December

December is all about… carolling by candlelight, spending time with loved ones, the evocative smell of a Norway spruce, turkey and roast potato sandwiches and a long Boxing Day walk.

Something to eat: Other than the quintessential Christmas dinner, December is the month to try out a clementine cake or add cranberries to mincemeat. If you're looking for different ways to serve sprouts, try them wok-fried with ginger, in a soup with chestnuts and chorizo, or creamed with bacon. Delicious.

Something to visit: Visiting a National Trust property is magical whatever time of year you go, but Christmas seems to hold something special. Head over here to find out what's going on in your area - you can even visit Father Christmas at some properties!

Something to make: Christmas cards. I've tried linocut snowflakes and black and white photos, but this year I'll be trying out something a bit different; I'll be using words to inspire my homemade Christmas cards.

Something to celebrate: Christmas! Time to laugh, smile and be thankful for the year gone by and those you love.

Something to take part in: Welcome back light into the world and celebrate the winter solstice on December 21st. The focus remains firmly focused on Christmas at this time of year, but noting and reflecting on the shortest day is also an opportunity to feast and revel in this turning point of the seasons, and the triumph of light over darkness once more.

Something a bit different: We've all heard of (and have probably sampled) something mulled at this time of the year, but have you ever tried wassail? Traditionally, the act of wassailing is to sing carols with neighbours and loved ones while sharing a drink, and there are many variants of the latter. My favourite is the spiced cider (recipe here), which wassailers would have prepared, then soaked pieces of bread or toast with it to bury by the roots of trees to assure a good harvest the following year.

Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.