Monday, 25 November 2013

Day 25: Some festive favourites

My name is Janet, and I'm a Christmas-aholic.  I have always loved this time of year, and rather than become less festive as I get older, I seem to be becoming more obsessed with all things Christmassy.  I have so many favourite traditions, foods, gifts and crafts, but here are just a few...

Favourite Christmas carol
Oh Holy Night, especially the version from Sufjan Stevens's Songs For Christmas. I defy anyone to listen to this and not feel the Christmas spirit.

Favourite Christmas song
Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song (even though I always laugh at the first line, because it says 'nuts' and I am very immature).

Favourite Christmas film
It's a toss-up between A Muppet Christmas Carol and The Family Stone. The latter is dripping with sentimentality and makes me cry, but I love it. The former is just 100% joy and festive spirit.

Favourite Christmas tradition
I love the run-up to Christmas and have all sorts of traditions for the period leading up to the 25th: from the way I plan (using spreadsheets, what a geek) to the annual buying of the Red Magazine Christmas issue (disappointing this year, I have to say), which I wrote about last October.  On the day itself, my absolute favourite tradition is opening stockings.  Although the tradition has changed over the years - from opening them on our parents' bed as children to now opening them with with a glass of fizz in the living room - it's still my favourite part of Christmas.

Favourite Christmas present
It's got to be the original and best Handclapping Songs mixtape. I told the story on Laura's blog, Make Do & Mend, a while ago, but for those who haven't heard it:
My brother, Richard, gives great gifts, and my absolute favourite present from him was this mixtape. Titled ‘Handclapping Songs’, it was prompted by a discussion many years ago in which I mentioned that adding handclaps to a song immediately made said song awesome. About six months later – six months in which Richard had spent hour upon hour listening out for handclaps in songs, noting down the title and adding it to the mix – I opened my Christmas presents and found the tape. Best. Present. Ever.

The mix included songs I already loved (The Shins, Badly Drawn Boy, Ben Folds), reminded me of old favourites (Garbage, Kenickie, Air), and introduced me to artists (Todd Rundgren, The Beach Boys) that I’d never taken much notice of before. Subsequent editions of handclapping songs mixes have been made by Richard over the years, with the series now available in cassette and CD format (cassettes for my car – yes,that’s how ancient it is – and CDs for home), but volume one is the original and the best.

Photo via A Little Happy Place

Favourite Christmas craft
For a simple but always well-received gift, cookies in a jar are a winner.  It's so easy that I'm not sure it qualifies as a 'craft' though! 

I am also really excited to try out a couple of new Christmas crafts this year: firstly, I want to tackle this lovely 'Let It Snow' embroidery that I found via a Christmas craft link-up last week.  And to go with it, Pointless Pretty Things featured this Reindeer Hoop recently, which I'm raring to try.

Favourite Christmas food
All of it! From satsumas to marzipan to roast potatoes to mince pies, Christmas food is THE BEST. I also love those lazy days between the 25th and New Year, when you don't so much eat proper meals as graze on leftover chocolate, cheese and crackers, and the occassional piece of fruit to stave off scurvy.

Favourite Christmas recipe
For the past few years I have made a Christmas cake using Nigel Slater's recipe, and it's always pretty darn good. My go-to recipe for Christmas hampers is this one, for Christmas ginger cookies. It makes masses of biscuits, which are always well received by friends and colleagues in the run-up to the big day.

Favourite Christmas drink
Spiced cider: take my favourite drink (cider, obvs), add some of my favourite flavours (cinammon, vanilla) and my favourite scents (clove, nutmeg) and you have a drink of champions. Leicester bar Manhattan 34 makes the best spiced cider, although my homemade version runs a very close second. Watch out for a recipe coming soon.


  1. I'm now totally intrigued to go and read red magazine! X

    1. Mmm, it's really not that festive this year which is a shame. But the money-off Paperchase voucher always comes in handy!

  2. Great post - has made me very excited about Christmas - one month away today! We also have the tradition of Christmas stockings - my absolute favourite on Christmas morning too.
    Claire xx

    1. Stockings rule - I've let it be known in no uncertain terms that I'd rather not have a 'proper' present than not have stockings.

  3. This is such a great post! I love getting the house all christmas-y. This year Jim's away until mid december so the plan is to make it look like the festive season threw up on the house whilst he was away ;) I am even thinking christmas bedding too! x

    1. "Like the festive season threw up on the house..." I love it! That's basically my decorating style: MASSES of ivy and greenery and fairy lights everywhere.

    2. Christmas bedding? Now *that* is a good idea!!!!

  4. Oh yay for Christmas! I also think my favourite carol is O Holy Night, it's so beautiful.

  5. Love this post.Makes me feel very festive. I do enjoy Christmas...but working in a supermarket as I do can make you OD on it a bit to much. I shall try and keep up with the Christmas spirit even when the customers are fighting over the last sprout. ;-)