Five sites you have to visit before Christmas to get you in the mood.

Bah humbug! Not in the mood for all the festive frivolity around you? You soon will be if you visit these sites that soothe the soul.

Christmas cheer doesn’t come easily to everybody. Some people would listen to carols and eat mince pies in August if they could; others want to bury their heads under the pillow until the whole holiday has passed. Sadly for the latter group, it isn’t going anywhere – and if you can’t beat them, you’d better join them. So check out these evocative sites and get your Christmas groove on.


The online shop of designers Ben Pentreath and Bridie Hall is a joy to behold. The sight of so many beautiful things can’t help but lift the spirits. A true cornucopia of brightly coloured wrapping paper, stationary, linens, pen pots, candles, cushions, baskets and more, this site is retail therapy writ large. Pentreath’s enchanting weekly blog, with its unmistakable nod to the seasons, is not to be missed either.


Nobody, but nobody, does Christmas like the luxurious stalwart, Fortnum & Mason. They even have their own hashtag, #FortnumsChristmas. They deck out their website as beautifully as they do their shop windows. If you are thinking of sending anyone a hamper, this is obviously the place to arrange it – but feast your eyes, in any case, on the beautifully presented chocolates, biscuits and tins of tea and coffee.


With its creaky, old-fashioned stores and festive dark-green paint, Daunt Books is made for Christmas (Dickens would have felt right at home). Its website is a similarly pleasing place to lurk at this time of year. Brimming with brilliant recommendations – for paperbacks, hardbacks, travel and recipe books – it is an especially wholesome world in which to immerse your inner Grinch.


This site makes the heart leap with the simple elegance of its seasonal flower arrangements. Decorate your home for the holidays with JamJar bunches, make somebody’s year with an exquisite JamJar delivery, or just bask in the natural beauty of the JamJar website. It’s a treat all year round, but never more so than at Christmas.


The endlessly trustworthy, wonderful people at House & Garden have a whole section of their tasteful site devoted to decorating, cooking, shopping and having fun at Christmas. It positively sings with gorgeous photography and stylish inspiration. If this doesn’t seriously whet your appetite for all things yuletide, nothing will!

December 2018