Festive magazine covers: Santa returns to Radio Times

Father Christmas made a comeback on magazine covers this year with his first appearance on the front of Radio Times since 2009, when he was banished as a "symbol of indulgence" during tight times.

  • Immediate Media’s Radio Times brought back Father Christmas for the first time in four years (along with a bumper price rise to £3.20).

    Immediate Media’s Radio Times brought back Father Christmas for the first time in four years (along with a bumper price rise to £3.20).

  • The illustrated cover of IPC Media’s TV & Satellite Week, with Santa and his friendly robin sidekick.

    The illustrated cover of IPC Media’s TV & Satellite Week, with Santa and his friendly robin sidekick.

  • A very merry-looking Santa accompanies the top television picks in listings magazine TV Times (part of IPC Media).

    A very merry-looking Santa accompanies the top television picks in listings magazine TV Times (part of IPC Media).

  • Time Out London offers a cheeky take on the typical Santa covers.

    Time Out London offers a cheeky take on the typical Santa covers.

  • BBC Good Food is known for its fail-safe feasts. This year the Immediate Media published magazine's simple cover design draws the eye straight to a centerpiece dessert.

    BBC Good Food is known for its fail-safe feasts. This year the Immediate Media published magazine's simple cover design draws the eye straight to a centerpiece dessert.

  • Woman & Home's Feel Good Food Christmas special, published by IPC Media, aims to keep the big day stress-free with speedy recipes and celebrity chef tips.

    Woman & Home's Feel Good Food Christmas special, published by IPC Media, aims to keep the big day stress-free with speedy recipes and celebrity chef tips.

  • Meanwhile, IPC Media’s Woman & Home forewent the usual cover star in favour of baubles this year.

    Meanwhile, IPC Media’s Woman & Home forewent the usual cover star in favour of baubles this year.

  • Good Housekeeping sticks with its traditional celebrity front cover style, this year featuring Kirstie Allsopp.

    Good Housekeeping sticks with its traditional celebrity front cover style, this year featuring Kirstie Allsopp.

  • House Beautiful bucks the White Christmas trend with rich reds

    House Beautiful bucks the White Christmas trend with rich reds

  • Hearst Magazines UK’s Country Living wants to help its readers celebrate in style.

    Hearst Magazines UK’s Country Living wants to help its readers celebrate in style.

  • Livingetc, published by IPC Media, is the only interiors magazine in our selection to show a family on the cover.

    Livingetc, published by IPC Media, is the only interiors magazine in our selection to show a family on the cover.

  • Snowy scenes cover on the Christmas and New Year issue of weekly Country Life, also published by IPC Media.

    Snowy scenes cover on the Christmas and New Year issue of weekly Country Life, also published by IPC Media.

  • Page 3 and soap stars fill the pages of the Nuts bumper Christmas special, published by IPC Media.

    Page 3 and soap stars fill the pages of the Nuts bumper Christmas special, published by IPC Media.

  • Closer leads its festive cover with the love lives of celebrities, Cheryl Cole, Danielle O'Hara and Katie Price.

    Closer leads its festive cover with the love lives of celebrities, Cheryl Cole, Danielle O'Hara and Katie Price.

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If the return of Santa's rosy-cheeked smile to TV listings magazines is anything to go by, austerity might well be over.

IPC Media's TV Times and TV & Satellite Week featured similar hand-drawn images of Old Saint Nick, which contrasted with Time Out's "c-word" cover where Santa seemed to be sporting some seriously enhanced eyelashes.

Indulgence was the theme of Immediate Media's BBC Good Food and IPC Media's Woman & Home's Feel Good Food this year, showcasing sumptuous deserts with lashings of glitter and sparkle.

Home interests magazines also kept covers decadent – despite a white colour theme on Hearst Magazines UK's Country Living and IPC Media's Livingetc – drawing all eyes to the scene-stealing Christmas trees.

Woman & Home's deluxe December issue opted for a golden bauble wreath in place of the usual cover star. Its rival Hearst Magazines UK's Good Housekeeping kept to its usual Christmas formula, with Kirstie Allsopp, a Christmas tree and bundles of presents.

Most magazines adopted the Christmas "bumper issue" trend, including IPC Media's Nuts and Bauer Media's Closer, although their attempts at festive spirit went little further than red crushed-velvet accessories.

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