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A Day To:

Buy family Christmas cards.

Buy Christmas crackers and a combination of 24 foil-wrapped chocolates and pocket-sized gifts/trinkets for an upcoming Advent project.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“The Bear” (1998): This animated short film, based on the book by Raymond Briggs, first aired in the UK at Christmas 1999. Like Briggs’s “The Snowman”, the film is accompanied only by music (although Dame Judi Dench narrates an American version). And like its predecessor, this is a seasonal delight. Tilly is parted from her teddy bear on a visit to London Zoo then receives an unexpected visit of her own…from a polar bear. Surely there can’t be room in her bed for a gigantic polar bear? But where there’s a will, there’s a way. There’s a rather large clean-up for Tilly before they embark on a Christmassy London adventure and Tilly is introduced to the Star Bear. Charlotte Church sings the beautifully starry theme song. This is perfect for all the family and not so long that it might interfere with children’s bedtime. (Movie Magic: Friendship blossoms on a wonderfully festive tour of London landmarks – and the accompanying music is superb.)

And we like the idea of a double bill today, with something darker and thrilling…

“Batman Returns” (1992): starring Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer. There’s a snowy, Christmassy backdrop to this gripping superhero movie directed by Tim Burton. Michael Keaton reprises his role as Batman in the second of the initial Warner Bros. series. The story introduces us to the origins of the monstrous Penguin, played superbly by Danny DeVito, and Catwoman, deliciously delivered by Michelle Pfeiffer. Oswald Cobblepot was abandoned as a child and raised by penguins, while Selina Kyle is pushed from an office window, finds herself surrounded by cats and develops an identity disorder. Beneath the layer of Gotham City snow, the baubles and the lights, there’s a menacing darkness and a story of greed and evil. The good of the Christmas season sits as a perfect contrast to the bad Batman must fight. (Movie Magic: The brilliance of Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer, turning villains on a comic book page into very real big screen creations.)

Ponder:

“A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;

He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;

Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,

And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.

He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;

When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.”

Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), English-born American poet

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Listen:

The album “Carols from Queen’s” by Choir of Queen’s College, Oxford;

“Corpus Christi Carol” by Angelic Voices;

“A Winter’s Tale” by David Essex.

Learn:

Did you know…Sticking on a Christmas stamp when the cards are written is a final festive flourish, but it was not until Christmas 1966 that seasonal stamps were issued in Britain? The Post Office issued commemorative stamps for special events and occasions as early as 1924, but specific Christmas stamps were only available from December 1st, 1966. Both designs, a snowman and Good King Wenceslas, were designed by six-year-old viewers of BBC television children’s programme “Blue Peter”.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Christmas Flowers & Plants – CLICK HERE; Snowmen – CLICK HERE; Top 25 Songs & Lyrics – CLICK HERE; Movie Gift Boxes – CLICK HERE; Presents for Adults – CLICK HERE; Christmas Puddings – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: We have made this an annual calendar tradition. We hope you join in. Buy a couple of inexpensive boxes of Christmas crackers and 12 to 24 foil-wrapped Christmas chocolates. The Cadbury ones you can hang from trees are ideal and Green & Blacks produce packets of mini bars of chocolates. Add 12-24 inexpensive trinket crackers_4356235gifts, like key rings or mini-decorations for a fun project. Use your imagination. You’ll be surprised how many tiny presents you can think of and purchase, like mini packs of playing cards, soaps, shopping trolley key-fobs, nail-clippers, nail varnish and so on. You can tailor the crackers to please children or adults. If you prefer to pick up some of these gifts in person it’s something you can do once you’ve scanned the online shelves.

Ed Elf: If you’re as impatient as me, you can leap to November 17 in our calendar to discover how to turn all this into something special for Advent.

Mrs. C: Card time. If you are going to pick out the perfect cards, with ideal words or humorous slant, for those special people in your life, it is a good day to get surfing the web. You can really take your time over this. Enjoy the process; read many cards; think how you feel when you receive a card that makes you laugh or open one which has sentiment that best captures the essence of you. Now try to do unto others as you would have done unto you. Maybe even consider having some bespoke cards made online using your family photographs or favourite poems & images. These could be the most special cards of all. In tomorrow’s calendar page we suggest selecting cards for your wider circle. But if you don’t have too many cards to send, you can maybe get the job done in one sitting today. However, family and special friends come first in our book – so start there.

Ed Elf: We’ve got a separate Cards & Greetings section, so please visit that for more ideas.

Mrs. C: Very helpful of you, Ed.     Ed Elf: I try to be helpful at least once every few days, if I can.

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

  • Buy a collection of items suitable for making a simple but effective variation on an Advent calendar, including inexpensive Christmas crackers and 24 or 25 trinkets/chocolates.
  • Select and order your family Christmas cards, having given each purchase due consideration.