When does it feel like Christmas?


The festive season arrives gradually in our house.

It’s a series of moments, over days and weeks, that makes me feel like, “Oh, now it’s Christmas.” 

Certainly, it’s not a case of popping up a tree on December 1st, and that’s it – we’re feeling festive.

Our Christmas build-up starts the first week of December when I take a day off to go shopping with my Mum. Sure, you can buy everything online these days, but I love taking a day to spend with my Mum. We head to Manchester or Liverpool, taking our time to chat over coffee and mince pies, before we browse all the shops, helping each other choose presents for family and friends.

After that, it’s the school Christmas shenanigans. It’s not so frantic now as when Flea was smaller but there’s Secret Santa and a teatime concert – Flea performed in the choir and in a guitar ensemble, which was just lovely to watch. It’s often the only time of year I see all the other working parents in one room, and it’s nice to catch up on everyone’s news.

Mid-month, we’ll put up the Christmas tree, and that’s when it REALLY starts to feel like Christmas. It’s lovely to pull out all the decorations – we’ve tended to buy a lot of ours on our travels, and so we remember where we bought each one, as we unwrap it.

The right ambiance is crucial, of course.

It’s time to pull out the Christmas Classics playlist on Spotify, and naturally, we need mince pies and festive drinks. Flea might have an ice cream milkshake, and I’ll treat myself to a glass of something festive. Later on, there will be a showing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – surely the greatest Christmas movie EVER. This year, I’ve been invited to try my hand at making the old classic Snowball – remember that?

Any NOW it feels like Christmas.

We picked up a bottle of Warninks in our local supermarket and Flea asked me what it’s made of. The shop assistant couldn’t help herself and told Flea, “It’s made of Christmas!” which I thought was quite apt! I always remember my Dad enjoying a Snowball at Christmas when I was little.

Although – if you’re wondering – Warninks is actually made of egg yolks, with sugar, and brandy. It’s available at all good supermarkets and a good many convenience stores, too).

A classic Snowball cocktail combines Warninks with fresh lime and lemonade. I’m not sure why it’s considered a Christmas classic – perhaps that creamy indulgence lends itself to the winter months?

So if you were to ask me what Christmas looks like in our house – it’s Nat King Cole playing in the background, twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, and a wee glass of something indulgent waiting for me on the fireplace… how about you? 

3 thoughts on “When does it feel like Christmas?”

  1. Oh my goodness it is SO reassuring to read that Christmas isn’t as frantic as they get older. Seriously I am EXHAUSTED and they haven’t even broken up from school yet. I might have broken into the Warninks in November though…

  2. I find my Christmas spirit comes later and later – I think now I’m not teaching full time it makes a big difference. That said, now that I’ve watched my children in no less than four nativities between them, watched a panto and got the tree up I think Christmas might be on the way. Definitely need a few mince pies to get things on the right track though. I’ve never ever had a snowballl . . .

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