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What is your favourite Christmas tune? Do you have a go-to Christmas compilation? I ask these questions because we only have two Christmas CDs. The first is called The Christmas Album. This double CD dates from 1998 and contains a mass of classics, such as Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, and Doris Day’s I’ll be Home for Christmas, but also pop tunes; Wham’s Last Christmas, David Essex’s Winter’s Tales, and Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry. But it also has some naff tunes that have no Christmas theme, but just happen to have been released around that time, such as Step’s Heartbeat and Robson and Jerome’s cynical Simon Cowell cash-in I Believe. It unfortunately also has the Gary Glitter tune: Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas, which I think we should gloss over. The second Christmas CD is a bit more highbrow; a recording of carols from St Paul’s Cathedral.

Last thursday my wife had a Christmas photoshoot at our house. The actual feature won’t be published until Christmas 2016, but the magazines obviously have to shoot in advance and there is no point trying to make June look like December, so they tend to work a year in advance for this sort of thing. This meant that the weekend before we collected our Christmas tree. We now hold the record with the tree-man for the earliest one he has ever cut. We have a 6ft Nordman Fir, which after the photoshoot got undressed again and put outside. Hopefully it will survive out therefor a few weeks when we can bring it back into the house (it has more chance outside than in the warmth of a centrally heated house). So long as we keep it in water I’m sure in will be fine.

The day before the photoshoot I made mince pies (an adapted Ainsley Harriet recipe since you ask – using spelt instead of normal flour). Then on the day of the shoot I set the Christmas CDs playing to get everyone in the mood. Unfortunately it was a long day, so we must have heard each one of them at least 3 times. To be honest one play of a Steps song is one too many for my liking. I do hope the editor and photographer were not too traumatized such that they refuse to ever return.

The house now has some stunning Christmas decorations, but unfortunately I can’t publish any photos of them so instead here is an image I took last year.

Hand-painted Kashmir bauble

Hand-painted Kashmir bauble

I bought this last year at a fairtrade shop in Durham. I love its intricate patterns, it is incredible that it was painted by hand. I only wish it wasn’t the last one in the shop. We are going up to Durham very soon, so I will have to pop in again and see what they have this year.

What are your plans for Christmas? Do you have a recommendation for a Christmas CD? I am now sick of the ones we have….

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