Friday, 17 November 2017

Five ingredients for a perfect Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year, hands down. Better than a birthday. Better than the big day itself. Want to know why? Here are my five ingredients for a perfect Christmas Eve…

Christmas Eve adventures

I love the bustle of Christmas Eve (but only when I've done all my shopping, obviously) so we often head out, wrapped up in woolly scarves and hats. When kids are involved, excitement levels are beyond high and there is only one solution: tire them out.

Ice skating on the temporary rink in town is a good idea. A walk around the harbourside. A yomp in the park if necessary, gold chocolate coins in pockets ready to bribe them to take a few more steps (just call me the highway mum).

I love to watch the city winding down, busybusybusy fading to closed shops and quieter streets. Sometimes we get the Bristol Ferry up the river, the cold air whooshing across our faces, getting off at a stop near a pub or bar. Mine's an espresso martini, but I'd also go a mulled wine or cider (try my mulled apple juice recipe).

We chink glasses and toast to a happy Christmas.

New pyjamas

Once home, it's on with a new pair of pyjamas. The same ritual every year, I call the kids down and give them the good news: YOU CAN OPEN A PRESENT NOW!

They know the drill, Christmas pyjamas on and then Christmas Eve really begins. The pyjamas signify that we're not leaving the house until morning, that we're settling in for the season.

Christmas has begun...

(My ones above are these Marks and Spencer super soft striped pyjamas.)

A classic movie

Christmas just isn't Christmas without a classic movie, is it?

The kids adore all of these films and would watch them on rotation from 6 November until it's back to school in January. Here are our top picks for kids' Christmas movies:

Home Alone
Muppets Christmas Carol
Polar Express
Arthur Christmas

We love those movies too, of course, but once the kids are finally in bed, then our choices are:

It's a Wonderful Life
White Christmas
Meet Me in St Louis
Miracle on 34th Street (the original)
Die Hard

Popcorn! More booze! Mince pies! Blankets! Twinkly lights!

Ahhhh, I love it so much.

Last minute present wrapping

Fingers crossed, I'll already have wrapped everything but there's always something one of us will have forgotten. So while watching the aforementioned movies, I'll get the ironing board out (top tip: it makes the perfect wrapping table as you can adjust the height to suit your needs) and use up the last of the paper, ribbons and twine.

I adore wrapping gifts, making them look as pretty as possible. Not yet decided on a colour scheme this year (last year, I made my own black paper with white paint splatters, white paper with black paint splatters, all tied up with yellow ribbons), but I'm drawn to rich navy blues...

A moment of calm before the storm

The best moment of the day - the season, even - is when everyone is in bed, all jobs are done, we're cosy in pyjamas under a blanket in front of a roaring fire. Snacks and drinks are plentiful, all is quiet. I just want to pause that moment, the calm mixed with the anticipation, it's just perfect.

I can't wait.

What are your Christmas Eve traditions? I'd love to know. Especially at this time of year, family traditions and eccentricities fascinate me so please do share!

This is a collaborative post working with Marks and Spencer.
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For more on how I work with brands, visit my Work with me page.

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