Anyone else felt cheated by Christmas in recent years? It can feel like we spend months anticipating the break just for it to rush past in a stressful and expensive blur, till we're back at the desk in January wondering what went wrong. This year, I’ve vowed, will be different - thanks to these six simple things...
1. Simplify. I’ve made my usual lists this year of things to buy – food, drinks, décor, gifts – and then I’ve pared them down. And pared them down some more. Things don’t need to be big, extravagant or perfect to be special: they just need to be well thought through. We’re cutting costs and cutting corners where we can, without compromising on the magic of the day.
2. Make your own traditions: Mr Fluff and I have started to buy or make a new tree ornament every year. This year we picked one up in Rome and over the years, we’ll hopefully be able to bring back lots of personal memories as we decorate the tree. Another wee tradition we have is to make up a playlist for special occasions: it started with the cd we played through our wedding dinner. Oh – and bellinis on Christmas morning!
3. Make and bake: I am the least craftsy person in the world and am woefully bad in the kitchen but every year around this time I try to prepare something with my own two hands. There’s something wonderfully soothing about the idea (if not the practice!) and there is nothing like the scent of fresh baking in the house around Christmas time; it never fails to bring me back to my childhood. Plus it’s lovely to pop a home-made treat in with people’s gifts.
4. Allocate jobs: As I’ve mentioned a time or two, we’re doing Christmas dinner in our own home this year and the guest list has been expanding. But we’re not doing it all on our own: my mother in law makes the most amazing soup, so she’ll be whipping up a pot on Christmas morning. Himself is on turkey, I’m on cocktails and dessert, and my brother in law is bringing the beer. Sharing is caring after all.
5. Make the magic happen: Prepare your holiday playlist, stack up some festive feelgood movies, ask guests to bring round a board-game and light up those Christmas candles: plan some activities and make the atmosphere special because it won’t happen all by itself.
6. Go easy on yourself – and everyone else. I’ll be counting my blessings and being grateful for everything and everyone I love. I’ll also be trying to be just a little bit calmer, a little bit kinder and a little bit more patient because those things make all the difference, not just to Christmas but to life.
Here’s hoping you and yours have a glorious time over the holidays; I’ll be taking a blog-break but normal service will resume in the early new year. Have a good one, folks!