Christmas Day 2021 news: Last minute shopping, TV schedules, tree & jumper ideas with just over TEN days to go

CHRISTMAS is coming and the goose is getting fat – so let's get in the spirit of the season!

It only comes round once a year, but the holiday season will see many of us unite with family, open presents together and eat and drink all we can before falling asleep in front of a blockbuster.

And that's where The Sun comes in to help!

Wondering where to get that last minute gift online? Check.

Want to know the best gossip and schedules for Christmas specials on the TV? Double check.

And are you looking for more festive cheer than a box of jumping reindeer? Of course you are!

Read our Christmas Day live blog for all the latest Yuletide festivities and info…

  • Louis Allwood

    Dad can’t compete with neighbour’s 30ft tree

    Tom Durrant spent £150 on chicken wire and lights to create a sign outside his home saying “DITTO”, with an arrow pointing to the tree.

    Property marketing expert Tom, 35, left, of Sandhurst, Berks, said: “I thought I’d be a bit cheeky.

    "My wife was a bit embarrassed and my five-year-old son thought ‘ditto’ was a swear word.

    "But I’ve found it funny and so have locals.

    "Thankfully, so have my neighbours.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Save over £10 on Christmas chocolates

    STOCKING FILLER: Iceland has a great three-for-£5 offer on smaller packs of festive chocs including Cadbury Heroes, After Eight mints and Quality Street toffees and creams, all normally £2.50 each.

    Don’t spend any more than £1 on a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

    Most stores have them on offer for that price at the moment.

    SAVE: £2.50

    FOR THE KIDS: 

    They will want their traditional selection boxes.

    The Cadbury Santa Chocolate Selection carton 145g is normally £2 but two for £3 at Iceland.

    Or buy them for £1.50 at B&M.

    SAVE: £1

  • Louis Allwood

    Long range weather forecast for Christmas

    The Met Office have said that Christmas day will be settled this year and cold spells will remain.

    They said “Remaining generally unsettled at first, with wettest and windiest conditions likely moving further north with drier and brighter spells developing in the south and southeast at times.

    “Temperatures likely to be milder than earlier in the month, with temperatures near to above normal, although some colder spells remain possible.

    “It is likely to become more settled around Christmas and towards New Year with increased chance of overnight frost and fog during clearer spells.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Save over £10 on Christmas chocolates

    CHRISTMAS is a time for scoffing chocolate – and there are plenty of great deals to chew over.

    Here are some ideas for how to get the best value for your money this festive season. 

    QUALITY DEAL: Asda has set the bar high for discounts on the larger Quality Street tubs, with a 900g tin reduced from £7 to £5.

    But hurry, the deal ends today.

    Prefer Roses?

    It also has 800g gift tins for £6, down from £8. And Heroes Games Edition tins are on the same offer.

    MOUTHWATERING MULTI- BUYS: If you want the standard-size choc tubs, look out for multi-buy deals.

    Tesco Clubcard’s two-for-£7 on 650g Quality Street tubs — normally £4 on their own — is excellent value.

    This deal ends today too.

    SAVE: £1

  • Louis Allwood

    How is Boxing Day celebrated?

    Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, particularly those not seen on Christmas Day itself.

    It is also a day to eat left over turkey.

    In modern times the day has become associated with sports – particularly football and rugby. Local rivals are often pitted together, especially in lower leagues.

    The day used to be synonymous with hunting.

    The 2004 foxhunting ban put an end to this, although many places still carry out drag hunts (the dogs chase a scent that has been laid out) to keep up the tradition.

  • Louis Allwood

    Christmas Day weather revealed 

    TEMPERATURES are set to PLUMMET in the South of England on Christmas Day with frost gripping the country, it’s been revealed.

    Brits will wake up on Christmas Day to fog and frost as temperatures turn chilly during the festive holidays.

    The last week of the year is set to be settled weatherwise – but it will be very cold for many.

    In the south of England and Wales, temperatures are set to plummet on Christmas Eve, just in time for the big day.

    Areas in the North West are set to be slightly milder on December 25.

