That all said, I will mention a few scent-related aspects of this year's festive season: for example, I have quite randomly rediscovered Ava Luxe's Love's True Bluish Light, and am finding its milky-amber-vanilla vibe most soothing. I fancy Undina might like this one too, if she doesn't already know it, due to its crossover with Jo Malone's Sweet Milk.
I have also dug out my little decant of SL Fille en Aiguilles, with the specific intention of spraying my wooden Christmas tree ornament with it. I ended up on the receiving end of some collateral spritzing(!), and actually enjoyed the scent on me more than I would have imagined. I had previously dismissed pine out of hand as a note solely reminiscent of janitorial products, which I realise is very 'short-nosed' of me.
I am a big fan of joss sticks and burn incense year round. It does feel especially fitting at Christmas. My absolute favourite is nag champa, and not any nag champa either - Goloka, with its distinctive yellow and orange box. Great for anyone who needs to make up the value of an Amazon order to qualify for free delivery. Assuming you don't eschew Amazon for being an evil behemoth, which I totally respect, even as I remain stubbornly pragmatic.
For any UK-based readers, I don't know if your Christmas plans have changed in the light of the new Tier rules that nobbled London and some of the South East yesterday; the effect in my town was not as drastic as to ban all household mixing, but you can now only see up to two other households on Christmas Day itself, instead of spread over five days. I get why they are doing it, though it will make catching up with friends more logistically tricky over the holidays. Basically we are back to outdoor one-on-one meetings, typically based around a walk, not least to keep warm!
I may end up celebrating on my own, which I have never done before, except for the first Christmas in this house, when I had a migraine and spent the day in bed. Even so, I rallied by the evening and ventured out to a friend's, who rustled me up a plated supper in front of Call the Midwife. If that is the outcome, it will be novel and interesting at least, and there may yet be fellow waifs and strays who come forward to suggest forming a festive bubble. This year has been so comprehensively strange that it almost seems appropriate for the big day itself to be a bit of a departure from the norm!
Then I have a truly minuscule turkey crown in the freezer, which I bought intending to use to practise on ahead of the date, as I haven't interacted with frozen fowl before, but never got round to it. I will either brave the unknown, hehe, or buy a tried and tested chicken at the last minute instead.
Truffle will be here, obviously. She is still not bringing in any prey for the Derbyshire Uni survey, the second month's lot of stats for which I am due to upload shortly. Another big fat zero hunting tally is my prediction. Truffle is currently in the doghouse - or cathouse, should that be? - after savaging a wrist warmer that had taken me all day to make and sew up. I was on Facebook, busy defending myself against a sudden outburst of 'microwavable rice shaming', and she clearly targeted that item as 'the last thing I had shown a keen interest in that wasn't her', and set about chewing it with gusto. Unfortunately the glove is beyond repair, but I have just enough wool to start the pair all over again. Up until now, Truffle has only shown an interest in balls of wool - never the finished product that incorporates all those hours of labour! - so this is a worrying development. I mention the cat's presence, for in the light of this delinquent behaviour I feel she may have forfeited her right to the usual festive morsels. By the same token, I reserve the right to relent nearer the time. ;)
I think that for many, the holiday period - truncated and weird as all get-out though it may be - will be a time of reflection and taking stock. I recently came across this photograph of a gig in Barcelona from a few years back - the first one I have ever watched entirely from behind(!). The contrast between this scene and the masked and socially distanced world we live in now couldn't be more stark. I hope the 'old normal' - or something loosely approximating to it - will return one day, but I am not 100% convinced.
As well as knitting - and soon to be re-knitting, hehe - I have been enjoying reading lately. My current book is Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell, a superbly understated study of a 1950s housewife's life in America. If you like the little period touches in The Queen's Gambit, this might well appeal. There are some priceless lines, such as this comment about Mrs Bridge's husband Walter:
"For a while after their marriage she was in such demand that it was not unpleasant when he fell asleep."
After I have finished this I am spoilt for choice, with several tottering tsundokus in the living room to dive into. For I am as much of a compulsive book buyer as I am of wool - and used to be of perfume. However, I promised my English teacher (with whom I am still in touch!) that I would read The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which I bought when it first came out. Just checked - the print is not too small, which often puts me off tackling books.
Then does anyone else do that thing where you buy yourself presents and put them under the tree unwrapped? I have got into the habit of doing this, and this year so far have bought myself a calendar, a diary - okay, they technically count as 'office essentials' - some socks, a little pottery bowl with a bottle of gin and a cat on it(!), and a bicycle pump.
So I think that is all for now - for those who are celebrating I would be interested to know whether you buy yourself presents on top of the ones you receive from family and friends, and also, crucially, how different your Christmas will be this year...