Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: 10 Things I Love About Christmas



 
1. Bad Hallmark movies on Netflix. All the bad Hallmark movies.

They all seem to involve secret princes and princesses from made-up countries like Montsaurai ('Once Upon a Holiday') and Cordinia ('A Royal Christmas'), but they're perfect for putting on in the background while decorating the tree or wrapping presents.

2. Buying a Christmas tree.

In my head, there's something incredibly romantic about picking out a tree and carrying it home with a significant other - one of you at the front end and the other in the back, wearing mittens and wool hats, as snow begins to fall and everything looks like a scene out of Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls reference there for those of you who don't watch the show).

In reality, John and I argued about which tree's needles looked "droopier", while I expressed concern that the squat little variations available in London were so wide around the bottom, they resembled a boat before shouting across the garden center parking lot, "Fine. Just pay. Just pay!" And then we took about 5 breaks during our 7-minute walk home with the tree, while John sang, "Chestnuts roasting on the open fire / black frost nipping at your nose," and I had to correct him by explaining that it was "Jack Frost. Not black frost. Black frost sounds like something out of the Mighty Boosh and probably means you'd lose your nose, if black frost got to it."

It was still romantic.

3. Decorating the Christmas tree. 

This also involves arguing about color scheme ("The pink is too close to the red; what is WRONG with you?") and placement of the lights ("The bottom of the tree looks like a blackout." "Well, why don't you fix it, then? I told you we needed longer lights."), but when it's done and the presents are placed under the tree, it looks so, so good.

4. A wreath on the door. 

A wreath on the door signifies, "Hello! Joy here!" or "Hello and welcome to my humble abode of ULTIMATE FESTIVE CHEER!" No Christmas is complete without a fresh wreath on the door - ours is due to arrive tomorrow, and I can't wait.


5. Sequinned party wear.

FYI, I have zero parties to attend this year (besides a work Christmas party, of course) but I am still immediately attracted to anything that's remotely shimmery or bejewelled or decked out with sequins. Sequinned trousers, sequinned tops, sequinned blazers ... throw it at me, and I'll wear it. Promise. Christmas is basically the only time where it's semi-socially acceptable to dress like a giant piece of tinsel and no one will blink an eye (sort of).

6. Christmas songs.

On full-blast from 1 December onwards. From Bing to Mariah to S Club 7 ... if it's on Spotify, we'll play it in our house. Last year, I woke up on Christmas morning and snuck into the room where my brother was sleeping and snuck a bluetooth speaker under his bed before blasting him with "Last Christmas" at the highest decibel-level possible for a mini JBL portable speaker. My parents were in the next room and were so confused: "What was all that noise this morning?" my dad asked at the breakfast table, seriously concerned. Siblings will be siblings, dad.

7. Christmas markets.

This year, I'm heading to Amsterdam (with a day trip to Cologne in between) with John and my parents and I'm super excited to see both cities in all their Christmas-sy glory - particularly Cologne, since it's known for its Christmas markets. There are seven. Seven. I think we'll get to three, if we walk quickly. I'm keeping an eye out for a suitable tree topper, since we don't have one.

8. Christmas decorations.

London is pretty magical at this time of year. Some of my favorite places to visit for Christmas decorations include the Duke of York Square, St. Christopher's Place, Covent Garden, and, of course, Oxford Street and Regent Street.



9. Christmas morning.

All the fanfare leading up to Christmas Day is almost more enjoyable than the day itself. Almost. As an American, I love all the British traditions: pulling Christmas crackers open and reading the jokes inside, wearing the paper crowns, dousing the Christmas pudding with alcohol and lighting it on fire (yep), putting on a pair of wellies and having a post-Christmas lunch country walk ... it all feels so festive.

10. Family time.

If I haven't mentioned it about a gazillion times already, my parents are arriving on Saturday and I'm so terrified excited. I act like an over-excited puppy when they're here, jumping from parent to parent, demanding attention and love while simultaneously worrying about whether they're sufficiently entertained, warm, and fed. Unfortunately, my brother isn't able to join us this year, but I will somehow get "Last Christmas" blasting in his ear from afar ...

What are your favorite things about this time of the year? It doesn't have to be Christmas-related, if you're more of the bah-humbug type! Let me know in the comments below.
 
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28 comments

  1. I snorted at the black frost, haha. European Christmas markets are the best; it's not the same here in Aus where it's warm! Hope you have a great Christmas!

