I am bursting with excitement at the thought that with less than two weeks to go, we are fast approaching Christmas. December is honestly one of my favourite times of the year and today, I’m going to be braving the crowds in Chester on my mission for Christmas shopping.
Despite this, I haven’t actually played any Christmas music, nor have I strutted my stuff in a reindeer jumper or indeed decorated my tree. So in an attempt to feel a little ‘Christmassy’, I thought I’d get the bauble rolling with my blog.
The Christmas Tag
1. What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?
That’s actually quite a difficult question as I always look forward to Christmas – there’s just an issue of trying to narrow down exactly which part! I particularly enjoy decorating my apartment – now I have my own place, it’s so much fun decorating it how I like. Despite my lack of patience with shoppers, Christmas shopping can actually be enjoyable with a cold nose and sore hands – especially when you find the perfect gifts. Following on from that, I love getting myself into a mess with ribbon, sticky stars and wrapping paper.
I have a few things planned in the run up to Christmas, one which is happening this time next week. I’m also looking forward to exploring the Christmas markets, having a few sips of mulled wine and catching-up with old friends.
Of course, Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day will hopefully bring together lots of delicious food, lovely memories and lots of smiles. These points for me actually mark the foundations for a wonderful Christmas.
2. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Since before I can even remember, my parents, close family friends and I always go to the cinema on Christmas Eve. As children, we watched the typical Christmas movies and would arrive back at home believing that our film would turn into a reality.
When we were younger, we also used to produce our own Christmas Eve play. Bradley, Gemma and I would each write our own script and we would then combine our three plays into one. I remember rehearsing our plays a few weeks before, making sure we each knew our lines and ensuring we had all the necessary props. Of course, our grand performances didn’t always go to plan – especially as our parents used to burst into fits of laughter… perhaps a result of sipping a little too much Bailey’s?!
Nowadays, our Christmas Eve cinema tradition still remains. However we squeeze a not-so-festive, but still awesomely delicious dinner at Nando’s into our evening prior to watching the latest blockbuster (usually Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit).
3. What is your favourite Christmas movie(s)?
I have so many favourite Christmas movies – from Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone, to The Holiday and Love Actually. A perfect night-in for me at Christmas would be snuggling down on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine, wearing my fluffy socks and onesie, watching one of my favourite Christmas films – simple, yet perfect. I actually wish I could do that right now!
4. Favourite Christmas song?
Now this is a hard question to answer. Of course, I love Michael Buble’s Christmas albums and I listen to those on repeat. But a song which I have grown to love, is the one and only Fairytale of New York –“Sinatra was swinging, all the drunks they were singing, we kissed on a corner… then danced through the night!”
5. Tips on decorating your home?
My apartment transforms into a little grotto at Christmas. I love putting my tree up, adding a whole variety of baubles and making it sparkle with fairy lights. Aside from my tree, I like to add Christmas cushions and throws to my couch, plus festive ornaments (a few reindeers here and there – unfortunately not real ones).
I think the best way to decorate your house at Christmas is to make it feel and look super cosy – add candles, fairy lights and different textures of materials such as furry pillows and fleecy blankets. If you are on the hunt for some festive gems, I think Paperchase and Marks and Spencer have a great variety of Christmas and home decorations.
6. How do you celebrate Christmas?
As my family is rather small in number but loud by nature, we often have a fairly quiet Christmas. As I mentioned before, Christmas Eve plays a big part in our festive antics and helps everyone to get into the spirit of things.
Due to my Mum’s job, she has often had to work at Christmas time. That being said, over the past few years I have taken it upon myself to be the one in charge of the Christmas lunch. For me, cooking is one of the ways in which I celebrate. Last year, I was more excited about making a fresh loaf of bread and laying the table than I was about opening my presents.
Once the Christmas dinner is all cooked and the house smells of candle wax and pulled crackers, we all settle down at the table to eat. Michael Buble often makes an appearance, but only via the stereo. After our mega meal, we all open our gifts. I should probably admit that in between cooking the dinner, I am often frantically running around the house looking for cello tape and spare ribbon/paper as there is always one gift I forget to wrap.
7. What is your favourite thing to do at Christmas?
My favourite thing to do at Christmas is to spend time with my loved ones. Whether we eat our weight in chocolate whilst watching films or sit down for a big meal – for my family, it’s the one time of the year where we actually come together.
8. What items are on your Christmas list?
My Mum has been asking me for weeks what I’d like for Christmas and to be fair, I don’t actually know. I read so many articles with gift ideas, but I don’t see anything that I would particularly like to give or receive. It’s more of a case when I’m out and about and I spot something in the window “Ooh look at that bag, those shoes, that scarf! Oh my goodness, that necklace”or “Wow! Look at those candles, plates – oooh I’d love this for my place but I don’t know where I’d put it” – with reference to a life-size reindeer.
As for my own Christmas list for other people, I’ve been so organised this year I made a spreadsheet. However, the only issue is I haven’t quite kept to it. When I’ve been shopping, I see something and think that it’s just such a lovely gift, I can’t not buy it. For anyone struggling to think of gift ideas – no matter how big or small, simply think about that person. The old age saying of “it’s the thought that counts” really does do just that. Remember when they may have mentioned over the past few weeks, their interests, plans and hobbies. Soon enough, wonderful ideas will spring to mind and you’ll definitely make somebody very happy.
9. Your best Christmas memory?
Obviously, every year new memories at Christmas are created. For me, the memory that sticks out most in my mind was opening the lounge door on Christmas Day. From the outset that may seem like quite a random memory – opening a door?! But after opening my stocking presents and bursting with excitement, I remember waiting with my parents by the closed lounge door.
My Mum used to say “Marianna, do you want to see if Father Christmas came?” and at this point I would be nodding and attempting to reach the door’s handle. I felt so grown up being able to open the lounge door and to see if Father Christmas had visited. As I opened the door, the Christmas tree would be sparkling with lights and the glittery baubles would light up my eyes. I always felt so lucky and grateful to see all of the beautifully wrapped presents laid out around the tree and I could never wait to unwrap them.
10. What do you love most about Christmas?
I feel like I’ve answered this question further up in this post. There are too many things I love about Christmas. For a start, it’s the whole festivity of it – the decorations, music and general atmosphere. Next, it’s the time spent with loved ones – sharing and making memories. And finally, it’s the traditions – something which makes each and every Christmas so special for everyone.