tree with lights and snow_221133865A Day To:

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

Plan the menu 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.)

Surely there’s time to squeeze in this for snowman lovers everywhere…

“Frosty the Snowman” (1969): with the voice talents of Jimmy Durante and Jackie Vernon. The Rankin-Bass Company, in association with Mushi Production of Japan, produced this 30-minute television special based on the popular 1950 Gene Autry song of the same name. Narration is by Jimmy Durante – his last performance in film. Frosty is brought to life by a magic hat and adventure follows. American network CBS first aired this cartoon on December 7th 1969. You’ll all be singing the tune afterwards. (TV Magic: The song…pure and simple!)

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:

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey;

“Winter Wonderland” by Tony Bennett;

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

tree european scene_121877059

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. Maybe this year, after restrictions placed on who we saw and when, we might all have a more benevolent take on festive gatherings.

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 festive get-togethers – some might even be via Zoom – and do the very best you can to see the people you really want to see when and where you want to see them. Some might involve gift exchanges, some might only involve food and drink. 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 Christmas 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 you are able to host. 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.

Ed Elf: Christmas food, served with love at home…that is music to the ears of moi.

So today’s the day to:

  • Get your social plans in order and firm up plans with family and friends – remembering not to allow people you rarely see to dictate matters.
  • Plan food menus and drinks for your Christmas gatherings.