers have had a near miss, and that 440,000 have actually crashed their vehicles as a direct result of staring at dazzling illuminations.

So if you do insist on having that giant inflatable and illuminated Santa in your garden, leave a space for the couple of crashed Volvos which will end up in there too.

275x250.jpgThey used to be the scourge of Christmas, but the dodgy festive wooly jumper has now become a trend in its own right.

This year thousands of people are said to be holding Christmas jumper parties where guests have had to turn up in the worst X-mas fashions they have been gifted.

There are even dozens of websites advising people of ways to ironically celebrate ugly jumpers at their party and suggest jumper related games and drinks.

But because most people have traditionalty thrown the dodgy X-mas sweaters away, they have had to go out and buy them.

However, it's worth remembering that if you are going to one of the parties this year, you might want to wait until you are there before putting it on. In public you look sad rather than ironic.

275x250.jpgAlmost one in four people will look at the internet history of their partner, to see what Christmas present they might have been bought.

A study of 1,000 Brits found 23 percent would sneak-a-peak at their Christmas gifts online, rather than hunting the house and squeezing wrapped presents.

Nowadays they just load up the internet browser and look in the history folder to see what sites and products have been viewed or purchased.

A further 15 percent of people said they'd accidentally stumbled on what they had been bought by visiting a shopping website on a shared computer and seeing a message like "you recently bought…"

We only hope that not too many women out their think they're getting a porn related present after checking up on their boyfriend or husband's browsing history.

275x250.jpg A German airline is allowing holidaymakers to take their Christmas tree away with them.

Air Berlin has said that up until Christmas Eve passengers can transport their festive trees (of up to two metres) for free.

Bosses introduced the move because they say Germans don't like to be parted from their Christmas trees, even when going on holiday.

Personally we would like to see the photos on the beach of Germans sunbathing next to a fully decorated tree with presents underneath.

Top 10 most annoying Christmas songs ever

275x250.jpgMr Blobby has been named as the most annoying Christmas tune ever - and who are we to argue.

The polka-dotted pink blob beat festive classics from Rolf Harris, Cliff Richard and Boney M's 'Mary's Boy Child' to claim the top spot.
 
The 1993 novelty hit, brainchild of Simon Cowell and made famous on Noel Edmond's House Party, was voted the most irritating Christmas number of all time in a poll of 4,000 music-lovers.
 
In second place in the cringe-worthy Crimbo top 20 was Neil Morrisey's Bob the Builder's 'Can We Fix it?'. St Winifred's School Choir was voted into third place with their song 'There's No-One Quite Like Grandma', which hit the top of the charts in 1980.

Top 10 annoying Christmas songs available after the link. If you manage to play them all you deserve a prize, like a new battery for your hearing aid.

Fuzzy Friday: The years biggest hangover

275x250.jpgIf you are looking around the office today and thinking it is a bit quiet, that's because today is 'Fuzzy Friday'

For the uninitiated Fuzzy Friday is the day when one in 10 workers have a hangover from the office Christmas party - and 44 percent have no intention of going to work.

Of those who do make it in to work - four in 10 are unlikely to make it on time and 14 percent will be wearing the same clothes they partied in the night before.

And if you think the office smells a bit iffy, that's because 20 percent of workers were too hung-over to bother having a shower this morning.

If you are reading this in disbelief, then we are sorry to tell you, but 'you' didn't make the most of your Christmas party. There is always next year.

275x250.jpgThe average family will have their first argument at 9.58am on Christmas Day, research has found.
 
After getting up early to see what Santa has brought them, tired, excited children and stressed out parents will fall out just before 10am.
 
Parents trying to tidy the house sees most rows erupt, along with high stress levels and arguments over what to watch on TV.
 
The study of 4,100 people found the average parent then ends up telling off their children for the first time by 11.07am.

Other average timings are, getting out of bed just before 8am, ready to open presents by 8.19am, eating chocolate at 8.39am followed by breakfast at 9am and 11.49am for the first alcoholic drink … with that morning you deserve it.

275x250.jpgThe giant Christmas tree in Copenhagen City Hall Square is a mass of hundreds of lights… but only while people are pedalling.

That's because in a bid to be environmentally friendly, the lights are connected to a selection of exercise bikes which generate power as they are pedalled.

As peoples legs spin they light up the tree - and burn a few calories while they're at it.

It is predicted the alternative way of lighting up the Christmas tree will save the environment a total of nine tonnes of CO2 compared to the traditional way of powering the lights.

But isn't it hard to be full of Christmas sprit if you are panting for breath?

275x250.jpgFour in 10 kids would rather receive expensive Christmas presents than spend time with Mum and Dad, it has been revealed.



A study has revealed that 13 million British children would prefer to receive a new games console, puppy or bike than undivided attention from their parents.



More than half of those polled said the very best thing about Christmas is seeing what presents are under the tree when they wake up.


However, 45 percent of kids admitted that having both mum and dad with them all day also makes Christmas special.

The most popular toys rivalling mum and dad's attention include computer games and mp3 players - which makes sense when you think about it, how could parents compete with a Nintendo Wii?

IT people will work the most over Christmas

275x250.jpgSpare a thought for IT techies this Christmas, half of them will be working or on standby on Christmas Day - more than any other profession.

A study of over 1,000 British workers asked when people expected to work over the festive period and what they would get paid for doing so.

Emergency service staff, journalists and freight drivers said they were also likely to spend their Christmas day working.

And despite the large numbers of British workers expecting to work, 23 per cent said they’d be doing so for the same wage they normally work for.

While that may initially seem unfair, remember that most of the techies will actually be watching Doctor Who on the iPlayer and eating turkey sandwiches anyway.

Families will spend £1,695 on Christmas

275x250.jpgThe average family of four will spend a whopping £1,695 on Christmas this year, a study has revealed.



Presents alone will cost a total of £606 while a staggering £321 will be spent on food and drinks.



People will shell out £125 on decorations for the home, Christmas tree, garden and dinner tables and a further £22 on cards, wrapping paper and postage.



Christmas parties will also cost a small fortune - including £130 on new party outfits, £32 on party accessories such as handbags and jewellery, £15 on make-up and £15.08 on perfume or aftershave.


Suddenly I remember why I become a Jehovah’s Witnesses for 15 days of each year.


275x250.jpgIn one of the more bizarre events on the UK sporting calendar, thousands of people yesterday turned out to watch the 7th annual pantomime horse race.

A parody of the traditional Grand National race at Aintree, the charity event sees competitors slip into pantomime horse and jockey outfits for the race in Birmingham city centre.

But it is not all laughs -- hundreds of pounds are bet on the racers at a special bookmakers which is set up on the site.

After the bets have been placed, the competitors then charge around the gruelling 12 jump course in the hope of scooping the (obviously prestigious) title. 

275x250.jpgA turkey farm has installed a live webcam to let customers watch their Christmas dinner running around the field.

Shoppers will be able to check their Christmas turkey is plumping up nicely before making it to their table, by tuning in online.

Farm, Park & Wild say their 'Turkey Cam' gives a unique insight into the (albeit short) lives of their 450 Norfolk Black and Norfolk Bronze turkeys.

The camera is live 24 hours a day and shows them running around the field and feeding and at night they are secured in a large barn.

Obviously the camera will get turned off shortly before Christmas - though your turkey could be the only one in the street to come with its own showreel DVD.




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