Tag: Christmas

Italian Government Bans Christmas Travel, Prompting Regional Leaders to Call the Order ‘Crazy’

Italy’s government announced on Wednesday that citizens will not be able to travel throughout the country during Christmas, angering regional leaders who said the new effort to contain the coronavirus’s spread goes too far.



a man wearing a suit and tie: The Italian government issued a new decree on Wednesday, stating that citizens will be prohibited from traveling through Italy's 20 regions during Christmas. In this photo, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte holds a press conference to announce a new emergency decree on COVID restrictions, at Palazzo Chigi, on November 4, 2020 in Rome, Italy.


© Alessandro Serranò/Getty
The Italian government issued a new decree on Wednesday, stating that citizens will be prohibited from traveling through Italy’s 20 regions during Christmas. In this photo, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte holds a press conference to announce a new emergency decree on COVID restrictions, at Palazzo Chigi, on November 4, 2020 in Rome, Italy.

From December 21 to January 6, no Italian citizen will be able to travel among the country’s 20 regions except for work, medical reasons or emergencies, the government order said.

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, residents will not even be permitted to leave their specific towns. Those who live in small towns or villages within walking distance to the next will still be banned from leaving their own town limits.

COVID-19 Update: A Breakdown Of Coronavirus Vaccines In Late Stage Trials

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Sparta Recreation Department’s First Christmas Tree Lighting and Other Holiday Events

SPARTA, NJ- The first Sparta Township Christmas tree lighting had to be held without a crowd.  The only element of the celebration that remained was the tree lighting on the front lawn of the Sparta VFW on Main Street on Thursday night.

Sparta Recreation Director Jeanne Montemarano was joined by elves Alison Deeney, Kelly Giannantonio, Janice Williams, Mayor Jerry Murphy, Deputy Mayor Christine Quinn and Mr. and Mrs. Clause.  

Plans originally included Santa in a snow globe for photos along with other activities typical for the annual Sparta Recreation Visit with Santa.  The most recent executive orders from Governor Murphy limiting indoor and outdoor crowds caused the activities to be canceled.

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According to Sparta Recreation Director Jeanne Montemarano they are expanding Santa’s ride through the community on the fire truck on the weekend of December 11 and 12, weather permitting.  In past years, Santa would take an hour to ride through town on his way to meet children and their families at Station Park. 

Additional Christmas events are being offered by the Sparta Recreation Department.

Sparta children can mail letters to Santa and Santa will mail a letter in return.  They can be sent to Sparta Recreation at 65 Main Street in Sparta.  The Recreation department staff will make sure they get to the North Pole in time for Santa to respond. They even provide stationary.

Sparta Recreation is also sponsoring a Holiday Home Decorating contest.  For the first time residents will be able to register their home for consideration. 

  • Homes must be registered by December 11
  • Between December 14 and 16 The Sparta Recreation department staff will photograph the homes that are registered.
  • On December 17 the photos will be posted on the Sparta Recreation Department Facebook page,
  • The two homes with the most “likes” will win.
  • On December 22 the winners will be announced on the Sparta Recreation Department Facebook page.

The first and second place winners will receive a prize and a sign to display on their front lawn, according to the recreation department announcement.

Montemarano said details for the Menorah lighting, scheduled for next Thursday, are also being discussed.

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Italy announces Christmas travel ban



a person walking in the rain with an umbrella: A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January


© Getty Images
A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January

Italy has outlined strict coronavirus curbs for Christmas, including a ban on travel between different regions from 21 December to 6 January.

A curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 will also be in place.

Restaurants can open in some regions until 18:00 but only takeaways are allowed in other parts of the country. Ski slopes must close until 7 January.

It comes as Italy announced its highest daily Covid death toll since the pandemic started, with 993 fatalities.

“We cannot let down our guard,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference.

“We must eliminate the risk of a third wave which could arrive in January – and not less serious than the first and the second,” he added.

There will be travel exceptions for work, medical reasons or emergencies.

