Christmas Around the World: Southern California

There’s a lot of pressure commerically and socially to keep up appearances when it comes to Christmas. But here’s the thing. There are no rules. In this special interview series I ask some favourite Instagrammers around the world how they celebrate the holiday.

Tamera Beardsley, fashion accessory designer, is determined to squeeze every last possible drop of joy from the Festive Season. Come with me to Southern California where Tamera reveals her infectious passion for all things Christmassy.

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Christmas Around the World: Tokyo

“Are you all set for Christmas?” It’s a common refrain from now until 24th December. Christmas-related anxiety has become the accepted ‘norm’. And if the only date in your calendar for December is the holiday bin collection service, it can feel as though everyone else in the world is out partying every night, except you.

Welcome to the third feature in a new festive series where I invite favourite Instagrammers from around the world to share their stories on how they spend the Holiday Season. This week I interview award-winning travel writer, Rob Goss, about a typical Christmas in Tokyo.

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Christmas Around The World: NSW, Australia

Welcome to the second in a new festive feature series where I invite Instagram pals from around the world to share their festive stories.

Now in the second week of November and the advertising campaigns on social media, TV, glossy magazines etc are in full swing. With over-spending developed to an unrealistic level of ‘normal’, it can be hard to resist feeling like the ‘odd-one-out’ if you’re not working up to a frenzy of shopping anxiety and party planning by mid-December.

But here’s the thing, Christmas is what you choose to make it. Push the boat out or spend the day in bed, your choice. There are no rules.

On with the storytelling. This week I ask Nina Tobin, who lives in New South Wales and likes to hang out with ‘Ma Nature’… How do you spend Christmas?

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Christmas Around the World: the South of France

‘Twas the week before Christmas when I moved into a new house a few years back. For a number of reasons I found myself home alone on the Big Day unpacking boxes (with a glass of champagne to hand, naturally). It was a lot of fun but many (including the removal man) were appalled that I chose to spend the day on my own.

Advertising around Christmas-related products and services begins in early autumn in the UK. Planning (travel, food, gifts and sparkly clothes) and the related over-spending has been developed to an unrealistic level of ‘normal’. Now, a little sparkle goes along way in the dark winter months, but by mid December it can be hard not to feel like the ‘odd-one-out’ if you’re not seen to be tearing your hair out in a frenzy of anxiety over Secret Santa at the office, gift-buying for the family, and stuffing the turkey. And, as the marketing campaigns indicate, your calender must surely be choc-full with a host of fabulous parties to attend.

In a new series, launching today, I aim to explore the fact that Christmas is what you choose to make it, a family affair or something entirely different. Whether you push the boat out or spend the day in bed, there are no rules. Over the next six weeks I ask some of my favourite Instagrammers around the world… How do you spend the Holiday Season?

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This week… chimney tops, ration books and guardian angels

Every September heritage houses, museums and other buildings throw open their doors to the public. Entry and tours are free despite the work of many of these organisations being independently funded, so a donation is welcome. The nationwide Heritage Open Days festival closes today and I took the opportunity take a peek behind the scenes over the nine-day event in Winchester. Here’s what I discovered.

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Exploring Britain: Cowdray Heritage Ruins

The history of one of the most important early Tudor houses in the UK is threaded through a Civil War, Henry VIII’s Reformation, and a devastating fire which all but destroyed the beautiful Cowdray House in 1793. This week I joined a tour around the ruins and ventured up the 70-odd spiral steps of the Kitchen Tower, the only part of the building still intact. Walking in the footsteps of history is always a slightly spooky experience and brings out the goosebumps.

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