I almost enjoy the build up to Christmas as much as the main event itself. I love going shopping and getting the presents sorted. I save a bit of money each month throughout the year and then in November I get it all out and the Christmas shopping commences. Each year, the hubby and I and more often than not, the stepdaughter, go and watch the Christmas light switch on and for me, this marks the beginning of the festive season and the start of my Christmas shopping. This year I have made myself be a bit more organised and get all the presents, wrap and cards sorted by 1st December! Traipsing round the shops a few weeks ago was actually quite traumatic - I didn't realise shopping would become so difficult when pregnant. And I am not all that big at the minute - but I get hot and sweaty and the sciatica I have been getting starts playing up and I end up limping round like an old woman. So I set the goal of having everything bought by 1st and I achieved it! Which I am pretty impressed with myself for.
I am a big sucker for the cheese of Christmas I suppose; I have looked forward to Costa bringing out their festive hot drinks for weeks! I was not disappointed. The Caramel Salted Latte is amazing as is the Black Forest Hot Chocolate - definitely worth a try. The hot chocolate was a little sweet, but so yummy with black forest syrup and cream!
I also love decorating the house; I always do it on the first Saturday of December and this year it just so happened that the first Saturday in December this year also happened to be the 1st. We always make a day of it and it is a family occasion. We clean the house and then the hubby helps put the tree up and get the lights working and then I start on decorating it. I always put Michael Buble on and some other Christmas albums and then once all the decorating is done I make Delia Smith's sausage rolls and Gruyere and Parmesan cheese sticks and we have them as a treat late in the afternoon. This year, we had the stepdaughter with us, so it was lovely that she was able to help us and share the occasion too. She even got to choose a Christmas tree and decorate it herself for her bedroom. As it was the 1st she got to open up her advent calender which she had been looking forward to for ages. I am not all that keen on non-traditional calendars so we compromised this year; she still got a chocolate one, but it looks a bit more traditional! Last year, my Mum bought her a playmobil one, which was fab! Each day has a different part of a Christmas scene behind it (all playmobil) and then when you get to 24 you have completed the scene! It lasts for ages then and you can reuse it to display your Christmas scene each year.
This year, I also decided to make the advent calendar below for the hubby and I as a bit of a treat!
Every year I also buy (at least) one new tree decoration. I try and get one with the year on it so that I know when we purchased it. My aunty also sends me one decoration in the post to have on our tree. I really like that we can look at our tree decorations and know when we got them - I think it makes it a bit more special. I think I may have gone a bit mad this year as I ended up with 5 new decorations! But I bought two of them from a Christmas Fayre that we went to.
It was also the first weekend that we didn't go out anywhere; I spent the whole weekend in the house just pottering and cooking and it was lovely to be able to chill a bit as I haven't done that for ages! As I mentioned, I made Delia's sausage rolls and you can find the recipe here and I also made her Gruyere and Parmesan alumettes, which I can't find the recipe for, but may blog some time. They are basically a bit like cheesy bread sticks - yummy straight from the oven with the sausage rolls! I also made a beef in red wine stew that I might blog the recipe for too, as it was sooo yummy and really comforting, as it was so cold this weekend. I was a bit naughty and treated myself to one alcoholic drink! I spied the Crabbies Ginger Beer in the supermarket and this had a Christmas theme to it - it was spiced orange flavour. It was fab! I did check the percentage of alcohol and it wasn't too bad so don't tell me off!
The hubby also did a bit of cooking and made Christmas tree cupcakes!
I also managed to start reading my Christmas magazines that I bought back at the beginning of November.
Finally managed to use this treat I picked up for myself whilst Christmas shopping.
And of course, I am on the look out, as always, for the perfect Christmas outfit. My ideal one can be found here, but I still want a festive jumper. I was pretty organised and managed to find one in TK Maxx back in September, but it's a bit big and a bit itchy so I am still on the look out. Also, getting one to cover my bump and look stylish is proving a bit tricky!
Now all I have to do is wrap the presents and write the cards and relax!