The Simple Things team would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! It's been an absolutely brilliant experience hearing from all our our readers this year, and our most heartfelt thanks go to everyone who enjoyed the magazine and shared their thoughts and ideas with us. We really couldn't have done it without you!
There will still be great stuff happening on this blog every day over the rest of Christmas and the New Year, and we've got some really, really exciting plans for 2013. But now it's time to kick back, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the very best that the festive season has to offer. Here's what each member of the team will be up today...
Jenny: "I’m from a small family, so it’s quite exciting that there will actually be nine gathered for Christmas dinner this year – our numbers are helped by a new nephew making his debut in October. I won’t be cooking but have promised to bring pudding – not the flaming, figgy variety but the Bourbon Chocolate Cake we featured in our Christmas issue. (We test-baked it back in November and I can’t wait to try it again). After the big day, I’ll be spending a quiet few days with my Mum. I’m hoping for many afternoon matinees, some long walks and the chance to do a bit more work on my patchwork quilt – a very sensible Winter make as it keeps me warm while I stitch."
"My Christmas Simple Thing is a dead heat between having the fairy lights as the only lights switched on in the evening and nibbling far too much marzipan as I ice my Christmas cake."
Annelise: "On Christmas day I get totally excited about the constant 'come-wear-a-belt' (conveyor-belt) of food... It's the one day of the year where you're never more than 30 minutes away for another meal or a snack. What follows is a lovely feeling of being totally stuffed and content, and it's also more than acceptable for you to doze off at any point during the day."
"This year I'm particularly excited about having the family round to our place for the evening, and having our Mørso wood burning stove lit. The flames will no doubt hypnotise them all into a booze-fuelled snooze, filled with manic cheese dreams brought on by the well-aged stilton."
"My Christmas Simple Thing is squeezing nectarine juice onto the flame of candles whilst eating them, to get a overpowering smell of oranges throughout the house. Throwing the skins onto a open file also works really well."
Anna: "Early start. Presents, breakfast and a long walk with the dog. Then we're cooking turkey at home for our parents for the first time, having contrived to get them to do it every year up until now. If this turns out to be more difficult that I realised, the dog may get a second long walk... then a log fire, a selection box and the Doctor Who Christmas special on the TV."
"My Christmas Simple Thing is the first three seconds of Phil Spector's Christmas album."
Jane: "I'm looking forward to a more simple Christmas this year as my family and I have decided to be less extravagant with our Christmas shopping as it's been a crazy year for all of us. It means that we're putting more thought and effort into smaller gifts, I've even made my own chutney this year! My Mum is still in charge of Christmas dinner but we all spend the morning helping out and my brother and I look after the starters, it's fun all being in the kitchen cooking and chatting and listening to new CDs! My brother works in the wine industry so I can always be sure we'll be nicely oiled with amazing tasting wines! We might have a walk in the afternoon if it's nice but I can guarantee Grandma will challenge me to a game of scrabble – but no scoring: 'that's no fun, it's just nice to make long words'.
"My Christmas Simple Thing is arriving home. I love the build up to Christmas, getting the tree, writing cards and wrapping presents, not to mention the mulled wine and lots of festive parties. But Christmas really starts for me when I pack all the presents into the boot of my car and head home. Driving up the motorway singing my favourite Christmas songs adds to the excitement and when I reach my parent's front door I can barely contain myself. The door flies open and I see that the tree is up, sparkling spectacularly, there's always a drink ready at hand and a very very warm welcome, let Christmas begin!"
Joss: "I'm really looking forward to spending Christmas with my wife, as in previous years Nadia's often had to work – she's a nurse. So I'll be in the kitchen, preparing a feast for us – even the cats may get treats! – probably singing along (badly) to the Phil Spector Christmas Album. After lunch, we'll have a delightfully lazy afternoon with a few cocktails. Then it'll be a nice stroll, if the weather's good, followed by a couple of pints of ale in our local pub, The Royal Oak Free House, in front of a blazing fire."
"My Christmas Simple Thing is Morecambe & Wise. I can watch their Christmas TV specials from the 1970s every year, and they still bring the same amount of pleasure as when I first saw them as a child."
Sarah: "Christmas for me always starts with a journey: wrapped up warm, laden with gifts, taking the busy train on Christmas Eve to my destination for the big day. This year I’ll be spending the holiday with my boyfriend’s family near Birmingham for the first time, so I’m looking forward to discovering some new traditions – and perhaps sharing a few of my own. But regardless of where I am, the central activities of the day are always the same: tucking in to a big roast dinner with all the trimmings, unwrapping lovingly chosen presents and watching classic films on the telly. Perfect."
"My Christmas Simple Thing is savouring the jellied fruits, bread sauce, sherry and other festive fare that I never think to eat on any other day of the year."
Don’t forget, you can buy the print version of The Simple Things at good retailers around the globe, individually online or buy a subscription. For your iPad/iPhone, visit the Apple Newsstand. A digital version to read on a PC, Mac or Android device can be found on Zinio. And for Android phones and tablets, we're also now on Google Play.
Subscribe now and get a free copy of the fabulous Decorate Workshop by Holly Becker, a book worth £25! You can subscribe online, or call call 0844 848 2852 (quote code TSTW13 – Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm & Sat 8am-4pm). Offer ends 31/03/2013.
January sale: save up to 40% on a subscription to The Simple Things, or one of seven other brilliant Future magazines! It’s quick and easy to order online or by calling 0844 848 2852 (quote code ZC09 – Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm & Sat 8am-4pm). Offer ends 31/01/2013.