See what’s inside Country Life’s spectacular Christmas double issue

The Country Life double issue is the magazine's highlight of the year. Here's a look at some of what you'll find inside the 292-page seasonal treat.

‘Peace on earth and mercy mild’ — The Revd Daniel A. French offers his life-affirming Christmas message

On the first day of Christmas, Netflix screened for me — Jonathan Self reveals the 12 must-see films for the holiday

Are you there, Moriarty? — What do you play at Christmas? Eleanor Doughty asks friends of Country Life for their seasonal parlour games of choice

Ride that gravy train —You can never have too much succulent, luscious gravy, believes Tom Parker Bowles

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Kitchen garden cook — Melanie Johnson on cranberries

Sealed with a kiss — No one can refuse a kiss under the mistletoe, but why do we hang our sprigs, ponders Ian Morton

Now we are 95 — As Winnie-the-Pooh celebrates a major birthday, Katy Birchall looks at why the ‘bear of little brain’ is still so cherished

Ride a white swan — Our mute swans are flourishing, yet they were once kept for meat, reveals Stephen Moss

 ‘I feel the peace of the country beyond all expression’ — The novels of Charles Dickens encompassed rural life and people as percipiently as they did London, discovers Andrew Green

John McEwen’s favourite painting — Our former writer and art critic, regular contributor to the My Favourite Painting page, chooses his own image: a moving work by his Uncle Jim

Masterpiece — T. S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi proves a very personal piece, reveals Jack Watkins

As pure as the driven snowflake — Drifting, floating, falling: the descent of snow is balm to the soul, says John Lewis-Stempel

Let the corks fly out for Christmas — Harry Eyres suggests sparkling wines for any — and every — time of the day

A coronation church — The long history of Westminster Abbey, London SW1, still has deep meaning for our lives today, explains John Goodall

Hung up by the chimney with care — What’s the story behind the satsuma and the silver sixpence, wonders Matthew Dennison

Deck the halls with… spiders’ cobwebs? — From carp in the bath to malevolent goats, the world offers some surprising seasonal traditions. Claire Jackson investigates

The big sleep — Curling up for the winter sounds like rather a cosy idea. John Lewis-Stempel examines the mystery of hibernation

Holly nil, ivy one — Jamie Blackett surveys the aftermath of Storm Arwen

The Editor’s Christmas Quiz — Unbeatable

On the feast of Stephen — The origins of Boxing Day are surprisingly macabre, discovers Aeneas Dennison

Just off to Jerusalem —  Eleanor Doughty visits New Zealand, New York and Hollywood without leaving the UK

All is calm, all is bright — On a frosty, two-coat night, John Lewis-Stempel checks the sheep and admires the blaze of stars

Piping up for church organs — Parish churches across the country are destroying their organs. This madness must stop, avers Ysenda Maxtone Graham

‘Spaces and buildings are an inspiration’ — Henrietta Bredin talks to composer John Rutter about acoustics and saying thank you

The spirit of Christmas — Kate Green imagines the classic big family gathering, complete with greedy labrador

A pine romance — The astonishing National Pinetum at Bedgebury, Kent, is worth a winter wander, asserts Charles Quest-Ritson

What a gem — Mines in the Durham Dales are yielding a sparkling stone, reveals Tessa Waugh

And much more