Things That Bestow That Fuzzy Feeling
As part of our Christmas mission to spread The Fuzzy Feeling - the sense of coziness, sentimentality and warmth which defines the season - every Friday we're bringing you a weekly roundup of our Fuzzy Favourites.
We’ve handpicked a selection of our favourite ways to spend (or merely survive!) the festive season, drawing on our hometown of London as chief inspiration. Check in each week throughout December for our advent calendar of ‘fuzzy favourites’.
1. Film: The Snowman (1982)
An obvious one, but no ‘fuzzy feeling’ Christmas list would be complete if it failed to include this heart-warming, wordless story of friendship between a boy and his snowman, from the book by Raymond Briggs. You might be sick of hearing Aled Jones warbling its main theme music, played on loop by every radio station throughout December, but Briggs’s warm animated illustrations make this a timeless festive classic, guaranteed to induce pangs of nostalgia to anyone who grew up watching it. Even David Bowie puts in an appearance at the beginning as the prologue’s narrator, lending a stylish flair to proceedings.
Bronte’s most famous, gothic novel features one of literature’s earliest feminist heroines. Poor and plain, and having nothing but her wits to rely upon, Jane is determined not to be defined by her abusive, impoverished childhood and lowly social status. Her strong will captures the heart of her employer, charismatic playboy Mr Rochester – whose dark secrets provide one of the most haunting plot twists in the history storytelling. Despite everything that gets thrown her way, Jane is determined not to sell herself short, even at the risk of destitution and heartbreak. (“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me.”) Some may view it as a classic love story, others as an ode to self-belief and the power of forgiveness. Perfect for reading on a cold December night.
3. Place: The Barbican, City of London
East London’s charismatic Brutalist building is the largest performing arts centre in Europe and hosts some of the city’s best art exhibitions, films, concerts and plays. The ideal place to flock to during the cold winter months, there’s something otherworldly and almost cocooning about this fortress-like concrete structure, that makes you envy those lucky enough to live in its apartment buildings. Music lovers should flock to their Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival running from 20 Dec - 1 Jan, a series of classical festival concerts including the popular Carols By Candlelight on the 23, which features readings readings from Dickens and the Scriptures.
If you’re seeking an atmospheric, sweeping soundtrack to accompany a frosty walk through the snow, this takes some beating. Mvula’s haunting vocals, spanning jazz, gospel and then something else entirely are accompanied by stirring orchestral arrangements, with tracks ranging from the epic opening number “Make Me Lovely” to the bouncy upbeat “Green Garden” and “That’s Alright” to the melancholic “Father Father”, “Sing To The Moon” and “She”. Guaranteed to nourish the any battered spirit if the last 11 months have proven challenging.
Criticised for ‘betraying her class’, Nancy Mitford’s novels are wonderful social satires, underpinned with a bittersweet sense of loss inspired by her own tragic love story. While people usually cite The Pursuit of Love as Mitford’s must-read novel, Love In A Cold Climate is less of a traditional love story but much more compelling (and one of the first novels to feature an openly gay character). Taking place between the World Wars, the main players keep you turning every page, from the gruesome narcissist matriarch Lady Montdore, to her sullen, rebellious daughter Polly, as well as her estranged, silver-tongued cousin Cedric, who turns up in the second act and sparkles off the page. (Out of all the characters in literature, he’s the one you’d want to go for cocktails with.)