“It’s the most wonderful time, of the yeeeaarrrr”
(I truly believe that)
Since having my babies, I have a new found appreciation of Christmas. I always enjoyed it, but now I spend at least a quarter of the year bubbling over with excitement. As soon as the weather turns autumnal and the evenings draw in, I start mulling over christmassy ideas as well as wine.
My family don’t really do it by halves either. We all get together, like some kind of clan, and the day is loud and boisterous, with a steady stream of food and drink and a lot of hilarity (generally provided by my mad granny saying wildly inappropriate things across the dinner table, and often her wildly inappropriate comments are about mankinis or blow jobs or bum grapes. I am not even kidding. That is the God honest truth.)
And since we were all sharing #xmastips on twitter t’other day, I thought I’d put mine into a definitive list.
Spread the cost
Christmas is an expensive time of year, but buying little bits here and there can help loads.
It also helps if you can trust yourself not to break into your stashed away goodies. I put mine in the cupboard under the stairs. It’s full of spiders and I am beyond petrified of the eight-legged freaks, so there is no way I’m venturing in there, however desperately I want to crack open the tin of Roses (and by Roses, I mean booze).
If you shop at Sainsburys
Save up your Nectar points and get a nice wodge off your Christmas grocery shop.
I tend to save up for the entire year, and take them off in one go. Then I feel nice and smug all the way home, and give myself a nice pat on the back for saving money.
Create something unique
There are loads of wonderful, inspiring craft blogs out there and gifting something that’s been handmade is always lovely.
Get the children involved!
Kids love helping out. My three year old always likes to help cook and mince pies are quick (because not many preschoolers have long attention spans) and easy (because no one can say buying ready-made pastry and a jar of mincemeat is difficult).
Salt dough is another kid-favourite and making decorations with your child and a mug of hot chocolate is a nice way to while away an afternoon.
Add a continental twist to your festivities.
Check out German christmas markets for Stollen, and, if you live near one, Aldi and Lidl have delicious European treats at bargain prices.
It’s wine time!
I am a big fan of mulled wine. Is there really anything much better than a glass of mulled wine when the weather is cold? So homely, so festive!
I prefer to make my own (you don’t even need particularly amazing wine, as the spices make up for any rough tasting plonk) but it’s also available pre-mixed. If you warm it in a slow cooker, the alcohol doesn’t evaporate away, and the flavours from the spices get longer to marry with the wine. Trust me on this one.
Remember to say thank you
So, Christmas day has finally arrived, and the children are tearing off wrapping paper, their little faces beaming with excitement. For the love of God, have a notebook and pen handy.
Thank you notes are a bitch to write when you have to guess who has given what. I speak from sorry experience.
What it’s all about
Finally, remember the true meaning of Christmas. The vast majority of churches will have a kid-friendly carol service, and even if you’re not remotely religious, it’s still a lovely festive thing to do. And what child doesn’t like the Nativity story?!