Ah, December. Lovely, cozy, demented December! In between the shopping and the planning and the decorating and the rhinestones and the glitter, there is still a little life to be lived, a house to be kept and dreams to be shored up, which means I really rather think it is time for a few puttery treats!

* Clear out your Comfort Drawer! It is Christmas and thus the season when all kinds of comforting nonsense will be bestowed upon you so I rather think it is time to indulge yourself with all the little pampering treats you have stashed since our Darling Sarah Ban Breathnach first suggested it in Simple Abundance. Empty the drawer and run a bubble bath. Eat that gorgeous chili and lime chocolate you were saving for a rainy day and light the candle you usually save to burn on the days when somebody put your head on upside down. The little book you have always kept in your comfort drawer? Put it back on the shelf. It is time to find a new reassuring voice. Same with the cd’s and the dvd’s. Even comfort gets old. Spend December smothering yourself in the cosy and come January we can start scrumptiously afresh…

* Fill jam jars with bird seed, add a pretty tweety label, and top with a doillie. Leave by the door ready to take with you every time you go into the garden…

* December is a month studded liberally with pure inspiration, so take the opportunity to start dwelling on a project that will become your raison d’etre for 2010. Open a new bookmark folder on your browser, or start a Pinterest board and begin collating anything related to your new project. It’s a new decade: perhaps it is time for a new dream? It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to something that is authentically you now and will be absolutely you tomorrow…
* Plant Winter pansy’s in vintage bundt tins. Fill jelly moulds with mercury glass baubles.

* At least one morning a week, throughout December eat breakfast the way the French do. Pour cafe au lait into huge big bowls and drink while warming your hands. Fill an lidded enamel jug full of hot chocolate made on the stove and serve the whole family chocolate and croissants. Make Croque Monsieurs and eat at a table topped with a festive gingham table-cloth, accompanied by a play list stuffed with Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg. Nothing could be cosier in a steamy kitchen on a Winter morning.

* Fill the mantlepiece with permanent Christmas Cards. Paste vintage wallpaper over tiny blank canvases and collage a vintage Christmas postcard over it.

* Line the base of a pretty tray with reindeer moss and fill it with pillar candles for an understated fragrant breakfast table centrepiece…

* Teach the kids to knit and work each evening on little squares to be stitched together for a family Granny blanket. Use up old scraps of wool and try not to get too pernickety about the quality of the little one’s knitting!

*Fill the prettiest floral vintage bowl you can find with lengths of crocheted lace, mercury glass or silver ornaments and old vintage photographs and place it on your bedside for a bowlful of vintage Christmas cheer.

* I like to think of Christmas decorating as a process of layering, culminating in the decorating of the tree and the lighting of the lights in mid December. Start with scent. Spray a little Christmas into the air. Play Christmas music. Patch cushions and old blankets with floral jingle bells or snowflakes. Add pine cones to a bowl-ful of shiny red apples.Wrap soap in vintage Christmas Hankies and pile into a footed dish. Add a little Christmas to every surface in the house before you begin to decorate…

* Grate a little nutmeg or stir a little cinnamon into your children’s bedtime drink and tell them it is Christmas milk…