Fun Things

Christmas Songs Guaranteed to Make You Merry

Spread a Little Festive Joy with Christmas Songs Hand-Picked by the Piccadilly Lane Community.

We asked the indie designers and makers of the Piccadilly Lane community to share their favourite Christmas songs for our very own festive playlist. A quick and easy way to get us all in the mood for the holidays ahead. They also act as a great soundtrack for buying last minute gifts or choosing last minute cards; not to mention keeping you entertained as you write your Christmas cards and wrap your presents.

‘Fairytale Of New York’ by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl.
This is my personal favourite and it was also nominated by Steve at Five Dollar Shake and Jan from Perkins & Morley.

‘White Christmas’ by The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter.
chosen by Sue at Pennychoo.

‘Is this Christmas?’ by The Wombats.

Chosen by Ed at Peel and Sardine.

‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ by Darkness.

Nominated by Steve at Five Dollar Shake.

‘Christmas In Hollis’ by Run DMC. 

Our final festive pick from Steve at Five Dollar Shake. (Steve is so brilliant with music choices and even chose our pick of Top Ten Love Songs for Valentine’s Day).

‘Frosty The Snowman’ by The Beach Boys.

Chosen by Jill at Rocket68 Cards (who by spooky coincidence was playing this very song when I asked her to nominate a tune for the Christmas playlist). There seemed to be no video of this one, so I went with this sweet fan made video.

‘Stop the Cavalry!’ by Jona Lewie.

Chosen by Eloise at Eloise Hall.

‘Santa Baby’ by Eartha Kitt.

Nominated by Sky at Sky Siouki.

‘Christmas Wrapping’ by the Waitresses.

Chosen by Megan at Night Owl Paper Goods. Again, I couldn’t find an official video for this one but did find this cool fan made one, which uses footage of the band.

& last but not least is a song I couldn’t resist adding to the list. It’s not as cool as some of the picks and I certainly don’t encourage this ‘Christmas Everyday’ concept, but I think it definitely brings the merry!

‘I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday’ by Wizzard.

Like these hand-picked Christmas songs? You’ll love the Lane’s choice of the best Christmas movies too.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 23/11/16
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Festive Friday 2016. What it is & Why You Should Care

Festive Friday 2016: All You Need to Know.

What is Festive Friday 2016? Well I’m glad you asked. Quite simply it’s an annual event dedicated to getting us all in the festive mood. A day that sees the UK card industry taking a little time out to send their Christmas cards and get people excited about sending real greeting cards. This year, it falls next Friday, 25th November 2016.

We’ve talked in the past about the importance of sending real greeting cards and Christmas is an ideal time to make this happen. It’s all too easy to forget a birthday or anniversary in the chaos of day-to-day life but the festive holidays are a time we can all get together, pause, reflect and catch up.

Festive Friday is all about creating a flurry of festive cards arriving in the first week of December. The type of ‘good post’ that can bring a smile to your favourite people. As the Greeting Card Association  comments:

“Christmas time is a special time of love and caring, family and community, the time when we reach out to spread good will and happiness – and it’s when the Christmas cards start arriving that we begin to feel that lovely festive feeling. What better way to get this all started nice and early than by joining in with Festive Friday 2016!”

Why You Should Take Part in Festive Friday.

While Festive Friday does start with greeting card designers, makers and publishers it’s well worth everyone keeping their eyes peeled. Combined with Black Friday deals many greeting card designers will be running discount and giving away freebies to celebrate the event.

Look out for any special offers on Twitter, where the hashtag #FestiveFriday will alert you to any deals. You can also follow @piccadillylane and @GCAUK where we’ll be keeping track of the day’s events for you and alerting you to offers.

So don’t forget Festive Friday 2016 on the 25th November. 

If you want to read more about Festive Friday please visit the Greeting Card Association website for the latest information.

Explore the latest Christmas Cards from indie designers and makers in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 18/11/16
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How to Wrap Christmas Gifts Like a Pro

The Easy Way to Wrap Christmas Gifts in Style.

Once you’ve got the perfect present sorted it is time to wrap them. But how do you wrap Christmas gifts like a professional? From the oddly shaped presents, to attempting to hold down wrap while simultaneously cutting sellotape and drinking eggnog, let’s say it can be a bit of a nightmare. Despite your best intentions the result can often be a brilliant gift hidden under some rather disappointing wrapping.

But never fear, wrapping Christmas gifts does not have to be a chore.

In fact, we’ve got a few simple tips to follow that will have your wrapping like a pro in no time at all.

Top Tips to Wrap Christmas Gifts.

1. Choose a good quality wrapping paper.

Cheaper gift wraps are a great way to save money but they usually use a thinner paper weight. The thinner paper has two main drawbacks, which make achieving a professional finish much harder. First, thinner paper is very easy to rip; secondly, some papers are so thin you can even see your present through the paper … goodbye any hope of a Christmas surprise!

2. Cut your gift wrap to the right size. 

Your Christmas paper needs to wrap around your present with approximately a 1 inch (2.5cm) overlap. At the sides the paper needs to come to just over the halfway mark. To be super professional you should also add a little extra to any edge you cut so you can fold under the cut edge; hiding any jagged edges or scissor marks.

3. Fold, Crease and Align.  

As you fold your paper round your gift create sharp creases at the folds; this will give you a sharp, flat finish without any lumps or bumps. For an extra touch of professional wrapping align the edge of your paper with an edge of your gift.

