It's nearly time!
Christmas is so close!
It won't shock you to say that I love Christmas, as you all know I'm that annoying friend who starts mentioning the festivities in September! I know, I know, people say it's too early, until they're frantically questioning where the time went come December! 😛
During my recent Christmassy daydreaming (it happens a lot) I was thinking about how amazing this time of year is. Think about it, the majority of people you know will all be sharing the same fantastic time as you. Now that's pretty awesome! I reckon it's the biggest shared experience in the world? Do you agree?
Parents planning, tree farms selling, families decorating and children everywhere excitedly anticipating Santa's visit! 🎅 Despite what you bah humbugs say, even if you're not feeling the festive charm, you've got to admit that this is one massive magical season! 🎄🎁
What does it mean to you?
I know it means something to everybody and so I'm going to share with you what Christmas means for me.
I consider myself lucky to have friends and family around me and that's the most important thing. Of course I love my friends and family all year round but at this time of year, it's even more special. 💗
It's the time when we all come together, whether it be on Christmas day, a
pre-Christmas lunch or a catch up over a hot chocolate. It's a time that marks the importance of relationships and a time to express them by enjoying some Christmas giving. Which brings me to...
I love buying treats for loved ones, most of us will admit that ripping open that shiny paper is exciting at all ages! It's nice to give and I love that moment, you know when you see a potential gift and know instantly who it would suit! 🎁 We buy lots of our pressies locally to support our local businesses and for those times when I'm too busy to spend a day shopping, I order online, poor postman!
I'm a true list maker, I love a list! (might add it to my CV!) I love pencilling gift ideas next to peoples names on my list and I love going over the pencil in pen when I've bought the perfect present (yes I really do this) As I said I'm a list maker! 😉
I love wrapping gifts, with some crooning Christmas tunes in the back ground and a glass of mulled wine in hand. I'm no professional wrapper but I like to make the pressies look pretty with curly ribbon. If I have too many to do at once, the presentation of your gift may vary depending on whether it was in the early stages or the 'this is taking forever' stages! 😆
I make a Christmas cake and lovingly feed it brandy every week using the 'one for the cake, one for me' technique 😉
A well known technique in the world of Christmas preparation as far as I know!
Will it, won't it? we're talking snow. Every year I want a white Christmas and every year I worry about driving in it! If it does snow, I'm the first to don my wellies and go for a snowy walk but my complaint is when the snow turns to ice, no thank you! So if Mother Nature is listening, a designated snow weekend would be great please, you know so we're all ready with our sledges, no driving necessary and by Monday all is clear again... Thank you.
It's got to be done, scarf, hat and glove clad hands to wrap around a warm mulled wine. Mooching around the festively lit stalls, eating Bavarian food and taking sweet treats home. It's a tradition!
So as you can see Christmas means a lot to me, the build up, the catching up, the gift swapping, its all important and it only comes once a year so I enjoy it!
I think it's truly amazing that in a few days, most of the world will be reading The Night before Christmas and snuggling in their beds. Waking up in the early hours of Christmas morning and unleashing a wrapping paper frenzy. Spending time with people, whether it be volunteering, another working day or pulling crackers over the Christmas dinner.
We'll all be united through what may be the worlds biggest shared celebration! 🎉
Well after all that Christmas talk I'm signing off, (I have a cake to ice, gifts to wrap, shopping to do...and Christmas to enjoy)
So however, whenever and wherever you're celebrating, have the most amazing Christmas!
A bauble experience at Cumbria Crystal was always going to be a winning birthday treat for me! Glass blowing (which I've always wanted to try) and a Christmas bauble made by my very own hands? Yes!
My daughter and I suitably festive - me in my Christmas jumper and her in her hat (had just settled down for a long winters nap - sorry I couldn't resist that!) As I was saying, my daughter and I checked in with the friendly, smiley staff at Cumbria Crystal and mooched around the shop while we awaited our glass blowing moment.
(My daughter felt the need to remind me of my reputation for breaking glasses so I didn't get too close to the display cabinets...)
The glassware is absolutely mesmerising as it sparkles in the light and the stunning pieces, some of which have been used on tv, are a real tribute to everyone involved in the process.
Any crystal that's been on Downton Abbey is sure to impress me! My daughter was equally impressed to discover a bowl of beautiful marbles that had been made on site and promptly treated herself on the basis of nostalgia!
(Hint to Cumbria Crystal - pretty please start a glassblowing marble experience!)
The workshop is an array of furnaces, tools of the trade and skilled glass blowers doing their thing. We could see wine glasses being made and it was amazing to watch the craftsmanship that was going into creating beautiful glasses, all from a blob on the end of a pipe!
