Despite the warnings, 5 December, and the days and weeks that surrounded it, still proved to be a major challenge for me. Although I was aware that people were going to don blackfaces, I couldn't help but be surprised by the scale of the practice. Children and adults alike wore their afro wigs, red lips and gold earrings with pride...
It is Friday lunchtime, and my family have joined the throng of holidaymakers piling onto an aeroplane preparing to leave London for Bangkok. We're laden with backpacks, pillows, teddy bears and tantrums as we battle our way back towards row 37.
The observant may notice there are two versions of the bread in these pictures. I actually made three. We'll draw a veil over the first. The second was a bit solid. By the third, I'd cracked it. Please think of it as my present to you, dear reader. Happy Christmas and thanks for stopping by.
There already seems a lack of expertise among some of those who commission TV programmes about religion and ethics. In a recent video aimed at programme-makers which claims to explain the BBC's Religion strategy for BBC One. It doesn't mention religion until 25 seconds from the end!
I'm Pete Jackson. Six years ago, in late September, I quit drinking. It wasn't my first attempt, not by a long stretch, but I hoped (and six years later I'm still hoping) that it was my last.
For Christmas all I want is the following: A bath. Alone. You know without being interrupted ten minutes in by a screaming toddler. I want to be able to smell a lovely Lush bath bomb and not a rotting Thomas the Tank Engine Toy approximately one inch from my face.
There is no better festive entertainment than watching a room full of small children run screaming from a sweaty man in a polyester fat suit and a fake beard. This is because small children have an innate fear of strange men climbing into their bedrooms in the middle of the night which can only be a good thing.
Do a few dishes, well. Pick your favourite Christmas dinner components and concentrate your energies on making them to the best of your ability. You don't need to offer your guests 10 different types of vegetables; they'll be more than happy with two or three.
Being a lifestyle rather than a diet, vegans generally don't eat or use any animal derived products. But with these cropping up in everything from cosmetics to candles, picking a prezzie can be a minefield!
Appropriate for both men and women of any age, these items are unique, attractive and simple. In addition to this they are useful, functional and practical. What more could you want? Oh hang on, there's just one other teeny tiny point to mention: each product comes from a brand that designs and produces in a responsible way.
Last year I decided to introduce the big one to The Elf on The Shelf after it flooding my Facebook news-feed. It looked cute. A nice idea. Another way to reinforce the good behavior threat. A new tradition for my family. Easy.
Novel Beings is an agency representing 'conscious' creatives in the fashion, beauty and advertising industries. The Novel team and myself have put together a list of innovative, sustainable beauty, fashion and lifestyle products that have got us all hot under the collar for Christmas.
This time of year is popular for social engagements such as office parties, fun get-togethers with friends and festive family gatherings. But for many sufferers of social anxiety, this can be the most traumatic time of the year. While many people look forward to a good knees-up, those with social anxieties may experience feelings of dread as the party season approaches.
Girlfriends are an unbelievably hard species to buy presents for. If it's a new relationship, they're going to go for "Oh! Just get me anything!". As opposed to if it's a long term relationship, when they're instead going to state "Oh, just get me anything!". You both know, that's not how this is going to go.
It's great to give and receive cards at Christmas, but all the card and paper that gets generated is not great for the environment. Luckily, there are a few ways to keep your seasonal greetings green!
Technology has brought a host of new problems to Christmas. Not least, the plethora of apps which show Father Christmas's progress around the globe. I am starting to dread Christmas Eve already as I know what is coming - mental maths nightmare.