Christmases past

First living wreath

Every year I do it. Get over-excited. Plan too much. End up feeling a bit less jolly and a bit more postal.

Edge of fabric cracker

Not doing it this year.

Gingerbread house - front view

I do have a few things planned – I mean a girl can’t just go cold Christmas turkey now can she?

Christmas drinks invitations and Christmasy polar bear

But mainly I’m just trying to be present. In each moment. And yes, I know how trite that sounds but I am still committed to doing it because I think it is worthwhile.

Cream velvet bow on golden Christmas tree decoration

And my window of opportunity to have little girls looking at the Elf on the Shelf in wonder is swiftly closing.

Christmas Tea light, vintage bauble and shelf elf

In fact, the older one already maintains that she’s sure the elf comes from Ebay and not the North Pole.

Close-up of jingle bells on Olive's stocking

You have to believe to receive, I say. And that puts paid to her scepticism. Out loud, at least.

Cracker

In the meantime I’ve been looking back through some of my posts from past Christmases. I’m re-posting some of my favourite projects and hope they might give you some festive inspiration…or just provide a bit of xmas eye-candy at the very least.

Christmas Card - bunting

Click on the “Christmas ” in the righthand sidebar to see all these and many more Christmas posts. There aren’t really tutorials for most of these but if you want any details , drop me an email (on the contacts page above) and I’ll be very happy to oblige you with  a quick set of instructions.

Christmas candy cane lollipps

I love the wintery-ness of a Northern hemisphere Christmas. Which is completely at odds with the searing heat of antipodean celebrations.

Tolkien's Father Christmas Letters - Polar Bear's Accident

Don’t get me wrong, I relish everything about an Australian Christmas but I simply cannot help but emblazon things with snowflakes. Feels so wrong and yet I can’t stop.  Christmas crack.

Jube wreath close up with description

This cosy Christmas in July was a natural progression for one so taken with the thought of roaring fires and snow-trimmed windows.

Christmas table by candlelight

There’s a white Christmas in our near future. I feel it in me waters.

Starlight mint bauble with description

What about you, my darlings. Grand Christmas project plans? I love to live vicariously so let me know in the comments if you feel inclined. Oh go on, do.

Starlight mint LED lights

Christmas in July: cinnamon and snowflakes

I love Christmas. Deeply. In fact, a couple of years ago, Christmas and I basically got married. So Christmas in July has always been very alluring to me but for one reason or another I’ve never actually got around to it. I’ve always been too busy, or too committed to other stuff or too something. And it was just the same this year. But this year my yuletide cravings got the better of me and despite not really having oodles of time on my hands, I decided to host a small Christmas in July anyway.

And because it’s me, I couldn’t just content myself with a bit of turkey, a carol or two and some store-bought plum pudding (even if I had been able to track it down at this time of year). No. I had to go if not the whole hog, then at least a good half of that pig.

The thing about real Christmas in Australia is that it’s so hot. And while there is lots of nostalgic tradition that goes along with an Aussie Christmas (Rolf Harris singing Six White Boomers anyone?), there is still something undeniably un-Christmasy about eating turkey and ham with all the trimmings plus plum pud on a hot day. No matter how many Orange Blossom cocktails you have drunk and stupid paper hats you’ve donned.

That’s why many Australian families have a seafood Christmas lunch. Which, frankly, is far more geographically suited but doesn’t really make me want to fa la la la la.

So, if you haven’t already guessed, my Christmas in July was a snowy affair. A tribute to Christmas in a cold, Northern clime.

Pre-dinner nibbles consisted of a giant, kitschy cheeseball and bowls of nuts and bolts. Loves me some good old nuts and bolts. If high levels of salt are dangerous, then nuts and bolts is an assassin. Just once a year thanks my loves.

We ate turkey cooked on our Weber. It was moist. Fist-pumpingly moist. That just sounds so wrong. So moving right along… our sides were brussel sprouts tossed with bacon and toasted hazlenuts, roast potatoes, parsnip puff (like an italian savoury budino) with home-made roasted garlic and red wine gravy, cranberry sauce (out of a jar) and…ummm…copious amounts of red and white wine.

We even made gluhwein which nobody ended up actually drinking (despite my offers to warm glasses in my cleavage) but which perfumed the house with the most Christmas-y of scents.

Finally, a spectacular plum pudding made to a recipe passed down from at least as far back as Betty’s mother: my great-grandmother.

We finished in a coma. And then had coffee with homemade rum truffles.

I have to tell you that my mum made the cheese ball, the puff, the pud and trussed the turk. I simply could not have done this without her. It started out well but as the date drew near it became glaringly obvious I had been ever so slightly ambitious and a team of people would be required to execute my plans. Thank goodness, not only does my mum regularly help me pull off my overly-ambitious dinner stunts, but she’s also worth about 3 people and she came to my rescue once again. Thanks mum.

We listened to Dean Martin  and Bing Crosby sing wintery Christmas carols and generally had a very merry old time that went on until the wee hours of the morning. At that point, when we realised it was almost 2am and most of us would be up with small children in a few hours,  everyone ran off into the frosty night.

And I collapsed on the couch and vowed never to do anything so ambitious ever again. It was a big night for old people like us. So big I didn’t really feel back in form until about Thursday of last week. But now I know I’m back on track, because now I’m dreaming of a hot Christmas…just 6 short months away.