The air is crisp, there’s a frosty crunch in the grass and I’m having to go through the torturous ritual of de-icing my car before I can leave for work in the morning…Christmas must be nearly upon us! It’s only a matter of time before we start to hear Slade on the radio and Christmas shopping is the default topic for all small talk…
So in order to get into the festive mood, I’ve decided to create a list of my favourite Christmas rituals. These are the things that I do each year, that are guaranteed to give me that tingly excited feeling in my belly, in anticipation of the most wonderful time of the year (or is that just a growling for pigs in blankets?).
1) Watch the John Lewis ad
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Christmas ad! I’m not usually one for anything too cheesy, but there’s something about Christmas that brings the mushy side out in me. If there’s an animal involved, even better. Since the snowmen appeared on our screens back in 2012, the John Lewis ad has become as much part of Christmas as a drunken rendition of Fairytale of New York down the pub on Christmas Eve.
I’ll let you in on a secret…I’m actually one of those (sad) people who counts down the days until the ad is released, so when I heard this year’s advert had come out a couple of weeks ago, I raced to my desk to watch it, tissues at the ready. You can only imagine my disappointment when my eyes remained as dry as a desert by the end. I know it’s hard to follow a dog bouncing on a trampoline (by far my favourite of their ads FYI), but I hate to say it, Moz the Monster just didn’t move me in the same way the John Lewis ads have in previous years. Better luck next year John Lewis.
2) Visit Van Hage Garden Centre
What is it about Christmas that suddenly makes you want to visit a garden centre? I’m no Charlie Dimmock. I have very little interest in gardening. But as soon as there’s a glistening of Christmas lights in the streets and a chill in the air, I’m at the local garden centre in a flash. There’s a particularly lovely one close to where I live called Van Hage and it’s become somewhat of a tradition to go and check out their Christmas displays each year – we’re talking robotic polar bears here! They even have a small zoo and an ice rink there too, so it’s a day well spent!
3) Check out the Christmas lights on Oxford Street
Whoever doesn’t feel festive after catching a glimpse of the Oxford Street Christmas lights must have a heart of stone. Yes, central London is absolute mayhem around the festive period (even more so than usual), but there’s something magical about the atmosphere in the city as Christmas approaches. The window displays are also a spectacle on their own, with the likes of Selfridges (my mum is the #1 fan of Selfridges’ window displays, as sends photos of it every year!) and John Lewis upping their game each year!
4) Do some Christmas shopping in REAL shops
Online shopping is a real life-saver when you leave something to the last minute…or you simply just can’t be bothered to leave the house (eugh people), but there’s something special about doing your Christmas shopping in real brick and mortar shops, even if it’s just to get one or two gifts. If I’m feeling brave I might even tie it in with my trip to see the Oxford Street lights!
5) Whip up some sort of botched baked treat
Ok, so I’m not usually much of a baker. I do quite enjoy whipping something up on occasion, but when you can buy a delicious pack of gooey chocolate cookies from Tescos for practically peanuts, it doesn’t really seem worth the effort to slave away over the oven!
Then Christmas comes around and suddenly I think I’m Mary Berry. Out comes the apron and a recipe for some sort of novelty Christmas treat and it’s time to turn the kitchen upside down. Last year I made a batch of “cake pops” that were too fat to stay on their sticks….so could more accurately be described as “cake blobs” and the year before I made some gingerbread cookies that you could smash a car window with. So I guess it would be fair to say that my heart is certainly in it, but the execution isn’t exactly on point (with exception of the cupcakes on the end, because they were actually rather tasty, if I do say so myself).
So, what shall I make this year?
6) Decorate the Christmas cake with my sister
I may not be wonderful at the baking part, but I do pride myself on the decorating! Since we were young, it’s been a tradition for my sister and I to decorate the Christmas cake together (either shop-bought or baked by my mum – in case anyone was worried). Each year, we pick a theme and spend the afternoon crafting little icing ornaments, coating our hands in food colouring and ingesting about a pound of marizpan and icing. Of course, Christmas music has to be playing at top volume while we create our masterpiece, because artists need their inspiration darling!
Can you think of a more festive activity?
7) Gorge on a box of quality streets
Is it even Christmas if you haven’t eaten your own body weight in chocolate? Specifically those from a selection box?
Not in my house anyway!
From December onwards, there will almost always be one of those glorious purple boxes perched somewhere around the house and if there isn’t, it’s because we’ve already demolished one. I can’t say I’m not disappointed about how much they’ve shrunk over the years, though. *sigh*
8)Wear a cheesy Christmas jumper at least once
Around Christmas, I love a bit of sparkle and glamour…but I also love a ridiculous Christmas jumper. If you can’t dress terribly at Christmas, when can you? Plus there’s a special day called Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children, so it’s all for a good cause!
Here’s my cheesy festive minion from a couple of years ago!^^
9) Watch a Christmas film
Didn’t you know, it’s the law that you have got to watch at least one Christmas film over the festive period, or you’ve officially failed at Christmas? Sorry, but it’s just the way it is…and with Home Alone airing at least weekly on Channel 4 from about mid-October, you’ve no excuse not to!
Obviously, my favourites are Elf and Love Actually…coz duh! There’s no shame in being a cliché…
10)Put a Santa hat on Cody
I’d be kidding myself if I tried to claim that this doesn’t happen at least once a year. I’d also be kidding myself if I said he enjoys it. He just looks so adorable rocking a Santa hat! And this is why dogs are better than people.
Just look at that face! ^^^
So those are mine, what are your Christmas rituals?