First and perhaps most importantly: the snow!! I can't remember the last time it snowed in December, i.e. when it's supposed to. I don't know about anyone else, but I've certainly got my fingers crossed for a white Christmas. Edinburgh in the snow is beautiful.
I hunted down this Louis MacNeice poem yesterday as soon as it started snowing. Tis a lovely, evocative piece of writing:
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window wasAlso, got sent pictures of these amazing Andreia Chaves mirror shoes. They feel really wintery, even if they aren't very practical and I'd love to be stomping about London town in a pair.
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
If I ever get round to it, I'll write a sort of 'best of' culture this year, but if I don't the single cultural consumable I'd recommend to anyone is James Salter's incredible book, Light Years. I'm giving it to pretty much everyone for Christmas after re-reading it this weekend. It's one of the most beautifully written novels I've ever read and I've read a lot of novels. Though he's as good, if not better, than Hemingway or Fitzgerald, he seems to have slipped through the cracks of critical acclaim - possibly because he was born 20 years after the two American literary giants - thus fading into their shadows. It's an elegant, elegiac piece of writing and a definite must read.
I've been to see the Nutcracker ballet nearly every year since I was a little girl. I still remember my mother taking me - just the two of us - when I was very young. It helped that we went to see the ballet at Frank Lloyd Wright's amazing Grady Gammage auditorium. Just walking up the illuminated ramps to the main hall was an amazing spectacle, but I'll always remember how thrilled I was when the Christmas tree magically grows through the roof in the first half.
The Scottish Ballet does a pretty wonderful new-fangled Nutcracker ballet, choreographed by its artistic director, Ashley Page. There are evil snowflakes and a naughty governess who turns into the mouse queen in act two: it's all good fun, but really, nothing beats the classic ballet version.
The ROH put on quite a show - you really see where all the ticket money goes - with buckets of gold glitter, fantastical costumes, and most importantly, superb dancing. The grand pas de deux between the sugar plum fairy and her prince was absolutely breathtaking. The music is also wonderful, personally I think it's Tchaikovsky's best ballet score, and the live choir was icing on the very Christmasy cake.
Finally for something I don't like. Just been reading on coolhunter that McDonald's is to open a bunch of 'boutique food stands' during the various fashion weeks. I don't care if you dress it up in Hermes, Tom Ford, or Jil Sander: McDonald's is revolting and is SO NOT fashion. Ugh. PR fail.