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    Get Festive With Christmas Days Out

    As 2008 draws to an end, there's no denying it's been a tough year. Most of us will have a smaller budget for presents this December, and perhaps there'll be a few less champagne corks popped on New Year's Eve. But fear not, Christmas definitely isn't cancelled.

    There are still loads of great events taking place across the UK to help you find your Christmas spirit. Many have taken their themes from a less commercial period in history to remind us that this should actually be the season of goodwill - not just good retail figures.

    If you fancy a trip back to an era when festive cheer could not be purchased at M&S, check out some of these days out:
    • Grassington Dickensian Festival, Yorkshire. On the 6th and 13th December 2008, the whole village transports itself back to the time of Charles Dickens with Victorian costume, street entertainers and traditional fayre. Lots of different entertainments are planned for both Saturdays, including an urban circus, Carol Singing, a packhorse carriage and torch-lit Nativity procession.
    • Festive Music and Falconry at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, Sat 6th and Sun 7th Dec. See how medieval huntsmen contributed to the supply of banquet food. You can find out about the history of Christmas birds and take home some recipes. There's also a Christmas star hunt for children.
    • The spirit of Christmas past, present and future, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Until the 14th December, the great hall will be decorated with an emphasis on all things Victorian, while the grand dining table is set for a present day feast. The long library will feature a special take on what Christmas future might bring. There are plenty of other entertainments, including carol singing and festive story-telling.
    • The Victorian Christmas at the Museum of London. Discover just how many Christmas traditions we owe to the Victorians, including cards, trees and even shopping (they have a lot to answer for!) on Sunday 14th December at 2.00pm.

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