IT’S CHRISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS! It’s the mooost wonderful tiiiime of the yeeear. I love Christmas, or, to be more accurate, the whole month of December. I honestly think it’s such a magical time and thoroughly enjoy getting carried away with every aspect of it, for which I make zero apologies. So, here it goes, the 10 things I love most about Christmas.
People are happy in December. That grumpy colleague who hasn’t acknowledged your existence for the past 11 months will suddenly say “good morning” to you. Someone will give up their tube seat to a stranger for no other reason than to share the wealth. And people will give more of their spare change to homeless people simply because it feels right to do so. So yes, I love December, and the happy pill that everyone unknowingly swallows.
2. The Decorations
Living in Hong Kong and not going home at all this winter has made me realise just how special Christmas decorations are in London. I actually miss Oxford Street. I know that is entirely unfathomable but there is something about those dark early evenings, beautiful twinkling lights, red buses and Starbucks-clutching swarms of people in bobble hats & gloves that is so homely and comforting.
3. Christmas Markets
I cannot think of a better social activity than visiting Christmas markets at home or abroad. Last year I visited the Christmas markets in Cologne and had the best time of my life visiting 7 markets in 2 days. Winter Wonderland, Southbank and Duke of York Square markets are a must if in London; the decorations, the cute handmade wares on offer, the rides, the music, the hog roasts and mulled wine are all compulsory Christmas must-do’s for me. Although not strictly in December, Taste of London Festive Edition is one of my favourite events of the year and a great place to pick up all sorts of gourmet foodie treats for your loved ones, as well as seriously getting you in the Christmas spirit!
4. The Films
Nothing makes me happier or feel more festive than snuggling up under a blanket in my PJs with a cup of hot chocolate and watching Elf, Love Actually, Home Alone, the Holiday, Christmas with the Cranks, Four Christmases, Fred Claus and You’ve Got Mail on repeat. I have also always wanted to reenact the scene where Buddy eats pasta drenched in maple syrup, M&Ms and marshmallows so please let me know if I have any takers on that (I actually think it would be incredibly delicious)!
5. Annual Selfridges Christmas Shopping Day
I appreciate that this one’s quite personal but for the last 4 years now I have dedicated one of my December weekends to a Christmas shopping bonanza, wherein either my Saturday or Sunday is dedicated to a full day in Selfridges (and a few other visits along Oxford Street) buying gifts for everyone and their dog. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me thinking of and buying gifts for people I care about. And don’t even get me started on Selfridges Christmas shop, which aside from being the most epic, white, snowflaked, glittery space on earth also sells packets of Five Dollar Shake cards for a tenner – if you know, you know (and if you don’t, get involved). This day inevitably also revolves around having a delicious, indulgent lunch somewhere (last year was at Crockers Folly) and bubbles to end the day and rest weary feet at Selfridges rooftop bar, Forest on the Roof. Though if I was at home this year I would be making a beeline for fondue under the snow-dusted and fairy lit branches of Dalloway Terrace, or (who am I kidding, and) having Christmas afternoon tea in the Glade at Sketch, which has even pimped out its infamous loos for the festive season.
6. Seeing Family & Friends
Yes, it’s safe to say that you will gain a couple of pounds and put a on a little winter layer during December, but if you can’t have a mince pies at Christmas, when can you? December is the party month of the year and although it can leave you feeling a little sluggish come the New Year, I think it’s absolutely worth making the most of every opportunity to catch up with friends & family (particularly whilst everyone’s still in a good mood) and actually ENJOY your one-too-many Christmas piggie in a blanket (leave the guilt train for January).
7. Decorating the Tree
This is one of my favourite Christmas activities and is something that I’ve enjoyed doing ever since I was a child, mostly because everyone can get involved and I love seeing how excited kids are to take part. In Denmark, we do things a little differently and have live candles on the tree (#firehazard #liberal), which makes for the most beautiful tree imaginable, in my opinion, with no tinsel in sight. I also love the handmade decorations that amass over the years from the various younger family members; it transforms a tree into your personalised mumble- jumble-of-memories Christmas tree, perfect ones are for the shops!
8. Christmas Songs and Carol Singers
Is there anything better than Spotify’s Christmas Top 50 playing on repeat whilst you shower, walk to work, cook, clean, sleep, breathe? I think not. And as for carol singers, it literally sends shivers up my spine and summons the widest smile on my face when I hear that jolly group of people standing out in the cold with their sheets of paper spreading Christmas cheer for aaaaaaaaaaall to hear.
9. Food, Food, Food
As if I was going to forget this one. I would say at home I usually have 5 or 6 Christmas dinners with various groups of friends and in the last 4 years also alone with Michael and with his family. I do love English Christmas dinner but for me it is just a glorified roast (not knocking it!), but Danish Christmas dinner is where the real magic is AT. Roast goose and pork crackling, caramelised potatoes, sweet red cabbage, thick, rich, creamy brown sauce followed by the wonder that is essentially a cold, stodgier version of rice pudding filled with chopped blanched almonds and drowned in hot cherry sauce, with the finder of the one token whole almond a winner of the “mandel gave” gift. Obviously this means that all the pud has to be polished off and elicits a lot of groans around the table, but there is no feeling more victorious than discovering you are the lucky winner and tucking that little treat under your gum whilst you watch your competition (sorry, family) struggle to finish their food. Yes, I am evil, but it is fun. Luckily for me I always get to have both, having Danish family and English friends, and let’s not be forgetting about all the wondrous party finger food. Pigs in blankets, salmon blinis, mince pies, more M&S tubs than anyone cares to remember and aaaaaaaaall the chocolate selection boxes. My favourite diet. *Edit*: Almost forgot to mention Starbucks toffee nut lattes! #lyf.
10. Celebrating on the Beach
This one might seem a little contradictory to all the traditional stuff I’ve mentioned above, but with a dad that’s lived in Dubai since I was young and a step-dad who likes to see the sun in the depths of winter, I usually find myself on a beach come Christmas Day. This may be why I have more of a love for December than “Christmas” itself, since I’ve usually had my family Christmas dinner and opened all of my presents before the 24th (the day on which Danes celebrate). I know it sounds odd to some people but for me I get to have the best of both worlds; a proper cold, wintery (we all know it’d be a stretch to say “snowy”) Christmas and a January tan, though this year I won’t be getting the former and I will readily admit that it is saddening me! That said, I can’t wait to be in Langkawi with the parentals for my favourite day of the year in 2016, 8 sleeps to go!
So there we have it, the 10 things I love most about Christmas. Not sure whether I’ve come across a little OTT in any of the above but, as I’ve said, I am Santa’s little helper on crack and I am so not sorry for it. What do you love most about Christmas? Or are you a scrooge (and if so, why God why? What terrible thing happened to you at birth to make you feel this way)?!
Happy holidays! xo