  • Louis Allwood

    Where are the most famous Midnight Mass services?

    For Catholics, the big Christmas Eve mass is traditionally celebrated at the Vatican.

    People gather at St Peter's Basilica to hear the Pope's Christmas message.

    It's so popular that people are advised to book no less than two months in advance.

    One of the most famous landmarks in London for midnight mass is Westminster Abbey.

    The First Eucharist of Christmas will be held at 11.30pm, but can only be attended by free ticket only.

    The Midnight Eucharist will also be held at 11.30pm at St Paul's. The service will run until 1am.

    For those looking to travel further abroad, midnight mass is also held in Bethlehem – widely believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

  • Louis Allwood

    Why do people go to church on Christmas Eve?

    While the Bible does not specify Jesus' date of birth, it is thought that December 25 was chosen as it is exactly nine months after the Christians believe Jesus was immaculately conceived, on March 25.

    December 25 might have also been chosen because of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year.

    By attending midnight mass, Christians dedicate the festive season to God.

    According to Mike Hayes, director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, midnight mass is a vigil.

    Writing in Busted Halo, he explained: "This is what we are essentially doing by attending any ‘Vigil’ mass, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Saviour."

  • Louis Allwood

    What else happens on Boxing Day?

    Boxing Day is also a time when the Brits show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, or legging it into the sea, fun runs and charity events.

    December 26 is a big day for sales too.

    Dramatic price reductions lure out millions of shoppers who even queue for hours before the shops open.

  • Louis Allwood

    Where else is Boxing Day celebrated?

    Boxing Day is mostly a Commonwealth tradition, with the likes of Canada, Australia and New Zealand celebrating the day just like in the UK.

    December 26 is also a national holiday in Ireland, but there it is known as St Stephen's Day.

    A saint who was stoned to death for believing in Jesus, St Stephen is also the patron saint of horses which could be where the hunting association came from.

  • Louis Allwood

    UK ODDS-ON for White Christmas

    THE UK IS ODDS-ON FOR A White Christmas, according to the latest odds from Ladbrokes.

    The bookies now make it just a 1/3 shot for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on Christmas Day, with 5/1 on offer for Londoners to see the white stuff.

    Elsewhere, Edinburgh remains the most likely city to see snow at 5/2, with Birmingham and Newcastle being 3/1 apiece in the betting.

    Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “It looks as though White Christmas punters look set to get their wish this year, with plenty of cities up and down the UK bracing themselves for a battering of the white stuff.”

  • Louis Allwood

    When is Boxing Day?

    Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26 each year and is a national holiday in the UK.

    When Boxing Day falls on a weekend, as it does in 2021, the Monday after it is declared a public holiday, too.

    So this means Monday, December 27, 2021, is a bank holiday across the UK.

    Boxing Day is primarily a British tradition, and the UK has exported it to Australia, Canada and New Zealand, where it has primarily become a day dedicated to shopping and sporting events.

  • Louis Allwood

    What is a manger?

    A manger is common place in a nativity play, being the make-shift crib the baby Jesus was laid in after he was born.

    But a manger is actually a long wooden trough from which animals drink.

    “When the child Jesus was born, his mother Mary laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).

    Mangers were found wherever livestock were kept – in this case the stable Mary and Joseph slept in for the night.

    Having no facilities available in the stable, Mary would have had to make do with the tools she had, laying the baby Jesus in a manger with a soft bed of hay rather than the cold floor of a stable.

    The manger has now become a major spiritual symbol.

    Animals go to the manger for physical food, but with Jesus lying on the hay, we can go to the manger for spiritual food.

  • Louis Allwood

    Where is Bethlehem?

    Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus, and therefore a holy site to Christians all around the world, but where exactly is this sacred city?

    The Palestine city is located just five miles south of Jerusalem in Israel.

    The Bible cites that about 2,000 years ago an angel named Gabriel approached a young Jewish woman called Mary and told her she would give birth to the son of God.

    Mary and her husband-to-be, Joseph, lived in a town called Nazareth but had to travel to Bethlehem to register for a census ordered by the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.