On top of the regional travel bans, people will not be allowed to leave their home towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The new curbs have been criticised in a joint statement by regional authorities, who say they were not consulted by the central government.

“The lack of discussion has made it impossible to balance the curbs with the needs of families,” the statement said.

Attilio Fontana, governor of the northern Lombardy region, which has reported the most cases and deaths, called the new rules “crazy”.

More than 58,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in Italy.

Before Thursday, the country’s previous record daily death toll was 969 on 27 March.

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This Cudahy bar is hosting a Christmas pop-up inspired by ‘A Christmas Story,’ ‘Christmas Vacation’ and more

A Cudahy bar is trying to bring Christmas movies to life this holiday season with props, including a leg lamp and Santa chair, and more than 16,000 lights. 



a glass with a drink in a room: City Lounge in Cudahy will have a leg lamp at its "Fra Gee Lay" Christmas movie mashup pop-up bar experience.


© Submitted
City Lounge in Cudahy will have a leg lamp at its “Fra Gee Lay” Christmas movie mashup pop-up bar experience.

City Lounge, 3455 E. Layton Ave., is putting on “Fra Gee Lay,” a Christmas movie mashup pop-up bar experience, from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3. 

While the bar has put on many pop-ups inspired by movies and TV shows, from “Harry Potter” to “The Office,” this is its first Christmas-themed one. 

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Owner Alex Ahmad said he usually just puts up a “few decorations” around the bar for the holidays. 

“This time, we decided to go all out,” he said. 

There will be a handful of sets and photo ops inspired by Christmas classics, including “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and “The Grinch.”



a glass display case: At City Lounge's Christmas pop-up, there will be a handful of sets and photo ops inspired by Christmas movies.


© Submitted
At City Lounge’s Christmas pop-up, there will be a handful of sets and photo ops inspired by Christmas movies.

Themed drinks will include an “Ovaltini,” which will be a “chocolatey” cream martini, “Syrup in Coffee,” which will have coffee and amaretto with candy canes and whipped cream, a drink featuring eggnog, and more. Each drink will cost about $8. 

Attendees are encouraged to wear holiday attire, Ahmad said, and his staff is going to “Christmas shirt and ugly sweater it up as much as possible.”

There will be Christmas movie trivia at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17, and a New Year’s party Dec. 31. 

The bar will be open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3. There is no cover charge, and guests must be at least 21 years old to attend. For more information and updates, visit facebook.com/CityLoungeCudahy. 

As far as coronavirus precautions go, Ahmad said City Lounge is cleaned with “high-end” sanitizers, and UV light is used to disinfect after close and again before open. The bar will be following whatever COVID-19 guidelines Cudahy has in place throughout the pop-up, he said. 



a city street filled with traffic at night: City Lounge in Cudahy is putting on "Fra Gee Lay," a Christmas movie mashup pop-up bar experience, from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3.


© Submitted
City Lounge in Cudahy is putting on “Fra Gee Lay,” a Christmas movie mashup pop-up bar experience, from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3.

Weather-willing, the bar plans to have its outdoor heated area open to “give people plenty of room to spread out,” he added.

Just to the north of Cudahy, the City of Milwaukee recently released a new order that will require bars and restaurants that have Health Department-approved COVID-19 safety plans to be limited to the lesser of 50% of their total capacity or the limits in their safety plans. Bars and restaurants without the safety plans will remain at 25% maximum capacity.

Contact Hannah Kirby at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.  

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Italy bans travel between towns over Christmas

The Italian government has approved a controversial ban on inter-regional travel during the Christmas period as the country registered the highest daily coronavirus death toll since the beginning of the pandemic.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Italys' Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Italys’ Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images

Under a new decree due to be signed by prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, on Thursday night, people will be barred from travelling beyond their regions between 20 December and 6 January except for work, health or emergency reasons.

On top of that, they won’t be allowed to leave their towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The tough rules, which will run alongside a national curfew and other restrictions already in place, are intended to avert a third coronavirus wave.

Italy recorded a record 993 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total since February to 58,038. Thursday’s tally eclipsed the 969 peak reached on 27 March, when the country was in complete lockdown.

