candle tealights_114064924A Day To:

Order pillar candles and tea-lights for home delivery, plus festive coffee, tea, jams & chutneys.

Start to actively reduce what’s in the freezer and pantry to make room for Christmas goods.

Make your own Christmas cake and freezable festive treats and meals.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Die Hard” (1988): starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia. If it’s action, thrills and kills you want in your festive films then you will do well to dip into the Die Hard franchise. It’s Christmas Eve and New York City cop John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, arrives in California to visit his estranged wife and two daughters. But when terrorists take over the high-rise building in which McClane’s wife is celebrating with colleagues, a cosy catch-up is out of the equation and a mass shoot-out on the Christmas cards. “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” was released in 1990 and is again set on Christmas Eve with a snowy airport backdrop and more murder and mayhem, leading McClane to say: “How can the same s**t happen to the same guy twice.” Well, exactly! The fact a plane goes down in the sequel, killing around 230 people, makes this a Christmas miss for us. Bad idea that one…really a ridiculously, ridiculously bad idea! (Movie Magic: The desk cop who thinks he can no longer raise his gun becomes a shooting star in the nick of time.)

The following will better suit youngsters, but is done in such a way as to be engaging for adults as well…

“Christmas Carol: The Movie” (2001): starring Simon Callow and Kate Winslet. This animated version of the story has an unusual twist at the end in that Scrooge is reunited with his lost love, Belle. We don’t understand the need to change the original classic, but it doesn’t greatly hurt the overall effect of this particular animation. Simon Callow is the voice of Scrooge and Kate Winslet is Belle. Winslet also had a top 10 hit in the UK with the theme song “What If”. (Movie Magic: Old school animation creates its own atmosphere and adds to the film’s appeal.)

Ponder:

“Were I a philosopher, I should write a philosophy of toys, showing that nothing else in life need to be taken seriously, and that Christmas Day in the company of children is one of the few occasions on which men become entirely alive.” 

Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Irish writer

Listen:

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by John Legend & Kelly Clarkson;

Christmas carols from the album “The John Rutter Songbook”.

Learn:

Did you know…there’s an age-old Scandinavian belief that ancestors might visit to enjoy a feast while the household sleeps on Christmas Eve? A welcoming light might be left on, plenty of food and drink placed on the table and a clean white cloth draped over a chair before retiring to bed. If there are black marks on the cloth the next morning, ancestors have risen from the grave to visit and dine.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Accommodating Guests – CLICK HERE; Indoor Lights – CLICK HERE; Christmas Trees – CLICK HERE; Album Number Ones – CLICK HERE; Parlour Games – CLICK HERE; Charity – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: You can never have too many tea-lights at Christmas – at least that’s my experience. I go through a considerable number in lighting up the season.

Ed Elf: You’re not kidding there, Mrs. C. You make things ever so magical, running around with your candle-lighter in hand.

Candles and decs_160664129Mrs. C: John Lewis, M&S and other stores have large packs…so five or six bags of those should do me. Maybe make that seven. Add in a selection of up to ten pillar candles and that’s one heavy load: definitely an order for delivery. The number of tea-lights and candles you require clearly depends how many rooms you have to illuminate and…

Ed Elf: Don’t tell me…how many holders you have to fill?

Mrs. C: Correct. While online, I’ll arrange to have some of my favourite Christmas coffee and winter tea delivered. Perhaps you can do the same. Harrods and Fortnum & Mason always offer a pleasing selection. Christmas is a time for special treats so, if the budget allows, splash out a little on these extras from some of the finest stores in the land. Betty’s is another marvellous option. These shops have excellent Christmas brochures and online stores. If you are ordering from Fortnums, it might be worth including a few jars of jams, chutneys, relishes and pickled onions for the holiday season. Don’t be shy in putting a sizeable dent in the ‘Big Christmas Shop’ whenever you see fit.

The more Christmas stock I buy for my pantry, the more I realise I have to start actively reducing what’s already in there. That goes for freezer items, too. When it comes to the freezer, think of buying novelty ice trays in the shape of Christmas trees, snowflakes and other festive designs. If you have room, or indeed a second freezer in the garage, basement or closet, perhaps you can fill large freezer bags of these ice cubes and store them for Christmas drinks aplenty. You’ll need plenty for champagne buckets and beer troughs.

Ed Elf: When you have a pantry and freezer ‘use-up’ session, I get a bit excited cos I know there’s some baking to surely follow.

christmas cake slice_41360002Mrs. C: How right you are. Today I’ll be making my Christmas cake and getting ahead with my festive food by making and freezing Yuletide treats and meals, such as soups, canapés and desserts.

As we are not a how to bake site, we’re offering the encouragement and not necessarily the in-depth know-how – although we do have some excellent recommendations, recipes and general food fabulousness in our Parties & Hosting section (Click here for the Food & Drink page). Follow your favourite cook to the letter and you can’t go far wrong. It’ll be fun, especially putting your cake in a tin under the bed and feeding it occasionally with liqueur, as is my tradition. Good times.

Ed Elf: Don’t get confused here and feed yourself the liqueur, otherwise you’ll end up under the bed.

So today’s the day to:

  • Buy a large supply of tea-lights and candles to last through the holiday season, arranging for the heavy load to be delivered.
  • Start actively using up the items in the freezer and cupboards – bearing in mind tins can be donated to charity food banks.
  • Think ahead to the amount of ice you may need and obtain the necessary ice cube trays and/or bags.
  • Purchase Christmas coffee, tea, jams, chutneys and pickles from your favourite stores and have them delivered.
  • Make your Christmas cake and freezable goods to get ahead of the cooking game.