Our artisan Neil (font of knowledge!) looked after us and answered all the questions we asked like giddy kids. We chose our coloured glass, white and blue for me, green and aubergine for my daughter. (It's got to match the tree of course!) Then we rolled our blob of molten glass through our coloured glass sprinkles, and it was reheated in the glowing furnace. While keeping the pipe and its treacle like glass constantly moving, Neil shaped it using his tools. Skills!
When it came to the blowing, I wondered if my general lack of puff would hinder the process and result in me taking a drooping glass mess home! It seemed to take a while for my breath to travel down the blow pipe and into my pre-bauble blob but suddenly, it began to expand, stretching the colours with it!
I was blowing glass!
So for a short while, we heated the glass, blew it and shaped it until it was just right. My beautiful bauble was settled into a nest of cotton and then Neil added a blob of molten glass to the top of it! A big risk as far as I was concerned until he transformed the blob skilfully into a glass loop and my bauble was complete!
My husband and I had laughed about my bauble potentially being one of those childhood creations. You know, the ones that are accepted with a smile whilst behind a toothy grin lies the question of what is it?! At which he suggested simply buying one from Cumbria Crystal rather than have to display mine round the back of the tree!
Thankfully, my bauble is beautiful and I'm proud of my work (albeit with skilled assistance)
It was a process I could have watched all day, an amazing craft. Our baubles were ready to collect the following day and now have pride of place on our Christmas trees.
We really enjoyed our experience, it was a great way to have some time together and to create something that becomes one of those special tree ornaments to be admired year after year.
So a big thank you to my sister in law for this amazing gift (no you can't have my bauble!) and thank you to Neil and all at Cumbria Crystal who are friendly, welcoming and amazingly skilled people.
Now take my word for it and book your experience here while there's still time!
The build up
I love Christmas and I think the build up to the big day is a massive part of it! I love finding gifts that people will cherish. I love the wrapping
(Just don't leave it all until one big marathon night like I did once! I'm serious, don't do it!)
I love feeding the Christmas cake (and myself) with brandy 😉I love the festive baking, I love the Christmas eve nibbles and festive film and I obviously love Christmas day.
You've guessed it, I love it all!
This year will be different, despite my daughter being 20, she's still a kid at Christmas! (Good girl!) And as it's been since she could talk, last Christmas she woke us up at 7am excited to see if Santa had been!
This year, she'll be attempting to wake her boyfriend on Christmas morning in their own place. His threats of waiting until lunch to open pressies, like he did as a kid while his Dad finished tending the farm, is falling on deaf ears! 😆
Although different, where ever you are, and whoever you're with, there's a real joy in treating people.
How do you prepare? I know people who struggle with the chaos that Christmas can bring and question whether it's worth it.
Me? I'm a list maker, (Of course) so every Christmas brings with it the need for lists! The Christmas food shop list, the Christmas prep list and of course the one and only Christmas gift list!
All the names of loved ones to be treated, with pencilled ideas next to their names.
The gift list gets bigger each year, which is a great because it means we're surrounded by loved ones. New babies join us and who can resist buying baby presents? Not me!
(Having grown up children means you have to grab baby opportunities where you can!) We become friends with new people and we're lucky enough to have those amazing people that we share our lives with every single day. Our gift list is 39 people long, yep I said 39! So definitely the longest of the our lists but each person on there deserves a Christmas treat. 🙂
Some would suggest simply buying for children only and I totally understand that because they're what Christmas is all about! But if it can be done, what's not to love about giving a sibling a gift reminiscent of your childhood together, or giving a friend a gift that took months to find and holds sentimental value only to them.
We're talking special times here.
Think back to when you were little, remember opening that one gift you'd been hoping for? The gift that had taken over your dreams since September? You know the one, you knew deep down that while there was a chance you'd receive it from the big man himself, you wouldn't long for anything else!
A bike? a dolls house? What was yours?
It's worth it
So whilst you're tying yourself into a knot of Christmas frenzy behind the daily advent calendar fun, take a moment to look at those giddy kiddies, your friends and family. Cling onto your sanity by knowing that in a few weeks time you'll be sat amidst an explosion of wrapping paper!
Think ahead to Christmas morning when you'll be eating chocolates for breakfast and knowing it's worth it. When your sibling calls to be nostalgic over that childhood gift and your parents call to say they're enjoying your homemade Christmas cake, you'll know it's worth it. And when the children have opened their gifts and whooped with delight at Santa getting right, just know it's all worth it.
How are your preparations going? Drop us a comment to share 🙂
Hi I'm Sarah!
Blogger in The Lakes
I live in the beautiful Lake District...
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