I’m definitely one of ‘those’ people that only begins to get into the Christmas spirit mid-December. It’s not that I have anything against people putting their trees up on the first of the month or, in my next door neighbour’s case, at the end of November (which shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve heard my stories about the people that live there) … it’s just that I want Christmas to feel special, and personally, I think if you start with the celebrations too early, you’re over Christmas before it has even started.
When it comes to other Christmas traditions, I don’t have many. I’ve spoken before how Christmas changed forever when mum passed 11 years ago, but I still love this time of year, it’s just different that’s all. There are, however, a few things I always do.
For me, there’s one thing I buy every year without fail, one thing we always had as children, and as soon as I buy that, that’s when I start to get really excited about Christmas. You guessed it … it’s a tin of Quality Street! I come from an era where the tins were made of metal, they were definitely bigger, and we all fought over the orange creams every single year. To the point where my brother and I would find out where Mum had hidden the tin in her wardrobe, unpeel the Sellotape around the lid, take all the orange creams out, and seal it back up. We were terrible children! Although I put the blame entirely on my brother, being five years older.
The tin then went on to be recycled and became either Mum’s sewing tin, or the place she would store her infamous coffee cake she’d make every week.
I’m also partial to the odd Snowball or five, and that tradition has been handed down by my Mum’s Mum, my late Nan. AKA Little Nan. She loved a drink bless her, and she was always hilarious when she was a little bit tipsy. She was disabled after having a stroke in her 60s, and she lost the use of one arm and one leg, but she never let that stop her and was a real character. I loved her dearly. I remember her getting the Warninks Advocat out every Christmas, adding some lemonade, and even allowing us children to have a tiny sip as a Christmas treat. Of course, as soon as I was old enough, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff! (That, and a few other drinks haha!)
And just in case you don’t know how to make a Snowball (it’s dead easy), here you go:
- Shake 100ml of Warninks Advocaat and 50ml of freshly squeezed lime juice or cordial together, strain into a glass jar (or, if you’re like me and you only have mugs or pint glasses, find something faintly resembling a cocktail glass – I christened the birthday present my eldest bought me, an inscribed G&T glass!), and top up with lemonade or soda water and ice.
- Decorate with a cinnamon stick, or a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
There are 17 days to go and I’ve bought my Poinsettia, I’ve started on the tangerines, and there is a big tub of Marks & Spencer’s cashew nuts looking at me as we speak. My Winter candle from The White Company is burning and only the lamps are on in the lounge. I wouldn’t dream of opening the Quality Street yet (it’s currently hidden in the boot of my car), but I reckon next week is a good time to start.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Christmas rain! Which I don’t mind so much … as long as I’m inside next to the radiator.
I love Christmas, I love my somewhat silly little traditions, and even though this will be my fifth year celebrating Christmas as a single woman, everything will be OK, it always is … well, as long as Dexter doesn’t find the Toffee Pennies.
And to help me get into the Christmas spirit, Warninks have generously sent me a bottle of the good stuff, so that I can start the celebrations. Don’t mind if I do! For the purposes of this post, you know … purely for research, I’ve just poured myself a glass. Damn, I’d forgotten how good that stuff is! Suffice to say, the gym is cancelled tonight.
Look at the lovely hamper they sent!
Cheers! Now it’s Christmas.
PS. Warninks were kind enough to not only send me a bottle of Advocaat, but they also sent me a bright yellow jumper. With baubles to decorate it. Now me and the girls struggled to get in it to be honest, but as it’s Christmas, I thought I’d share a photo of how great I looked in it. I couldn’t breathe mind you. But just look at how happy I am …
Warninks is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and any good convenience stores – RRP £11 for 70cl. You must refrigerate it once it’s open, and use within six months. Not that it will last that long.
* Collaborative post