Christmas tree outdoors 149122061A Day To:

Decorate the real Christmas tree – if your fir has been acclimatising in the garage or shed.

Check the lists you made at the outset of the calendar. Forgotten anything?

Donate to a food bank charity.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Bad Santa 2” (2016): starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox and Kathy Bates. Not one for youngsters! More than a decade after first playing Willie Soke, Thornton returns with his angry elf sidekick and foul-mouthed mother to turn over a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. On the film’s release, Thornton proudly proclaimed “Bad Santa 2” was funnier and filthier than the original, a film we recommended earlier in the countdown. As “Bad Santa” was awash with belly laughs and Father Christmas debauchery, that takes some doing. But he’s not far wrong. X-rated moments punctuate the piece, so this is definitely not one for the kids or anyone of a prudish nature. Brett Kelly, who plays the naive Thurman Merman, gained fifty pounds in weight to reprise his role. The 2003 original was shot in Los Angeles while the sequel was filmed in Montreal, where it fell to 30 below some nights. Thornton said he loved the Santa suit more this time for obvious reasons. (Movie Magic: Whatever the weather, Thornton’s creation is comedy gold. His interaction with the now adult Thurman Merman remains priceless.)

From the TV archives, something more suited to all the family…

“The Good Life: Silly, But It’s Fun” (1977) stars Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington. The outrageously pompous Margot, played to perfection by Penelope Keith, has to admit: “Christmas hasn’t been delivered to this house” when she realises her order of complete festive provisions won’t be arriving. She sent back the order because her tree was a few inches too short. Tom and Barbara Good save the day with an invitation for a humble, home grown Christmas. Margot isn’t best pleased when she finds a Daily Mirror paper hat in her cracker, but finally discovers her inner child…after a threat from Tom. (TV Magic: “Your Christmas comes in a van,” says Tom to Margot. “It’s supposed to, Tom!”)

Ponder:

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.” Francis P. Church: an extract from a reply in the New York Sun in 1897 to a letter from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon asking “Is there a Santa Claus?”

Listen:

Favourites from the album “Now! That’s What I call Christmas” by various artists;

“Boar’s Head Carol” by Westminster Cathedral Choir.

Learn:

Did you know…a boar’s head is carried on a silver platter, dated 1668, into the hall at Queen’s College, Oxford for an annual Christmas feast while the “Boar’s Head Carol” is sung? Sacrificing a boar and presenting its head at a Christmas feast was an ancient tradition captured in the 15th century English carol. Many other colleges around the world also observe this ancient tradition. For Queen’s, the story goes that the ritual is to pay tribute to a student who was attacked by a wild boar in a neighbouring forest, while reading Aristotle. The scholar bravely put the book in the boar’s mouth and choked the animal. The then severed head may have been the first ever used in the ritual.

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: You might only have one tree to decorate. You might have done it long before now, especially if your preference is an artificial tree. You may have done like thousands of others and trimmed the tree last weekend. But if you have been patient enough to wait until today to decorate the aromatic pine, now is the time to unleash your creativity and indulge in the goose-pimply joy that it is to decorate one’s festive evergreen.

Ed Elf: I’m thinking of a theme this year based solely on chocolate. Well, it is Christmas.

Mrs. C: If the tree is already decorated – and even if it isn’t actually – you might want to turn your thoughts to charity and buy some food to donate to a food bank. There are collections in supermarkets – or you can donate money online if social distancing comes into the equation. You can make a real difference to someone’s Christmas, so please be as generous as you can.

Ed Elf: Shocking that food banks are even needed in the UK.

Mrs. C: This year more than ever, sadly. After that’s done, you might want to scrutinise the lists you made at the very start of the calendar. How are you doing? Much left to accomplish? Have you forgotten something? Do like Father Christmas and check that list twice to make sure there are no oversights.

Ed Elf: If you find you’re pretty much covered to this point, rest up after making your food donation, sit back and enjoy a Christmas book or magazine with a warm beverage in the glow of the tree lights. You’re on track for the big day, you deserve a few hours of peace. Now, aren’t you happy you followed our countdown calendar?

Conifer and berries 64686097So today’s the day to:

  • If you haven’t already, decorate your real Christmas tree and enjoy every last second of it.
  • Check your Christmas lists for potential oversights.
  • Donate food or money to a food bank charity.