Christmas Shop front grotto_87059096A Day To:

Potter around the shops, perhaps on a local high street rather than a shopping mall, to buy the last few bits for Christmas…but to also soak up the Christmas atmosphere.

Meet friends for a Christmas coffee, hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Stock up on firewood.

Water the tree.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983): starring Mickey Mouse. Search out the 2001 DVD release “Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse” and you will find Mickey’s version of the Dickens classic. Disney characters galore are snowed in at Mickey’s place but are able to pass the time with some festive viewing on the magical mouse’s very own big screen in this first direct-to-DVD animated film spin-off from Disney’s House of Mouse series. The last feature cartoon in this collection is the best. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is an affectionate re-telling of the story, with Mickey as Bob Cratchit and Scrooge McDuck as miserly Ebenezer. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1984. (Movie Magic: This was the only Mickey Mouse short on which the great John Lasseter was involved as an animator, thus its festive splendour.)

Maybe dip into this fantasy…

“The Velveteen Rabbit” (2009): starring Jane Seymour, Tom Skerritt and Ellen Burstyn. A young boy named Toby is sent to spend the Christmas season with his strict grandmother. He discovers there’s magic in the attic, where three forgotten toys – including the Velveteen Rabbit, whose dearest wish is to become a real bunny– help change his life forever. Based on one of the most beloved children’s books of all-time, this part-animated film is one of several cinematic attempts to bring the pages to life. (Movie Magic: Toby’s transition made of new friendship.)

And from the Christmas TV archives…

“Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings” (2000): starring Victoria Wood, Julie Walters and Celia Imrie. Comedy genius Victoria Wood delivered this memorable special for the BBC on Christmas Day 2000 and invited a whole host of guest stars along for the ride: Hugh Laurie, Derek Jacobi, Richard E. Grant, Sir Roger Moore and Alan Rickman, to name but a few. Highlights of the show include Wood’s hilarious take on English period drama and a beautifully observed (when was anything Victoria ever created not?) story of a northern brass band named “The General Fettlers, Warp and Weft Adjusters’ Band”. Victoria Wood was sadly lost to the world in 2016, but her comic creations will live on for generations, displaying her brilliance for all to see. (TV Magic: Wood’s trumpet playing character has the brass band enthralled with her moving tune. Surely they’ll allow her to join their restricted ranks now. Or maybe not.)

Ponder:

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

Chris Van Allsburg, American author, from “The Polar Express”

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Listen:

The album “The Piano Guys – Christmas Together”;

“Calypso Carol” by Saint Michael’s Singers, Coventry Cathedral.

Learn:

Did you know…today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere? It often coincides with St. Thomas’s Day (traditionally Dec 21), but this year falls on December 22nd. St. Thomas’s Day is a day of charity which once included donating flour to the poor to bake bread? Children used to cover their faces with soot to go A-Mumping or A-Thomasing – that’s begging for money. The Winter Solstice falling at this point in December (Dec 19-22) led to the old poem: “St. Thomas Grey, St. Thomas Grey, longest night and shortest day.” 

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: With the gift buying pressure well and truly off, I so enjoy pottering around the local shops on the days leading up to Christmas. I tend to head for a nearby high street where I can pop in and out of inviting stores, buying a few additional treats for my family and friends or, indeed, for me. I like to experience the hustle and bustle without having the need to buy a whole catalogue of gifts or groceries on a daunting list. If a Salvation Army band is playing on the street corner or in a town square, that’s all the better. And with the pressure valve closed and the pleasure valve opened, this is also a good opportunity to meet up for a hot chocolate, mulled wine or eggnog latte with fellow ‘potterers’ – those who are similarly chilled out, of course. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into other people’s mania. There could be a bit of it about this last Sunday before Christmas.

Ed Elf: If you do see anyone panicking about the holiday festivities, do them a favour and slip ‘em the address to this website.

Mrs. C: Today’s a good day to stock up on firewood – that’s if you have an open fire or wood-burner of course. Fill the log basket by the hearth and make sure there is plenty of chopped wood in store to see you through at least the next few days. Cosy gatherings by an open fire are the stuff of idyllic greetings cards. Even if you don’t have a fire or wood-burner, you can achieve a similar cosy effect by grouping lots of candles together. Also remember to water the tree, if you have a fragrant fir in the house. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping the water reservoir in the holder topped up, but one last check and possible top-up today should ensure you won’t need to concern yourself with this task again until Boxing Day or beyond.

Ed Elf: I’ve got a little rhyme about that. It goes: “Keep the fir tree’s thirst at bay and you won’t awake to needles on Christmas Day.”    Mrs. C: Don’t call us, dearest.

So today’s the day to:

  • Visit local shops to browse and buy as you see fit – after all, the gift buying pressure is off by now thanks to How to Christmas.
  • Meet friends, drink festive brews and soak up the atmosphere of the high street.
  • Stock up on firewood if you have an open fire or wood-burner.
  • Water the tree, ensuring the water reservoir for your fir is topped up to last to Boxing Day.