So I have just been ‘tagged’ by my friend, Charlie over at Mess and Merlot to take part in The Christmas Tag. This kind of thing most definitely jingles all of my bells as I am about 95% elf, and so anything twinkly, glittery or with a side of gingerbread is what I am all about at this time of year. Thanks so much for the tag Charlie!
What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?
My immediate response to this was “Elf – No Question.” But then actually I have quite a few favourites when I really think about it. Love Actually (Obvs), The Holiday, and an old faithful of mine: While You Were Sleeping. (I had a bit of a Bill Pullman crush thing going on in my 20 somethings!)
Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Not that I can remember. I’m from Yorkshire and we do get a fair bit of the white stuff, but aside from the odd couple of snowflakes one Christmas evening I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a picture perfect “white” Christmas. That would be the dream. I definitely don’t think I could get on with a warm and sunny December. I’m sure if I lived in a warmer climate or in the southern hemisphere I would be totally on board with it, but for me Christmas has to at least be cold, if not snowy.
Where do you usually spend your holiday?
I’ve always been a bit of a home lover and Christmas is definitely no exception for me. Once those twinkly lights are up I just want to nest and get into my PJs at home in front of the fire. Since the tots came along I’ve insisted on Christmas morning at home at the very least just so that the kids have time to unwrap presents and enjoy them for a while before dashing off anywhere. This year we’re being treated to Christmas dinner at my mums which we’re all very much looking forward to. She cooks a mean dinner, and my Nan is a bit of a shark at cards and will no doubt keep us up until 2am Christmas night playing for pennies.
What is your favourite Christmas song?
Christmas starts on the 1st December for me and the traditional song that brings it in each year is “And so this is Christmas…” (Happy Xmas – War is Over, by John Lennon). I was brought up to believe that playing Christmas music before 1st December would bring bad luck and so I remember as a teenager setting my alarm for midnight on the 1st December so that I could play that song and officially bring in the season. (See – I told you – 95% elf!)
Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
We follow the Christmas Eve box tradition which I tie with ribbon each year. We always use the same box and ribbon and fill it with PJs for the kids, reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn, hot chocolate, sweets, A new Christmas film (plus The Snowman and Snowdog DVD which always has to be watched on Christmas Eve) and The Night Before Christmas book. This is the only present that we open and it’s a tradition I hope to keep going as the kids both get older.
Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Erm. Probably not. OK so here goes: Dancer, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Vixen, erm. Rudolph and erm Bob.
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?
I never used to have much in the way of traditions for Christmas until the kids came along, but now we have a bit of a December regime going on with so many little things that we enjoy doing and that I hope they will want to treasure and remember as they get older. So far each year since Miss Tot was a newborn we have gone to Whinfell Forest (Center Parcs) at the beginning of December to meet Santa and spend a few days experiencing the Winter Wonderland and getting into the festive spirit.
We live on quite a big estate where most people seem to go all out and decorate their homes, so we love to wrap up warm and go out for a walk around the estate before tea on an evening. The kids take their torches and they get so excited to see all the lights and twinkly displays. We tend to bake and also make salt dough tree decorations, and of course we make a few cards with hand-prints and a little rhyme for our nearest and dearest. This year we’ve also had two elves come to visit for the first time, and the kids have loved waking up to see what they’ve been getting up to each night.
Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. Don’t get me wrong – I adore a real tree and there is nothing more festive than the smell of Christmas tree when you wake up each morning, but I had an incident a few years ago where I think I had forgotten to top the water up, and it started to whither and turn a bit crispy. I spent the whole Christmas period staring at my tree and willing it to stay green just a little longer. I’m a control freak. I just can’t handle that lack of certainty!
What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?
I am all about the sweet stuff and mince pies are definitely on my hit list each December. I always buy a box too many (if such a thing exists) and freeze them for a little treat for the following September, just as the nights start to draw in, as a little reminder of what is to come. This year I have been making slow cooker fudge following this recipe by Pink Pear Bear. It is really tasty and has gone down a treat with colleagues and as a gift for the kids’ nursery staff.
Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?
Don’t get me wrong – I love to receive a gift like the next person, but actually I think I do get more enjoyment out of trying to think up and find a meaningful gift for someone else, and for them to know that thought and effort has gone into it. (Which is not to say that I always get it right. I still get it so wrong sometimes it’s laughable, but the thought is always there!)
