It’s the most wonderful time of the year

*apologies for the phone quality pictures

Last Friday, the famous Coca Cola truck arrived in Leeds for the day; bringing with it plenty of festive cheer and big crowds. As I needed to bob into town for some last minute Christmas bits, I used that as a prompt to go pay the iconic vehicle a visit. First of all I had a nosy when it was daylight and then as evening appeared, I joined in with admiring the joyous, distinctive lighting around the entire set. I don’t know what it is about a heavy goods vehicle advertising Coca Cola that makes you feel Christmassy, but the magic truly does come to life and allows you to celebrate the spirit of the season. As I couldn’t stop too long, I had to make a rapid rush for home but I walked away feeling happy and jolly which in turn, made me realise I’m yet to share with you all the things I love about this special time of year. 

The decorations are my main key to enjoyment. Bringing out the tree and polishing it up gives me such a warm, excitable feeling. As soon as it reaches December I’m grabbing last years decorations and heading for the shops on hunt for more of those dainty little features that just bring your home to life. I’m all for objects with character and sparkle and can spend a good few hours trimming each room with ornaments and baubles. I like the simpleness of detail, I don’t like clutter and I like to stick to a theme; red, white and silver being my favourite colours. I’m in charge of prettifying the table this year and to say I can’t wait is an understatement!

The process of gift planning, buying, wrapping and then eventually giving on the big day itself is something I never get bored of. The choice of lovely gifts at Christmas time increase insanely and I just adore that instinct you have when you find the ‘perfect’ one. I’m the sort of person who spends a lot of time and puts in plenty of effort to purchase or even design your own unique, individual present which suits your loved one and contains something they’ve always wanted/is based around their most loved items. I love to give my family and friends presents which are going to mean something to them and which I know they’ll get plenty of pleasure out of and then the job of finding pretty wrapping paper, bows and ribbon to wrap the treasures up neatly makes the experience even more delightful. Plus, Christmas is just another excuse to spend money you don’t really have.

Following on from that, I just love the reactions you receive when said family and friends are opening their gifts. Whether that be a laugh, a cry, an explosion of smiley faces and even an eye roll. It’s what makes Christmas, Christmas. To be able to show your appreciation for everything they do all year round and knowing they appreciate you back is the nicest moment.

As the saying goes ‘It’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it’ I believe getting together with your family is the best part of Christmas. Spending quality time with family you may not see as much as you’d like is something you have to make the most of. The happiness that bounces off of each other spreads so much positivity and stability (apart from the few petty arguments which are soon wiped under the table). Seeing the children’s grins, watching them play with their new toys, the music, the karaoke, the loud roar of laughter and reminiscing on the cherished times from start till the end of the night where everyone’s a little tipsy is what Christmas should all be about. It makes you realise how lucky you are.

With Christmas comes coldness so there’s no doubt about it, when you’ve walked in to a toasty house after freezing your mits off, you come to the conclusion that inside is where you’re going to stay. Cosying up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, your onesie or a blanket and fluffy socks represents paradise. Having your Christmas tree as your only light and putting your feet up in front of the tele; it’s the little luxuries that count!

Sticking with the talk of snugness, there’s nothing I love more than the Christmas films and TV over the holiday period. From the all times favourites like The Grinch, Home Alone and Elf to the soap dramas and the soppy rom coms, they all persuade me to just sit down and do absolutely nothing when in fact I do have plenty to do. Christmas songs are another way to my heart, I don’t think you can ever get fed up of hearing them all over the radio channels 24/7. Same goes for pantomimes; as a child I attended a local pantomime with friends every year without fail and I’m quite sad that’s now died out. I’m going to have to book a date at the theatre next Christmas to relive those cheesy childhood memories. Oh no they didn’t, oh yes they did, and all that jazz.

Now, there’s no denying I love food all year round. More than often, the unhealthy food which I shouldn’t be but do crave daily. But food around Christmas time, well that’s on another level. Of course there’s the main big Christmas dinner packed with roasted veggies, a juicy turkey and Yorkshire puddings (as well as the pre Christmas dinners which I can unregrettably gobble down without second thought). Then there’s all the desserts and treats; from the supermarket buys and the tins of Celebrations to the cakes, shortbread, yule logs and so on AND buffet food, the best kind, filled with pastries, crisps, pizza, and cheese and pickled onions on cocktail sticks. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

The whole atmosphere for me is a winner. Some people hate the mad rush and if I’m in the wrong mood, I do too but I also don’t think there’s anything more refreshing than seeing everyone wander round the shops struggle with god knows how many bags just to buy for someone they love. All the lights on the houses, the decorations in the shops, the songs and choirs playing outside, children visiting Santa, the German markets, the chestnut stalls, fairgrounds and the fresh smell of donuts and hot dogs and if we’re lucky, the freshly fallen beautiful white snow. Although the last part is mainly the dream Christmas we wish for and often regret once snow hits and the over dramatic country almost shuts down completely…

Finally, there’s the giddy feeling you get on Christmas Eve. Keeping up to the tradition and settling down with your family watching a Christmas movie and eating dozens of food brings so much glee. The countdown to Christmas and knowing there’s only one more sleep to go almost allows you to be a child again. Of course it was better as a kid, leaving Santa and his reindeer some food out and peeking round the door to see if he’s been but it can be just as fun as an adult.

Are you all ready for Christmas?

Bridie x