Tag: christmas

Spend Time not Money the Christmas

When I think of Christmas I think of traditions.  Those little rituals that cause you to feel warm and happy.  For me, it’s these little  things you do year after year that make my festive season special.  Spending time rather than money

I have put together a round-up of Christmas traditions that have been part of my family for years, and others that I have gathered from other fabulous woman around the world.

Here are my top 8 Christmas traditions (in no particular order):

  1. The treat cupboard.  So many of us remember our Mom’s having a special cupboard or shelf set aside for Christmas treats.  We start buying early and slowly it fills up with lovely goodies that are only revealed on the 24 December.  I love the illicit delight of knowing that there is chocolate in the house, but it cannot be eaten.  This is a really practical tradition too – because it is a great idea to spread the cost.
  2. This leads neatly into a fabulous Christmas tradition that I started when my son was born (23 years ago). I received a book call the Ultimate Christmas Book by Jane Newdick.  In it she describes a tradition called the 13 desserts which originates in Provence.  On Christmas eve you set out a plate with a risen cake (I use a small Pantone) and 12 other treats including fruits, nuts, nougat, biscuits and more.  These are to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles.  The idea is that this plate of goodness is to be refilled over the festive season, and welcomes people to your home.  In my home it is simply called ‘the plate’ and is an essential part of Christmas.
  3. Christmas music. My guilty pleasure.  There is nothing I like more than cranking up the volume and singing along.  I wait with eager anticipation for Christmas FM to come online.  Christmas music is an absolute must when decorating the tree, cooking the turkey and wrapping gifts.
  4. Christmas Cards – giving and receiving. I think it is quite sad that the ritual of sending cards seems to be dying out.  I make my own cards and love the process of checking addresses, writing short messages and getting a pile ready for the post office.  It is a really good way of remembering people who you might not see that often and touching base at least once a year.  I also have to admit I love the thunk of a Christmas card through the door, and delight in seeing who it is from, and savouring the connection.
  5. Books and chocolate on Christmas Eve.  Although we normally allow one gift from under the tree on Christmas eve, I have recently read of the practice of receiving gifts of books and chocolates the night before Christmas and then snuggling up for a good read and a nibble.  Jolabokaflod – literally translated as book flood is an Icelandic tradition that I will definitely be adopting.
  6. Decorating the tree. We all have special dates we start, and then special traditions.  Each decoration I have is individual and many are handmade.  As each decoration come out, it tells a story.  So many of us have decorations and baubles bought to mark special occasions like the birth of a new child.  that mean a lot or decorations that hold lots of memories.  Put on the Christmas music, break out the mince pies and keep decorating.
  7. Christmas Baking. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but almost everyone you speak to has a Christmas baking tradition.  Every sense is awakened by baking – including the obvious delicious tastes and smells!  In our home we have to have homemade shortbread – which is consumed when unwrapping stockings on Christmas morning.
  8. The Gingerbread House – although this could be considered baking it isn’t really. Every year I buy a kit. Which we assemble on Christmas eve.  It has progressed from a purely Mom affair through a family construction that was more fun than beautiful to a carefully engineered construction.  I do know that it always means lots of laughs and the gift of time spent together.

Christmas is a great time to think of the people we share our life with, and to spend time, rather than money.

I would love to wish you and your family a wonderful festive season as you take time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  Happy making memories.

Kerry xx

Top 7 Best and Worst Christmas Moments that I can Remember

The more I think about Christmases past and present, I realise that the best ones are those packed with memories of moments that cannot be wrapped.  Here are my top seven Christmas memories, funny, not so funny but all memorable.

