How do you plan for Christmas? Is there a formula you go by? Or a secret strategy you stick to? Do you have a list? Do you follow the same pattern every year? There’s so much to do and arrange because Christmas isn’t just a day or even 12 days, it’s practically its own season. Why not let your imagination and creativity run wild because there’s only a few times in a year we can truly get excited, let our hair down, overindulge and spend time quality time with loved ones.
I’ve been asking around and most folks tell me the key is to plan early because if you overlook something or someone there’s plenty of time to rectify it. The alternative way is to wing it, which I guess leaves lots of room for error.
I think it’s important that we understand what Christmas means to us, for me it’s a combination of many things. Here’s what I love about Christmas…
- Spending time with loved ones, family & friends – this has to be the most important
- Eating and not feeling guilty – we can absolutely stuff ourselves silly and not care at all, I do this one quite well, often having seconds and occasional bedtime thirds! I’m a sucker for a Christmas dinner! It’s the sauces and condiments that make it. Homemade apple and cranberry sauce, my Mum’s stuffing with prunes & clementines and the delicious pigs in blankets
- Boxing Day buffet – left over cold turkey sandwiches with all the condiments rock!
- Snuggling – get your slanket and sit in front of the fire or telly and have a snugly nap and hot chocolate
- A sprig of Mistletoe – for a Christmas smooch (if you’re lucky)
- Dreadful but guilty pleasure Christmas TV – it’s the same every year but we all still gather around and watch it. ‘Home Alone’ the original with Macaulay Culkin always makes an appearance and reminds me of my childhood
- Decorating the tree – and especially the moment the fairly lights get switched on
- Giving and receiving gifts – the rustling sound of presents being unwrapped and the mess afterwards. The way boxes and paper become sources of amusement for little ones and pets and the look on someone’s face – something you’ll never forget
- Mulled wine & mince pies – the perfect evening combo
- Giving and receiving your first Christmas card – won’t be long now…!
- Laughter & joy – the sound of laughter, it’s infectious
- Dressing up – I love dressing up of all sorts
- The potential of a white Christmas – making snowmen from a tiny snowball and rolling it until it gets so big you can’t roll it anymore. When I was a child if it snowed at school we’d be sent home because I live in the hills. On the bus in the way home we’d take our socks off and put them on our hands ready to make snowballs when we got off
- Listening to Christmas songs (which have started to filter into radio play lists) – ‘Santa Baby’ & ‘Last Christmas’ are my faves
- Christmas work parties – anything can happen and usually does!
- Stories from yesteryear that get told every year – you know the ones, they do the rounds at family gatherings
- Listening our for Santa and his reindeers landing on the roof in Christmas Eve
- The relative that drinks too much – thankfully I can say this has never been me
- Children singing Christmas carols – sounds so angelic
- Nativity plays – reminding us the true reason this has become a festive celebration
- Christmas jumpers – absolutely love these
- That house in the street that takes the external decorations to another level! – you know the one, the giant Santa on the roof, the reindeers in the garden and enough lights to illuminate Blackpool Tower, so many you can barely see the house
I love all of the things above but what I also find brilliantly amusing and completely adore about Christmas is how we wear so many things on our head in the name of Christmas – antlers, Santa hats, party hats, some flash with lights, it’s just brilliant.
As children we loved receiving presents, and no doubt we still do but it’s gifting that really makes us feel warm inside. My nephew is 9 years old and Christmas is everything to him. He’s already drafted his ‘Dear Santa’ letter several times in his head and told me which football boots he really wants. He knows how many weeks there are until Christmas and how many nights sleep. We know children adore Christmas but for the adults it gives us a chance to feel like a kid again because whether you’re 9 or 90 you should just enjoy yourself and be thankful for all that is good in your life.
When the moment comes to sit down and devour dinner on Christmas Day, the accumulation of days of hard work we should always say a prayer for absent friends and family and spare a moment for those who don’t have anyone, as it gets particularly lonely at this time of year. Most importantly look around you and remind yourself how lucky you are; be grateful, kind and smile. Make this Christmas the best yet!