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Christmas Survival Guide

We've asked four wise women from our 'hood to share their seasonal survival guide...

International award-winning screenwriter and author Helen Bagnall, co-founder of Warwickshire’s boutique Also Festival at Park Farm, Compton Verney, July 5 – 7 2019, now in its 6th year, described as ‘a festival for healthy hedonists’ and ‘Ted Talks in a Field’. 

Hmm. Three things – I try not to make it a battle of wills so I indulge in everything I love and enjoy: mince pies / Christmas cheeses / Christmas cake / gingerbread latte / chocolate reindeers / Amaretto Sours / mulled wine / sparkling wine etc etc over the season but only once – that way you get to enjoy all of it but not too much and without the guilt.  Secondly, I really enjoy thinking about people when writing cards and buying presents. It’s probably the only time in the year when you concentrate on your community – those who make your life what it is and what they mean to you and it’s great to think of them with love, thanks (and peace) rather than as part of a demanding to do list. Thirdly, I get on a plane on Christmas Day and sod off somewhere else!

Helen is also cultural curator and co-founder of Salon London and Salon North.


Relaxed lifestyle family photographer Lisa Jordan, married to Will and mum to Louis, aged four, and two-year-old Billy, who runs Little Beanies Photography from Hatton, Warwickshire

As you can imagine this is my busiest time of year, especially with two little ones in the mix too. For all those mums out there juggling everything, which let’s be honest is all of us, then this is my top tip: outsource all your Christmas shopping! Only joking, if only it was that easy.  This year we’ve decided to do a Secret Santa for the adult siblings. There are six on my side and six on my husbands. As you can imagine that’s rather expensive, especially now there are so many children to buy for too. We’ve given a budget of £15 per Secret Santa present. So, in total for adult siblings instead of hundreds of pounds spent we are spending £60 on both sides. This makes a huge difference, not only in time on finding the right gifts, but you save your pennies too. Having a family lifestyle photo-shoot done before Christmas is really popular, as not only can you document your family life, but you have all your family’s Christmas presents sorted too. Killing two birds with one stone. For me Christmas is about creating memories and money can’t buy those. Our little ones just grow up too fast. Spend wisely this Christmas so you can enjoy 2019 too;)


Natasha Broomfield-Reid, founder of Coventry-based Diverse Matters, a diversity and inclusion consultancy 

I try and treat Christmas like I would my work if possible! Delegate – don’t try and take everything on! As I’ve learnt in business you can’t do everything and there are going to be people better equipped to carry out some of the tasks – whether this is taking time out to write or email Christmas cards (if you still do them), buying presents/food, cooking the dinner.  Try and plan ahead if you can – I have all the right apps at the touch of a button on my phone to buy Christmas presents.  Shops offer great services such as click and collect, deliver to your door and most retailers now can get the items to you within 24 hours which is great. I’m aware that local shops are losing out because of this so do try and buy from your local shops where you can. Don’t overspend – I’ve been very guilty in the past of doing this but running a business had made me value money much more.  Christmas is one day, and it shouldn’t really be just about buying presents.  Also, be creative! Write a list! This may seem really simplistic but keep a list of the jobs you have to do, things you have to buy and don’t be distracted away from the list.  Finally – take some time out! Make sure you take out some time for yourself to rest, see friends or do whatever you do to relax and refocus, because before you know it – you will be back at work and Christmas will be a distant memory!


Jess Clarke, of Leamington-based Meg Rose Jewellery

I absolutely love Christmas, it’s a really magical time of year! I love all the traditions; carols, Christmas cake, dressing the Christmas tree and spending time with friends and family. For Christmas gifts I love to ‘shop small’ and support local/ small businesses, handmade gifts are often unique and feel much more special than something bought on the high street.  I love to browse Christmas Fairs and indie gift shops and galleries, as well as supporting fellow Etsy sellers. My favourite way to relax on the run up to Christmas is to light the fire or a favourite candle, pour a glass of Prosecco and listen to some Christmas music or watch a Christmas film or cookery programme.


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