Editor’s Letter – December 2019

Dear Neighbours,

The time has come to retrieve the Christmas decorations from the loft, turn up the Xmas tunes and devour copious amounts of mince pies… the countdown to Christmas has officially begun!

I have a very long ‘To-Do’ list, which sends a small shiver of panic through me whenever I look at it. However, I am determined to remain calm and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas, as the day itself is always over far too quickly.

I do miss the excitement that having younger children bring to the occasion as now my boys are older the magic has dissipated slightly; no more excited squeals that Santa has been (unless you count my husband!). We now have to wake them up rather than being woken, and presents have reduced in size (but become more expensive!). However, the most important thing for me has always been spending quality time with the people I love… and that’s as special now as it’s always been.

In this festive edition, we look at the history of our Christmas traditions on page 10. We have top tips for festive decorating on page 16, as well as Christmas tree decorations on page 22.

If you’re planning a Christmas Eve box this year (when did that start being a thing?), we have ideas on what to fill it with on page 26. We also have the best beauty gift sets, page 30; your festive gadget survival guide, page 34 and our pick of the best books on page 38.

If you want to offer guests an alternative to a mince pie or slice of Christmas cake, we have a delicious cranberry, orange and nut loaf recipe on page 42.

The shorter, darker, colder, wetter days of winter can leave even the fittest and chirpiest of us feeling mentally and physically run-down. We have six tips to keep you feeling better through the winter; page 44.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see an acclaimed production of a classic Miss Marple mystery, A Murder Is Announced, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 48.

Until next month…

Zoë