Seven memories that will not be forgotten

  1. The Christmas when I was about ten year’s old when  I fell asleep in the sun in my bikini on Christmas eve.  My bum was seriously badly burned and blistered – I couldn’t sit down.  I will never forget it!
  2. Last Christmas – when Christmas and birthday’s came together as we had a family reunion to celebrate my Mum’s 80th It was a typically crazy family celebration with countless memories that can be taken out again and again.
  3. The year I put my back out and Santa chores had to be delegated. I opened my Christmas stocking to find that I had been brought a number of different laxatives and pain pills.  Not that I wasn’t grateful, but really Santa??
  4. When I was growing up we spent our Christmases on the south coast of KwaZulu Natal, at a family hotel. A highlight of Christmas was Santa arriving by helicopter and then walking along the roof of the hotel and then descending in the lift to deliver all the kids presents.  One year when I was about 7 there was a serious glitch and I was gifted with a model aeroplane – just like all the other boys my age.  I was devastated!  I was the girliest girl about.  That Christmas memory lived a long time.
  5. My first Christmas as a mother. I was a new mom as my son was born in November, and still reeling from the changes in my life (including post natal depression).  I was spoilt rotten with lots of gifts to unwrap and the best gift to cuddle.
  6. The year of the big snow! We had no power, I was recovering from a car crash after sliding in black ice and yet we made it happen.  We somehow sneaked a large gaming chair into the car and revealed it as a big surprise on Christmas morning.  This was a year that I learned that shopping was not essential for Christmas – creativity and imagination and a good attitude where.  The pipes were frozen and we were using baby wipes to wash and boiling snow for tea, but we were warm in family festivities.
  7. In my twenties I spent Christmas with my childhood friend and her family. I will always remember the joy and laughter of those special days.  We laughed until we cried.  We over-ate, and we behaved like children getting into the spirit of the day.  One year I tried to do a dye job on my own hair. My blond hair turned purple and there was not much I could do about it except pretend I was a lavender haired fairy from the Christmas tree come to life!

There have been many more Christmases and so many more memories.  As I sit writing this listening to Christmas music, thoughts are flooding though my brain.  This year Christmas is again a bit odd as I have been without my car for a month.  What I am realising is that it is the gifts that don’t come wrapped that create the best memories.  The love and laughter, great food and even better company.  It is the time of year, when we connect with friends and family by sending a card, carefully choosing a gift, and taking time to visit and catch up.

My wish for us all this Christmas is that we create new and wonderful memories that we can unpack year after year.  Remember to take photos and most importantly to give hugs.

 

Happy Christmas 2017

 

Kerry xx

 

 

 

Introducing the gifts drawer – the joy of planning and giving

The Gift  Drawer Fabuliciousfifty

 

I love buying gifts, I buy them all year round and then keep them in a very important place – my gift drawer.

It isn’t about the value of the gift for me, but rather about the sentiment, and the person I am buying for.  I get so excited when I find something that simply shouts out a name, and I know it is the right gift.

My gift drawer makes me smile.  It has some random goodies collected throughout the year.  It is lovely to know that when November comes and Christmas countdown begins, I can rummage through my drawer. I always find that I have collected lots of gorgeous goodies specifically for the special people in my life.

Not just for Christmas

Of course a gift drawer is not just for Christmas (although it certainly helps). It is also there for birthdays and those very important gifts – gifts with no reason.

Quite often when I am going to visit someone instead of buying chocolates or wine, I might have a peek in the present drawer.  This magical drawer often yields just the right thing to take along and make my host feel special.

I do love giving but I have honestly learnt the best lessons on giving from getting.  I think of the feeling I had when a friend arrived with a paper bag full of little gifts all of which show how well she knows me and how much she cares.

Lots of gifts at the ready

When I was a little girl I had a lisp.  Legend has it that when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas I replied Biths and Pieces.  I still think it is a great idea.  I delight in lots of little parcels – all with meaning.   Because of this, I rarely buy one large gift but prefer to collect up a little grouping of special things with great memories and thoughts.

I am blessed to have friends and family who think like me, and treat me to special times unwrapping little gifts all carefully thought out.

Home made treasures

I also make a lot of my gifts – upcycling common household items and of course raiding my craft supplies.  A personalised gift is a great way of telling someone who you really care.  For this reason I have a second drawer with items that fit into this category.  This year I am going to be creating some personalised jewellery using mini art works and photographs.  I am also determined to try the Sharpie oven bake idea for personalising gifts.

Wrapping and writing

The third drawer down in this magical chest is the wrapping and writing drawer.  The place where I keep wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons and cards.  And of course tape and scissors (as I am always looking for them!

