This is the time of year when we're always glad we're not Santa Claus. Rest of the time, it would probably be OK - sit around, watch a little tube, eat cookies, order elves around. But December he gets swamped by a yuletidal wave of requests and outright demands, and now, with millions of kids in possession of computers and modems and the World Wide Web's capabilities, it's going to get a million times worse for the man who's going to be so busy this year he might wind up on Dec. 26 being neither fat nor jolly.
There are, not surprisingly, hundreds of Web sites dealing with Christmas this year, up from just a few dozen last year. Many are sort of grab bags of holiday features, but there are other more detailed sites.
TIM'S TUNES: Carolers who can't always remember the words will find reason for cheer at the cunningly titled Tim's Page (no relation), put together by Tim Chambers, who has come up with the lyrics to more than 200 Christmas tunes.
If all you care about is the granddaddy of them all, Silent Night, then all you need to do is dial up the Silent Night Home Page, where, for starters, you can download the sheet music as well as an MIDI sound file. And then the fun begins. Here are compiled several of the more than 230 translations that have been made of Silent Night, Holy Night. Some might be a bit of a challenge to the warbler. In Halaka, it begins thusly: "Ilpa hyutweek, Esypublo hyutweek." In Malayalam, it goes something like this: "Shantha raathri, thiru raathri." And in Afrikaans, you go: "Stille nag, heilige nag."
CHOPPING FOR A TREE?: If you don't have your tree yet, or just want lots of info on the one you've bought in order to assuage your buyer's remorse, check into the National Christmas Tree Association's Web site, where you can get a ton of dope about Christmas trees: where to buy them, how to select and care for them, and all sorts of information about various tree types - and there are more kinds of Christmas trees than you might think.
NEW YORK,according to most New Yorkers, is the best place to celebrate Christmas, what with the twin-bill of intolerable weather and snitty mobs. If you miss it, you can still get a visual load of the scene, thanks to a video camera trained on Rockefeller Center and its famed ice rink, set up by France Telecom North America. Every time we've checked out the site it's been empty, but you might have better luck.