After a whole year of wait­ing,

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my favourite month has ar­rived. De­cem­ber is a spe­cial time for me. It’s not just the start of a beau­ti­ful sea­son of giv­ing and love, it also marks two birthdays in the fam­ily – mine, and that of my el­dest daugh­ter, Claire.

The month is prov­ing even more mem­o­rable this year – I’m due to give birth to my fourth child, mak­ing it a trio of De­cem­ber birthdays. I’ve been jok­ing that from now on, I’ll have to take leave dur­ing the last two weeks of the year, to prep for all the cel­e­bra­tions and par­ties!

As it is, for the last few months, I’ve been jug­gling get­ting ready for a new baby in the house, sort­ing out my fes­tive shop­ping, and fig­ur­ing out if I’ll be in any shape (and size) to help with the hol­i­day cook­ing.

I’m the sort who fin­ishes her Christ­mas shop­ping by July, so it’s stress­ing me out that ev­ery­thing is still up in the air. Un­til the baby comes, I have no way of know­ing when any­thing will hap­pen. It’s truly a les­son in let­ting go.

So this year, I’m rop­ing in my kids as Santa’s helpers. At eight, five and three years old, they’re big enough to help with present wrap­ping (never mind if it isn’t neat, it’ll be torn off any­way!), putting things away and some cook­ing. Claire is mak­ing creme brulee for the fam­ily party, and I have a lovely recipe for baked ba­nanas with rum that’s per­fect for the sea­son, that the younger ones can help with.

If you haven’t made plans for the hol­i­days yet, our De­cem­ber is­sue will gal­vanise you. Try cook­ing an Asian-in­spired menu and see how you can clev­erly trans­form store-bought cakes into gourmet con­fec­tions (pg 200). Also check out our pick of the best tur­keys (pg 206) and log cakes (pg 212) this year. And for a nice of­fice cel­e­bra­tion, we have five fab restau­rants you can go to (pg 214).

You’ll want to look your best for the sea­son, so turn to page 36 for tips on how to wear glitter eye makeup, plus dra­matic but easy nail art ideas to do at home (pg 60).

It’s also that time of the year for some soul-search­ing – read our fea­ture on the 10 ques­tions to ask your­self, to guar­an­tee your hap­pi­ness (pg 84).

We haven’t for­got­ten the lit­tle ones ei­ther. Spoil them silly with our list of the best theme parks in the world, great lo­cal play­grounds and fun De­cem­ber ac­tiv­i­ties (pg 64). And for long, rainy days, turn to page 220 for two craft projects that will keep them busy for hours. En­joy!



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