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current location: christmas a-z guide 2

Allow us to guide you through the mine field that is a quality Christmas with our festive a-z guide.

Xmas A-Z

Allow us to guide you through the mine field that is a quality Christmas with our festive a-z guide.

A is for Anaphylactic Shock

If hosting the cul-de-sac Boxing Day afternoon drinks gathering, always ensure you are familiar with any allergies your guests may have before passing round a seasonal bowl of premium mixed nuts with accompanying pair of sterling silver nut crackers. Food stuffs that contain nuts, such as a premium nut selection, Just Brazils chocolate covered brazil nuts or Toffeefee , can cause serious injury to those allergic to nuts.

B is for Brandy Butter

It's a common misconception that a wife should prepare home-made brandy butter for the Christmas dinner table. While 'home-made' affords the opportunity of using the finest mature brandy, and remarking on that fact to dinner guests, it overlooks a fundamental problem; not everyone likes brandy butter. By purchasing premium-luxuary brandy butter from a supplier such as Fortnum and Mason the subtle yet indisputable display of decadence and spending prowess will be obvious to all, regardless of which accompaniment each guest may choose for his or her christmas pudding.

C is for Christmas Crackers

Imagine the scene. You dinner table has been prepared with microscopic attention to detail. Your turkey breast is succulent and moist and your range of condiments wouldn't look out of place at one of Balmoral's most lavish festive banquets. A cracker is pulled and a yellow miniature plastic hair-brush spills onto your linen table covering with all the subtlety of a volcanic fart at midnight mass. By all means scrimp on crackers for the children's table but spend anything less than 150 per 6 crackers for the main table and your guests will think you've gone quite insane. As a guide, and to maintain lifestyle parity, a half dozen of crackers should cost approximately 0.1% of the current list price of your most expensive car.

D is for Decorations

Most households have a box of christmas decorations in the loft some of which are so old, the Woolworths price tag still says Winfield. If this is you, you have made two horrific mistakes. The first is to troop out the same old tat each year with no regard for trends in seasonal decorative fashion. The second is that you purchased your decorations from 'the high-street'. Cheap and cheerful is more than acceptable for the children's activity room but for your signature display you need to go so upmarket you're practically vertical. Premium department stores can cater for most needs but mix and match with off the peg and some bespoke items from a selection of luxury craft outlets.

E is for Egg Nog

It may be all the rage in the United States of America at this time of year but nogs of any sort are simply out of bounds. The only circumstance in which nogs are a permissible tipple are if you and your family have spent some time living in America and can pass the warmer off as a quaint tradition you simply had to export. At all other times, an offering of sweet or dry Sherry should always be your opening gambit.

F is for Father Christmas

Not 'Santa' or 'Santa Claus'. We didn't give America away only to retain this ghastly trans-Atlantic moniker for our most special and elusive of Christmas visitors. At all times, 'Father Christmas'.

G is for Games

Games and Christmas go together like ham and honey glaze, but don't resort to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire DVD for entertainment. First or second edition. Trivial Pursuit (TM), Cluedo (TM) and at a push Pictionary (TM) are acceptable pre-packaged games. Charades is obligatory and should never be referred to as 'Give Us a Clue' unless Lionel Blair is joining you for Christmas day. Though why you'd want to extend your exposure to his nauseating brand of inane buffoonery by engaging him in competitive horse-play is beyond us.

H is for Hamper

It may be the prize of choice for the Church Christmas raffle but offer a hamper sourced item to a christmas visitor and they'll assume all your christmas offerings are the product of charity or good luck.

I is for Icing

Smooth, silky and whiter than white. Don't be tempted to poison it with miniature snowmen or plastic holly. Your icing should be more that capable than standing on its own two feet. Remember to check alignment with a laser spirit level.

J is for Jesus Christ

The reason we're all going round and round this festive merry-(christmas)-go-round. And round. Room in the inn? You must be joking luv. It's our busiest period.

K is for Kitchen

It's where the magic happens if you are the lady of the house. If you're the gentleman of the house it's strictly out of bounds and in any case, there is nothing in there you should remotely concern yourself with. The little lady will have it all under control.

L is for Lambrusco

Eat drink and be merry may be the motto of the season but Mary mother of God don't try and get merry on this tart fuel. Have some decorum and serve a quality sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France.

