The most important thing to report on is that I shot the Trump target straight in the mouth and won a snowman. The single most important moment of the day.
I earned bragging rights for the next, say, 50 years.
There’s a list of festivities that I am well and truly ticking off already.
Some years I don’t get round to doing them all because once December comes along everything is go go go, and among the Christmas parties, visiting family, and getting rat arsed as often as possible (and then the hangover days) – when do you find time to do the things that make you feel really festive?!
These are the things I’ve been up to in November, that somehow are essential to feeling festive that I don’t do any other time of the year.
And then there’s the seemingly endless Christmas shopping, silly jumpers (James and I wore them in September) and popping on a Christmas film at any free moment (I’ve watched Love Actually twice and Arthur Christmas four times).
I really like this time of the year, encase you couldn’t tell.
And James’s suggestion for this list? ‘Not arguing.’
It was cold. That’s true. Not many others were braving the weather to visit this corner of the world. The wind was forcing them to wrap their scarfs tighter and their glove covered hands were well and truly hibernating in their pockets.
The Needles, that’s where they were visiting. She had never heard of them, and to be honest, they didn’t look like how she imagined, but that bit’s not important.
Unexpectedly, before the landmark, they walked into an amusement village. A bricked street with wooden, shabby small shops each side, all closed, of course. It was cold.
Her step slowed, the wind quietened but her surroundings felt alive.
She heard a Christmas song, already half way through. It must have been playing the whole time but it was only just noticed. She looked around and saw little speakers at the top of each shop. All of them turning cream and weathered, playing a classic.
She could see into the deserted shops at the trinkets and sweets. Little glimpses of a world but frozen in place like photographs.
Everything seemed right.
She felt like the world had stopped, for just one second.
A little glance at peace.
Something had changed in her. She took a step forward and the world started again. She could hear the wind, the sea slapping The Needles, her Dad calling her to hurry up but no longer the music.
Nothing would be the same.
I once visited The Isle of Wight for the first time near Christmas time. I must have been 16, or there abouts, so parts of this memory is hazy and I think I filled in the grey parts with my imagination.
I have written about it before too, which seems strange I’m obsessed with this imagery in my brain considering there’s a less colourful truth and, most importantly, nothing happened. It’s one of those things I have never shared but plays out in my mind.
The imagery I made up has just stuck with me.
I’ve Googled The Needles since and it doesn’t look like this. Nope. Over the years this idea has transformed into something it isn’t, and definitely inspired by The Polar Express.
Everything should be inspired by The Polar Express.
These photos were taken in Rochester at 5pm. This is the closest to the idea in my mind and I felt ever so Christmassy.
This coming Christmas is a different one is so many way. I’m not going to list it all, you’re welcome, but for the sake of this post actually making sense I will reveal one. All (if possible) presents I will be buying will be bought from a charity shop, or the money donated to charity, or from a small business.
It makes so much sense! I don’t know why I haven’t done it before.
The idea only came to me because my partner isn’t a fan of Christmas because of the consumerism. Which I agree with, and would try to explain that it isn’t about the presents;
‘Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!’ The Grinch
But yeah, I see what he was saying. Although the Grinch worked that out, a lot of other people haven’t. The only answer when dating a girl who is obsessed with all things Christmas is to stick to your own morals and ideals, you don’t need to get wrapped up (oh the pun) in the present buying. It’s just stress and it feels weird. For me and I’m sure a lot of people, Christmas is about thanking those you love and a celebration for the past year. I want to get those I love a little something to show my appreciation – that’s it. For a added bonus, I get a kick from making my own presents and cards – and in this case, gift tags.
I’ve made my own gift tags. Yes I have. I want people to know where they came from, it gives me a warm feeling. Not in a ‘I’M A GREAT PERSON AND I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW AND PRAISE ME!’ way, because it did just occur to me that it sounds like I’m boasting and shitting on everyone else’s ideals. More in a ‘this is what Christmas means to me’ way. I just need to add as well that the gifts from etsy are generally so cute and personal, and oh my God so exciting when they come through the post and you unwrap it to see how they’ve packaged it.
So, why presents from these places and not a ‘normal’ shop? It just seems mad to think that we all go to the same huge businesses that don’t benefit the little man, and I’m not going to go into it but I think we are all aware of where the products are made and the all negatives. I can’t personally dive into it right now, for my mental health exploding for the, I don’t know, 12th time today (?), because I still do shop at these places so even if I don’t support it, I’m supporting it.. My brain. Ouch.
