As I have been terribly lazy about updating the dear old Inky Fool, I think I should inform you all (if you're still there) that I have signed a contract with Penguin to write another book that will come out a little before Christmas this year.
But whereas before I've written about etymology for Christmas, words for Christmas, and rhetoric for Christmas; this time I'm writing about Christmas. For Christmas. A whole book upon the origins of Christmas traditions, rituals and Brussels sprouts (which first appeared in an English recipe book in 1845).
I've been reading A Dissertation on Mistletoe and The Department Store: A Social History and the original poem of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I currently know more about Santa Claus than can possibly be healthy.
In my researches I have come across a couple of lovely words. Trullibubs means entrails, but can also be a "jeering term for a fat man". And a kallithumpian band is one composed of a bunch of drunk people banging pots and pans and blowing whistles.
I also know, for absolute certain, that Coca Cola did not invent the modern Father Christmas with their advertising campaign in the 1930s.
This is from 1923, and it's an advertisement for White Rock ginger ale.