What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
So Daddy Pig and I don’t really tend to buy each other gifts for Christmas. We normally prefer to spend the money going away somewhere for a family day out or weekend away. We sometimes buy each other a bit of something just to open, and if this is the case he will tend to ask me if there is anything I’d like
after the year that he bought me a calendar. Last year though we did decide to go all Santa on each other, and I have to say that I wasn’t expecting anything all that exciting, but he absolutely blew my mind with tickets to Harry Potter Studios in January (while it was still Hogwarts in the snow!) He’d arranged for his parents to have the kids and we had a whole day to ourselves to do the 10 hour round trip and enjoy the experience with no tiny people and their constant requirement to be wiped. To say I am a Potter fan is an understatement. I cried about 72 times throughout the day. Happy tears.
What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
Lapland. It would be a home-coming for my inner elf. Plus they have reindeers and huskies. I love a husky – although not sure I’d feel comfortable making one drag my mince-pie toting ass around on a sledge for any length of time? You would find me in the stables / kennels instead giving them sparkly oatmeal (Apparently?) and puppy hugs.
Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
I am a total perfectionist at the wrapping. I have used a total of 18 reels (54 metres) of sparkly ribbon so far in my wrapping this year, and I haven’t even started on the kids’ presents yet. All paper must be classy – this year we have gone for white with small gold stars and thick gold wired ribbon. (I’m describing this in the same way that most people would describe a melting chocolate pudding – to me – wrapping is actually that exciting!) The problem with this is that I am painfully aware of how many hours this epic wrapathon takes and so I end up putting it off whilst waiting for a suitably huge expanse of time in which to get settled in front of the fire and wrap my socks off. But of course I am a parent and that never happens, so instead we get to about now and I have to try and tackle it in small two hour sessions during which I swear a lot and “Daddy Pig” shakes his head and chuckles at me, saying helpful things like “Well if you didn’t have so many friends…” Hmmmf.
Most memorable Christmas moment?
I think for me it’s the same very special moment each year since we’ve had the kids. When we do our Winter Wonderland break there is always a firework display on one of the evenings. We always get wrapped up and head down to the lakeside at Whinfell forest and join the crowd of families in the twinkly lights as we all excitedly countdown to the fireworks. There is always Christmas music playing and the atmosphere is electric and truly enchanting. It makes me reflect back over our year as a family and how much the kids have grown, and I know it’s ridiculously soppy but I always feel so grateful and end up in floods of happy tears. For me it has come to be my favourite Christmas memory and I look forward to it so much every year!
What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I don’t think I really remember the definitive moment, but I do remember hearing my parents carrying “stuff” downstairs past my bedroom door one year. Although I’m sure a little teeny tiny part of me still believes if I’m honest!
What makes the holidays special for you?
It’s that magical, snuggly, indulgent, sparkly feeling that you get each day in December. It’s the fact that it’s totally OK to eat chocolate before eating your porridge, and that all evenings are just that bit more cosy for snuggling by the fire with fairy lights, candles and an occasional glass of Baileys. Most of all though, for me, it’s taking time out of our normal busy lives to share with our families and friends, and giving a gift or a card, a cuppa, a hug or just a moment, to all of those people that have been there with us through the year.
Speaking of which, I was sent this by a member of our family a couple of weeks ago, and I have watched it about 72 times. It is an advert, but not just an advert. It is honestly one of the loveliest things I’ve seen in a long time, and so if you haven’t seen this already, a little gift from me to you…
Thanks so much Charlie for nominating me for this tag. If I wasn’t positively jingling before I started writing this I definitely am now!
This is the tricky part, as I should now nominate some more of my bloggy buddies to take part, but of course we are so close to the big day that it probably isn’t going to be all that realistic for them to take part this year? That being said, it could be a lovely one to pick up next December when the festive shenanigans start up all over again, (which will be here in a blink I’m sure).
So, with that in mind and with no obligations or pressure, my nominations for this tag are:
Gemma – Colleys Wobbles
Annette – 3 Little Buttons
& Mrs Lighty – Sugar and Spice and All Things Spliced.
Once you’ve finished the post tag, nominate 3 or 4 more people and spread the Christmas Tag love.
Don’t forget to copy me into your post tweet so I can pop across and read your answers.
For now though – wishing you all a very merry Christmas.