A Day To:

Research recipes and ingredients for festive favourites such as mince pies and Christmas pudding. 

Work on the Christmas wardrobe.

Check out when your local Christmas markets are happening – and search out Christmas fairs in your neighbourhood.

Look out for Christmas editions of your favourite magazines.

(Scroll down for the day in detail) 

Watch:

“Sleepless in Seattle” (1993): starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Christmas Eve is a time to make wishes come true. Jonah’s wish is a new wife for his widowed father and he announces it on a radio talk show. Across the country from Jonah’s home in Seattle, Annie Reed is listening in her car and is touched by this small boy’s selfless act. While Jonah and his Dad, played by the brilliant Hanks, are inundated with letters from listeners, Annie develops a feeling that she’s destined to be with the man she has never met and that a mere continent cannot a barrier make. (Movie Magic: Why is it the Empire State Building and romance go so well together? Happy ever afters never looked so good.)

And because it’s Saturday and you deserve a comedy treat to accompany the romance of Sleepless

“Daddy’s Home 2” (2017): starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and John Lithgow. Brad and Dusty are back – and this time they have their own fathers to contend with over the Christmas holidays. In “Daddy’s Home” – a big box office hit in 2015 – Will Ferrell’s character Brad had to overcome his inferiority complex and the macho posturing of his wife’s ex-husband Dusty, as splendidly portrayed by Mark Wahlberg, to win over his step-children. Having reached some level of harmony, “Daddy’s Home 2” sees Dusty’s old-school father (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s gentle, loving dad (John Lithgow) arrive to deliver contrasting ingredients to the festivities. (Movie Magic:  Daddy Gibson’s description of Brad when he’s sitting just feet away – and that typical Ferrell reaction.)

Ponder:

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” 

Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916), American essayist

 Listen:

“Sing Lullaby” by Polyphony, Stephen Layton;

“Merry Christmas” from “In the Good Old Summertime” by Judy Garland.

Learn:

Did you know…the Christmas Poinsettia plant was found in Mexico in the 1820s by American Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an amateur botanist and the first US Minister to Mexico in 1825? He took the plant across the border and it was later developed for commercial use in the USA.

PLEASING PAGES TO PERUSE: Advent & Nativity – CLICK HERE; The Outdoor Room – CLICK HERE; Advent: Selection – CLICK HERE; Top 30 Movies & Reviews – CLICK HERE; Cards For All Tastes – CLICK HERE; Gifts: Bespoke & Personal – CLICK HERE

The Day in Detail:

Mrs. C says: If you are planning to make your own Christmas cake, pudding or mince pies, then dig out your favourite recipe books and write out the ingredients you will need ready for the big bake. If you have never tried making your own Christmas goodies before, why not try at least one of the essentials? The smells alone will catapult you headlong into Christmas. For me, Mrs. C, Christmas cooking equals Mrs. D. That’s D for Delia, of course.

Poinsettia 131569883Ed Elf: Shouldn’t that be Christmas equals Mrs. S, in that case? You know, for Smith.

Mrs. C: Well..erm…you get my point. Please feel free to ignore him. Delia’s first Christmas book in 1990 was an instant classic. In 2009, she delved into her Christmas past and delivered “Delia’s Happy Christmas” for a whole new generation of cooks. Delia included lots of new recipes to sit alongside the tried and trusted old ones. As the inside cover reads: “This is the definitive guide to cooking for Christmas…You’ll find detailed advice on shopping and suppliers, planning, cooking ahead and for the freezer, menus to cover the whole holiday and an hour-by-hour countdown to the last crucial 36 hours.” On pages 22 and 23 of the book, there are lists of reminders for food and drink items – as well as non-food shopping like Clingfilm, cake boards, parchment and so on – you might need to buy in. Perfect.

Ed Elf: You do like a list, don’t you?

Mrs. C: Most human beings like lists. It brings a sense of order. Elves could learn a thing or two from us.

Ed Elf: I learn at your shoulder every day, Mrs. C.

Mrs. C: But do you really have to continue sitting on my desk?

Ed Elf: As I’ve explained year on end, how else can I get close to your shoulder? And anyway, I’m so ‘wee’ it’s as if I’m hardly here at all. Like an obscure paperweight on your desk or a pile of papers in your in-tray – just cuter.

Mrs. C: You can stay for now. We’ve got to finish talking about clever cooks and then move on to clothes and accessories, so no more interruptions.

(Ed Elf turns an imaginary key to his lips)

Mrs. C: So I suggest you invest in “Delia’s Happy Christmas”. Even if you buy it with every intention of making your own goods, then end up purchasing ready-made as per usual, it really is a beautiful book to peruse in the build-up to Christmas. And you’ll have it ready to go for next year when “I’m definitely going to make my own mince pies this year!” might be your inner cry. One other Christmas cookery book I couldn’t be without is “Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities”. Nigella has a less traditional take on things logobut is a hosting goddess and, therefore, has a few sparkling ideas for those Christmas gatherings either side of the big day – delicious beverages included, like cocktails named “Poinsettia” and “Yule Mule”. Be warned, if you already have other books by Nigella, there are some repeat recipes in the Christmas volume. But I prefer to think of it as having all my winter favourites, Nigella-style, in one convenient place. Also consider Jamie Oliver’s splendid collection – his “Ultimate Christmas” from 2016. Then, of course, there’s the warm and wonderful Mary Berry. We love Bezza. You can see – the options are plentiful and drizzled with excellence.

Many of the Christmas editions of your favourite magazines will have been hitting the shelves from last month. If you don’t have them delivered, keep an eye out in shops and supermarkets for the festive versions of mags that will also help you Flowers arrangements3 63877483gather even more ideas for Christmas. We like to think we have many angles covered at How to Christmas, but we also encourage gathering suggestions from as many sources as you can – especially when it comes to food and recipes. It may also be worth uploading a helpful app called “How to Cook Everything” and we have our favourite recipes and ideas for you on our Food & Drink page.

Now the accomplished cooks among you – “recipes, Delia, Nigella, Jamie, Mary, me? Ha!”– may not need any help on this front, short of a nudge to start on your ingredients list. But what about the festive wardrobe? I need fully two months to get myself looking nice for Christmas.

Ed Elf: (under his breath) I’m saying nothing.

Mrs. C: Make a pot of coffee and indulge in some “me time”, finding the must-have garments to create your perfect Christmas wardrobe. Browse the fashion websites and magazines to see what takes your fancy. Look for the complete outfit and order the lot. It can always go back if it doesn’t suit or fit. This way you can try on styles in the comfort of your own home at a time to work for you. If you find what you need, brilliant. If not there’s still time to hit the shops and at least you’ll already have eliminated some of the styles you thought would work. I also like to treat myself to a new festive fragrance that I then forever associate with the holiday season, like Jo Malone’s seasonal offering.

You might want to wear that new coat, new boots and new scent while enjoying a trip to a Christmas market. You can visit our City Lights & Markets page for inspiration, be it here or abroad, or christmasmarkets.com to discover dates and venues. And while you’re at it, perhaps you can search out local Christmas Fairs to be held in your community in the coming November weekends. Our local fair is just two weeks away.

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

  • Research recipes and write down ingredients for festive food favourites like mince pies and Christmas pudding.
  • Buy trusted books to help from Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry or visit relevant web sites.
  • Start planning your clothes and accessories for Christmas party season – browse fashion web sites and magazines for inspiration.
  • Order clothes, accessories and even a special Christmas fragrance.
  • Check when your local Christmas markets and fairs are happening.
  • Look out for Christmas editions of your favourite and most inspirational magazines and perhaps upload a cookery recipes app.