Bring the decorations out of storage.
Unpack the Nativity set and other ornaments, like nutcrackers and Santas.
Make paper chains and snowflakes.
Perhaps cast an eye on Black Friday sales.
(Scroll down for the day in detail)
“Four Christmases” (2008): starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. A couple normally canny enough to holiday together over Christmas rather than visit all four of their divorced parents’ homes are grounded by fog. When they are interviewed live on TV at the airport, there is no escaping the fact: this year they will have to endure four Christmases. In the process, they learn more about each other than they had previously been keen to share. A stellar cast includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen. The comedy pours from every awkward, violent, embarrassing, dysfunctional Christmas. (Movie Magic: Vince Vaughn’s character Brad in a Christmas Day moment he’d rather not be having with his mother’s new man, Darryl, who says: “Look, Brad. I’m not trying to be your father, you already got one of those. I’m just hoping for a chance to be your friend.” Brad replies: “You were my friend, Darryl. You were my best friend. We grew up together, we rode bikes together, we used to smell each other’s hands. But now you’re sleeping with my mom and it’s a little bit weird for me. Can you appreciate that?” Darryl ploughs on: “I never had… (that kind of)…thought about your mom until I was 30.”)
And here’s one for the kids…
“A Flintstones Christmas Carol” (1994): with the voice talents of Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl and Frank Welker. Fred Flintstone is set to play Scrooge in the Bedrock play – as long as he can avoid the stomach bug that’s doing the rounds. There are as lot of green faces around, but the show must go on. (TV Magic: The Flintstones is a classic cartoon, so a special based on the series could have gone either way – either living up to expectations or disappointing for going off piste. Thankfully, it does not disappoint.)
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile and on every street corner you’ll hear: silver bells, silver bells – it’s Christmas time in the city. Ring-a-ling, hear them sing, soon it will be Christmas day!”
Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, from 1950 film “The Lemon-Drop Kid”
The album “The Rose in the Middle of Winter: Carols by Bob Chilcott”;
“Happy Holiday” by Andy Williams.
Did you know…the word carol comes from the French verb ‘caroller’, meaning to dance in a circle? The old French term ‘carole’ means a dance of praise and joy.
The Day in Detail:
Mrs. C says: There’s always a moment for me, as I take the boxes from the garage, cupboard and loft, when I remember how sad I felt when I had to pack the decorations away in January…then pinch myself that Christmas is here again, my blissful joy renewed. So here we go once more. Check your Nativity set and other freestanding ornaments to make sure nothing has been chipped or shattered. Dust them down and line them up ready for the fun bit, when you can place them around the house in the next few days.
Ed Elf: Oh no! I’m getting giddy. I feel I could topple off your desk at any moment.
Ed Elf: Two more sleeps to December, that’s all.
Mrs. C: We’ve already had a busy and productive November. It is about to get busier still. So are there any tasks or chores you could ask others in the household to help you with or indeed take from your hands altogether? You don’t have to delegate jobs that are terribly essential – ones that would cause a significant problem if they weren’t completed. Just don’t feel like you have to do everything alone. And with the house about to be decorated, there may be younger members of the family (heck, I still love doing this too) who might delight in making some paper chains and paper snowflakes for their own rooms, to dangle from the hallway ceiling or display in your windows. I used basic, white paper a few years ago to make paper chains for my kitchen and they were most effective. One friend thought I’d spent a small fortune on them at The White Company. It’s amazing what you can do with a Pritt stick and some A4 paper.
Ed Elf: 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?last year 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. We say: avoid the unruly queues and mania in malls and check out bargains online instead. Then 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.
- Bring your decorations out of storage and unpack them.
- Check ornaments for damage and dust everything down.
- If possible, hand out chores to other members of the household to keep everything running smoothly ahead of decorating day.
- Make paper chains and paper snowflakes with the youngsters in your life – or the grown ups.
- Check out Black Friday sales, but only if you absolutely can’t resist.