If you live in the Midwest, I don’t need to tell you that you’re having a white Christmas. A very white Christmas.

Synchronized Christmas lights across America

Synchronized Christmas lights are becoming a big deal for some folk. Some do this year after year, getting more and more complex as the years go by. Here’s our collection of Christmas lights set to music from around the country. (The music broadcasts via FM radio so it doesn’t disturb the neighbors.) Not all of them are from this year, but they are all spectacular.

What we’re reading: TSA fights providing no-fly-list information, gender gap reading instructions, airport food unsafe?

On January 2, 2005, Rahinah Ibrahim, a mother of four children and a PhD student at Stanford University, was prohibited from boarding an aircraft departing from the San Francisco International Airport. She was told that she was on the No-Fly List and arrested. She is not a terrorist, nor does she have any link or relation to any terrorist.

FAA and NORAD OK Santa’s flight

You and your little ones can follow his progress as he enters our region by dialing (609) 485-6000. Special evening reports will be updated at 6:30, 7:30, and then finally at 8:30 p.m. (EST) courtesy of the FAA.

The NORAD site is fabulous. Just before this posted, there were videos of Santa cruising across Syndey then Darwin Australia on his way across the globe.

With many enjoyable holiday projects being nixed this year because of budget constraints and privacy concerns, it is nice to hear of some programs that are going strong. One is the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) annual Santa tracking public service. This year, Santa’s tracking will be taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

4 International Christmas song videos — Have a great Christmas Eve

Florence Henderson sings an American favorite, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire). A video of the Italian Lyrical Choir during a rehearsal of Italy’s favorite Christmas song follows. The Metropolitan Handbell Choir performs Angels We Have Heard on High. Finally, a beer bottle rendition of “Do you see what I see?”

Attending a very special event? Fly a day early

Admittedly, there are some times when it’s flat out impossible to leave until the last minute for a special event, whether it’s a holiday, wedding or something else. But really, if you can, go ahead and plan in that extra day.

The Catalan Caganer: The straight poop about this Barcelona-region Christmas custom

Some of you (especially readers around age two) may have felt drawn to the little guy peeking out from behind the pile of mantecados I wrote about last week. He’s my favorite caganer, a traditional rendition of the Catalan shitting man. He takes his place in all Catalan nativity scenes (even the ones in churches) to remind you of your humanity. Here’s what it’s all about: no matter what kind of miracles may be going on around you, the arrival of kings and gods and so on, there you are, you and the call of nature, somewhere behind the manger.