There were 23,255 new confirmed infections, up from 20,709 on Wednesday. The infection curve has been showing signs of flattening over the last week, while the number of hospital admissions, including into intensive care, has been declining.

The government is trying to avoid the mistakes made after the spring lockdown was lifted and returning holidaymakers were partly blamed for reviving infections.

“If we drop our guard now, the third wave is just around the corner,” health minister Roberto Speranza told parliament on Wednesday.

The government also resisted pressure from leaders of Alpine regions and opted to keep ski resorts closed until 7 January, while midnight mass on Christmas Eve will have to be brought forward so that worshippers can make it home before the 10pm curfew.

The debate in parliament over the measures was heated, with Italia Viva, the centrist party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi which is part of the ruling majority, calling for softer restrictions.

The measures also infuriated regional governors, who said in a joint statement earlier on Thursday that they had not been consulted and that “the lack of discussion has made it impossible to balance the curbs with the needs of families”.

“Reading an unexpected decree that bans movements between towns in the same region on 25 and 26 December and 1 January … is crazy,” said Attilio Fontana, president of the northern Lombardy region. Lombardy is the region worst hit by the pandemic, recording 22,626 of the total deaths.



a man wearing a suit and tie: The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said people will be barred from travelling between towns between 20 December and 6 January.


© Photograph: Italys’ Prime Minister Press Off/AFP/Getty Images
The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said people will be barred from travelling between towns between 20 December and 6 January.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, the far-right opposition party, said: “These families must remain divided even at Christmas. This is yet more proof that the government does not know Italy.”

Conte is due to address the nation at 8.15pm CET and outline the measures, which will be in force from Friday. Other measures are expected to include the obligation, between 10 and 21 December,

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Chevy Chase Thinks ‘It’s the Silliest Thing’ When People Compare ‘Christmas Vacation’ To ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

There’s no denying National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a popular holiday movie. It’s not uncommon for fans of the 1989 comedy to watch it multiple times during the month of December. 

Chevy Chase in a scene from 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
Chevy Chase in a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

For some, it’s a time-honored family tradition to watch the Griswolds endure Christmas with their relatives. In fact, the movie’s become so popular in the decades following its release there are now Christmas Vacation inspired ornaments and t-shirts.

The movie might be one of the most beloved holiday movies but its star, Chevy Chase, insists it’s not on the same level as It’s a Wonderful Life

‘Christmas Vacation’ has a connection to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Frank Capra III, the grandson of It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra, served as the second assistant director on Christmas Vacation

RELATED: The Best Holiday Movies From Every Decade

Watch Christmas Vacation and see clips from It’s a Wonderful Life. Rusty Griswold, played by a 14-year-old Johnny Galecki in his pre-Big Bang Theory days, sits on the couch watching the 1946 film.

It’s a brief moment of calm just before the doorbell rings and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and Clark’s (Chase) parents show up. 

Chevy Chase says ‘Christmas Vacation’ isn’t comparable to the Christmas classic

Chase reunited with some of his Christmas Vacation co-stars including D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis (Audrey Griswold), and Galecki as well as others, to provide an oral history of the film in 2014.

They talked about the legacy of Christmas Vacation and how it rivals other holiday movies. But Chase is adamant that it doesn’t stand a chance against It’s a Wonderful Life. He told Rolling Stone he doesn’t get it when people compare Christmas Vacation to Capra’s Oscar-nominated film. 

“Comparing Christmas Vacation to It’s A Wonderful Life is the silliest thing,” he said. “That film starred the greatest movie actor of all time and the idea that our movie could ever be connected in some fashion to something so brilliant and beautiful always made feel like, ‘That’s all they had to write about?’”

Donna Reed, James Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Donna Reed, James Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in It’s a Wonderful Life | CBS via Getty Images

RELATED: What Is the Best Christmas Movie of All Time?

Chase continued, saying he appreciates the comparison but says there’s no competing with It’s a Wonderful Life

“It’s very flattering and I suppose Christmas Vacation is a modern look at Christmas. But James Stewart, my God! What a movie,” he said. “I could talk about that one all day.”

Watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on Amazon Prime Video

Whether or not fans of Christmas Vacation agree with Chase’s assessment, they can stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime Video for free with a subscription. Unfortunately, Christmas Vacation isn’t streaming so fans will have to rent the film or rely on a DVD to witness the Griswold family during the holiday season.

RELATED: ‘Christmas Vacation’: Why Christie Brinkley Refused

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Road and rail works curtailed to aid UK Christmas travel plans

Some Christmas rail engineering works will start later and hundreds of miles of roadworks will be paused to minimise possible disruption during the UK’s 23-27 December travel window, the government has announced.



a group of people on a train track at a train station: Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

However, ministers have decided not to cancel long-planned works, with advance bookings and polling suggesting that festive travel will remain subdued on rail and road.

Announcing the measures, transport secretary Grant Shapps said the government was “working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.”

The biggest work, the closure of the East Coast main line between London and Scotland, will start later to allow for some train services in and out of Kings Cross on Christmas Eve. But it will remain closed for the remainder of the five days when the government and devolved administrations are easing Covid-19 restrictions to allow up to three households to mix.



a group of people on a train track at a train station: Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government was ‘working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.’


© Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the government was ‘working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones safely.’

Work is now planned to end slightly earlier on the West Coast main line, allowing more trains between cities on the London-Glasgow route from 10am on 27 December.

Passengers have been urged to plan ahead and book early. Longer trains will run on some services and rail passengers who had already booked tickets before the Christmas rules were announced can amend them without the normal administration fees, Shapps said.

Shapps said: “With many people carefully considering whether to travel to see loved ones this Christmas, we’re taking steps to try to ease journeys.

He added: “We ask everyone to closely consider their journey, plan and book ahead, be patient, and be considerate of fellow passengers – and particularly staff who have worked so hard all year – by following the guidance carefully, including keeping space and wearing a face covering on public transport.”

Rail sources indicated that bookings to date did not indicate any rush to travel in the Christmas period, with trains far below capacity even with social-distancing requirements. Passenger numbers were about 22% of pre-Covid times in the November lockdown, and about a third of normal in October.

Highways England has agreed to lift around 50% more roadworks than originally planned, with about 778 miles of works now to be completed or paused during the window on motorways and A-roads.

An AA survey found comparatively few people were expecting to drive to see relatives this Christmas, despite the flexibility in lockdown rules. The motoring organisation’s research suggested that there would be just 7.9m cars on the road, fewer than half the 17m in the same period in 2019.

Labour said the plan left “many unanswered questions”.

Jim McMahon, shadow transport secretary, said the government should ensure engineering works did not clash with the window and that all peak fares were suspended during the travelling period. He added: “We must not lose sight of the fact that Covid has not gone away. Ministers must

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Glendale Plays Chicago in ‘Christmas Vacation’

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As Mavis Staples sings at the opening of the 1989 holiday classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “It’s that time. Christmastime is here. Everybody knows there’s not a better time of year.” Something lesser known? The yuletide staple (which turns 31 this week!) was primarily shot in Los Angeles, not Chicago where it was set. Mainly lensed on the Warner Bros. Ranch backlot, practical locations were utilized as well, including a stately Colonial Revival in Glendale that served as the home of Frank Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray), Clark W. Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) bonus-cutting boss.

It is there that Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) commits the Griswold family’s first kidnapping (well, as long as you don’t count that whole Walley World security guard thing in the 1983 original). Upon hearing Clark’s profanity-ridden rant detailing exactly what he would like to say to Mr. Shirley regarding his bonus being swapped with a Jelly of the Month Club membership (the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!), Eddie, whose heart is bigger than his brain (I appreciate that, Clark!), heads out in his tenement-on-wheels to abduct Frank from his “Melody Lane” manse. In reality, the regal pad, known as Bel Aire, is located at 727 West Kenneth Road. 

