This year, although I've just moved into a new house, I've found myself telling family and friends there's nothing I need for Christmas. Of course there are things I would like, a car, new shoes, jewellery etc. But there really is nothing I feel like I urgently need.
I've been trying to come up with a recipe that celebrates the good old sprout and uses up Christmas leftovers. Sprouts with bacon and cream is my favourite side dish (I think I prefer it to turkey... shhh) so what better than a carbonara to use up those green little gems.
Christmas is also the gifting season. In my family, we aren't obliged to give each other presents but if you want to give one then there is no expectation to receive anything in return. That was worked fine for us for years, especially when some of us were cashless. I'm fully aware it's not the same in every family.
Whilst for many, the thought of Christmas conjures up images of mince pies, mulled wine, sitting cosily around the fire, this isn't the case for everyone. There are numerous reasons that someone might not look forward to Christmas - mental health problems being one of them.
One of the main themes that I have heard time and time again is the importance of each resident experiencing the Christmas that they want, whether it's a morning tipple in bed or an afternoon of old Christmas films. I have worked in the sector for a number of years and am still struck by the variety of days that make up a care home Christmas.
By now, we all know that murder is wrong, theft is seriously frowned upon, cheating is repugnant, and that we should be kind to our parents. The old religious based 10 commandments are now firmly rooted in our minds, so it's about time we had some new ones relevant to the more secular society we have become.
According to an article I read today, the true way to enjoy Christmas is to lay off the booze completely. Able to hold a conversation with your granny, wrap the awkwardly-shaped toy for your nephew and get stuck into helping cook the dinner without feeling queasy, will heighten and enrich your Christmas experience.
You see Santa, I seem to have lost the ability to sleep soundly. One which I had spent years practicing. I used to be so good at it. Sleeping through the loudest of bangs whereas now? Now the slightest sniff out of place jolts me from my slumber.
Over the years I have learned to filter these lists to stop undesirable toys getting in through the door. This year I am thinking of operating a doorman style policy on Christmas presents. You know, if your name's not down, you're not coming in.
All this talk of factory farming may leave you seeking out a so-called 'higher-welfare' turkey, but no matter how they are reared, all farmed turkeys meet a terrifying and brutal end at the slaughterhouse.
With Christmas and New Year parties coming up over the festive season, I felt it is important to highlight to people of all genders the dangers of having unprotected sex. Numbers attending sexual health clinics are known to increase after the holiday period.
Food is what I struggle with at Christmas. Because of issues with my body image, I find that the threat of eating meal, after meal, after meal, makes me anxious about weight gain and body confidence on and off throughout December.
With the highly anticipated 7th offering, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not so far away in a distant galaxy now, there is nothing like embracing the hype with these knit jumpers from numbskull.co.uk. You don't have to be a big fan to appreciate the clever way in which iconic characters from Star Wars have been infused in these traditional pullovers.
If you're anything like me, certain things (well, quite a lot of things, actually) get left to the last minute as far as Christmas is concerned. This year in my house, it's wine! Luckily, I've tasted far and wide this year so the choices were easy. Here are my last minute picks for festive and fabulous wines that everyone will love.
I got sober in September 2009, and spent that Christmas volunteering in a homeless shelter. I'd love to say that this act was selfless, born out of a simple desire to do some good; and that was part of it... Honestly...
Are you already feeling frazzled by the festive season? Going into meltdown with all the extra things to remember and do? Engaging in a little altruism could help you battle stress, a team of top scientists say.