It’s finally December, which means the countdown to the big day has really begun. But what signifies Christmas to you? Is it the first time a mince pie crumbles in your mouth or you hear a festive jingle on the radio? Perhaps it’s opening the first door of an advent calendar or, in these modern times, the moment the John Lewis advert is unveiled on television? Whatever it may be, as each year passes, it seems these moments come earlier and earlier.
For those of us who work in the magazine world, we’re all too familiar with the idea of Christmas coming early; print schedules mean we are usually thinking about the festive season in July. It’s something that I’m not sure I will ever completely get used to. I’m generally meticulously organised so it’s not so much the planning ahead that gets the better of me but the peculiarity of writing about Father Christmas and wrapping up for winter walks when it’s still 20-odd degrees Celsius outside. Indeed, back at the beginning of September, when a collective of talented Surrey creatives and I descended on Willards Barn in Dunsfold for our festive photo shoot, it was one of the hottest days of the year. I imagine that must be what Christmas is like if you live in Australia.
Joys of Christmas When it comes to the ‘joys of Christmas’, people generally fall into two camps; you either love it or hate it. I am very much in the former camp – I still squeal with delight each time I hear The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York (whatever time of year it might be) and feel a little tingle in my belly the first time I see the Coca Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert.
However, work schedules do mean that by the time December comes around, I’m often a little fed up with everything else. So, while I know the usual festive traditions have their place, I’m continually on the look out for alternative ways to keep this time of year fresh and exciting.
This year, not only did I manage to get a few inspirational ideas from the aforementioned group of creatives (turn to page 51 where they give some tips on how to add that personal touch to your holiday season), I also got some alternative festive party menu options from the experts at Beaverbrook’s School of Cookery – you’ll find the recipes on page 116. Of course we’ve got plenty of the usual stuff in store for you too; you can discover all the best places in Surrey to really get into the Christmas spirit on page 33 and, if you’re looking for some gift inspiration, then turn to page 107 for some great ideas you can pick up locally.
I’m extra excited for the festive season this year as I have a new nephew to spoil so I’m sure my Christmas will end up being as traditional (and expensive) as ever! Season’s greetings to you all!