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Five Christmas habits to drop, and how to update your party habits

Tradition is all very well, but you don't want to get stuck in a rut. So here are five old habits you might repeat year after year, and some interesting alternatives to refresh your parties, food and presents this Christmas. It may be months away, but there's no harm in planning in advance. Mulled wine:The last person to admit to enjoying mulled wine beyond that first nostalgic sip died three years ago. It was popular in the 1970s, but only because it tasted better than home brew. These days, people will sip a glass out of politeness, but secretly they’ll be wondering which plant they can tip it and ask for something drinkable. Try our Rosemary Livener instead (link here)....

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Christmas trees – what on earth are we doing?

Stop and think about it, just for a minute. For a month a year we go up to a random man on the pavement, pay £50 for a uprooted tree bigger than we are and put it in a bucket in the corner of the living room, then cover it in bright plastic. The question has to be asked: what on earth are we doing? Christmas trees are an odd habit for us to have as a nation. And as with many Christmas traditions, Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert is to blame. Although the first Christmas tree in the UK is thought to have made an appearance in 1800, have a decorated trees in your house became popular in 1840...

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You will never guess what the number one Christmas meal is in Japan

In the UK it's turkey, in Ireland it's ham, and in Germany it's often rabbit. But in Japan they prefer a Christmas dinner that's finger lickin' good – that's right, Kentucky Fried Chicken is what counts as traditional Christmas dinner in the land of the rising sun.   KFC: Christmas the Japanese way. Image credit: Gruborpub.com   Christmas in Japan wasn't a big deal in 1974 so when KFC heavily advertised a 'party bucket' as the ideal yuletide treat the idea took hold. Now you have to queue for six hours to get your meal, unless you're canny and norder several weeks in advance, as 3.6 million families dig into a Christmas KFC. It's such a big deal that KFC...

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