Built by prominent local businessman Mattison Boyd Jones in 1922, the dwelling features four bedrooms and four baths in 5,698 square feet. With a sweeping circular driveway, columned façade, and manicured 1.82-acre lot, the place screams ritzy curb appeal!

A City of Glendale historical landmark, the residence boasts a long list of screen credits, including cameos in such throwback series as “Flamingo Road,” “Columbo,” “Knight Rider,” and “Emerald Point N.A.S.” The elegant pad is also long rumored to have been the inspiration for Tara in the 1939 epic “Gone with the Wind.”

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German rail operator rolls out plan for ‘safer’ Christmas travel





© Provided by dw.com


To handle an expected increase of Christmas passengers as coronavirus cases remain high, Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced on Wednesday it would run special trains over the holidays to allow more room on-board and to maintain social distancing.

With passenger numbers well down on normal levels, DB still expects reduced business over the Christmas period compared to normal years, but also a sharp uptick on the current traffic.

Taking advantage of the timely receipt of 15 new high-speed ICE trains, the German rail company plans up to 100 additional train runs, especially on main routes between large cities.

Twice as many special trains as normally run during Christmas will be used, between December 18 to 27.

The extra trains increase DB’s daily long-distance capacity by 13,000 seats, almost 10% above current levels, according to the company.

This year, “we have more capacity than ever before,” said Berthold Huber, the head of DB’s passenger transport board, in a statement.

Social distancing and mask checks

To ensure that passengers can be seated as far apart as possible, DB has also updated its reservation system.

Overall, only 60% of seats on each long-distance train will be able to be reserved, though passengers are not required to do so.

With the expected increase in trains and passengers, Deutsche Bahn also intends to increase checks to ensure that all passengers are wearing masks.

In total, some 4,000 security forces are being deployed along with 5,000 federal police officers for this purpose.

“It’s our responsibility to make travel as safe as possible ahead of Christmas,” the head of DB’s infrastructure board, Ronald Pofalla, said in a statement.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, DB expects ridership to be significantly lower through the holidays. One consumer survey suggests passenger volume will fall some 60% compared to normal levels, reported news agency DPA.

Author: Michael Buchsbaum

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Holiday travel not advised for Christmas, New Year’s, CDC says

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Doctors and nurses working in hospitals across the country are sharing the realities of COVID-19.

USA TODAY

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging travelers not to travel for the upcoming winter holidays, a repeat of its guidance for Thanksgiving travel.

“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said in a news briefing Wednesday.

“Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” Walke said.

For those who decide to travel — and there were millions who boarded planes for Thanksgiving despite similar advice — the CDC is now recommending travelers get tested for COVID-19 before and after their trips.

The CDC is recommending a test one to three days before travel and another three to five days after travel, plus reducing nonessential activities for seven days after travel, Wilke said. Those who do not get tested should reduce nonessential activities for 10 days after travel, the agency said.

Testing does not eliminate travel risk, Wilke said, but when combined with reducing nonessential activities and other precautions, it can make “travel safer,” he said. 

Before it stepped up advice on not traveling during the holidays, the CDC had given only general advice on travel during the pandemic: “Travel may increase you chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

The recommendations come as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the United States, with hospitalizations and deaths increasing. The U.S. has reported more than 13.7 million cases and over 270,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 63.9 million cases and 1.48 million deaths.

Last week, the CDC strongly recommended against Thanksgiving travel. The agency said postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this holiday season.

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That didn’t deter air travelers, who flocked to airports across the country. On Sunday alone, the Transportation Security Administration screened 1,176,091 travelers, a pandemic high. (That is still down 59% from the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019.)

“Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the Travelers’ Health Branch at the CDC.

Even if only a small percentage of those who traveled had asymptomatic infections, that would lead to “hundreds of thousands” of increased infections, Friedman said.

Walke said the CDC expects to see an uptick in cases seven to 10 days after the Thanksgiving travel rush.

Also this week, the CDC advised against all travel to Mexico. Mexico has become a popular pandemic vacation spot because it does not have strict COVID-19 entry requirements, such as a negative test or quarantine. The CDC’s alert level for Mexico is its highest, level 4. 

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