toys window grotto_157061066A Day To:

Buy packaging materials for mailing gifts overseas and domestically – including boxes, bubble-wrap, padded envelopes, labels, string and tape.

Order Christmas cards.

Order a selection of gifts using click and collect.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Remember the Night” (1940): starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray. Shoplifter Lee Leander, played by Barbara Stanwyck, is arrested during the Christmas holidays. Taking pity on her, Fred McMurray’s sympathetic Assistant District Attorney postpones her trial and posts her bail so she won’t have to spend Christmas in prison. That is just the start of their adventure and romance. Will Leander return to the face the music – and if so, will it cost her the love of her life? Happy ending? You decide. (Movie Magic: Gathering round the tree, opening simple, thoughtful gifts with all the excitement of the season.)

Ponder:

“There are some wonderful aspects to Christmas. It’s magical. And each year, from at least November, well, September, well, if I’m honest, May, I look forward to it hugely.” 

Miranda Hart, British comedian, from “Is it Just me?”

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Listen:

“Classic Sleighride” by Leopold Mozart, arranged by Philip Lane from the album “The Night Before Christmas”;

“Noel Nouvelet” by Vasari Singers.

Learn:

Did you know…Sir Henry Cole, who introduced the penny post in Britain in 1840, also created the world’s first commercial Christmas card in 1843? They sold for a shilling each – an average man’s weekly wage at the time. Most of the original 1,000 print-run was in colour, with only a small selection in monochrome. There are believed to be just 12 in existence today, only three monochrome. They can fetch thousands of pounds at auction. One sold at Devizes, Wiltshire in November 2001 for £20,000. It was originally sent by Cole to his grandmother in 1843 and was hand-coloured by London illustrator John Calcott Horsley. The pictured scene was criticised for promoting drunkenness – it included an adult feeding wine to a child.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Global Traditions – CLICK HERE; Outdoor Lights – CLICK HERE; Table Dressing – CLICK HERE; Classical Christmas Music – CLICK HERE; Sport – CLICK HERE; Victorian Christmas – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: Endless days trekking the shopping malls? No, in the coming weeks we strongly suggest you carefully pick your shopping battles. Make internet browsing and shopping your friend. Don’t get me wrong: Candy canes 118310902I like the bustle of Christmas shoppers, all on a mission, and certainly want to support my local high street – always! I’ve just learnt to choose my moments. There are also products you want to see and touch before purchasing, so just find the balance that best suits your lifestyle. For now, though, put the kettle on, brew a soothing pot of tea, open your favourite biscuits and browse away on your computer or tablet – just for starters.

Ed Elf: Relax and get your Garibaldi’s out.

Mrs. C: Functionality first: order for delivery a batch of packaging material for presents you are likely to send by post, either here or abroad. The list might include: brown paper, cardboard boxes, bubble-wrap, padded envelopes, address labels, parcel tape and christmas stamps on parcel_42422455string. These you don’t need to check in store. It’s pretty standard stuff.

Having already selected – and hopefully bought – your family cards as part of our calendar guide yesterday, now you can select the cards you plan to send to your wider circle of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. These are some of the factors you may want to consider: how many cards do you require in total? How many do you need specifically for children? Are you planning to stick to one theme? Is buying charity cards of importance to you? How much money are you prepared to spend? Could you have special cards made just for you, like the service provided by ‘Company Christmas Cards’? Would you like to personalise your cards with a family photograph? Do you feel creative enough to make your own cards? Will I ever stop asking questions? There are so many cards and greetings options open to you. Arrange delivery of your cards or select the click-and-collect service, where available, if you prefer. Delivery is prompt and the service most courteous at ‘Company Christmas Cards’ – a family-run concern with splendid bespoke offerings, especially for bulk orders for you and your family, your office, company or workplace. Read more on their fine service on our Cards & Greetings page or visit companychristmascards.co.uk.

The afore-mentioned click-and-collect has become a trusted friend to many, especially with pop-up collection points appearing even at places like train stations. I told you a few years ago that this would be big and it’s proved a major hit with shoppers. No more waiting in for packages or heading to the Royal Mail depot when one of those annoying little red ‘you were out’ cards is dropped through your letterbox. You decide when and where you collect your online orders. John Lewis orders, for example, can be picked up from a local Waitrose. Therefore, your nearest collection points for high street stores are likely to be many and varied. In recent times, John Lewis reported that more than 40% of its total sales took place online in the six-week period leading up to Christmas – and of those online sales, more than 50% were made through the C&C service.

Ed Elf: I always knew you’d be right on that one. It’s what I like to call a no-brainer…a bit like a few friends of mine actually.

Mrs. C: Use this same, erm, ‘no-brainer’ method perhaps for your first significant present buying of the festive season. Yes, today’s the day to put a first serious dent in your gifts logolist.

Ed Elf: Presents! Yes!!! Ooh…I’ve got a tummy full of butterflies at the very thought of that mountain of gifts. I hope I don’t barf.

Mrs. C: The organised among us will have some presents bought by now. I start in summer, sometimes sooner – my list is long. But if you haven’t, there are still weeks stretching out ahead of us before the big day. Please, don’t panic. Prioritise the gifts you will need to parcel up for overseas family and friends, followed by those you will mail in the UK. Also bear in mind the gifts you will need wrapped and ready to give in person earlier in December. They need to be traditions 1914 santa stocking_6176794near the top of your list as well.

Next, order an array of stocking fillers and search out the Secret Santa gifts you may need for the workplace, your church community, a friend’s party or social club.

Perhaps this is the year to suggest that some of the gift buying that has become excessive can be cut back on slightly. Set a budget, stick to your limit. It really is the thought that counts. Something you have put a great deal of thought into, but costs a fiver, is preferable every time to a gift five-times as expensive that makes the recipient feel you don’t know them at all. We’ve got ideas aplenty in our Gifts & Wrapping section.

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

  • Peruse and shop online, starting with the purchase of an array of mailing and packaging materials.
  • Scour Christmas card collections and order the ones you plan to deliver to friends, neighbours and colleagues. Maybe have your own special cards made. It need not be expensive.
  • Buy Christmas gifts, focusing on stocking fillers and presents you will need to send abroad or hand out early in December.
  • Search out Secret Santa gifts you may need for work, church or home.