Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Twelve Steps to Christmas

With just one week until Christmas, I trust by now you're all totally enthralled in the Christmas spirit and have nothing else on your mind. Well, I know I am anyway! However, if you still haven't felt the Christmas cheer yet, fear not! I have a list of Christmas traditions that are sure-fire ways to get you in the mood. Read on my Grinchy friends!

Decorate the tree.
This is an obvious one, of course, but Christmas would be nothing without a beautiful tree lighting up the room each evening. If you haven't already got yours up then do so - pronto! The decorations you see above are a combination of Spotlight, Big W and Woolworths baubles which proves you don't have to spend an outrageous amount of money to have a good looking tree. Or you could make your own!

Christmas Wrapping.
Nothing brings me more joy than giving presents. Except, perhaps, the wrapping of said presents. I really love the extra kick of Christmas excitement as I sit on the floor, surrounded by paper and sticky-tape, while listening to various Christmas albums (more on that to come). This year my wrapping paper is from Typo and I picked up the ribbon from kikki.K here. I made the name tags myself by simply cutting the shape out of parchment and attaching with brown twine.

Bedroom Bling.
Decorating the house is one thing, but what I love most is having my own bedroom looking festive. This year I've hung icicle fairy lights above my bed and added some hand-cut snowflakes which are hanging on twine. I also had some extra bauble that didn't really suit the colour scheme for my tree so I made a cute little bedside table feature out of some branches in this bottle. I really am dreaming of a white Christmas, but this year I think this is the closest I'm going to get to it. I'm alright with that though - at least while this looks so pretty.

Christmas Baking.
Even if you're not the most talented chef in the world, you can still get into the Christmas spirit through baking. There are some really simple festive cookie recipes out there! I've had a fair crack at them and so far I've really loved these Orange and Cranberry Cookies which I found from LadySmart  as well as these Hazelnut Shortbread Wreaths. Other things to try this time of year are gingerbread, rumballs and mince pies!

Whether you're expecting Santa to fill them or not, nothing implies the excitement of Christmas day like hanging up your stocking. I made my own this year which adds to the satisfaction of seeing them hanging. Hint: anything with bells on it is going to double, at least, its Christmas factor. These stockings, in unison, could literally be the sound of reindeer. In other words, they're awesome.

Christmas Cards.
I love receiving Christmas cards in the mail. I find it sad that, with today's technology, they have fallen by the wayside a little bit. It really brings me pleasure to wish my friends and family - some of whom I rarely get to see - a happy and safe Christmas. It's such a simple and easy way to spread the cheer at this time of year and let people know that you're thinking of them.

Christmas Nails.
It couldn't very well be a beauty blog without adding some sort of beauty into the list! These D.I.Y. nails, which featured on my blog last week, were so simple that even a nail novice such as myself could do them! I also shown how to achieve an equally as simple, red and white Christmas themed nail. So, if you're thinking of trying something a little more festive for Christmas day but are unsure how to do it, you might also want to have a look-see here.

Christmas Movies.
I'll be the first to admit, when it comes to Christmas movies I'm a little bit addicted. It happens every year. As soon as the tree comes out, the holiday films are quick to follow suit. My favourites, in no specific order, are Elf, Love Actually, The Grinch, Mixed Nuts, Miracle on 34th Street and any version of A Christmas Carol (there are many but The Muppets do the best!). In my opinion, there is not much that can beat sitting down and enjoying a Christmas film with the tree lights shining in the background.

Add an advent calendar.
Once it hits December, the countdown begins for the big day. I still love the tradition of having an advent calendar to help me count down the sleeps. There are so many different kinds to choose from, from the simple chocolate a day to the rather indulgent calendars from the likes of Ciate, Benefit and the Body Shop. It's still not too late to pick up a cheapy and start counting down those sleeps!

It doesn't matter where you are in the world, the scent of Christmas can always be enhance through a candle. Hints of cinnamon, orange, pine etc. are always going to get you in the mood. However, I find the simple sight of a lit candle does enough on its own - in fact, the tradition originated as a sign of charity and good will for the poor. I love the look of these tea lights in jars which I've filled with Epsom salts. It looks so pretty - just like snow.

Christmas Music.
If you've gone through all of these steps and are still struggling to feel it this Christmas, you've got to pull out the big guns. It's time to bring forth the Christmas albums. I know that you either love or hate Christmas songs. However, when "All I Want For Christmas" comes on while you walk down the aisles of the supermarket, you know it's Christmas time. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, Christmas songs have the ability to bring out the Christmas in all of us. My all time favourite albums (ie. Ones that are played on a loop every year) are Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas, Elvis Presley's If Everyday Was Like Christmas and Michael Buble's Christmas. These are all the epitome of Christmas in my world and, with the likes of Elvis, take me back to Christmas Eve as a little girl as I set out snacks for Santa and the reindeer.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a Christmas nut. However, I can assure you that if you follow these steps you will be too. If all else fails, I find that the easiest, yet most effective way in which to feel the joy of Christmas is to simply wish someone else a 'Merry Christmas'. It might be a friend, a colleague, the person behind the counter at the grocery store or even someone you pass in the street. Someone I've never met wished me a 'Happy Holidays' on Instagram the other day and it made my day. I love this time of year, if nothing else, for its ability to bring out the best in people and help us share the love.

I hope you are all having a lovely lead up to Christmas and have a happy and safe day!
Do you have any other traditions that help you get in the Christmas mood? Comment below and let me know what they are!

Rachel x