M is for Mother-in-Law

It's a seasonal tradition that this bloated old sow be tolerated for a minimum of 48 hours or at least long enough to secure a generous bequest in the miserable bitches will. That said, old people are to be treasured, so with that in mind why not beat the f@!*ing old witch to death with her own broomstick and have her stuffed and put in the corner of the billiard room. (Do not try this at home).

N is for Noel Edmonds

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without an entertaining dose of Noel Edmonds. That is if you are the type of person that considers it acceptable to sit in front of the television all day gawping at whatever seasonal tripe the light channels are serving up to the ill-educated masses.

O is for Orange

Pop one of these in the children's Christmas stocking and watch their faces light up on Christmas day morning. Remember to supplement with an i-Pod and mobile telephone.

P is for Pantomime

Take your children to one of these tawdry productions if you must but for goodness sake don't tell anyone. These crass variety shows have little or no cultural value and serve only to artificially lengthen the careers of vulgar end-of-the-pier comedians, down-market song and dance men, failed soap opera stars and Christopher Biggins. If you can afford it, and one would hope you can, take your children to the Vienna New Year concert, or at least make them watch it on television on New Years day.

Q is for Queens Speech

Watch it. It is your Monarch and society may just as well go to hell in a handbag if this Christmas tradition gets lower ratings than the offensive offerings from more liberal television stations.

R is for Recipe Books

This tip is for the lady of the house. On no account have recipe books visible to family guests when preparing the Christmas feast. If you're any kind of 'Domestic Goddess' you shouldn't need them at all.

S is for Snowman

In the unlikely event of a white Christmas it is essential that you do not allow your children to build a substandard snowman in the front of your two ample gardens. The head should be correctly proportioned and decorated with a fine cashmere bobble hat with matching scarf and gloves applied to the torso. The nose should be of carrot and purchased from a premium quality supermarket of fresh produce vendor. Three lumps of coal should be used for buttons and two for eyes. Small pebbles should be used to fashion a perfectly balanced mouth displaying a contented smile. Accessorise with a traditional broom. If there is enough snow, make an entire family of perfect snowmen to represent your own family.

T is for Turkey

Golden brown, the size of a mid-range family saloon and cooked to perfection. Your reputation as a housewife depends on it.

U is for Underwear

Gentlemen; feel free to buy your wife seductive underwear for Christmas. Ladies particularly like to abandon their everyday housewife image by adorning themselves with cheap poorly fitting garments your rushed out to buy on Christmas Eve. The more the items you've chosen make her look and feel like a 50 a trick prostitute the happier she'll be. A word of caution though, not all ladies react in the same way so do use your judgment on this particular issue. If all else fails, some lavender bath crystals always go down well.

V is for Vienetta

In our original Xmas guide we described this as 'saccharine pap', but this was to overlook the cultural significance of this landmark dessert and dare we say it was a rather snobbish review rather out of keeping with the tone of the rest of this guide. Time and nostalgia has caused us to reevaluate this dessert and only the most militant Nigella disciple could do anything but smile if this landed on the Christmas dinner table.

When Walls Vienetta first hit the freezer cabinets of UK supermarkets one's place in the social pecking order could now be determined almost entirely by the colour of one's vanilla ice cream. This was the era of the bright yellow soft scoop. Indeed, Tomorrow's World scientifically proved that a 5 litre tub of Bejam vanilla soft scoop was observable from space using only a pair of standard issue British military field glasses. The pure brilliant white of the original Vienetta shining like a beacon from the dinner party table was a clear sign that one had 'arrived'. Every child of the 1980's will have at one time or other asked themselves the question "If only the little brown tray was made of chocolate too".

So, while it remains essential that you limit your use of shop-bought desserts to only the finest London-based artisan and boutique outlets and strive to bake your own, it's still Christmas so reserve a place for a bit of Vienetta.

W is for Wife

By the end of the festive period your wife will have no doubt proved herself to be every inch the domestic miracle worker you always knew she'd blossom into. Nothing says thank you darling like an evening off so prepare her a robust gin an tonic and allow her to relax for a few hours. She can do all the dishes tomorrow.

X is for Xylophone

It remains as uncouth an instrument over the festive period as it does the rest of the year. On no account should you allow your child to play this instrument in the school Christmas concert.

Y is for Yule Log

Oh bugger it. Buy it from M&S dust it with extra icing sugar and serve it up as a home made special. Who is going to know the difference? Well, we all will but my god old girl you've done us proud this Christmas so we can let you off just this once.

Z is for Zulu

So what else are you going to watch on Boxing day?

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