My brother argued with me that these big businesses have thousands of employees to pay – I even work for a big business – so it could have a negative impact on all those people. My family like to debate, I should add. Just because I don’t completely agree with it doesn’t mean others don’t. These big businesses are going to make their money. While their employees get paid £7 an hour. It’s okay for me to not buy from these companies.
I do urge you to buy a few gifts from the little man this Christmas, it means a lot more to them and it feels good.
If you would like to download my homemade gift tags click on the link below. I printed mine onto recycled card stock.
Just in case you were wondering if it is more difficult finding and buying gifts this way, I have found it easier surprisingly. Thanks for reading! This is the part where I serenade you with a Christmas song as you walk away…
I had a very different Christmas this year. Most traditions that I look forward to couldn’t happen, but I knew this before I got my hopes up. Also I’m in a transition into making my own Christmas traditions based on what I think is important and exciting. For the last few years, every Christmas I write a note to myself for the next Christmas – what I enjoyed, what I didn’t enjoy, who liked what present etc. I will start with the differences.
The start of my different Christmas was when my boyfriend and I got a real Christmas tree. I have never had a real one before so that was really exciting, and I’ve concluded I would like to have a real tree each year. Decorating a real tree is so unlike decorating a fake one, it sets a different atmosphere to the room. It’s also true to everything I agree with about perfection – real trees aren’t perfectly shaped and I love that. That’s my kind of thing.
Secondly I listened to Christmas music and watched Christmas movies by myself. I enjoy time by myself, especially watching a film because I react a lot more honestly, so if I want to cry or laugh I will, with no influence by other people watching it, and I’m completely immersed in the story with no distraction. But in the past at Christmas time I would always watch films with other people because it is the thing to do. I learnt this year that I can watch or listen by myself (seeing as I could do that for the whole month. Easily.) and by doing that I can choose which ones to watch, and not settle on the ones I don’t care much for. It’s almost like ‘me time’. Really enjoyed that.
Thirdly, I bought later and thought less on the presents. And the ones I did buy were mainly personalised – photo gifts or handmade, like these star baubles that I made for a few people. This was very successful and I much preferred it. It means a lot more. Apparently my sister nearly cried over her (cheapest) gift – which was a photo book of her son’s first month. Happy tears I mean. Important to clear that up.
Fourth difference is that I was away for Christmas, for the first time ever. I was with the boyfriend’s family who lives hours away, and have a very different accent to me. We had a great time. It also helped me with my ‘research’ on what new traditions are important for me.
And the strangest difference for me, as it used to be one of the most important parts of Christmas, was that this was the first Christmas without eating meat for dinner. I have been a vegetarian for only six months, so it was so weird not polishing off the sausages, but obviously good for myself because I didn’t want to.
As for my notes for next year, it is always the same and I’m still unsure on what to do. It is always ‘less about presents’. Not a note for myself, for others. I feel like Cindy Lou Who, though instead of everyone coming together at the end and realising we don’t need presents and start singing in unison, I just give in and buy presents. I do really enjoy buying presents though, I’m appreciative of any gifts I get and I think it’s great to end the year showing how much you love people. I just really don’t enjoy watching everyone else getting stressed and buying for the sake of it. I like a more down to earth and home made Christmas.
The only thing I can do is stick to my own ideals, which I did do this year – by making some presents and doing personal ones – including our Christmas card (second year of making our own). It’s not about how much money is spent – like I said, my sister cried over her cheapest gift, not over the most expensive one. So next year more personalising and more home made. Note made.
I’m excited to fill in the Christmas book for my little man in the next few days, and getting started on my New Year Resolutions.
Fan-bloody-tastic. Over and out, Emily x
For me, and I assume most other people, it’s the little things that make moments special. The things that aren’t really noticed or appreciated. They’re almost ignored, to the point when you think ‘why hasn’t anyone pointed this out’, but subliminally it’s burnt into their brain to create the cherry on top of the cake. Like, imagine visiting your Grandparents and not seeing the old nicknack’s on the shelve. Or seeing Santa but not in his grotto surrounded by presents or elf’s or all things cute, but in an empty shed, sitting on a plastic picnic chair. Why is Santa in a shed you ask, I’m not quite sure, ask him yourself, but you get the idea. It’s all about the atmosphere, and how to add it to subliminally to make the day just a little bit more special. Today I will show you two easy table decorations that I have used and you could use for the Christmas dinner table – wine necklaces and Santa napkin holders.