My mom always takes so much time wrapping gifts.  I remember Christmas where each gift was wrapped in tissue and then in matching cellophane and then curly bows pulled with scissors.  These are the memories that make me smile!

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

 

 

Win some Fabulous Christmas Baubles!

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It is almost time to decorate!  I like to make decorating day into an occassion.  I start with Christmassy bites.  Mince pies are essential as well as a box of Quality Street or Roses for nibbling on.

When I put my decorations away, I wrap them in pages from the TV guide and then into old biscuit and sweetie tins.  This makes unwrapping fun!

Many of the decorations have special meaning to me and it is great to reminisce about where they came from.  I have paper ornaments made in school and beautiful fabric ones make by a friend and beaded wire ornaments from South Africa.

Each year I treat myself to a few new ones.  This year I already have my eye on some of the gorgeous ones at EZ Living Furniture (very tempting as this is where I work).  Take a look at some of the gorgeous goodies on the web site.

Pinterest is also great for some fresh ideas – I must admit that I was drooling over photos while making my wish list.

I am delighted to say that I have been given a selection of 6 beautiful ornaments to give away on my blog.  Leave a comment here to be entered into the draw.  If you would like another entry, give it a like on Facebook and a share to spread the Christmas Cheer.

I will pull a winner on 6 December.  Sorry but this competition is only open to Ireland.

Thanks for reading and happy decorating.

Kerry x

Think less, sleep more – my relationship with Insomnia

 

Insomniacsonly 2 sleeps to Christmas (2)I have had a relationship with insomnia for many years.  I think I have it under control and then wham another night with two ten minute naps and I am sitting at work struggling to focus.

It was so bad at one stage, that my sister kindly send me a version of the image attached, reminding me that as an insomniac I only had two sleeps to wait until Christmas (6 months ahead).

After a particularly bad bout of sleeplessness recently a friend said to me ‘Kerry, you need to think less’.  Simple but it was a bit like a lightbulb moment.

I have a lot going on at the moment, working notice is my current job, preparing for a new job, wondering where I am going to live, house hunting, some personal issues, packing, the list goes on.  When my friend mentioned the idea of thinking less, I thought I had to try it.  Combined with my other insomnia busting tricks listed below, I had a fantastic night’s sleep and was woken by the light shining through the gap in the curtains.  I had even slept through my alarm.

Here are some of my old and new tips to combat wide eyes at night.  Now all I have to do, is remember to follow my own tips.

  1. Work out how long you need to sleep – I need around 6 hours. At one stage I was so tired I was heading to bed around 10 exhausted and then of course I was awake and tossing and turning from about 4 am.  I tend to aim for 11.30, have a little read and then lights out.  My alarm goes off at 6 and then I have the choice of a little slumber before hitting the shower.
  2. Bath before bed. Nothing like it – it is a real treat to run a hot bath with some nice lavender oil and relax while soaking.  Straight into bed after that and out like a light.  Read about my bath time ritual here.
  3. No screens in the bedroom. My TV is downstairs, as is my laptop and iPad.  Work is not for the bedroom.  I am still guilty of this as I keep my phone by my bedside.  Apparently the light mimics daylight and tricks our brains.  I really must try to plug it in downstairs and leave it.  Not quite sure I am ready though.
  4. Crisp clean sheets. If I have been having a bad patch, that hot bath is followed up with a slide into crisp clean sheets.
  5. There is nothing worse than being cold.  I have an underactive thyroid and this sometimes means my body cannot get warm.  I love my electric blanket and even admit to using it on the chillier nights in the summer.
  6. Aroma moments. Aromatherapy is a hobby for me.  There are always little bottles around the house for one remedy or another.  While lavender is an all time favourite, for sleep I use german camomile.  The tip was given to me by a friend years ago.  It is bright blue!  Put a few drops on a hankerchief or cloth and tuck it under your pillow.  Sweet dreams ensured.
  7. Think less – finally added to my list. Empty your mind and remind yourself that your worries and thoughts will still be there tomorrow.  It is time for sleeping now not thinking.  I have even read about the idea of writing things down in a book – and leave them there for the night.

So now will wish you sweet dreams.

Kerry xx

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