    The pair took several days to walk the 65 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

  • Louis Allwood

    Why is Christmas Day on December 25?

    Christmas Day is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but there is actually no official date of the birth recorded in the Bible.

    By the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian Church placed Christmas Day on December 25.

    It is thought that date was chosen as it is exactly nine months after the Christians believe Jesus was immaculately conceived, on March 25.

    December 25 might have also been chosen because of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year.

  • Louis Allwood

    Hyde Park Winter Wonderland revellers demand refunds

    FESTIVE revellers at London's Winter Wonderland have been left fuming after skating on an ice rink that was "more like a swimming pool".

    Scores of visitors who forked out more than £15 each for a go have been demanding refunds following severe flooding at the Christmas attraction.

    One disappointed guest even claimed to have been forced to "wade through water" by the end of their 50-minute slot.

    They wrote on social media: "Just been ice skating at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and the only way I can describe it is that I went swimming.

    "Was wading through the water at the end."

    Another shared footage of huge pools of water building up on the dirty ice, summing up her experience as "swim don't skate".

    Aysha Alice added: "We could feel the ridges on the bottom. Obviously wasn't being kept cold."

    A third agreed, commenting: "I went to skate not swim," while a fourth said: "It's called water skating."

  • Louis Allwood

    12 Best alcohol Christmas gifts 2021

    CHRISTMAS is known for its festive tipples, from mulled wine to eggnog.

    It's also the time of year to surprise a special person with one of the best alcohol Christmas gifts, no matter what spirit or drinks they enjoy.

    One cheerful – and affordable – way to give an alcohol Christmas gift this season is with an alcohol-filled bauble.

    These are especially popular with gin, but you can also find whisky-filled baubles, too.

    Another festive way to cleverly give the gift of alcohol is with a snow globe bottle, or alcohol-filled Christmas crackers.

    For a gift to treasure, think about a collector's bottle of wine, fizz or another preferred spirit.

    These are not only limited-edition – often designed exclusively in collaboration with artists – but have the added bonus of being bottles the recipient will want to hold onto and display, long after the drink inside is gone.

    Read more here.

  • Louis Allwood

    Santa can FaceTime your kids this Xmas

    Virgin Media will be providing a free virtual grotto experience on the three weekends running up to Christmas day.

    Unfortunately, the ballot to join one of those free calls is closed so if you didn't enter or didn't win a place you may want to consider other options.

    Santascallingyou.co.uk is one such website that allows you to set up a private video call with the man himself. The 10-minute calls start at £24.99 and the price depends on when you want the call to be.

    Wonder Adventures is another company hosting live 'Santa comes to tea' virtual experiences for £12.99. These take place via Facebook private groups and can involve other families you may not know.

    Santa's Lapland, which usually arranges trips to meet Santa in a snowy setting, is also 10-minute video calls to Lapland. Prices start from a fairly expensive £85.

  • Louis Allwood

    Byron launches the Jingle Bun Burger with Guinness

    WE all love a Christmas sandwich, but what about a Christmas burger? And Byron's looks incredible.

    A must for Guiness fans, this year's festive burger looks delicious – and there's Bailey's milkshakes too!

    This year, Byron's festive burger is a must try for foodies, and to get the party started it's all about boozy burgers and merry milkshakes.

    Available to eat in, and order through Deliveroo here, the Byron X Guiness Jingle Buns Burger is available for a month from November 25, so don't miss out.

    Guinness have partnered with Byron to create the one of a kind burger, the Byron X Guinness Jingle Buns Burger.

    The special festive burger consists of a"6oz patty, consisting of a blend of four 100% prime Aberdeen Angus cuts – flank, chuck, brisket and short rib", which is "then topped with a Guinness paste, deep fried onion ring, bacon, crisp lettuce, blue cheese…and for the pièce de résistance a sweet and tangy Christmas caramelised onion chutney, all encased in a glazed brioche bun!"

