Tis' the Season to be Jolly

Hello again!

Christmas Lights in Brighton! (Duke Street)
With the build up to Christmas it only seems necessary to dedicate one post to the 'Three Phases' of Christmas in my eyes, so I will be discussing how to organise your crimbo, from decorations to the gifts.

I started getting prepared for the holidays the same way the retail world does, once halloween was over! It is my favourite time of the year. I love the spirit it brings, adore the giving nature of others, and the whole season is filled with jumpers, hot cocoa and cuddles!




Phase One: Prep!



Mulled wine goodness!
The best way to begin your holidays is to make a list, one with the people you will be purchasing for, and a list of items you want this year for Christmas. If you've been following my previous articles, this year I've decided to ask for donations to my Justgiving cause 'Help the Refugees'. (Link below for those interested!) However in terms of my fellow friends and family I opted to write a list and a budget.

Once you've prepped your list it is time to prep your space! This year I went for a classic red/gold theme for the flat, a quick shop to M&S determined the colour scheme, with fairy lights being detangled, I excitedly placed the mini baubles and tinsel on our small little tree, shortly after came the extra! The tree is just the beginning with Christmas, it's all about the 'C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S' banner above the pots of coffee/couscous/sugar, the 'Merry Christmas' banner above the window. Not to mention the Winter Room Fragrance sprayed around the flat for that cinnamon winter goodness all season. Topped with pot pourri and diffusers from M&S for the extra spice. Highly reccomend the 'winter' theme at M&S. Not too pricey but the smells are exhilatering and really give you that vibe of the season.

The decorations are up, list is written, you have officially started the festive season!

Phase Two: Wrapping/Cards!

My decoration on gifts
Now that the bulk work is out the way, here comes the creative bean inside of you. I love doing a theme each year for my wrapping, for example, last year I opted for a black chalk paper wrapping style, with creative writings on each gift. This year I've done a brown paper theme, stamped each one individually with coloured trees, secured with christmas ribbon (courtesy of good old Amazon), then each gift comes complete with a 'wreath style' decor, which includes a dried orange, berries, and a candy cane for that extra gift. The excitement that brewed over me as I sat crossed legged watching my favourite Christmas film (Miracle of 34th Street) and decorated each one personally (even treating myself to a mulled wine to give that buzz!). I love giving gifts at Christmas, it is one of my favourite things to do, and I see it as evidence of my friendship to those over the year, and to show my thanks to those who have supported me throughout (family especially). 

For those I haven't been in touch with, but are nonetheless deserving of that Christmas spirit, I opt for cards, usually for the cousins, old friends, that kind of thing. Once I've collected the address' I go for a humourous card, each one I not only put the usual 'To and From' situation, but always put a bit extra in a card, I deem it as pointless without giving them a little message of thanks, what I am grateful for this year, asking them how they are and what is going on in their lives, giving them the opportunity to reply, rather than wasting the card. 

After all the cards are stamped and sent, you can take a little break, maybe another glass of mulled wine, and begin on the really exciting part!

Phase Three: Party!

Some of my closest friends (enjoying the wine!)
For me, this would be the most exciting part of the phases, I begin by organising my calender around work and university. Then I invite friends from far and start organising my parties. This year I will be having three Christmas parties and one New Year party. My first being incorperating my friends from Oxford who are coming down, and having a flat party with my friends from Brighton, giving an allowance of two days to make sure I can recover from a hangover! Another is my work party, and another being my university social, just to make sure I cover all areas before venturing back home with my family for Christmas Day.

Once you've planned the parties the next part is rather pricey, but fun! The Christmas food shop! Organise the food you'll get first, personally if you do it all online you have a much better option of how much you can buy and keep a good budget. Then just go wild on the alcohol! I always reccomend wine as its not too expensive and its a slow drinker compared to spirits, but always opt to put a few bottles away. I love the Baileys Chocolate Luxe as a liquor option, a good whisky for spirit, and a selection of reds, including mulled wine (or make your own, will post a link to a good recipe below). And in terms of food, stock up on some cheeses, they always go down well, and a couple boxes of After Eights wouldn't hurt!
No Christmas is without an advent calendar!
Mine is from Liberty's and its simply darling!

Now that all the work is out the way, you can sit back, relax, have another glass of mulled wine (why not?) and chill, knowing that the month and a half you've prepped for Christmas will be well worth it!

Merry Christmas and happy prepping to you all!

(On a quick personal update, I am thrilled to announce I have found myself falling for a rather wonderful gentleman, we have been happily together for a couple months now, he is simply wonderful, attentive, supportive, and a blessing in disguise in my life, and I hope to be able to update you as the months pass- very happy bunny!)



xoxo




https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/standingtohelpcalais

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/jamie-s-mulled-wine/

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