Countdown to Christmas

Andrew Hirst looks at getting organised, keeping it real and keeping it local this Christmas.

Santa self isolates every year. He pops out on Christmas Eve and does what he needs to do, and then holds-up at the North Pole with his extended family for 364 days. Alright, he might be in breech of the rule of six and he clearly does most of his work from home, but he is a dab hand at these festive shenanigans. This year we all need to take note of one of Santa’s most unsung talents ¬ organisation. The big fella in the red suit is a master organiser; lets be honest I bet Mrs. Clause has a hand in all this as well. Spending all year making a list, checking it twice and sorting out his travel plans; which certainly includes a lot of social distancing. 

If you haven’t started thinking about the festivities already then maybe it’s time you did. Christmas this year is going to be very different. Let’s embrace the change and accept it for what it is. Christmas isn’t ruined, it’s just not what we did last year… or the year before that. 

Make a list
I can’t stress this enough this year… be organised. Make a list of the people you want to buy presents for. Put some time into it. Don’t just sit there with the iPad flicking through page after page of Amazon. We are not going out as much these days so you don’t have the excuse that your social calendar is too busy. Look to local suppliers and go for quality not quantity. One great thoughtful gift that has provenance is worth more than three random selections delivered next day. Leave all of your shopping to the last minute and you may struggle to get the best results. It’s not just the gifts. Let’s talk turkey… no let’s really talk turkey. Want a great bird for lunch? Get it ordered. Barmey about beef? Get it ordered. Everything you need to make your Christmas go the way you want needs to be planned, so let’s get organised. 

Local yocal 
Norfolk and Suffolk has some of the most fabulous products on offer; from gins to clothing you can get the lot on your doorstep. With the likes of Adnams, Norfolk Gin, Tiny Tipple Co and St Giles, to name but a few, why would you want to buy a bottle of Gordons? 

Buying one fabulously made item of clothing from Norfolk’s Carrier Company (, for example, is worth more than a large pile of items sewed together with a thought process of, lets make a profit rather than a quality item of clothing to be be cherished for years to come. 

French wine makers use the word “terroir”. The literal meaning is “soil” or “earth.” However, the word carries a much deeper connotation in wine-making and tasting, and is the collective profile of qualities that the local environment imparts on the grapes that will soon become the wine you drink. The excellent products available throughout our region embody all of this with a real sense of provenance. Check out pages 41 and 42 for just a small selection of our local businesses ready to put a smile on that special someone’s face with a locally sourced gift.

Because we will be socially distancing, rule of six’ing, support bubbling and whatever else will we have to think of come Christmas morn it is the best time to embrace the new order. From Facetiming to Zooming we really have no excuse no to. The majority of households today have access to some kind of device which will accommodate a video call. If they don’t have the tech, well maybe this is the perfect gift for them? Oh, and don’t forget to help them with the setting up of said device. Just because you find it second nature to use it doesn’t they will. With so many manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon you might be spoiled for choice. 

Why not set a place at the festive table for your iPad so Aunty Flo can join in guessing the punchlines to the bad jokes. Christmas is a time for togetherness and social distancing won’t get in the way when we use the technology we all have at our fingertips.

Be kind to others & the planet
It isn’t just the present. What about all of the other things that go along with Christmas. The sheer indulgence and the waste. I have mostly steered away from buying my children the mountain of plastic  for Christmas morning. It really is landfill fodder. Played with once and then added to the collection of dust gathering action figures from last year. What about the packaging and the wrapping paper? Choose a gift that maybe impacts the environment a little less. That’s maybe a gift that is worth giving to the kids. Yes the sparkly plastic wrapping paper is pretty, but it is soon ripped off and discarded. Grandma Ruby might sit there and carefully fold the paper to take home to re-use but most of us will be frantically stuffing it in the bin to get ready for the next round of nibbles and drinks. I nearly took it too far one year when I wrapped the gifts in newspaper, so maybe a happy medium is a good compromise.

Countdown to Christmas

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