19adTP - xmas beachThe Advent Panda

19th Dec 2015: The Great Christmas Escape…..festive holidays

You either love the idea or hate it. A Festive Family Christmas gathered round the tree – frosty outside, but warm inside by the fire OR….

An escape to either sunnier climes or more extreme winter ones for ski-ing and tobogganing.

You can see the appeal. Are family christmases best viewed through the rose tinted lens of port and sherry, when in fact it’s often an assault course of cooking and chaos?

If you are going abroad for Christmas, go on your own terms, embrace the local culture and see where it leads you. If you’re just going to try and replicate your normal Christmas with a different currency – what’s the point?

There’s no right or wrong. Have fun with the people you love – here, there or anywhere!

Why not go for the best of both worlds? A family christmas in the ancestral home and a raging New Year a couple of hours away by Easy Jet?! Just saying…



18adTP - shoppingThe Advent Panda

18th Dec 2015: Ready, Steady, Shop!

Leaning towards the old, traditional and quaint is what we do at Christmas. This is fine, but not when it comes to shopping – I urge you!

There is nothing quaint or festive about being sandwiched into Bluewater, Lakeside, Westfield etc. in December with a less than useful christmas list for your loved ones and mile long queue for the tills.

Internet shopping people! The modern development that has truly revolutionised christmas for the better.

A mindless slog around the mall and supermarket – or feet-up on the sofa with a laptop and glass of Crabbies ginger wine. You choose.


17adTP - xmas trooper

The Advent Panda

17th Dec 2015: The Festive Force Awakens!

There is no argument, no debate, no doubt….there is only one Christmas blockbuster movie this year….Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Pre-screenings are already underway and those questions WILL be answered….

Where is Luke Skywalker?
Who are the First Order?
Why is C3PO’s arm now red?

…and most importantly…
Has JJ Abrams managed to do a better job of fixing the light speed drive of these movies than George Lucas (or indeed Chewbacca!)?

My tickets are bought and all will be revealed in just a few hours.

All I can say, is that its going to take a huge mouthful of pick & mix to stop me shrieking like a girl when old man Solo utters those inevitable words once more: “I have a bad feeling about this…”

May the Paws be with you.


16adTP - office party

The Advent Panda

16th Dec 2015: Office Party ‘Panda-monium’.

Tis the season to be jolly, but not too jolly eh?

Love it or hate it, it’s time for the minefield that is the company christmas party. Some Do’s and Don’ts to consider….

-Turn up. Be part of the team, even if only for a short time.
-Enjoy yourself at the company’s expense (if possible) – you deserve it!
-Take the opportunity to tell your colleagues and those who work for you that you appreciate them.
-Talk to one or more people that you would not normally work with. It’s amazing what you find out!

-Take the opportunity after some alcoholic courage to tell your boss everything that is wrong with the company.
-Embarrass yourself. Stories involving vomit, losing clothes or physical altercations will amuse your colleagues for years, but may result in your career circling the toilet bowl.
-Snog the person at work that you’ve adored from afar all year, without thinking carefully about what will happen when you see them at work tomorrow.

Ignore my words at your peril.


15adTP - chestnuts

The Advent Panda

15th Dec 2015: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

Was anyone else terrified as a child by the concern that a hot, un-poked chestnut can explode in your mouth?

Thankfully my reservations passed with time. The smell of them roasting and that sweet nutty taste, complete the arrival of Christmas.

Unfortunately these days, the glowing coals have often been replaced by a minute in the microwave. To quote the 1993 album title of Brit-poppers Blur…”Modern Life is Rubbish”!


14adTP - doctor & river

The Advent Panda

14th Dec 2015: It’s Christmas Time (Lord).

Since it returned to our screens in 2005, Christmas TV in the UK is now gloriously and unshakeably wedded to the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Peter Capaldi has his second seasonal outing and having lost his faithful companion Clara, he could really do with having his wishes fulfilled by Santa. Unfortunately, that already happened last year, accompanied by the appropriate amount of running up and down corridors.

This time round, he will have to be comforted by his wife (yes wife!) River Song, played artfully as ever by Alex Kingston.

The BBC’s not giving much away, but I expect we won’t get too far into the episode before gruff Doctor 12 is River’s ’sweetie’ once again.

Anything else would be ’spoilers’!


Christmas jumpers by Russ McClintock

The Advent Panda

13th Dec 2015: We’ve got a Jumper!

You will get one.

It will not be your style or brand.
It will be at least one size too small.
Its colour will not match your eyes.
Its ‘bold’ design may stop traffic.
It will doubtless roll up over your tummy after you have stuffed yourself with Christmas dinner.
There will be photographic evidence (probably on Facebook).

A tip: If you are cooking the turkey on the 25th, put the jumper on early and do not wear an apron. There is no way to avoid the stigma of wearing it on Christmas day, but if you can splash enough Turkey juices over it – it may be so festively damaged that further humiliation is prevented.


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