    Jane / deluminators

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    1. Seriously. Black frost. HOW?? Anyway, yes, it's wonderfully festive here, although we were recently in India, where it was 30 degrees and the Christmas trees decorations there looked so out of place! I can't imagine celebrating Christmas in the heat, but I'd love to try it some time! Have a wonderful holiday season :) x

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  2. Ahhh..Christmas songs are just the best!!

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    1. I whistle them in the shower on repeat and it drives John CRAZY.

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  3. I enjoy bad Hallmark Christmas movies too:) my guilty pleasure:))

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  4. Bad made-for-TV Christmas movies are my reason for existing! I've often said if I was rich I would just work for free making more of them cause of my deep, deep love.

    Also, spending two whole weeks with my parents (which I don't get to do any other time of the year) is such a happy time for me. I also see my brother for a few days. :)

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    1. Oh, Sorcha. I've actually exhausted all the bad Christmas movies Netflix has to offer and I@ve moved on to the bad HALLOWEEN movies. Yup, working my way backwards. Maybe there are some bad Easter movies out there too ...

      Have a wonderful time with your family!

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    2. Thanks, Jaime! I can't wait to read about your festive adventures with your fam.

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  5. Christmas movies! The Holiday is my festive favourite :) x

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    1. OMG The Holiday is THE BEST. I have to watch it again this year! Thanks for reminding me. x

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  6. Ah I do love some festive cheer. I love Christmas jumpers as we never got to wear them when it was summer time Christmas. I don't think we've ever had a wreath you know, maybe it wasn't an NZ thing...

    Jasmin Charlotte

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    1. I'm kind of on the fence on the whole Christmas jumper thing. I can't decide whether to go full-on, ugly cheesy sweater, or cute and tastefully festive. Hmm ... I'd love to see your collection!

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  7. Loooove this post! Your description of getting the tree with your partner (the expectation vs. reality) is EVERYTHING. That is exactly what it's like, isn't it?! I always have romantic ideals about prepping for Christmas. In reality, it's me exclaiming in woe, "but our wrapping paper doesn't match our tree colour scheme, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!" and my husband looking at me like "........what have I gotten myself into?" Ahhh, memories <3

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    1. Haha! Made me laugh so hard. Glad you can relate.

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  8. Christmas markets are one of my favorite parts of the season too! And I just got my first ever wreath the other day and I love how it looks on my front door!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

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  9. I love that first picture - what store is that? Feel like I've been there before, but it's bugging me that I can't remember what store it is!!

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  10. Yesss, I totally agree with so many of these, especially the tree collecting & magic of Stars Hollow-esque snow falling.

    I went to my boyfriend's Christmas party recently and definitely stole a wreath from one of the tables. It brought me so much joy!

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    1. Haha! Good skills, Amanda. I'd love to see that wreath! I just bought some mistletoe today to hang over our door ...

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  11. Alllllllllllllllllllllllll the hallmark movies!

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    1. Absolutely - best comfort TV watching ever, for these dark evenings!

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  12. My mom visited us in Italy and it made Thanksgiving much more special. I hear you on the Christmas music... I'm listening to some good old carols now! Merry Christmas!

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    1. It must have been wonderful to have your mom with you for Thanksgiving, Scarlett! I always miss my family at Thanksgiving. I can't remember the last time we were able to celebrate it together.

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  13. Have a brilliant time with your parents! I hope you all stay fed and entertained :) I wrote a list of things to do to make me feel festive, and I'm terribly behind on it already. I haven't even put up my decorations! I need to get my act together.

    I have however been to see the decorations at Covent Garden and Regent St and they are BEAUTIFUL. So sparkly!

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I love all the decorations in London this year. Maybe I'm just noticing them more, but they are really looking so bright and cheery. I walked past St Christopher's Place and Carnaby Street last week and loved the lights and sparkly decorations there!

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  14. My boyfriends mom went to the christmas markets in Cologne and loved them, so hope you have fun too! This is normally how we pick out our Christmas trees too, but this year went super smoothly, small miracles. Didn't even fall out of the tree stand, double bonus.

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    1. So glad to hear this, Dannielle - I don't want to get too excited, but I'm also hoping it's going to be beautiful! Loled at your tree story ... right now, I'm staring at a tree topper that my husband described as the "leaning snowflake of Pisa ..."

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