All I want for the December month, Christmas and New Year is to create a memorable holiday with just that little bit more precious time with family and friends! Of course with sunny days, around 18 degrees during the day here in the South of France, it doesn’t really add to the Christmas atmosphere. But to me these days are special, so preparing for them means joyful moments. It’s all about alleviating stress.
Whether you’re a believer or not, the liturgical season of Advent began on Sunday, November 29th, for me “the” warning to observe my time of preparation. I love decorating for the holidays. Fun, fun, fun and that’s all it should be, no stress! That is why, at the end of the festivities, I do take time to put everything away in well-closed, transparent boxes, showing what’s inside. No time will be wasted the next year at searching what to find where.
The decorating and the preparing is the nicest time of the year, making and hanging up homemade wreaths, window decorations, deciding where to put up the received Christmas cards, filling the house with light scented candles, ordering the crackers, searching for napkin folding ideas, even Christmas toilet paper… all part of enjoying my birthday month. Nothing says “Christmas!” more than a decorated home. This year I chose our old vintage fire grate as base of my advent wreath, scented wood potpouri and vivid coloured candles.
Don’t forget to spoil yourself with a lovely cup of tea or a festive coffee and cookies whilst doing it all, the festivities start right there for you. Get rid of any sparks of anxiety! Always plan to put some time aside to relax with that book you always wanted to read, that film or series you wanted to watch, your break!
Maybe it’s because I am a teacher, but a theme is the heartbeat of my event. For this Christmas I chose “reindeers and natural look”, which of course means that there are no reindeer’s decorations to be seen here in the South of France. So Internet, home made drawings and printing lovely images, will have to do!
Considering my current financial circumstances (staying home unpaid to take care of my recovering husband), I am glad I bought loads of presents on auctions for a good cause saving and helping animals (thank you Rescani vzw!) the whole year through, way ahead, so expenses are staying within my limit. Most of the time I try to create a personal note, with our signature on, as our very own unique DIY Christmas cards. I’ll spend a few evenings enjoying, creating, with nice music as background.
Christmas and the evening of the 31st of December (my birthday yeah) means of course a decorated table, all kinds of home made snacks and nibbles (the day before, no sit down three-course meal) and a fun game (charade or whatever comes up to mind) to play at the table. I try not to forget to take pictures, the night is bound to elicit laughter, memories that will make us smile. Every guest often has their grand recipe and I take it in. I do let them make their very own contribution to add to the party, one can’t have munchies enough.
The 30st of December we decide together with the guests (often family), how many and what kind of snacks will be made for two days. The day itself is then just heating up or serving food.
My birthday present (31st of December) is a huge bonfire at midnight and all of us ringing every bell in or around the house, to say hello to the New Year. Round 11.30 pm we go outside and are welcomed by a blazing bonfire, the “Blanquette” bottles (local champagne) await us and we just enjoy handing out the bells and being ready for the midnight hour to make joyful noise.
We often end just playing our favourite game of cards till the late hours. Loads of fun then follows as the first day of the year, we celebrate in pj’s, having our wonderful, favourite movies- day and everybody serving themselves with the huge leftovers, our very own tradition.
Just going with the flow in the festive spirit, enjoying “the” wonderful life, ready to add that touch of sparkle,
ps: Don’t forget to check out the Woo Hoo Cuties’ shop, that ideal vintage present for under the Christmas tree might be waiting there for you!