So it is officially the 1st of December and the first door of my advent calendar has been opened! But if today, and unlike me you are not feeling Christmasy enough, then why not try out these 5 easy steps to get yourself into that Christmas spirit…
1. Dance & Decorate
It’s time to dig out all of your Christmas decorations (if you haven’t already done so) and prepare to add a bit of sparkle to your home. It is a tradition of mine to put my decorations up whilst listening to some good old Christmas anthems. My favourite albums are ‘Michael Buble Christmas’ or ‘Now that’s what I call Christmas’ for all the oldies but goodies.
2. Roast some chestnuts
You may have noticed by now that the supermarkets are stocking up on bags of these little gems. Or why not go one step further and go chestnut hunting yourself? Remember not to pick the chestnuts from the tree as they are only ripe after they have fallen (and be careful of their prickly outer shell).
It is always fun to roast your chestnuts over an open fire. Always prick or slice the chestnut first to prevent it from exploding with the heat – this happened to me once when I had cooked them in the oven and forgot to prick them, let’s just say it left my kitchen in quite a mess!
For those of you who would prefer to pop them in the oven, do so at around 200C for approx. 15-20 mins. Let them cool before digging in as it can be quite tricky peeling off the outer shiny brown shell. Eat on their own or with your selected dip – I love mine with Nutella!
3. Make a pot of home-made mulled wine
Wash down those roasted chestnuts with a glass of cosy mulled wine. I always think home-made tastes better! Follow this simple recipe:
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 1 grated nutmeg
- 2 sliced oranges
- 1 sliced lemon
- 100g of brown sugar
- Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, without boiling.
- To serve, pour the mulled wine into heat-proof glasses. Simples!
4. The smell of Christmas
By now your home should be smelling of cinnamon and nuts – not christmasy enough? Then why not try throwing orange peel on the fire, or lemon peel in your oven once it’s turned off to get the fragrance flowing? Another idea would be to add a sprinkle of herbs and spices to your tea lights holders or invest in some Christmas fragrance oil. My favourite is ‘Winter fragrance’ from The White Company – a spicy warm scent that blends notes of sweet cinnamon and clove with a dash of fresh orange.
5. Get creative
Now that the mood has been set, it may make you feel a bit less apprehensive about wrapping that lump of presents you have hidden under the bed. Again, I think wrapping is always easier with a bit of Christmas music on in the background and a glass of mulled wine at hand. Your wrapped Christmas presents should act as part of your decorative feature and therefore time and effort should be put into making the presents look less like a wrapped up fish supper and more like a beautiful hidden treasure too pretty to open!
Rather than trying to wrap awkward-shaped gifts, collect some empty shoe boxes to give your presents a box-like appearance; making your life much easier in the wrapping department! Invest in some pretty ribbon and trimmings for you gifts and a home-made Christmas tag to top it all off.
Now relax and enjoy… it’s only 24 days until Christmas!