angel with candle_148763723A Day To:

Make a start on the Christmas cards. 

Order personalised address labels.

Make plans for New Year.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Christmas with the Kranks” (2004): starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. Based on the John Grisham novel “Skipping Christmas”, this appealing simple American comedy sees Luther and Nora Krank opt to give the holiday season a miss. With their daughter Blair Krank away on Peace Corps duty, Mum and Dad decide to spend their usual chunk of Christmas cash on a cruise. Their neighbours aren’t impressed that the Kranks’ house is a festive-free zone. There are menacing carollers and relentless cries of “we want Frosty!” as the locals demand the appearance of a giant rooftop snowman. Then comes an unexpected call from Blair – and Christmas is back on. But how? (Movie Magic: When Luther Krank’s frosty heart melts and he insists his neighbours, one of whom is seriously ill, take the tickets for the cruise.)

Here’s some festive television to consider today, too…

“Not Going Out – Christmas Specials” is a collection we return to each Christmas. Lee Mack’s ability to deliver funny one-liners like few other modern day comics makes him a rare treasure and his sit-com “Not Going Out” infinitely watchable. This Christmas Specials DVD is available featuring the festive episodes: “Murder at Christmas”, “Absent Father Christmas” and our favourite “The House”. Lee wants to create a perfect Christmas for Lucy at an old house in the snowy countryside. But he didn’t plan for the presence of dopey friend Daisy, Lucy’s parents, his Dad and certainly not the ghost of a young boy. A big country house, open fire, decorations, snow and a Christmas ghost: it makes for perfect festive fayre. Sally Bretton plays Lucy and Katy Wix is Daisy, while Bobby Ball is Lee’s useless father. “The House” episode first aired on Christmas Eve 2013. (TV Magic: Lee’s ability to antagonise at will Lucy’s permanently unimpressed father. It’s an on-screen battle and partnership all in one.)

 Ponder:

“Somewhere between the angel and Mary’s house I had figured it out. The first gift of Christmas. It just came. It came to my heart. The first gift of Christmas was love.” 

Richard Paul Evans, from “The Christmas Box”

Listen:

“All Bells in Paradise” by Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

candles lantern_186210149

Learn:

Did you know…Brussels sprouts get their trademark bitter taste from a chemical defence, evolved to ward off insects? During cooking, sprouts release sulphur compounds that react with bacteria in the gut to produce hydrogen sulphide, which is found in stink bombs.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Advent: Variations on a Theme – CLICK HERE; Wreaths, Garlands & Greenery – CLICK HERE; Elf Helpers – CLICK HERE; Made-for-TV Movies – CLICK HERE; Playlist Tips – CLICK HERE; Trivia & Trifles – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: Depending on how many cards you have to send out, writing them can be on a sliding scale anywhere from an hour-long delight to a five-hour slog. My Christmas card list is easily into three figures, so I’m on the slog end of the scale. And yet I don’t look at it that way. Instead, I relish the very prospect of plonking myself down with plonk, listening to Bing crooning about his dreams of a white Christmas and writing the most sincere lines of love and kind wishes to my family and friends.

Ed Elf: Mrs. C doesn’t have Bing on a loop, you understand. She plays other music as well.

Mrs. C: I try to change my greetings in each batch of cards and attempt to make it as personal as possible. I like to order sticky labels with my own address on them, so I don’t have to write it out hundreds of New Year Champagne _66472681times. Some of you might not bother with a return of address label, but I believe it to be the polite thing to do. Plus, if someone has moved since last Christmas and failed to inform you, the card can be ‘returned to sender’ and you’ll not waste your time or postage money next year. A batch of about 300 labels shouldn’t set you back more than £20.

Ed Elf: So what about New Year plans?

Mrs. C: Ah yes. Maybe you love New Year every bit as much as Christmas. But, like many people out there, you may find the whole New Year’s Eve thing a little tricky to negotiate. Christmas is a reflective time, but New Year even more so. There is every chance for that maudlin feeling to set in, perhaps accompanied by tears and sadness and a resolution to make the New Year so much better than the last. After what the world has endured in 2o20, this will be a global aim. If you have lost a loved one in the last year, especially in the pandemic, the occasion could be altogether impossible.

There are six weeks to go to New Year’s Eve, so why not spend part of today making a plan for the night – and indeed New Year’s Day itself. The How to Christmas team has created a New Year Celebrations page in our Parties & Hosting section. I’ll share some of their ideas with you now:

“Why not think of hosting something simple yourself. Nothing too large in terms of numbers and only for those capable of joining in the festivities. The invitations could be emailed a few weeks out to give people time to reserve the date. If you like the idea of marking New Year’s Eve in some way, but don’t like thoughts of noise and mess and spills on carpets, then you might consider an even smaller, more intimate dinner party with your closest friends – if this is within social distancing and essential travel regulations. The menu need not be complicated. Just ensure you have a few bottles of bubbly and just enough festive spirit left to play host and this could be the perfect way to welcome a new year. Plus, if they are your very best friends in the world, maybe they won’t mind you becoming just a tad sentimental or morose for a little spell. You could always see in the New Year quietly. You know, raise a glass, watch the fireworks explode across the London skyline… New Year 165359921 copyand go to bed. But then, perhaps, you could mark the New Year with a relaxed and delicious lunch with family and/or friends on January 1st. Again, bear any restrictions in mind. Some could join you online via Zoom, remember.”

Hope this helps. There is more on our New Year Celebrations page, but I trust this gives you a starter. Getting together to mark occasions is more important than it ever was. Think it over today and make a New Year plan, however simple. If you hate New Year, as I hear so many people say, then reinvent it to work for you. That way, you’ll keep Christmas going much longer than you ever thought possible.

Ed Elf: Personally, I always like to link up with my friends in Scotland. Hogmanay – brilliant! The Scots know how to do New Year. And I like how they call me ‘wee man’.

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

  • Write at least your first batch of Christmas cards to a festive sound of music – relish and enjoy the process.
  • Buy personalised sticky address labels from an online source.
  • Consider New Year festivities – perhaps aiming to host a party or dinner if you wish to have more control over the occasion.