Christmas 2010

Travel by numbers: Your countdown to Christmas

1901 The year that Queen Victoria died – signalling the end of her eponymous era. This Christmas, however, the festive spirit of the Victorian period lives on at Saltwell Park in Gateshead, which has been transformed by the after-dark arts experience, Enchanted Parks. Visitors can see illuminated installations such as "Glimpses of Victoriana", costumed characters and trees that respond when given a hug. Evenings 5-9 December. Tickets £6.

The 10 Best mince pies

Starting to fill up the cupboards for the Christmas hordes? Get started with a few boxes of these buttery treats...

The 10 Best slippers

Don’t turn the heating up – pop on a pair of slippers and keep your feet warmer than toast this winter

The ten best stationery items

Whether it’s a thank-you card to Auntie Joan or an RSVP for a New Year’s Eve bash, you’ll need some neat notelets to send your seasonal messages...

Click on the image on the right to launch the gallery

Digital detox: Why I pulled the plug on my family

Computer screens flickering. Televisions blaring. Games consoles bleeping. Our homes have become dominated by electronic equipment. So Susan Maushart decided it was time to give herself – and her children – a digital detox

Fingers on the buzzer! The IoS bumper Boxing Day quiz of 2010

Who could forget Gaga's gory frock, the X Factor talent, or spring's very strange political liaison (and we don't mean the coalition). Matthew Bell tests your knowledge of the news, people and stinging insults that make the past 12 months a time to remember. (Answers at the bottom of the page)

After the Christmas turkey, buy an album

Gorillaz will release a new album on 25 December. It's not as strange as it sounds – sales of music downloads and ebooks are turning Christmas Day into one of the busiest of the year, says Rachel Clare

My name is Peter and I'm a believer

George Carey may be telling Christians not to be ashamed, but devout Catholic Peter Stanford always worried that if he went public, he'd come across as a nutter. Now, he believes, it's time to lose his inhibitions

The ten best party snacks

Forget Twiglets and bridge rolls, the smartest Christmas gatherings have delicious and original nibbles. Here’s our selection of the best.