lights New York trees_37193833A Day To:

Wrap the first few gifts – in particular those that need mailing here and abroad.

Package up the gifts, ready to post.

Check your stocks of glassware.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)


“Holiday Inn” (1942): starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. What’s not to like? Music by Irving Berlin, songs by Crosby and dances by Astaire: a magical combination. “White Christmas” was one of 12 original songs written for this movie. Bing Crosby plays Jim Hardy, who quits showbiz to open a Connecticut inn. Curiously, it only opens on holidays. Fred Astaire is his selfish showbiz buddy and his rival in love, not once but twice. Bing isn’t about to give up so readily second time around. (Movie Magic: The singing of “White Christmas” at the piano, next to the tinsel-draped tree.)

And it’s time to start thinking about those Christmas TV specials of old…

“To the Manor Born” (1980): starring Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles and Angela Thorn. A New Year-themed edition of the hugely popular BBC sitcom had the working title “The Honours List” and first aired in November 1980. Audrey fforbes-Hamilton is at first outraged by Richard DeVere’s drastic plans for her beloved Grantleigh Estate – but then has her head turned by whispers of a local making the New Year’s honours list. Audrey would like to make a permanent return to the Manor. The title of Lady could only gild the lily. Thinking DeVere is in line for a Knighthood, Audrey abandons the group protesting about the digging up of hedgerows and hosts Richard’s New Year’s Eve party instead. But what will the first few minutes of the New Year bring? Perhaps there’s a surprise in store for Audrey. “To the Manor Born” – that ran from 1979-81 to massive audiences – also produced a Christmas-themed special in 1979 (“The First Noel”) and a silver anniversary special made for Christmas Day 2007, reuniting the wonderful Keith and Bowles. (TV Magic: Clever scripting, delightful one-liners and Penelope Keith at her brilliant best in one of the best episodes from this winning series.)


“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty Founder was a child himself.” 

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)


“When a Child is Born” by Johnny Mathis;

“Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives;

“King Jesus Hath a Garden” by the Choir of St. George’s Chapel Windsor.


Did you know…the accepted definition of a white Christmas in Britain – the one used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets, and acknowledged by the Met Office – is for a single snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of December 25th at a specified location? That includes among a mixed shower of rain and snow. That’s why in 2017, the UK officially had a white Christmas.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Quirky Christmas – CLICK HERE; Decorating Rooms – CLICK HERE; Candle Holders – CLICK HERE; Hitting the Wrong Notes – CLICK HERE; Christmas Non-Fiction – CLICK HERE; How to Secret Santa – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: Five weeks to go then and together we’re bang on course. Hopefully, having taken delivery of your Christmas paper and accessories, it’s time to get wrapping – if only for a select few gifts to get you underway.

Ed Elf: Is that rapping as in Snoop Dog? (Mrs. C offers a withering a look)

Mrs. C: Start with the presents you will need to post here and abroad. Better to send them good and early. Remember, no mad Christmas Eve wrapping this year and no last-minute dash to beat the post office deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery. If you want details of the cut-off dates for certain delivery before Christmas Day, check our Posting & Packaging page. Wrapping brown paper 64690951Overseas parcels to Australia have to go by the first few days in December and Canada by about the first week in December, for example, so don’t be caught out. Once wrapped, package the gifts up with brown paper or slip them into padded envelopes, ready for posting.

If you are sending parcels abroad, you will need a customs form for each package. For what the post office refer to as “small packets” you will need a small, white CN22 label. You can obtain them from any post office. It’s also worth picking up some blue air mail stickers while you’re at it. Tick the box that says ‘Gift’, write a brief description of the contents and then sign and date it. Leave the weight to be filled in at the post office. There’s a more detailed customs form for much larger, heavier and expensive items known as a CN23. Each mailing company, like UPS and FedEx, have their own systems, but explanations and help can be found online or at their depots.

Ed Elf: All this CN, CN-enning is news to me.

Mrs. C: Another job for today might be to check your stock of glassware. Do you have enough glasses to serve the champagne, wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks you want to over the Christmas period? Is this something you have been intending to address for a while? Serving bubbly in a wine glass or tumbler just isn’t the same as serving it in a flute or champagne saucer. Stocking up need not cost the earth. We have some useful information on our Table Dressing page.

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

  • Wrap a batch of Christmas gifts and package the ones to be sent by post, both in the UK and abroad.
  • Fill out the necessary customs forms for gifts being sent overseas – or at least check online the forms you will be required to fill out at the post office or delivery company.
  • Check your stock of glassware and decide if you have enough to cover your social events over Christmas – or whether you will need to make a modest investment in new glasses.