Feeling Festive – My Christmas Timeline
I’ve found that as I’ve become more settled in my life in general over the last couple of years (and heading rapidly into my late 20s), I’ve also settled into familiar routines and traditions that get me in the festive mood in the run up to Christmas. I’ve only ever spent one Christmas in my life abroad (New York in 2015) but I much prefer to stay in the UK at this time of year. December has always been my favourite month because not only is it Christmas, but it’s also my birthday only 5 days before! As an aside, whenever anyone hears that’s when my birthday is, they always think that sucks but I really love it. My parents always made sure my birthday was very much separate to Christmas; so much so that they still don’t put their tree up until the weekend before!
I’m always really interested in hearing about other people’s traditions and how they prepare for the big day, so I thought I’d share mine. I’m a big planner, so there are a lot of things I do very early on, although I do keep to a fairly strict no-Christmas-songs-or-movies-before-December rule (I did give in when I was home alone on Friday this year though!).
Yep, you read that right: September. Good things take time, and a Christmas cake is no exception. This year I’m making my 3rd ever Christmas cake for all the family to enjoy. I’ve always enjoyed baking and especially cake decorating, so a few years ago I decided to try my hand at this traditional masterpiece. For any of my international readers who may be unfamiliar with Christmas cake in the UK, it’s a large dark fruit cake soaked in alcohol and then covered in marzipan and fondant or royal icing. Once I’ve baked the cake at the end of September, I cover it in two layers of baking paper and one layer of foil to keep it fresh. I also feed it with brandy once every couple of weeks until about one week before Christmas. Each year I come up with a design from scratch and decorate it myself using fondant icing and copious amounts of edible glitter. This usually ends up taking me hours and hours and is extremely messy but loads of fun!
I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know I don’t actually do anything to prepare for Christmas in October (other than feeding my cake baby). November is when I really like to start getting prepared. I’m absolutely not one of those people who’s happy to leave Christmas present shopping until the last minute as I find it excessively and unnecessarily stressful (although good for you if it doesn’t bother you!). November is when I buy most of my Christmas presents to allow for things to come back into stock, companies to deliver the wrong item and so I don’t have to pay for super expensive shipping.
December – 1st week
This tends to be when I’ll start playing Spotify Christmas playlists non-stop and try to buy any outstanding presents. I’ll do the last of my online shopping in this week as I don’t like to try and get things shipped too late. Other things I plan on achieving at the start of December include: buying Christmas cards, having a mooch in the shops for Christmassy things for my house, starting to put some decorations up (but not the tree just yet).
December – 2nd week
Christmas is really racing towards us at this point, so it’s time to write the Christmas cards and post them to people I won’t see in person this year. The same applies to any gifts I have to post – I’ll usually have these done pretty promptly as I’ll have bought everything by this point! By the second week of December all my Netflix recommendations are festive films and we’ll start going to the first of the Christmas parties/drinks. I might also get around to putting our tree up too, depending on plans for the rest of the month.
December – 3rd week
Hello birthday! This is when the excitement begins for real for me. At this point I’ve lost any interest in doing any Christmas shopping as I plan on celebrating for a full 5 days between my birthday and Christmas Day. Usually there are some more Christmas parties, lunches and always more drinks. Oh and I also need to remember to decorate my Christmas cake the week before Christmas.
December – 4th week
It’s finally here – it’s Christmas Day! For me this usually starts with Buck’s Fizz with breakfast before moving onto unwrapping presents, watching rubbish films, lots of Christmas music, board games, a delicious turkey lunch, excessive amounts of chocolate and generally lazing around with family.
When do you start preparing for Christmas? Are you a planner or do you prefer to do everything last-minute?