    • Order Byron on Deliveroo – click here

    UK ODDS-ON for White Christmas

    THE UK IS ODDS-ON FOR A White Christmas, according to the latest odds from Ladbrokes.

    The bookies now make it just a 1/3 shot for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on Christmas Day, with 5/1 on offer for Londoners to see the white stuff.

    Elsewhere, Edinburgh remains the most likely city to see snow at 5/2, with Birmingham and Newcastle being 3/1 apiece in the betting.

    Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "It looks as though White Christmas punters look set to get their wish this year, with plenty of cities up and down the UK bracing themselves for a battering of the white stuff."

    Christmas Day weather revealed 

    TEMPERATURES are set to PLUMMET in the South of England on Christmas Day with frost gripping the country, it’s been revealed.

    Brits will wake up on Christmas Day to fog and frost as temperatures turn chilly during the festive holidays.

    The last week of the year is set to be settled weatherwise – but it will be very cold for many.

    In the south of England and Wales, temperatures are set to plummet on Christmas Eve, just in time for the big day.

    Areas in the North West are set to be slightly milder on December 25.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Why is Christmas Day on December 25?

      Christmas Day is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but there is actually no official date of the birth recorded in the Bible.

      By the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian Church placed Christmas Day on December 25.

      It is thought that date was chosen as it is exactly nine months after the Christians believe Jesus was immaculately conceived, on March 25.

      December 25 might have also been chosen because of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year.

    • Joseph Gamp

      ‘Heatbroken’ families forced to spend Xmas apart over cost of quarantine hotels

      Families have been left “heartbroken” after being forced to cancel Christmas plans over the cost of the UK’s quarantine hotels.

      Colin Doney, a teacher from Northampton, had to cancel his flight home from Malawi due to the £2,285-cost of the 10-day quarantine required for travellers from red list countries.

      His 77-year-old mother, who suffers from severe osteoarthritis, now faces spending Christmas Day alone after his father died last year.

      “My flights were booked to return home to be with mum but the quarantine stipulations have made it too costly,” Mr Doney, 52, told the PA news agency.

      “I’m upset that I won’t be home, mostly because mum will be alone for the day.”

      Mr Doney has been teaching at a school in Malawi for almost two years but said it would cost more than a quarter of his annual wage to fly home for the festive period.

      His father was diagnosed with cancer in January 2020 then “died alone in hospital” due to Covid restrictions five months later, something the family are “still angry about”.

      He said his mother is sad that plans for the day will not go ahead, but the family had been “prepared for the worst” amid news of the Omicron variant.

      “Infection numbers here in Malawi are low and we’re double vaccinated,” Mr Doney added.

    • Joseph Gamp

      Best Selfridges beauty gift set

      Want a little bit of luxury, without the conscience? Selfridges has got a beauty gift set for that.

      The Project Earth beauty bag is ideal for the eco-conscious, green-thinking friends of yours, and worth over £150.

      Alongside a reusable Kraft paper board and cotton bag, the kit includes the leading names of the up-and-coming green beauty world, like: Georganics Peppermint Natural Toothpaste, Dame Organic CBD Tampons, Face Halo Original, The Natural Deodorant Co. Deodorant Balm, FOAMIE Body Bar, Truthbrush bamboo toothbrush, and much more.

      Cut down on your plastic, not your gift-giving expertise.

      Project Earth beauty bag, £55 from Selfridges – buy here

    • Joseph Gamp

      EastEnders to return to full episodes in the New Year – but NOT every night

      EASTENDERS will return to full length episodes over the New Year.

      The BBC soap has been producing reduced-length episodes of around 20 minutes since returning to screens last September.

      Episodes have started to return to 30 minutes occasionally but now in the new year it's set to become more permanent.

      In fact Monday, Thursday and Friday night episodes will be back at full length.

      Meanwhile Tuesday's edition will remain shorter to fit in with Holby City's 40 minute episodes.

      And fans are overjoyed at the news.

      One wrote: "Great news. The 30 minute episodes are invariably so much better and give much more scope for writers to flesh out scenes and focus on character.

      Source: Read Full Article