Saturday, 22 December 2012

My sixth day of Christmas: lovely festive things to do.


A little pot pourri today for you.

1. Pay someone a compliment.

I realise that I am now wading into treacherous hippy-ish waters. I shall soon be teaching the world to sing and suggesting you wear flowers in your hair. No doubt, I shall mention the fact that a smile costs nothing.

But here is the thing, especially if you are British: often reticence or even shyness can strangle generosity of spirit. Paying a compliment can feel a bit cheesy or gushy or even faintly phoney. Much better not to risk it. And, if it is someone you know very well, you may assume that they already know they are kind or brilliant at making gravy or clever with numbers or have a way with flowers. You don't’ need to say it out loud.

My theory is: say the thing. Even the people who appear most confident have a small critical voice in their heads which occasionally tells them they are pointless and feckless and useless. Even the most well-armoured sceptic can find their heart lifting when they are appreciated. A compliment is the easiest thing you can give someone this Christmas.

2. Shop small.

The great retail giants are very efficient and easy and have everything under one roof. They are known quantities. But there is something charming and delightful about the small local shop. The best one I discovered this year is in the back streets of Cirencester. It is called For You and Your Home, and it is run by two incredibly nice gentlemen and their incredibly nice dog, and it has lots of beautiful things for the house, from salad bowls to scented candles. They source British where they can, and quite a lot of the things they carry have a story behind them. If you have not yet finished your Christmas shopping, and are in the area, I cannot recommend them enough.

You can find them on Twitter here:

3. Deck the halls.

If you are not yet quite Christmassy enough, get in armfuls of eucalyptus. I’ve gone eucalyptus crazy this year. It’s not too expensive, it looks wonderfully festive, and it lasts forever. It also smells delicious.


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