This post was written in collaboration with Kleenex®.
A full-blown case of festive-itis … come tour my Christmas home!
Over the past couple of weeks, a strange phenomenon has occurred in our house. It’s been most unusual. It started with a cinnamon and winter berry candle placed on the coffee table mid-November. Then came twinkly lights on the gin bar. Next it was a star hanging from the picture hook. Okay, three stars. They were closely followed by the appearance of holly and eucalyptus branches placed in oversized vases. And before the clock had even struck midnight on November 30th, orange slices were baking in the oven, Home Alone 2 was on the TV, and eggnog was swirling around in my glass.
Can you guess what had happened?
Which strange phenomenon had struck our household?
Yes, it was the early onset of festive-itis, a gorgeously glittery state which convinces even the most strident non-believer that they should embrace all things merry and joyful regardless of whether the first door on their advent calendar has been opened or not.
Truth be told, this has never happened to me before. Baubles normally remain boxed until well in to December. And it’s not unusual for our living room to be minus a tree up until the boys finish school for the holidays. Because I love the days between Christmas and New Year the most, I carry on as normal at the beginning of the month not wanting to peak too soon.
Perhaps it has something to do with our new house. I sensed magic in the air the moment I walked through the front door on that cold February afternoon. What I hadn’t realised at the time was that it was Christmas magic I could feel.
Possibly the best kind of magic, right?
The garden wowed me through the spring and summer months but the cosy living room and the hypnotic glow from wood burner have completely captivated me since the nights started drawing in. I’ve been going to bed dreaming of red knitted stockings hanging from the mantelpiece and mince pies placed on the hearth for the big guy (Father Christmas, not my husband).
So now we’re in December, a month where a full-blown case of festive-itis is acceptable, encouraged even, what does my home look like? Well, not only will I tell you, I’ll take you on a little bit of a tour of my favourite corners. Come, take a look.
While most opt for Michael or Mariah at this time of year, I can’t resist a bit of Jim Reeves. No song is more nostalgic than An Old Christmas Card. And that, for me, is part of the joy of Christmas. It’s a sentimental time – a memory marker - when even the most forgetful amongst us can recall ‘this time last year’, or ‘this time ten years ago’. We bring out baubles from our childhood tree, make mince pies using our grandmother’s recipe, and always hang a stocking despite it being quite some years since we last penned a letter to Santa.
Traditions unite families, don’t they? In contrast to the post-Christmas dinner board games which tend to ignite old rivalries. So, if you’re getting together for Christmas Day, don’t forget the Kleenex tissues for those inevitable teary moments – the new Kleenex®Collection Cubes are so pretty, they’ll slot in seamlessly in amongst your decorations and will impress even the most hard to please visitor this Christmas!
Gift tags, tree decorations, customised wrapping paper, bespoke crackers, bowls full sweet-smelling orange and cinnamon sticks … we’re a household that loves a handmade touch, particularly at Christmas. It’s the time of year where you’re guaranteed to find paint marks on our dining table and pieces of air-drying clay on our desks. Some survive the year (and a house move), and some don’t. But that’s okay because we’re happy to make them all over again … especially dried orange slices as they smell heavenly.
The boys get busy
While our family tree doesn’t go up until closer to Christmas Day, the boys are tinsel-crazy and have one in each of their bedrooms which they put up on December 1st. My eight-year-old has no theme or scheme when it comes bauble choice. Anything goes. And the more, the merrier. His favourite remains this unidentifiable gem.
In contrast, my five-year-old is much more restrained sticking to just blue, white and gold. But he has invited his foxes to get festive this year, though. Needless to say, there is a Kleenex® Collection Cube for both their rooms, which compliments even the most drastic of decoration choices!
A Christmas pegboard
There’s no season which can’t be brought to life on a pegboard. I’ve done spring, I’ve done summer, I’ve done autumn, I’ve made a gin bar, and I’ve transformed it in to a coffee shop and a craft corner. This year, I have a new pegboard and it sits in the little hallway between the boys’ rooms so I handed over the festivising (if that isn’t a real word, it should be) to them.
Don’t you just love the mini tree sitting next to the colourful Kleenex® Collection Cubetissue box? The boys are already mulling over what to make with it when it’s empty – cut off the top square, pop on some Lego wheels and it’s a great marble carrier, apparently.
Table settings and taste trials
And then there’s the practice runs for the big day. Choosing the least mismatched crockery (we don’t have a dinner service with enough plates for twelve), perfecting napkin folds, making name tags, debating whether a holly centrepiece is a good thing or will it just leave less room for yummy food, and of course, sampling any potential Christmas Day puddings in advance. All in the name of trying to do our best for our guests, obviously. We’re good like that.
What does Christmas look like in your house? Are you pro or anti tinsel? And which song is smack bang on top of your festive playlist? It’s Jim Reeves, too, isn’t it? Go on, admit it!