10.11.14

THE C. WORD


The bobble hat has had its first outing since January and I’ve had my first glass of mulled wine.  Thank goodness that the central heating has gone on as well.  On Sunday, I even went to my first winter market, complete with fire eater (fireproof Tim), mulled cider and the traditional market stalls, selling carved wood, handmade decorations, chutney and chilli oil.



All these things can only mean one thing.  Christmas is definitely on its way.  I for one am ecstatic.  People fall into one of two categories - okay, maybe three categories.  Those who refuse to say Christmas countdown starts outside of December, and those who generally hate Christmas and all that it stands for.  I definitely fall into the illusive third category - the one reserved for people who spend their entire year longing for Christmas.  It is one of my party tricks - on any given day of the year I could probably tell you, give me two days either way perhaps, how many days it is to wait until Santa Claus buries down the chimney.

So, I appreciate the next three weeks for anyone in categories 1 and 2 will be a bit of a struggle.  People in category 3 will be bubbling with excitement while the normal people and scrooges will have to be very tolerant of how fidgety and impatient we’ll be getting.

So, here are my 5 coping mechanisms for you.  Hopefully they will either fill you with premature cheer, or at least help you not to kill us merry-makers.


1. LIGHT A FIRE

Ever since the first man lit the first fire, sitting in a cave on a cold winter’s eve (I have no historical evidence for this, it’s just what I like to think happened) we have just loved fire.  Unless you live in the Arctic, or Cumbria, you probably have no need for this feature all year round. So make the most those months when we can fill our houses with woody warmth and little dancing flames. 



2. BUY A CHRISTMAS JUMPER

Okay - it doesn’t have to be a Christmas jumper, it could be a mere pair of socks, a knitted hat or generally anything woolly.  I am a firm believer in there being no such thing as bad weather, just a bad choice of outfit.  I am also a believer in the fact that it is REALLY cold in Britain in the winter, and some nice people, perhaps Grannies or elves, have made us some really snuggly clothing to keep us toasty through these bitter months.  



Armed with snuggly clothes and snuggly things, you’ll be begging for Christmas to come so you can legitimately wear them.  Like me, you may even make Christmas come early, just so you can make an excuse to wear them.  Fairisle and retro prints are still very much in this year, so I encourage you to embrace the reindeer and snowflake patterns.  Maybe this will help you to embrace Christmas.

3. CHRISTMAS BAKING

Mince pies - why can’t we eat them in every season?!  One month a year to eat all the roast turkey, yule log, mince pies and Christmas cake I can is just simply not enough.  I need at least two, three even.  I mean, if I could have 12 months of Christmas pudding I would, but I’m not going to be ridiculous.  If you associate all these culinary delights with Christmas, then stop doing that (unless you’re in category 3).  November will be so much more tolerable to be in, surrounded by excitable Christmas people if you just cave to the odd mulled morsel, and associate these yummy things with just being extremely full and happy.



Christingle cheesecake is a particular favourite:



4. SHOP WINDOWS

So the John Lewis Christmas advert is already out, which has sent all high street shops into a crazy frenzy to try and compete with the cuteness of Monty the Penguin.  Now before you get worried, I’m not going to sing the praises of Christmas shopping.  Quite the opposite - it is the most frightening and stressful party of the year.  BUT - if you have never visited Harrod’s at Christmas, or Selfridges, or Fortnum’s… you are missing out.  I went to university in Durham and had the joy of getting to see the Newcastle Fenwick’s window display.  Almost 100 metres of unadulterated joy, lights and fluffy fake snow.  It’s like the cinema, but free.  Just go, stand, and be in awe of how much money large department stores have to throw at marketing.



4. PRESENTS

Okay, I could jump on my moral and philosophical high horse and say that Christmas is about more than just receiving and giving.  But I would be lying if that wasn’t an AWESOME part of Christmas.  The tree, the stockings, the gifts in crackers… Things you don’t even want you get, and suddenly realise that your life has been incomplete without them all.  But to put a positive and happy spin on it, the warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you buy someone something you’ll know they love is just awesome.  I am one of those people who buy presents for their pets.  I know my cat’s paws can’t undo the bow, but she gets just as much joy playing with the ribbon and paper at the end as she does out of the kitty treats on the inside.



5.  SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FAMILY.

Religious or not religious, Christmas is a time to dig out all those cousins, aunts, uncles and crazy relatives you’ve forgotten about.  They’ll come of the woodwork and all sit around a big table, piled high with food.  Over the course of November and December, I’ll do the rounds of both sides of the families, to meet, greet and spread cheer with the people I love the most.  I for one grew up thinking that family were an annoying necessity.  Now, I just fricking love them all.  From crazy Great Aunt Barbara who can only just get to grips with charades and lovely Uncle Tim who will never lose a game of charades, I just crave being surrounded by every single, unique one of them, each nutty in their own way.



So my dear scrooges and merry makers.  Embrace christmas.  After all… it’s only once a year.



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Hello!  I’m Sophie - lover of coast, country and all things baked and smothered in icing.
Recent university graduate and bumbling my way through the life of an employed editor.