Enjoy a very merry, very local Christmas
- Credit: Nick Butcher
After 11 weeks of shopping local and just nine sleeps to go until Santa helter-skelters down the chimney, we can safely say that Christmas is upon us.
Over the next few days, the super-organised will be fettling their lists for the food and drink shopping, a few hardy, unflappable souls will make a start on their gift-buying, and it won't be hard to spot the neighbour on a frenzied last-minute mission to pop a card in the post to a forgotten uncle or long-lost friend of the family.
But for the most part, it's that time of year when we head for home. Once the presents are wrapped, the miles of sticky tape and ribbon stowed, it's time to start celebrating. And there's nowhere better to make merry and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season than in the village or town where you live.
Christmas is a time when being local means being at the heart of something very special.
Houses are hung with starry lights and trees brighten the windows; the parish church is visible for miles and there's a warm glow from its stained-glass windows; the local pub is setting out a steaming platter of seasonal food and puddings.
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After all that local shopping, this is a great time to do some local celebrating.
Unwind in the company of friends and neighbours at your local pub. It's a great way to catch up on local news and connect with the community, even get involved in projects and groups near you. Just as importantly, eating and drinking local helps to keep a national institution alive: the great British local pub.
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Another national treasure is likely to be pulling on its seven-league boots near you, so take your seats for the slapstick antics your local theatre company has dreamed up to keep the whole family entertained in rollicking, seasonal style this Christmas.
Nothing says Christmas more clearly, more tunefully, and more atmospherically than a carol service at your local church.
From the city-centre spires to the smallest round-tower church, the pews are decked with holly and ivy, the organ is tuning up, and the choir is in fine voice. Wrap up warm, squeeze into a pew, and join in – and don't forget to go back for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
However you celebrate the season of goodwill, keep it local now and for the year ahead.
To keep up with all the latest local shopping news, download the shop local app, and keep up to date at www.edp24.couk.
The Archant Shop Local campaign team would like to wish all our readers a very merry, very local Christmas.