Country Life’s Christmas issue, with its iconic advent calendar cover, goes on sale today, and is expected to instantly become a special collector’s edition of the magazine.

The magazine has worked closely with Royal Mail to create a timeline of Christmas stamps through the years, the images of which are hidden behind each door. The year, title and designer of each stamp is outlined beside each image, providing a unique chronology of the changing vision of Christmas.

Celebrating the excitement of Christmas for children, the special front cover features the painting The Toyshop Window by Timoleon Lobrichon, with 24 windows die-cut directly into the cover – a process introduced to Country Life for the first time in 2007 and before then never seen on a UK weekly magazine.

Country Life Editor Mark Hedges says: ‘We had fantastic feedback on our first ever advent calendar cover and it quickly became an issue we – and our readers – look forward to each year. Innovation is hugely important, particularly for a weekly magazine, and we’re delighted to have Royal Mail on board this year to provide us with a beautiful timeline of images in the countdown to Christmas.’
The must-have Christmas issue includes:

* A comprehensive gift listing
* Country Life’s guide to the best crackers and how to make your own
* An insight into the workings of Cathedral choirs
* Plus, to celebrate the indulgent side of Christmas, Mark Hix’s pick of indulgent festive food
* Susan Hampshire’s favourite painting
* The ultimate cigar-smoker’s present