A 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 for delivery.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“A Christmas Carol” (2019): starring Guy Pearce, Andy Serkis and Stephen Graham. Guy Pearce plays Ebenezer Scrooge with a difference in this BBC One and FX adaptation of the timeless Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol”. The three-part special aired just before Christmas 2019 in the UK. The original and, be warned, extremely dark take on the  iconic ghost story comes courtesy of writer and executive producer Steven Knight, of “Peaky Blinders” success, and also features Andy Serkis as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley, Charlotte Riley as Lottie, Joe Alwyn as Bob Cratchit and Rutger Hauer as the Ghost of Christmas Future. Directed by Nick Murphy, the three hour-long programmes were shown on the BBC in the UK and FX in the USA. If you have time, try watching them all in one Sunday sitting. If not, maybe a couple today and the last tomorrow night. The piece is wonderfully acted, but it is not Christmassy in any kind of syrupy sense. Thus, we suggest watching it now – removed from the immediate build-up to the big day. (TV Magic: Superb special effects and acting extraordinaire.)

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?”

Listen:

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

“Christmas Lights” by Coldplay;

“Hob and Goblin” by Westminster Cathedral Choir.

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: We have increasingly had to make internet browsing and shopping our friend, this year above all others for obvious reasons. I have very much liked the bustle of Christmas shoppers, all on a mission, and certainly want to support my local high street – always! I’ve also learnt to choose my moments…when to visit the shops and when not to. Of course, for vast swathes of this year, we have rightly been limited in our shopping habits because of social distancing. Yes, there are products we might want to see and touch before purchasing, but when there is no option we can adapt. We have shown that. So, put the kettle on, brew a soothing pot of tea, open your favourite biscuits and browse away on your computer or tablet.

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.

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? 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. This is prompt and the service most courteous at Paper Isle – 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 service on this section: Cards & Greetings.

Click-and-collect has become a trusted friend to many, especially with pop-up collection points appearing in and around town. 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 more or less decide when and where you collect your online orders. Even in times of limited shopping in person this year, orders can still be made and collected in certain supermarkets.

Ed Elf: 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 list.

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. Next, order an array of stocking fillers and search out the Secret Santa gifts you may need for the workplace, your church community or social group.

Perhaps this is the year, above all others, to suggest that some of the gift buying that has become excessive can be cut back on slightly. Times are tough for so many people. 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 mail abroad or post in the UK.
  • Search out Secret Santa gifts you may need for work, church or home.