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It wouldn’t be Christmas without…

It’s always nice to hear what puts us in that all important Christmassy mood when it comes to this time of the year. Whether it’s the smell of mince pies and mulled wine, rummaging in the attic for Christmas decorations or writing endless amounts of Christmas cards. We asked authors Annabelle Thorpe and Sheila O’Flanagan what puts them in the festive spirit,

Sheila O’Flanagan, author of The Missing Wife

It wouldn’t be Christmas without..

Christmas Carols and Nativity Plays. When I see four-year-old angels adjusting their wings and small shepherds and wise men struggling with their home-made robes as they make their way to the manger, I’m reminded of the goodness and innocence of children, and I’m filled with hope for the future. On Christmas Day my playlist is always the beautiful music of traditional carols which bring me back to my own childhood and simpler times.

Annabelle Thorpe, author of The People We Were Before 

It wouldn’t be Christmas without…

Dean Martin.  ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ are part of my Christmas soundtrack through December  (along with Last Christmas by Wham!, obviously).  One of my favourite memories from recent Christmases is my older sister and I, singing enthusiastically to Deano’s Greatest Hits after a long Christmas lunch, to my nieces and nephew’s horror.  Wine may have been taken.

Twiglets.  And Matchmakers.  Glace fruits. And all the other classic Seventies Christmas treats that defined my childhood Christmases.  The joy of finding one last After Eight in among all the empty sachets?  Necking a liqueur chocolate when the grown-ups weren’t looking?  Classic joys. Having said that, I had a 1970’s-themed New Year party a few years ago and someone bought cheese balls.  They were grim.

Carols.  I’m not religious but there’s nothing more Christmassy then belting out ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’ before a glass of mulled and a mince pie.  I usually go with some journo friends to the carol service at St Bride’s on Fleet Street, known as the ‘Journalist’s Church’.  And I always have the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on on Christmas Eve.  My Mum listened to it every year, and it always makes me think of her.

If you liked this why not read some more of our Christmas content,

The books I’ll be giving this year with Kathryn Hughes and Rosanna Ley


My favourite Christmas memory with Jo Thomas and Debra Daley


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