Post your overseas Christmas parcels.
Buy mulled wine, port, sherry & bubbly.
Stock up on mince pies.
Order the turkey – decide on your turkey guru.
(Scroll down for the day in detail)
“Bad Santa” (2003): starring Billy Bob Thornton. Good late night Friday fayre for the broad of mind. A black comedy which – be warned – is liberally sprinkled with bad language and actions sure to outrage and offend some people. But if you’re not “some people”, you’ll love it. Billy Bob Thornton plays a crude, safe-cracking robber of a store Santa who is befriended by a naïve, overweight, curly-mopped boy named Thurman, whose constantly wanting to “fix sandwiches” for his new houseguest. Willie’s partner in crime is Marcus, who plays elf to the abusive Santa…until he reaches breaking point and turns on the disgrace of a man in the red suit. Betrayal comes with unexpected consequences. (Movie Magic: Willie’s letter to Thurman, narrated in magnificently deadpan fashion by Thornton. Hilarious.)
As this is very much for adults only – and may not be to everyone’s festive taste – you could go for more a family friendly animated film…
“The Flight Before Christmas” (2008): with the voice talents of Andrew McMahon and Emma Roberts. An animation created in Europe with input from Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland as young reindeer Niko heads off to find his father – one of Santa’s Flying Forces – and thus prove he can fly. Without Dad, he simply won’t make believers of everyone, including his trusty pal the flying squirrel. Niko’s selfishness jeopardises the herd. A big bad wolf might just cash in. (Movie Magic: The Flying Forces song – or is it more of a reindeer jingle? Either way, its testosterone-fuelled humour to enjoy.)
“Somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart’s possessing returns to you glad.”
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), American poet
“Mistletoe and Wine” by Cliff Richard;
“Christmas Wrapping” by Kylie Minogue & Iggy Pop;
“Past Three O’Clock” by Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.
Did you know…iconic actor Humphrey Bogart was born on Christmas Day 1899? Other famous people born on December 25th include Sir Isaac Newton (1642), Helena Rubinstein (1870), Conrad Hilton (1887), Quentin Crisp (1908), Kenny Everett (1944), Sissy Spacek (1949), Annie Lennox (1954), The Pogues’ Shane McGowan (1957) and England’s highest Test run scorer in cricket history Sir Alastair Cook (1984).
The Day in Detail:
Mrs. C says: First task of the day: pop to the post office and get the overseas packages and parcels in the mail before the deadline dates that fall in early December. It’s almost upon us…December that is. We’re ever nearer that magical date when the tree goes up, decorations festoon the house and Christmas lights brighten up our world. For so many people these days that’s December 1st. To help prepare for the decorating frenzy to come, make sure you have your favourite festive tipple in the house – along with a mound of mince pies. You’ll need sustenance along the decorating way: mulled wine and mince pies are perfect. And once the tree is standing in all its decorated glory in a few days’ time, you’ll want to toast the occasion with some bubbly or sit back, full of contentment, with a tot of port or sherry…with another mince pie, of course. So get stocked up.
If you are feeling satisfied and full of cheer after tackling the creation of your own Christmas cake, you might want to make your own mince pies. It’s hopefully straightforward enough to order a couple of mince pie tins and some ready-made mincemeat. And while you’re turning to Delia, Mary et al for guidance, it may be pertinent to seek a few turkey tips. We have our own suggestions and cooking guide, too, on our Food & Drink page.
Ed Elf: I once saw a picture of that TV cook Fanny Craddock, from the black and white days. All eyelashes and lipstick, she was. Oh my!
Mrs. C: If you haven’t already, this is also a good time to put in your turkey order – indeed your overall meat order – with your local butcher, local farm or with your preferred online supplier. Think of the size you’ll require, bearing in mind the bird has to fit into a roasting tray that then has to fit into your oven. Don’t get this bit wrong, whatever you do. Get the tape measure out if needs be. It may be just as well to add extra large tin foil, roasting bags, disposable or metal roasting tray, large carving board/platter and turkey baster to your list right now, so you have all your bases covered.
Ed Elf: So you have all your basters covered. Lol!
Mrs. C: Tried turkey roll yet? They’re quicker to cook – about two hours for a joint that served 10 people. They take up less room in the fridge, carve easily and there’s no waste. Although I still can’t quite yet give up my traditional turkey roast, this might be an option for you to consider. If you still fancy a drumstick, you can buy them separately and cook them alongside the roll. Self-assembly turkey.
Ed Elf: Don’t tell IKEA. They’ll be all over that like a cheap coat. Oh yeah…there’s a certain Black Friday to consider – some big ol’ Christmas sales.
Mrs. C: Yes, the day after Thanksgiving in the USA means today is Black Friday – a day of crazy bargains and even crazier shoppers. The tradition has been adopted by UK retailers, although it has become a “Black Few Days” in reality. Sales all over the place and for days on end. One survey and report from consumer group Which? recently revealed (so be warned) that some items in several stores offered as Black Friday sale items were actually cheaper at other times in the year. Maybe make sure they are, in fact, genuine bargains by downloading your own price-tracker. With all the other festive stuff to do today, maybe forget that sale frenzy altogether.
- Mail off your parcels and packages for overseas.
- Ensure you have a plentiful supply of mince pies or festive treats of your choice, along with delicious drink, to accompany the decorating fun to come later in the week.
- Make your own mince pies if you are so inclined.
- Submit your turkey and/or overall meat order to your online supplier (or make a note to do it in person tomorrow at your local butchers) – and consider the turkey roll option.
- Check you have all the turkey accoutrements, like foil, roasting tin and baster.
- Consider if Black Friday sales are really worthwhile.