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Daily Info at Christmas

As we all prepare for the most wonderful time of the year, we each have favourite songs, films and traditions. And the staff at Daily Information are no exception, so we've each picked what makes Christmas the best for us.

Lucy: My Christmas doesn't really begin until after my birthday, so I end up with a few days in which I want to feast on festive vibes. The result is throwing myself headfirst into classic Christmas pleasures - with absolutely no guilt. If I had to distill this down to one song, one film and one tradition, I'd go for Frank Sinatra singing 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow', which allows me to fully indulge my imaginary Ideal New York Christmas. I am the only person I know who has a genuine soft spot for Love Actually - based on a number of gloomy Decembers in my 20s when I convinced myself that all my woes would be fixed because 'it's Christmas'. However, it is worth pointing out that during this time I lived in a very non-Richard Curtis-ish version of London (AKA the real one), in which the only Christmassy outpourings of emotion I received were drunken rants from randoms on nightbuses - the emotions in question mostly being how much they loved the bus, hated the bus, and needed to be sick on the bus...

This has all made me nostalgic for my very own Christmas tradition of last minute shopping. It doesn't really feel right to buy stuff in advance - nothing is more festive for me than finding yourself in John Lewis with two hours until closing time, and five people to find presents for. At that moment you need Sinatra, you need to believe in silly serendipity ("it's the last novelty praline reindeer, fate is telling me to buy it for my cousin!"), and you need the promise of Last Minute Shopping Part 2, ie the most sickly, over-topped hot chocolate you can find. The whole experience provides just enough uncertainty and giddiness to convince yourself that you're in an exciting cinematic version of Christmas. Then you head home, take the dog for a walk, and feel deeply grateful to have a completely ordinary, undramatic, low-key Christmas instead!

Anna: I do love a good cheesy Christmas film. I'd struggle to pick out a favourite, but last year I saw Last Christmas and it instantly became a strong contender. I don't think it's purely because I have a massive crush on Emilia Clarke... The humour and central romance are cheesy and fun, without the problematic elements of early-noughties festive rom coms (looking at you, Love Actually), and the portrayal of a young woman living in London and being a bit of a mess feels more modern than previous iterations, as it touches on themes of poverty and immigration in sensitive and uplifting ways. The plot takes an unexpected turn that for me elevated the film beyond the standard fare, and the central couple are delightful.

I find the best Christmas songs are the ones that are guaranteed to sound terrible when sung out loud after a few too many mulled wines (lots of long high notes to pour your emotion into), and nothing beats 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' by Darlene Love for heartfelt belting out.

A few years ago I discovered the amazing Cutteslowe Garden Project, a unique garden centre hidden in Cutteslowe Park where the plants are grown by people undergoing Horticultural Therapy (like art therapy, but with gardening!). I am very fortunate to live locally, so my favourite festive tradition is to head over in early December with my boyfriend to buy our Christmas tree (we take it in turns carrying it back through the park!). Hyper-local and supporting a great cause: what's not to love?!

Jen: My fave Christmas song is the cynical one by Tom Lehrer (or the proper Eartha Kitt 'Santa Baby'). Favourite carol is probably 'The Rising of the Sun and The Running of the Deer' (which is really called 'The Holly and the Ivy') or the Zither Carol which is just ridiculous. I'm not sure I have a favourite Christmas film, by my least fave is definitely Love Actually. Can I choose Snowpiercer? Harry Potter & Philosopher's Stone has a lovely Chrismas scene. Traditions: making mince pies listening to Lessons and Carols on the radio on Christmas Eve, and my sister and I take it in turns to make advent calendars for each other, the madder the better! And I guess creating stockings and stalking around the house jingling bells late on xmas Eve which is every bit as much fun as opening them myself used to be.

Russell: I have two songs that I love more than any other at this time of the year and they are Elton John’s ‘Step Into Christmas’ and José Feliciano’s ‘Feliz Navidad’. These are a lyrical pair that are bouncy, pop-py delights that get far less air time than they rightfully should.

As the company’s resident movie buff, there are a lot of films that get pulled out at this time of the year. I adore the likes of Black Christmas, Die Hard and Gremlins, but hold a particular fondness for Batman Returns. However, since having children I’ve become more accustomed to watching family-friendly fare, and one of the best of these is Klaus, which makes me cry every time. This year’s Robin Robin, a 20 minute Aardman short (their first musical), already feels like it will be added to our annual roster. But sometimes all I really want is a more traditional Christmas movie, and for that I turn to The Apartment and It’s a Wonderful Life. Both lift my spirits and deftly mix heart-wrenching drama with joy earned in their telling. They are cinematic perfection.

Children mean new traditions are being forged each year for me. But the one that has stuck comes from my mother who, for nearly a decade now, has been buying some pretty impressive festive attire. This has ranged from a bright green dinosaur (wearing a Santa hat) hoodie to a light up Christmas tree t-shirt. They have become something I look forward to every single year.

Emma (Emma doesn't have a Christmas jumper but did make this beautiful card): Christmas is, for many, defined by traditions. Familiar walks, favourite songs, or a special jumper retrieved from the very back of the wardrobe. For me, nothing says ‘Christmas’ like sabotage – specifically, sabotaging other people's carefully-curated Christmas music playlists. A perennial favourite, which I think vastly improves upon the original, is Michael M’s 2017 reworking of Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody', in which every single line of the lyrics is replaced with the phrase "Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?". A more recent entry to the sabotage-rota is Bill McClintock's combination of Mariah Carey and Marilyn Manson - stunningly titled 'All I Want for Christmas is The Beautiful People'. If you're in the market for causing less holiday-centric confusion, since Christmas is a time when family can come together (and leave their laptops unattended), another fun substitution is anything by Neil Cicierga - the musical equivalent of an evil genius, Mr. Cicierga is responsible for such abominations as 'Crocodile Chop' (combining System of a Down's 'Chop Suey' and Elton John's 'Crocodile Rock'), and 'Wndrwll' (Oasis' 'Wonderwall', with parts reversed, then autotuned back to fit the original melody).

Want to keep the festive fun going? Check out our Advent Calendar for a mix of open air fun and local shops who are delivering this Christmas.

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