Shop for perishable food items.
Buy last-minute ’email-able’ gifts online if you have overlooked someone.
Defrost the turkey if you haven’t bought fresh.
(Scroll down for the day in detail)
“Elf” (2003): starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel. A human baby is raised in an elf’s world, only to discover the truth by accident. It sends him on a journey of discovery to New York City at Christmas, where he finds his father (a non-believer whose on the naughty list), a brother, love and the world’s greatest cup of coffee. Christmas spirit on earth is waning. Santa is in trouble. Maybe some elf-help will save the day. Will Ferrell in comedic genius mode, so magically capturing the childlike qualities of Buddy the Elf. The way he so innocently antagonises a children’s writer he believes to be a fellow elf is just one of the hilarious scenes of naivety, giving us the line: “He must be a South Pole elf.” (Movie Magic: Buddy the Elf, on his journey to New York, meets an irate racoon and asks: “Does someone need a hug?” As he holds out his arms to the angry animal, the racoon leaps at him and attacks him by the throat. It’s just the start of a host of Buddy gems.)
And to trigger memories of Christmas seasons of old, try to make time for a television classic…
“Morecambe & Wise – Christmas Specials” (2007) is a three-disc collection containing the adored British comedy duo in eight of their heralded Christmas television specials from 1969 to 1977, minus 1974 when the duo did not make a festive programme and the primetime Christmas night slot went to impressionist Mike Yarwood. You will likely find these shows dotted through the Christmas schedule, on the BBC or Gold perhaps. Eric and Ernie became the mainstays of Christmas night viewing in the UK and to appear as a guest on their show was a coveted accolade. In the 1971 Christmas classic, Glenda Jackson, Shirley Bassey and Andre Previn were happy to play it for laughs – but the sketch involving conductor Previn and a recital of the Grieg Piano Concerto takes some beating. The 1977 show – their last for the BBC – was watched by more than 28 million viewers, making it one of the top 25 most-watched programmes in British TV history. Morecambe & Wise moved to ITV thereafter. Among the stars to famously appear in their Christmas specials are Michael Parkinson, Peter Cushing, Vera Lynn, Vanessa Redgrave, Laurence Olivier, Elton John, Penelope Keith, Diana Rigg, John Thaw and Angela Rippon. (TV Magic: Seeing the orchestra corpse as Eric tells Andre Previn: “I am playing all the right notes – but not necessarily in the right order.”)
“ I do hope your Christmas has…a little touch of Eternity in among the rush and pitter patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next – but that, after all, is the idea.”
Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), English writer and pacifist
“Angels We Have Heard on High” by St. Paul’s Choir School;
“Still, Still, Still” by Sir Bryn Terfel;
“O Come All Ye Faithful” by Frank Sinatra.
Did you know…Turkeys were domesticated in North America and first introduced to England in the 16th century? Yorkshireman William Strickland is believed to be the first person to bring them here in 1526. By the early 18th century, Norfolk farmers were leading gangs of turkeys on foot to London for market each winter. But it wasn’t until the late 19th century that turkey became more affordable and started to rival goose as a Christmas bird of choice.
The Day in Detail:
Mrs. C says: If you have to go to the supermarket in person for a festive food shop, do it early today if you can. It hopefully won’t be too enormous if you followed our countdown from early November. Remember your list: have a paper one and a back up on your mobile phone. Perishable items – like fruit, vegetables, cream, milk, bread, freshly made desserts and pies – will be high on your grocery list. And, of course, the meat selection – turkey, ham, pork, bacon, sausages, goose and chicken – unless you have made separate provision for these.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to cook Christmas dinner from scratch unless you adore the process. It is more than acceptable these days to buy a few ready-made dishes, gravy or stuffing. You can always customise them if you wish. For example, a dash of sherry in the gravy or chopped walnuts in the sprouts. If you have bought a frozen turkey, start the defrosting now. You can check our ‘Food & Drink’ page for more on this.
If you feel rather smug at night’s end that the cupboards are full, maybe even groaning with the weight of food, only to suddenly turn cold at the thought you’ve forgotten a gift for someone, have no fear. You don’t have to make a mad dash to the shops on Christmas Eve. Instead, you can buy online gift certificates and send them directly to the recipient or print them out yourself and pop them in a Christmas card ready for hand delivery. Amazon offers a pleasing range of Christmas designs for their gift certificates.
Ed Elf: I do enjoy a gift voucher. I cannot lie. I spread the spending out after Christmas, so vouchers are kinda the gift that keep on giving. They’re good birthday gifts as well.
Mrs. C: Aah, you’re birthday. When is that again?……Just kidding! Here’s your gift, dearest Ed.
Ed Elf: Thank you, Mrs. C. I’m sure I’ll love it whatever it is. Did you keep the receipt?
Mrs. C: Unwrap it then.
Ed Elf: A snow globe. Wow! And what is this in an envelope? A very generous gift card for my favourite gadget shop. You’re the best, Mrs. C.
- Shop for perishable food items to add to the stock of food you have made, stored and put in the deep freeze since following the How to Christmas calendar.
- Be open to going with at least some pre-prepared, ready-made dishes for the big day.
- Buy last-minute gifts online, like Amazon gift certificates.