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Welcome to the November and December column - not my favourite time of year if I’m perfectly honest as I’m not keen on the cold and the darker evenings, but at least Christmas is coming so I can focus on that!

I’m quite organised this year too - I bought my Christmas cards in the January sales, something I thought I’d never do as there was a slight risk that I’d forget where I’d put them and panic-buy more. But no, they’re ready for writing and posting. 

I don’t do e-cards - they might be better for the environment (although I do recycle all my cards and recommend everyone does the same) but you can’t put them up around your living room on ribbons and make the house look festive, can you?

There’s something comforting about getting a proper Christmas card too - it shows that somebody has remembered you, and taken the time to write it and post it. With regards to present buying, I’m still adhering to my mantra of ‘keep it simple, keep it local’. 

If you’re looking for something a bit different and want to support local, independent businesses, The Yards in Kettering (just off Market Street) is a veritable cornucopia of delights, with present ideas for everyone of all ages, see pages 14-15. If you haven’t been before, give it a try. 

It’s a selection of individual shops all housed within a converted old Fire Station, and they sell an array of goods including cards and items handmade in Kettering, comic-book merchandise (mugs, plushes, keyrings, badges etc), bath bombs, scented candles, educational toys, glassware, jewellery, scarves, clothing, posters, vinyl records, Converse footwear, and much, much more. 

For ladies’ fashion wear, jewellery and handbags pop into Dandelion or Evie Bevie, nestled in the courtyard of The Yards. Wishing you and yours all the best for a wonderful Christmas and New Year -  see you all in January 2018! Thanks for reading, please  visit my blog and Northants  Telegraph column too. 

Many thanks, Hx

www.helenbachuk.blogspot.co.uk www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/opinion/helen-bach  

Our Corner of Northamptonshire by Helen Bach