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In this two-minute read, we look at five Christmassy things to do with the kids that won’t break the bank.

Covid-19 has put the kibosh on big family gatherings and trips to the panto this Christmas, but there are still plenty of ways you can get into the festive spirit with your little ones. 

Here are five low-cost activities that will bring comfort and joy to your children during the holiday season.

1. Go on a Christmas lights walk/drive

Kids love a bit of razzle-dazzle so take them on a night-time tour – either by foot or car – of the most bling light displays in your area. Make an event out of it by taking along a flask of hot chocolate, and a few Christmas treats to nibble on as you marvel at the inflatable Santas, luminous reindeers, and flashing penguins on show.

2. Get crafty

Turn pine cones into mini Christmas trees with this easy-peasy craft project. The first step is to source your pine cones (from either the floor of your local woods or a craft shop). Give each pine cone a coat of green paint. Let them dry and then paint the edge of each pine cone scale white to represent snow. Add splodges of red and gold paint for lights, and glue on pom poms for baubles.

 

In this two-minute read, we trace the origins of some of the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.

Christmas is a time of mistletoe and mulled wine, twinkly trees, and messages from the monarch.

It seems like many people can’t wait for the festive break.

So, let’s explore the history behind the enduring Christmas customs many of us enjoy.

Why do we decorate Christmas trees?

In Pagan times, evergreens were placed in the home to ward off evil spirits and to remind people during the depths of winter that spring would return.

By the 16th century, devout Christians in Germany, who believed evergreen trees symbolised everlasting life, had taken things a step further. They decorated evergreen conifers with apples, paper roses, and candles (which they then lit) creating an incredible spectacle – and a terrible fire hazard.

King George III and his German wife Charlotte were among the first to adopt the Christmas tree tradition in England, and it was later popularised by Queen Victoria and her German-born husband, Albert.

At Cook Residential, we always charge our clients a value for money fee unlike some of the eye-watering prices you're about to discover. Here are what billionaires are willing to stump up for shoes, burgers, a photo, some vino, and an unbelievable home – a three-minute read.

Have you written out your Christmas wish list yet?

If your loved ones have given you theirs, and you've thought, 'do they think I'm made of money?', consider yourself lucky.

The letters to Santa from the mega-rich contain some incredibly pricey everyday items.

Wine

£237,000 (yep, you read that right)

A bottle of wine for good neighbours is usually seen as a nice gift. But the 1947 Cheval Blanc is probably only something Jeff Bezos could afford to give to the people over the road. This rare vintage was thought to be the only bottle of its type when it sold at a 2011 auction for a record amount.

Who says you can't have a great time this Christmas AND do your bit for Planet Earth? In this two-minute read, we look at some simple things people can do to make the festive period as eco-friendly as possible.

There's been some positive vaccine news starting to come out in the UK and across the world.

But the news around our planet's health isn't as rosy. On Wednesday (2 December), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged nations to make radical changes before it's too late.

It's obvious now that climate change needs tackling with as much energy and vigour as finding a vaccine for Covid-19 was.

The good news is we can all play a positive part, even at Christmas.

Here are six wonderful ways to keep it green this festive period.

In this three-minute read, we look at the crucial role small businesses play in bringing prosperity and personality to our high streets.

Small businesses across Cheltenham have played a vital part in helping our community to get through the pandemic, so it’s no wonder that many of us are feeling a lot of love for local firms right now.

A new survey has found 59% of Brits say they support local businesses now more than they did pre-Covid-19.

The research, commissioned by American Express and Small Business Saturday UK, highlights the significant contribution small businesses have made in 2020.

It’s not been easy to keep calm and carry on amid lockdowns and tier restrictions, and for many small firms, it has taken sweat and tears to keep the wolves from the door.

But the good news is that many of these local enterprises are still standing, and you can do your bit for them on Small Business Saturday (5 December).

On this date, people in Cheltenham and across the country are being urged to purchase goods and/or services from local businesses. (If you can’t do it in person, you could do it online).

Last year, some 17.6 million people backed the cause by choosing to shop small on Small Business Saturday, spending about £800 million. Organisers are hoping for similar success – albeit in more challenging circumstances – this year. 

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