As the Christmas season is now upon us, the festivities and general traditions surrounding Christmas have started to begin; The chill in the air, the festive frost filtering through the fields, beautiful lights and decorations that line the streets, the bustle of Christmas shoppers, the smell of cinnamon and fresh mince pies, the grand opening of the Christmas markets, and most of all, generally people are starting to seem much jollier. There is an excited thrill in the air that surrounds Christmas, and this is what makes Christmas so magical.
Now this year, for various reasons, I haven’t been as high in spirits for Christmas – which is extremely unlike me. Ever since I was a child, I was always the annoying child bugging my Mum to get the Christmas tree as soon as Halloween was over, and picking up a Christmas accessory, however tacky every time we went shopping. I love everything about it – even now, I’m usually the first with tinsel draped all over my desk at work (much to the dismay of colleagues when it’s not even December yet) and the first purchase of the long-awaited Christmas sandwich from the supermarket. Now as Christmas only comes round once a year, I decided I really needed to snap myself out of this scroogy mood, and do as much as I could to ensure I fully embraced the festive season.
Now I know this might sound a bit cliché, but one of my favourite things truly about Christmas, is buying gifts for other people. I love putting a lot of thought into my gifts, and carefully choosing gifts which I know (or I hope I know!) people will absolutely love. I love physically going Christmas shopping also, as opposed to doing everything online – in previous years I have done the majority of my shopping online, and whilst this is the much easier option, and sometimes definitely the least stressful, I love nothing more than walking around the shops and fully embracing the festivities. One of my favourite places to shop for gifts is department stores– purely due to the fact they tend to deck out their entire stores with stunning Christmas decorations and play Christmas music much to my delight!
Now what comes after buying presents for your loved ones… wrapping them!! I’m the sort of person who actively seeks out beautifully colour co-ordinated wrapping paper and ribbons. I thoroughly enjoy wrapping, and making my gifts look irresistible to open. I think this comes from watching all the Christmas movies as a child, such as Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone, where under their Christmas tree were always the most beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts. One retail store which did some beautiful pre-wrapped Christmas gifts this year, was Lush Cosmetics. They had an entire Christmas gift section, with some absolutely beautifully pre-wrapped Christmas gift boxes, which I absolutely love. Needless to say, even though I love doing my own wrapping, I simply could not resist purchasing one of these, A – because Lush Cosmetics was a perfect gift for somebody, and also I just could not resist how meticulously wrapped it was.
Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more, than a good old Christmas market. The smell of hot cinnamon pretzels and mulled wine, along with seeing all of the sweet little market stalls housing gorgeous homemade wreaths and intricate decorations. I don’t tend to go to these markets with the plan to make any purchases, but they are just perfect for having a mooch around and really getting yourself into the Christmas spirit. There is always such a buzzing atmosphere and everyone is generally in a pleasant and festive mood. I love nothing more than have a sit down in the outdoor seating area at the market with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, watching all of the happy shoppers bustling along and taking in the sweet scents and surroundings that the market brings.
And by Christmas music, I mean cracking out the Michael Buble CD and singing at the top of my lungs in the car! Different types of music can trigger such strong moods and emotions within you, and Christmas music for me just brings out pure happiness and excitement as the festive season approaches. Even hearing the introductory tones of Home Alone 2, or the Holiday straight away brings the excitement of Christmas, and all of those different childhood memories that music can trigger –it brings back memories of my childhood, such as Christmas morning as I used to come dashing down the stairs and bursting into the living room, to see a pile of presents from Santa and hearing the Christmas music blasting out.
Every year, I do my own ‘advent calendar’ of Christmas movies – I aim to watch at least one Christmas movie every single day of December for the lead up to Christmas, in order to feel as festive as possible. This year’s started with the Santa Claus Movie, whilst snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea! Again, these bring back such wonderful childhood memories of watching these movies all throughout my life at Christmas, and there is nothing better than a feel good festive movie.
I need to ensure the environment around me is as Christmassy as possible, in order for me to feel fully festive, and what better way to do that than making the house as Christmassy as possible. Every year, I always aim to have my house decorated on the evening of the 30th November, so that as soon as I wake up on the 1st December, I can begin to embrace Christmas as fully as possible!! One of my favourite things is finding new Christmassy accessories to decorate my home with every year. One thing I absolutely adore is candles. I love the scent that fills your home, and how cosy they can make a room – this year I have a beautiful Christmas Yankee Candle, that has the scent of sweet apple and Cinnamon. I love the fact that it’s really long lasting, and when I return home from work I can still smell the scent from the previous day. And of course, what better to have than an honorary Santa in the house?! I picked this up from John Lewis, and it’s the perfect addition to go next to my Christmas tree.
So these are the things that really do get me feeling excited and happy about the festive season, and I’d love to hear what gets you feeling festive.