tree with lights and snow_221133865A Day To:

Start to firm up plans for meeting family and friends over the holiday season, including gift exchanges and meals out.

Confirm babysitting arrangements.

Plan party menus if you aim to host.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Love Actually” (2003): starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Martine McCutcheon and Rowan Atkinson. Christmas Eve is very nearly a month away. It’s Saturday. It’s time to take the festive viewing up a notch. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, “Love Actually” boasts a stellar cast in an interwoven fabric of ten stories. Love, of one kind or another, is at the heart of each tale. Some are more satisfyingly performed than others. Suspension of belief is key when it comes to Prime Minister Hugh Grant’s love for a junior member of No. 10’s staff, but not when Emma Thompson’s character Karen discovers the necklace she finds in her husband’s coat pocket is not her Christmas gift after all. Her realisation there is another woman is portrayed with heartbreaking brilliance to the sorrowful strains of Joni Mitchell. (Movie Magic: Rowan Atkinson’s elaborate wrapping of Alan Rickman’s clandestine purchase; Bill Nighy’s ageing rocker finds love is not so much all around as with his trusty manager Joe.)

 

Ponder:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)

Listen:

“I Believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake;

“Grown Up Christmas List” by Natalie Cole.

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Learn:

Did you know…the festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, first held on Christmas Eve 1918, always starts with “Once in Royal David’s City”? The BBC first broadcast the service in 1928. The televised version of the glorious event Carols from King’s was first shown on BBC TV in 1954.

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: When to see family and friends over the holiday season here in the UK? Some we are ever so thankful to know, love and see. Others perhaps not so much. Either way, making arrangements can increasingly feel like a military operation. Oh, and the politics of it all. You spent last year with the in-laws so this year it has to be Christmas with your family. You dislike that certain relative, so there is no way you are spending such a special time of year with them. It was ever thus.

Well, there’s a month and one day to go to Christmas so even if you can’t solve lights outdoor fairy_149121983each and every political issue, you can plan to do the rounds, book restaurants for festive get-togethers (don’t leave this any later for sure) and do the very best you can to see the people you really want to see when and where you want to see them. Hopefully, if you have been following our countdown from the start, you may have laid the initial groundwork for such gatherings as early as the first week in November. There’s some inevitable give and take, but be brave enough to be a tad selfish. Christmas is an amazing time. We love it. Don’t let someone you barely see the rest of the year dictate the Yuletide protocol and ruin it. Ed Elf: And so say all of us.

Mrs. C: Planning a party menu should be fun, not a chore. You will be giving of yourself and your home when loved ones gather near, but you will hopefully also be giving them some mouth-watering festive treats. Consider the number of guests and, for that matter, the number of gatherings you are likely to host. Maybe there’s a big party in the build-up to Christmas, followed by a more intimate dinner with close friends in the week between Christmas and New Year. Then there’s the family get-together on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Whatever the plan, create your food menus and decide on the cocktails and wine you want to serve – then stick to them when it comes to buying groceries. Going off at tangents in the supermarket or, indeed, over-catering will prove Christmas Sale 148948478costly. If required, make sure you have babysitters booked (we gave you an initial prompt for this earlier in the month) or some other child-care arrangements in place for any festive nights out. The traditional Christmas party season usually starts from next weekend.

Ed Elf: And that is music to the ears of moi.

 

So today’s the day to:

  • Get your social plans in order and firm up Christmas and New Year plans with family and friends – remembering not to allow people you rarely see to dictate matters.
  • Plan food menus and drinks for your social gatherings whether it’s a party buffet or smaller dinner.
  • Book babysitters – or confirm bookings if you have already made contact with your regular babysitter earlier in the month as we suggested.