Voices

On a recent trip to Paris, I noticed that the French are really quite tardy about taking down their Christmas decorations. I can't speak for the private homes of individuals, but in the streets, there they were, twinkling on against January's grey skies.

Christmas album reviews: Leona Lewis, Erasure, Bright Eyes, Mary J Blige, Richard Durrant

Leona Lewis: "Christmas, with Love" (Syco / RCA)

Christmas and football go hand in hand. But for once I can take a back seat this year

Neil Warnock: This year I can tuck into my Christmas dinner guilt-free at last

After an early lesson, I’ve monitored my food and drink every Christmas for 48 years - until now

£2,399 - Caribtours

Travel challenge

Winter sun in Barbados after Christmas

Community spirit could help save village pub

Residents of a small village in Cornwall hope the spirit of Christmas will help bring an historic pub into community-ownership.

Consumers will spend £47bn this Christmas

A record £31.9bn is predicted to be spent on debit cards this festive season while a further £14.9bn of cash will be withdrawn from ATMs.

Mariah Carey's Christmas classic 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' is still guaranteed a spin at the office party

Mariah Carey’s 'All I Want for Christmas is You' breaks a million sales

The song has sold 68,000 copies in the UK this year alone

Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert

John Lewis hopes for late Christmas boost as sales decline

John Lewis has revealed that sales fell last week across all its London stores, compared with the same week a year ago, in the clearest sign yet that people are leaving their Christmas shopping later than ever.

Leighton Baines has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering a broken foot

Leighton Baines 'not far away' from making Everton return

Roberto Martinez reveals left-back is making quick recovery

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has been issued with an ultimatum from club owner Vincent Tan that he

Malky Mackay reaction: Managers back Cardiff City manager over Vincent Tan amid unrest

Mackay has been reportedly issued with an ultimatum from Tan calling for him to 'resign of face being sacked'

Jack Wilshere will miss games with Chelsea and West Ham

Arsenal thwarted in appeal over Jack Wilshere's ban for offensive hand gesture

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere must serve a two-match ban after his appeal to have the suspension reduced to one game was rejected.

1 in every 105 households in England at risk of repossession or eviction

Newham in London named worst 'hotspot'

Jim Armitage: Saying 'bah, humbug' to suppliers is not good business

Outlook What a pity to see Debenhams turning itself into Scrooge & Marley's counting house just a week before Christmas. But well done to the markets for smelling a rat.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform