Christmas emoticons

It was Espy who first suggested we should create some special 1Radio emoticons for use in the Shoutbox.

Country flags, food, animated dancers, pulsing arrows, coloured dots, bananas and vomiting smileys. We had them all. You never knew what people would ask for next. I’d often add new emotes in real time as folk were requesting them.

One afternoon in December when everyone’s thoughts turned to Christmas, we set about adding some festive frills. Baubles, holly, reindeer, a string of coloured lights and more, were all added in a single session. It got to the stage where people were typing any and every Christmas phrase they could think of just to see if a relevant pic would appear. Someone would post a festive suggestion, Espy would locate or create a relevant icon and I’d add the necessary code to the back office. Suddenly, a page full of asterisked words burst into life. It was if the whole thing was being choreographed by elves.

It was one of those occasions when everyone seemed to show up in the shoutbox and the atmosphere was buzzing. It's moments like those that I shall miss the most. 1Radio at its best.

In the end, the shoutbox supported such a massive catalogue of icons and animated gifs, they needed their own website where they could be listed in all their full, blinky, trance-inducing glory. Espy still hosts the complete set of fun smiley gifs to this very day over at

You know how in real life people get the hump if Christmas decorations or fancy lights show up in October? It's just the same in the shoutbox. Christmas baubles appearing in the in the middle of summer is just as likely to cause a riot.

So to prevent pre-Christmas icon rage, I programmed the system so that festive emotes only worked during December. As the month approached, the air of anticipation was intense and itchy fingers hovered over keyboards, ready to delight shoutboxers with an array of santa-inspired ani-gifs.

Posted by Tim on Tue 07 Dec 2021 at 11:23 and viewed 774 times.

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