Advent song for Christmas Eve: The Christmas Song

Oh hey, hi! Are you all set? Still need to do some shopping? I had to go out for a red cabbage and extra booze earlier so I know how you feel. I have stolen a march on the big day, though, by half-prepping most of tomorrow’s food already, though I have some reservations about the part-done potatoes. It was Mary Berry’s idea, though, so fingers crossed and best foot forward, and so on.

Anyway, I hope you are all set, and are now settling in with a glass of sherry and the Christmas movie of your choice. But before you do that, turn the lights down and have a listen to this completely gorgeous 1963 recording from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles from the album Christmas With The Miracles.

Merry Christmas! Let’s hope its a good one, without any fear.

Advent (non-)activity #9

The official instruction for today is BREAK, which I think means we are allowed a day off from our seasonal chores, so instead I will give you a recipe which I invented by mistake earlier this week when I’d been planning to do garlic bread, then remembered the oven was kaput. If you are not interested in serendipitous culinary discoveries then skip straight down to today’s tangentially-food-related song, which is a DOOZY.

I have no quantities for you here, because I made it up as I went along, but I can’t imagine it mattering how much of anything you use. And it’s almost all staples that you probably have in the house anyway, which makes it easy as well as delicious. I think I’m going to call it HOT SPROUT SALAD.


  • Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Chili flakes
  • Garlic (or garlic paste)
  • Grated parmesan
  • Crushed pistachio kernels


  • Shred the sprouts – I grated them, but chopping them up finely would also work
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan with the chili flakes and lots of black pepper for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the garlic and the sprouts and cook until the sprouts have just started to char
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the parmesan
  • Stir and season to taste
  • Serve topped with the pistachio kernels as a side-dish to almost anything

START READING AGAIN HERE We’ve had the Carpenters before, and we’ve had The Christmas Song before, but we’ve never combined the two, which is a shame because this is beautiful, but it’s also good news because it means we can have it for the first time today! I love Karen’s outfit here, even though if I were to wear it I would look like an actual Brussels sprout.

Advent Song for December 22: The Christmas Song

Yes, you’re quite right; I forgot to do a song yesterday. I was doing housework all day which, it turns out, is much more taxing both physically and mentally than my actual job. And so it slipped my mind, sorry. To make up for it I have the best Christmas Crooner of all (with apologies to Bing) with the happiest Christmas Croon of all, and if I don’t see you this Christmas, consider this your seasonal smooch from me.

December 20: The Christmas Song

If you search for “Paul McCartney Christmas Song” on YouTube, you don’t get this. You only get this by searching for “Paul McCartney Chestnuts Roasting”, which to be fair is probably what lots of people think this song is called, but you still wouldn’t know to search for it unless you knew it existed, which until recently I didn’t. This is Macca’s contribution to a 2012 complication album called Holidays Rule which apparently sank without trace. This, though, is lovely, which is why it gets a coveted twentysomething spot, although I think it’s also fine for you to listen to Nat do it instead.


Advent song for December 3: Happy Christmas, Katie!

I haven’t heard of all of the songs people have nominated, and of those I don’t know some are, frankly, quite weird. So I am glad that other people nominated old favourites, and Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song is pretty much the definition of an old favourite. Do watch the video as well as listening to the song, because there is something endlessly charming – something, despite his youth here, somehow grandfatherly – about the way he looks when he sings.

This song was chosen by Katie, who was my best friend at university back in the dim and distant past. Over the last few years we lost touch for various reasons, but then she turned up on Twitter and her tweets were so funny and cute that I remembered why we were friends and was annoyed that we’d ever stopped being. So now we’re back in touch, which is an excellent Christmas present.

Happy Christmas, Katie!