I am a Christmas-o-phile. I LOVE the season of joy and goodwill to all men. Nothing has or ever will stop that. I am the Christmas Fairy and the ghost of Christmas Presents combined. The run in to Christmas is one of my favourite times.And today (mid-November) I am putting down a list of all the things I love about November and December. Appreciating the small things; it’s all part of hygge.
- Music: From November 1st I start playing my Christmas music in the car, on a loop all the time. And not just the usual festive fare, but unusual choices like The Pasadena Roof Orchestra or Twisted Sister.
- The scents of Christmas: I love orange, cinnamon, vanilla, mixed spice, the smell of a fresh cut fir branch, mulled red wine, frankincense and oranges again. I love to layer my house.with pot pourri, essential oil spray, washing up liquid, handwash in the public bathrooms, and this year’s weirdest scent layer is mulled wine scent tissues from Tesco.
- Candles: Only white or red unscented. I have one scented candle in my living room, but it’s open as an air freshener rather than used as a candle. I love tealights in jars or on holders, long tapered candles for the dining table and some votive candles spread around the house as well.
- Fairy lights: Is there a room in the house that can’t be improved with a string of fairylights? Even Nigella knows the magic of softer twinkling lights in making things look better.
- Gloves: I have several pairs that I keep in a basket in my bedroom, usually my leather or suede gloves. I pick the colour for the week and wear them with all my coats. I love red, green or a ferociously jade/teal green that haunted my dreams last year and then turned up in the sales. I also have woolly gloves for wearing to the park or for walks in the chill night air.
- Open windows: I love walking through the local streets and having a glimpse inside houses, in the twilight hour when people have switched on the lights but not closed the curtains. It’s like having a TV set that changes channel every time you move along. And I love watching how the houses change gradually through December, with trees or wreaths appearing on the doors and in the living rooms, with the decorations appearing along the roof and in the garden. Finding a favourite garden and walking past to see it every day is an easy way to exercise and get a Christmas hit as you do.
- Warming my slippers on the radiators: I have a pair of really old bootie slippers. I wash them often to save the smell getting too bad and after they’re dry leaving them on the radiator to get cosy warm is a real treat.
- Special Food for the winter: Oranges, satsumas, tangerines, any citrus fruit that is small and sweet is really acceptable in my house. I love medjool dates, spiced mixed nuts, and the occasional treat of a sweet from a Celebrations tin. I love gingerbread especially Gingerbread men or Lebkuchen from Germany.
- Winter sunshine: I work so for me the sunshine either happens through my office window or is grabbed in a weekend walk. I love how there is no heat in it, how it slices through cloud and makes sharp knife edges of light that fall on the floor like silk.
- Scarves and hats: I don’t wear hats, but I do do scarves and a good scarf wrapped around the neck and pulled up almost to the top of my head is a pleasure. Even more so if I remember to stick it on the radiator again before I go out.
- Pyjama Days: My sons want every day to be a pyjama day, but I love having a proper one in the winter, where you wear lounging pyjamas (I guess you could call them hygge keks, keks being the Scouse word for trousers) and snuggle under a blanket. Even better in snow.
- Winter weather: I like rain, and walking in the rain, as much because it gives you a reason to slip into your hygge keks as because it feels good to get wet and then to become warm and dry again. And snow! I think we get it so rarely that any snow day is a magical and wonderful experience. I’m sure some of my children’s best memories are of days bunked off school because the snow was too heavy to get there and school cancelled. I loved best when they rang ahead. Our primary school is about ten metres THAT way, so we could make it there even if the snow was 6 feet deep!
And that’s my list for now. There’s more I like about this time of year, but I’m saving that until nearer Christmas.
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