Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

A hint of Christmas

on November 15, 2011

I LOVE Christmas.  I am unashamed about it and will start planning months in advance (well, to be honest, I never really stop planning – once we get to New Year I’m planning for next Christmas!), making lists, choosing gifts and organising where we’ll be, who’ll be with us and what we’ll be doing.  In the past I’ve used Christmas planner books to record our card lists and gift giving, but this year, when I found my book had very little space left, I discovered this website which provides free printables for every aspect of Christmas you could imagine!  They are mostly A4 size (some are smaller to make a pocket notebook) and can easily be put into a ring binder.

The site is not the easiest to navigate and you need to do a lot of exploring to find exactly what you want, but it’s well worth the saving on a pre-printed planner as you can include the things you want to, and not what you don’t.  Restricted by a set of dividers I already had, I chose 5 categories: Cards, Gifts, Food, Calendars and Homekeeping.  I found a pretty cover which I printed onto card and which shows through the clear plastic cover, although I intend to decorate it more intricately at some point as the binder is from Clippy and has square pockets for putting in photos or scrapbook style decorations.

I’m very happy to incorporate all sorts of influences into my Christmas celebrations – my views on its celebration as a Christian festival are complicated, difficult to explain and possibly controversial, but suffice to say that I’m not one of those Christians you’ll hear complaining about Christmas becoming too secularised.  I think that in fact it has a long history of secular influence and, whatever its origins, I believe Christmas is a season to be embraced as a time of light in the dark winter months (I struggle with SAD so that’s probably got a bearing on my reasoning there) and received with thanksgiving and something good given by God (1 Timothy 4:4).

My enthusiasm for Christmas has caused certain checks and restrictions to be put into place over the 14 years I’ve been married and running my own home.  My husband prefers not to start thinking much about it until at least the beginning of December, if not slightly later.  Over time I’ve discovered that this is not because he’s a 21st Century Ebenezer Scrooge but because of my birthday on 7th December.  Every time I say to him anything like “Do you think your dad would like this for Christmas?” or “Which of these crackers do you think are better?” (don’t let’s get started on crackers, that will do for another post) he hears “We’re focussing on 25th December now, so you should already be sorted for 7th.”  That’s not what I intend, of course – Christmas is far huger than my birthday ever is (until I’m 40, I’ve got big plans for that!) and therefore needs a lot more advance preparation – but it stresses him out so he has come up with some ground rules to ease the tension.

  • No Christmas music – carols or pop – to be played before 1st December.
  • No decorations to be displayed until the weekend before my birthday (I find this one especially hard as I love to decorate the house and it feels like such a waste when the swathes of visitors who troop through our house on a weekly basis practically disappear in December)
  • No presents to be wrapped until the tree arrives
So, I find other ways to bring a hint of Christmas into my life while I wait for the all important turn of the month.  Obviously, the baking needs to be done in advance, rather than all left to the last minute.  I so enjoy this, smelling all the Christmassy smells as I stir the ingredients round, trying not to let any escape over the sides of the bowl (I always mean to buy bigger bowls but then I forget, and it’s become something of a tradition!), and spending an afternoon thinking about nothing but the long list of yummy things that go into the Christmas cake.  Because of the baking – mincemeat, Christmas cake, etc – I need more frequent access to my stores of fruits and nuts, which is a good excuse to get these out.
I got these tins from IKEA a long time ago (there’s actually a third, tiny, one which houses all my cutters) and use them all year round, but they usually live in a cupboard.  They look so cheerful sitting there on the counter, though, and make the kitchen start to look Christmassy.
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