4. Use double-sided sticky tape. 

The gift wrapping pros don’t let sellotape show, so for truly excellent gift wrapping you need to use double-sided sticky tape to seal the edges of your paper. Try to use long pieces so your paper sticks securely.

5. Tag & Tie. 

Finish your gift wrapping with a gift tag (avoids present delivery confusion) and ribbons or a bow for an extra flourish of style.

That’s it. 5 simple tips to get your gift wrapping like a pro.

If you’re ready to wrap, check out the lovely Christmas gift wrap on offer at Caroline Gardner (like the cool Christmas tree print shown at the top of the post).

& if you want more more guidance, check out the videos below for more gift wrapping tips and tricks.

Visual Gift Wrapping Inspiration.

Paper Guru’s ‘How to Wrap 10 Tricky Christmas Gift Shapes’.

What’s Up Moms ‘DIY Gift Wrap Ideas (+ How to Make a Perfect Bow).

Paper Guru’s ‘Japanese Department Store Style Gift Wrapping’ (aka Diagonal Wrapping).

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 11/11/16
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Christmas Movies to Get You in a Jolly Festive Mood

Let’s Get Festive With These Top Christmas Movies.

As we’re finally into December it feels a little more legitimate to be talking Christmas, but we know it’s not always easy to get in the holiday mood. If you find you’ve not quite got the right level of festive cheer, or you just want a top up, today’s post is for you, for today we’re talking Christmas movies. Festive films that will brighten your holiday and spread a little festive cheer.

1. Arthur Christmas

A new favourite for the Christmas movie collection, we love Arthur and are sure you will too. We’re backed up by the posse at Karenza Paperie who suggested this one.

2. Elf

SANTA!! Sure to put a smile on your face you’re holiday movie selection must include Christmas comedy Elf. Will Ferrell getting hit by that taxi makes me laugh every single time.

3. Scrooged

A classic 80’s movie adapted from ‘A Christmas Carol’. Bill Murray is brilliantly funny as a ruthless TV executive pursued by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

4. White Christmas

Quite simply a Christmas classic. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the tale of two talented song-and-dance men (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter, they join forces with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas.

5. Miracle on 34th Street

Kris Kringle … a tense law case … a feel-good Christmas movie brilliant for the whole family. Plus in the 1947 version you’ve got enough mid-century glamour, to keep our retro-loving pals Pennychoo and Rocket68 Cards happy … I hope.

6. It’s A Wonderful Life

George Bailey contemplating suicide doesn’t sound incredibly festive, but the addition of a guardian angel to show him how life would be without him turns it all around. Yet again a Christmas classic.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas

A movie that really stands out from the crowd. We think Christmas deserves a little Pumpkin King style.

8. Trading Places

I almost forgot about the Christmassy elements of Trading Places (I know, I don’t know what I was thinking!) but thankfully this very funny 80’s classic was suggested by the team at Five Dollar Shake. We’re very grateful to them as we just love this movie … and Dan Aykroyd as a slightly bedraggled Santa!

9. Gremlins

Like every child of the 80’s I think I will always have a soft spot for Gizmo, who wouldn’t want a Gizmo for Christmas?! But PLEASE pay close attention to the rules people!

10. The Snowman and the Snowdog

Closing the collection another new movie. This might be controversial, you could go with the original Snowman if you prefer but after not much deliberation I plumped for the new movie. Quite honestly it was the snow puppy (complete with sock ears) that swung it.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 9/11/16
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5 Christmas Books Guaranteed to Spread Festive Cheer.

Classic Christmas Books to Spread a Little Festive Cheer.

With the festive season in full swing and Christmas Day not too far away it seems like the perfect time for days indoors, relaxing, cuddled up with a few good Christmas books.

But not just any old books will do, what we need is a few suitably festive books.

With this in mind, today were sharing our top 5 classic Christmas books; fabulous holiday tales for readers young and old.

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

First published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843, A Christmas Carol is a novella by celebrated author Charles Dickens. The book tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. Upon its release the novella met with instant success and critical acclaim; becoming a beloved festive tale from that day to this. 

Christmas Books: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

2. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg.

It’s Christmas Eve and the Jolly Postman is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters – there’s a card for Baby Bear, a game appropriately called ‘Beware’ for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, a get-well jigsaw for hospitalised Humpty Dumpty and three more surprise envelopes containing letters, cards, etc. This book keeps everyone’s favourite postman peddling his bicycle up hill and down dale . . . delivering a little festive cheer everywhere he goes.

The_Jolly_Christmas_Postman

3. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

The perfect Christmas read featuring everyone’s favourite snowman. Raymond Briggs’ favourite classic is a true piece of Christmas magic – narrated entirely through pictures, it captures the wonder and innocence of childhood, through the magical story of a snowman coming to life and an unforgettable night time adventure. 

the snowman by raymond briggs

4. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.

This classic Christmas verse is well known to every parent and child preparing for Christmas. Available in a variety of illustrated tomes that are great for reading to little ones, keeping them entertained during the long holidays. 

Night_before_christmasSG

5. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie.

A festive tale from the queen of crime, Agatha Christie. This seasonal mystery thriller is set on Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. Cue Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offering to assist, Poirot soon uncovers that everyone had their own reason to hate the old man. The perfect read for some Christmas holiday sleuthing. 

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

No time to read? Check out our top Christmas movies or Festive Playlist to get you in the holiday spirit.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 4/11/16
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