I haven’t seen wine necklaces in real life, maybe it isn’t an English thing. It does seem a little bit douchy, but I wanted to be that person. Everything good about Christmas is obnoxious though so whatever (I just search ‘obnoxious’ in Urban Dictionary and it says ‘the kind of people u wanna shoot in the head…’ haha yeah).
I used the same wooden discs as my antique style baubles, and stained them as I explained in the post. I really like the light stain so I wanted to use the technique again. I drew around the disc onto card and stamped the message I wanted onto the card (the reason ‘eat’ and ‘merry’ have green ink over the blue was because I wanted to re stamp it, and I could have started again, but then the other words may not have been where I wanted them to be. I don’t know, I may or may not recommend stamping over what you’ve stamped already..)
I cut out the stamped words using a craft knife, not very carefully unfortunately, I blame the Baileys. Wow, drinking and playing with knifes? No no, I wasn’t drunk, but as soon as I have a sip I relax and think ‘yeah, that’ll do.’
I held the card up to the light and taped the wooden disc to the back. Next I used my sliver metallic spray (it isn’t Christmas until you use sliver or gold spray), and in a ventilated area sprayed over the words. Once it dried I used a silver glitter paint and painted a few coats around the edge, and used my finger to drag it into the middle. I then used my hot glue gun to stick a silver elastic ribbon to the back. And it was done!
It’s always important to encourage to eat, drink and be merry, just in case they forget.
I first made these Santa napkin holders when I was twelve or maybe even younger. This is one of the originals I made that my Mum has kept all these years. It’s made out of paper, and when it wasn’t flattened it stood up just as well as these new ones I made, and obviously were made a lot quicker so if you are stuck for time I recommend paper. But.. look at that face, I could never beat that.
These renovated Santa napkins are made out of white faux fur and googly eyes. I cut each beard to a similar shape as before and used the hot glue gun to stick the eyes in place and then the long pieces together. I was surprised the hot glue gun didn’t melt the eyes, I took a risk but it worked out well. I also had to make sure to cut off any extra material as it is a lot heavier than paper.
I opened it up so it was like a cone, folded the bottom under, then plopped it down onto the table without much thought, so it would keep a more natural shape.
They’re mental, I like mental.
Another idea that I have also done for a Christmas meal – instead of having place cards, I bought everyone a Christmas chocolate that was associated to them. So for my older sister I bought a One Direction Chocolate bar, her boyfriend had something Star Wars, my older brother had something Marvel and my Mum an owl (not that she actually likes them, just a private joke). I didn’t have to write anyone’s name down, they knew which one was theirs.
Over and out, Emily x
I remember my Mum being a little reluctant when I used to come home from my Nan’s with another ‘Christmas thing’ I had made. As encouraging as she is, the thought to her of finding a place for that craft item after Christmas was a bit overwhelming (.. is that the word?) ‘more stuff’ she would say.
I don’t say this negatively, it inspired me to put together a scrap book for the little man in my life. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to decorate the outside of a scrap book each Christmas (maybe even each season) and once the celebrations are over and the decorations are coming down any crafts made could be stuck in (obviously not anything 3D) and also all Christmas photos can go in there, as we all forget to print them nowadays, and their Christmas cards. I doubt I will do anything but stick them all in there and write a few comments (example: You cried your heart out when you met Santa!) This isn’t an on going project that I’m talking about, as much as I love on going projects, I don’t want any weight on my shoulders. Just a quick and easy scrap book that I can throw together each year, filled with memories.
So this is the design I went for this year.
I started off with printing with the toddler, green foot prints, for the ‘tree’, and yellow hand prints for the ‘star’. I did a few for back up, but any extras will be stuck into the book.
I had a pad of Christmas papers, so I tried out the different patterns, and played around with the layout before sticking it down.
I love crafting with my toddler, so much. It amazes me when he complies rather than messes around and eat the paint like I expect of an active little man. It warms my heart when I see his fascination at what we are doing. I have to remind myself that this is the first few times that he has done anything with paint, or crafting, so it is all new, and new is fun and exciting. Which in turn makes me excited to fill this book up for him.
I love this new tradition!
Over and out, Emily x