Okay, I am fully aware that it is "only November" but I wanted to get into the spirit of things early this year. First of all, I would like to state if you detest the kinds of people who are overly happy and jolly around this time of year and often utter the words "I don't like Christmas", then you are certainly not going to like this post, so I suggest you stop reading now before my christmassy words and photos make you want to tear your eyes out. If on the other hand you feeling blue and down because of the cold weather and want to get into the Christmas spirit then continue reading.
This week I decided I ought to start preparing for Christmas as I am broke as per usual and should get a head start on buying presents as I usually leave these things until the last minute. Christmas shopping can be fun, if you enjoy shopping for others but unfortunately I find it a tad depressing shopping for others and not buying myself a little something (or a big something). However, due to my lack of savings this year, I cannot really afford to be buying myself a treat every time I buy a loved on a gift. Therefore, I had to get into the spirit and joys of Christmas before heading to the shops!
How do I get myself into the Christmas spirit, I ask myself? Every year I do certain things which I suppose have become traditions of mine without me really being aware of it and I'm sure if you put your mind to it, you'll find a good few traditions which you posess of your own. My top five Christmas tradtions;
- Visiting Christmas markets and craft fairs
- Trying the seasonal drinks
- Baking Christmas treats (Take a look at my Christmas baking)
- Creating and listening to a Christmas playlist
- Watching the classic Christmas films
For me, every year around this time of year without fail I visit the German market in Birmingham and Himley Hall craft fair. These two are definitely my favourite tradtions and potentially the best way to get me excited for Christmas. Every year I keep an eye out for when the German market comes to town, as I simply cannot wait to stuff my face with frankfurter sausages, indulge in crepes and waffles and drink mulled wine and German beer until I'm as merry as Santa Clause. One of my favourite purchases from the German market has to be the Baileys roasted almonds, they are absolutely delicious. Next time I think I'll give the Nutella roasted almonds a try! It's not all about the food and drink though (even though that's a big part of it for me), the gengeral atmosphere just makes me feel all Christmassy like nothing else can. The market is made up of many little stalls which sell a variety of produce, whether you are (like me) after food and drink or you want to get some Christmas shopping done (you are bound to find unique gift ideas here). The town is always beautifully decorated, so you can enjoy the scene whilst wandering around the stalls. The market contains rides including carousels and helter skelters, so the little ones can come along too! Best of all, this market is entirely free to wander around and you can feel the magic of christmas without spending a penny (although it may be extremely difficult to refrain from buying a frankfurter or two). I would adivse to wrap up warm or else you'll find you will spend far too much money on hot chocolate with Baileys (you have been warned).
|I went for the Irish Cream!|
I have been to plenty ofcraft fairs over the years but none compare to Himley Hall's! I genuinely do not remember a November where I have not visited this fair, I've been going since I was a little girl with my family and I am definitely not ready to say goodbye to this tradition! You have to pay a small fee for this craft fair but it is certainly worth it. The stalls are pretty much the same every year, however I am yet to tire of them. As you walk in you'll find plenty of food stalls, where you can be Jamacian goods, all kinds of fudge, varieties of cheese, pies, the list goes on! You will also find beverage stands (this is where I tend to spend most of my money), the stands offer a range of unique flavours of alcohol including; beer and ale; cider; whisky and brandy. You can always sample the drinks and will find the flavours are so unique and exclusive that they make for great Christmas presents! As you continue to walk you will come across all sorts of stands, they sell everything from toys to jewellery and from clothing to beauty products. The majority of things are handmade or one of a kind, so you are bound to find plenty of christmas presents suitable for the whole family. I always complete my trip with a handmade cake and a cup of tea in the cafe and then generally find our car or anothers is stuck in the mud. This is the only downside and as silly as it sounds, it is now part of the tradition to help push a car out of the mud!
|Tripple Chocolate and Baileys Cheesecake|
Go online now and check out the markets and craft fairs which are taking place in your area. If you are anything like me this alone will get you feeling right in the Christmas spirit and spur you on with your present buying.
Trying the seasonal drinks
This always excites me. I'm generally not one for stopping for a coffee after a shopping trip or going for a coffee date with friends as I find them to be very overpriced. However, all this goes completely out of the window when it comes to Christmas. I want to try all of the seasonal drinks! I tend to stick to the mainstream coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa as I cannot resist their list of seasonal hot drinks. However, smaller, independent coffee shops also offer irresistible flavours. The list of drinks available and the list of drinks I want to try is endless. I'll mention a few to get your tastebuds tingling; brownie hot chocolate, gingerbread & cream latte, sticky toffee latte, Eggnog latte and peppermint mocha. Surely there's not at least one (if not all) of these that you desire to try?
Plus if you're drinking in they make sure it's presented all christmassy and if you're taking out, they will often provide a christmassy cup to make the drink extra special.
Whilst you're there, you may as well grab a cake (I'd suggest a salted caramel yule log). After this you should be feeling all warm and lovely but if you're still not there take a look at the next thing on the list.
Baking Christmas treats
|Millie's Cookies Cupcakes|
If you do however want to do some Christmas baking then check out my Christmas drinks inspired cupcakes, where you can find the recipe for Hot Chocolate cupcakes, White Hot Chocolate cupcakes and Cinnamon Latte cupcakes.
|Christmas drinks inspired cupcakes|
Now you're feeling nice and stuffed with all these goodies and treats, I'm feeling pretty confident that you'll be feeling like a child right now on the night of Christmas Eve, desperately trying to sleep to Santa can deliver your presents.
Creating and listening to a Christmas playlist
Nothing and I mean nothing makes me happier than listening to music, so what better way to get you out of the winter blues and into the cheeriness of the Christmas holidays? Some get sick of classic Christmas songs but to me, they are what they are and that is classic! I don't get bored of the classics and feel the majority of recent Christmas songs are cringey and shameful. My Christmas playlist stays close to the classics, featuring Fairytale Of New York, War Is Over, Last Christmas, Do They Know It's Christmas (Listen to the new one here Do They Know It's Christmas? 2014) and All I Want For Christmas.
Music for me is the best medicine for anything, so if nothing else has managed to cure your winter blues then hopefully a night dancing around to these will!
Watching the classic Christmas films
There's nothing like a Sunday afternoon, wrapped in blankets with a cuppa and watching a film with your loved ones. This is a sure way to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Put on the kettle, open a bottle of wine/box of chocolates and wack out the Christmas DVD's now! If you are in need of suggestions, here are my favourites; Elf; Miracle on 34th Street; Love Actually; Home Alone (may as well watch them all, whilst you're at it!); The Nightmare Before Christmas; The Polar Express; Bridget Jones' Diary; and A Christmas Carol. One last suggested and I know it's not a classic but you have to watch Frozen this Christmas. If you're still not in the spirit of things, then I am sorry I have failed you.