Week 31 – Gratitude Challenge – Something I Am Looking Forward To

After a terrible start to this year, it has certainly turned around and what a wonderful year it has been as most of you know. So, what am I looking forward to now? I Think it is obvious as I am a massive Christmas person. IMG_6241

As a big lover of Christmas it is fast approaching, I am looking forward to Baby T’s first Christmas, this is where my family traditions that were celebrated when we were growing up come back in full swing. As we have grown up and gone our separate ways certain traditions have lost their way but never forgotten.

So my Christmas traditions are:

Christmas Lights

The turning on the Christmas lights is the most important part of the build-up to Christmas, but sadly I have to say that Cheltenham’s light turning on festivities have been incredibly dull the last few years. Last year, whilst pregnant no mulled wine in hand, we stood in a very crowded spot outside House of Fraser, cold waiting for a big switch on, what happened? the lights just went on, no announcement or countdown. The hum of disappointment carried through the December air. This year is said to be different with new lights in Cheltenham so we will see. I hope this tradition will not fade, but there is the excuse for the mulled wine and warm mince pie, which brings me to my next tradition.

The Christmas Markets

I just love the German Christmas markets, it was quite a while ago that I went to the big market in Birmingham. The traditional German beer and Bratwurst you have after investigating each wooden hut with their wreaths, advents and decorations. As a date a few years ago I dragged Mr N around Bath’s market as I had never been, bless him he really did not enjoy it, at least we broke it up with a tour of the historic baths. I am on a mission this year for some slippers, I know not traditional for a Christmas market but Cheltenham normally has an alpaca stall and cosy footsies is a must.IMG_3408

Christmas Music

When you work in retail you do start to get annoyed with the same Christmas music day in day out all the way through November and December but I did not. I have already been singing some classics to baby T and my mother asked how do I manage to remember the words and well that is my excuse. There are some classics I cannot help singing, unfortunately, this year I think my Michael Bubble cd may collect dust as Mr N will not let me play it. (Scrooge) but here is my all-time Christmas favourites:

  • Last Christmas by Wham
  • All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Cary
  • Santa Baby by Earths Kitt
  • Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea
  • White Christmas by Bing Crosby
  • Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by David Bowie & Bing Crosby
  • The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

The Christmas Tree

I get so excited when we put the tree up, last year I did put it up really early (November I think) but I kept changing my mind with the decorations. Yes, I suffer from P.O.P.D – Perfect Ornament Placement Disorder! You cannot beat the smell of a real tree either, since having my kitty cat Bella, this has not been an option, however, she still eats the plastic tree. It is not just the tree it is all the decorations around the house, I admit we have a lot of decorations so this year we have invested in a big plastic box to store them in (why we did not do this before?) which coincides with my next tradition. IMG_0284

Christmas Eve

It has always been a tradition of mine, to give my family and friends a new decoration each year, this is normally given on Christmas Eve, where we hang them on our tree ready. Every year we have new pyjamas to wear and growing up we used to go to midnight mass, but since leaving home this has not happened much, as it was always been about having drinks with friends but in the last few years it has become a tradition to watch a Christmas film. Finally, I have been able to get us a Christmas Eve box for us to all open, I am stocking it high with goodies for our cosy family night in and of course our decoration for the tree this year.IMG_0093

The Christmas Menu

When growing up I did not much enjoy Turkey so my mother would make Duck or Goose. A Christmas fact for you now, Turkey was not always the main course for Christmas Day, at first it was boar during medieval times and then following into the 16th and 17th century it was a goose, maybe even peacock or swans! King Henry the eighth was the first monarch to have turkey. However, the goose was still the most common dish up until the Victorian era. I am not a fan of Christmas pudding but it would not be Christmas without it (someone in the family will eat it) Every year I make Snickledoodle cookies, this is my favourite thing to make and they are so easy to make, along with gingerbread men. I have made some interesting cupcakes too, candy cane and eggnog to be exact, they used to go down well (probably the rum). Let’s not forget the mince pies – yum!IMG_6902

Christmas Jumpers

I love a good Christmas jumper, unfortunately, Mr N does not appreciate this tradition. I have had some great jumpers in the past but every year, I have donated them to get a new one, I wish I had not. Primark did fantastic jumpers before that were really reasonable now they are not the same, so I am on the hunt for an epic jumper that maybe I should keep this year. Here are my previous year’s jumpers

Christmas pyjamas and mug

This is one, is the only one I do singly, for the last few years I have treated myself to a pair of Christmas pyjamas and a matching mug from Cath Kidson. Do not know why I decided to start this but it is something now I look forward to, buying new pyjamas to cosy up in with my new mug of my favourite tea, or hot chocolate.IMG_6264

Christmas Wrapping

I do love wrapping, I am not as good as my aunties though, they have a secret talent for the art of wrapping. My mother is not a fan of wrapping, so I love snapping up the opportunity to wrap for her (not to sneak a look at my presents) there is something therapeutic about it. Anyway, our tradition has always been to have completely matching wrapping paper, Mr N bought a few rolls of wrapping paper last year so we are using it up this year, which meant I needed to get the same colour schemes again, even my mother does this. (Luckily the colours match the decorations) I thought I was crazy doing this but recently at a Christmas launch I had a conversation about this and I am not alone.IMG_0208

Christmas Movies

I am loving Sky’s Christmas Movie channel this year but it is not Christmas without a film. A film is put on when decorating the tree, normally Muppets Christmas Carol, however, Elf has taken over the last few years. Here are my must-have Christmas films:

  • Home Alone 1 & 2
  • Elf
  • The Grinch
  • It’s a wonderful life
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • The Polar Express
  • The Holiday
  • Santa Clause
  • Scrooged
  • Mr N asked why Die Hard was not on this list, so I am adding Die Hard just for him.

Christmas Night

Since I can remember Christmas night is always my favourite, full of the Christmas dinner that my mother has taken all day to prepare, slumped on the sofa watching some special on the television. Even when we celebrated Christmas at my grandparents we would watch an Only Fools and Horses special or the traditional Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd or Two Ronnies show. These are my favourite seasonal memories, my grandparents always had a trolley out at Christmas full of nuts, chocolate, crisps or sweets and even though sufficiently stuffed to the brim we still found room for more. Orange and lemon jelly slices were always my favourite.

Pssst do not forget the Coca-Cola advert, every year it is exciting when you first see it.IMG_6735

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