I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoying your festive break. ‚ Here’s a picture of me ‚ wearing my ‚ antlers on Christmas Day, as I couldn’t resist taking the mick out of myself as a treat for my 3 young nephews. ‚ I had just finished decorating my sister’s dining table for Christmas dinner. ‚ We chose an ice blue and gold colour scheme, with snowflake place cards hanging on the wine glasses, plus Christmas favours and our family tree as the table centre.
We woke this morning to a beautiful blanket of snow covering the garden. ‚ Although the sun is now shining and melting it away, it enthuses you with excitement for Christmas.
You may think that I spend a lot of time watching TV, but at this time of year it’s great to pick up some fresh ideas that you can try out yourself, so I buy a couple of Christmas magazines and I do love to watch the festive cooking programmes.
So on that note, have you been watching Jamie’s Family Christmas on Channel 4 this week? ‚ The series has now completed, although you can download the episodes on-line and also print off the recipes from their website.
The ‚ final episode shown last night was about party food and cocktails, and one fabulous idea that I’ve never seen before was a creative tip to decorate your alcoholic bottles such as vodka, but you do need a large freezer for this (and I’m thinking some mittens for serving!).
- Take an empty washed-out plastic bottle of coke (or similar) ‚ and carefully cut the lid off
- Place the full alcoholic bottle physically inside the plastic bottle, and fill around with water
- Using either fresh from your garden, or a local florist, snip some beautifully coloured leaves, berries and flowers
- Gently place the colourful foliage into the water down the sides of the bottle
- Stand the plastic bottle upright in a freezer until it’s frozen
- When it’s ready to be served to your guests, remove the plastic bottle leaving the iced foliage in place around the alcoholic bottle
As an alternative to Christmas crackers for your guests over Christmas, you could offer organiza bags filled with little treats that could be personalised for everyone.
You can either buy plain coloured bags that you could decorate yourself with ribbon, bells, miniature baubles and foliage, or you can find pre-printed Christmas bags. ‚ Tesco supply small coloured bags year-round in their party section if you think you don’t have time to shop elsewhere.
Then pick a small gift that each of your guests would really appreciate, such as lipstick, mini-pen, bracelet, keyring, post-it pad and place one in each bag. ‚ I tend to add a chocolate coin too, but it could be any sweet of your choice.
Rather than the usual joke or riddle, ‚ for Christmas you could include ‚ in each bag a written piece that describes the meaning of Christmas, such as explainations as to ‚ the ‚ origins of ‚ Santa, when was the first Christmas card offered and who were the three kings.
Most of us will be entertaining family and friends this Christmas, so here’s an idea to welcome guests into your home over the festive season.
For family, create a family tree that can be used to decorate a side dresser in your dining room or positioned on a plant stand in your living area. ‚ I’ve shown one above that I crafted for my display at the Ayr Flower Show this year. ‚ During a walk one afternoon, I simply collected dead branches ‚ that had fallen off shrubs and trees onto the floor. ‚ Place them in a tall vase, and using pegs or ribbon tie a collection of family photographs onto the twigs. ‚ Create some sparkle by adding bells, baubles or ‚ crystals.
As a twist for the New Year and similar to Wedding Day Wish Trees, use the same ‚ tree but bare ‚ and leave a tray of blank tags, with ribbon ‚ and a pen beside. ‚ Then ‚ ask your guests to write their New Year’s resolution on the tags and to hang them on the tree for all to share.
Have you been following the ‚ Kirstie Allsop’s Homemade Christmas series on Channel 4 this week? ‚ I’ve enjoyed watching it, and the last episode is on this evening. ‚ She’s been treating us to lots of different creative ideas which we can all make ‚ with our own fair hands in the countdown to Christmas, such as:
- soap bars as gifts
- blown-glass baubles
- fresh wreath for your front door
- beaded tassels ‚ to decorate the wrapping paper
- chutney in jars for family
- stockings to hang over your fireplace
If you have missed out, then simply browse the website link above and be inspired!
I have quite a lot of Christmas cards to send each year, to friends, family and my business contacts, so a few years ago I prepared a template for my address labels, which saves so much time every year in not having to handwrite each envelope.
The best labels for me are the L7160 series, which creates 21 labels from A4 and most good stationers will supply these. ‚ I tend to purchase online from Ryman, who have proved to be a very reliable supplier.
You can download a free L7160 template from Avery, so that you can print your own labels with ease. ‚ Each year I change the colour and style of font for my labels to match my Christmas cards, and this year ‚ I’ve gone festive red.
It feels a little earlier than usual, but this weekend I put up our Christmas trees and turned our home into a magical snug for the festive season.
Fancy a decoration with a difference to place on a mantlepiece, coffee table, window sill or dining table, then find a beautiful clear glass vase or bowl, and gently pile into it a set of colourful Christmas baubles. ‚ For an added twist, add dome fairy lights too, to brighten a darker corner.
How many of you have participated in a Secret Santa?
Don’t even know what it is, well if you fancy a wee treat in the lead up to Christmas with your friends, family or colleagues at work, then here’s an idea.
- Agree a gift budget, usually ‚ £5.
- Write all the names of those playing on separate pieces of paper.
- Stick them all in a hat.
- Everyone selects a ‚ name blind ‚ from the hat.
- If you pick your own name stick it back in the hat.
- Whichever name you pick, you are buying a gift for the person to the value agreed.
- Label your gift for the person who is receiving it, but don’t add your name, as it’s a secret.
- Whoever is ‚ organising, then ‚ collects all the gifts into a sack
- At a chosen time, Santa then hands out all the gifts.
For ‚ £5, it’s best to pick a general theme for everyone, such as humourous gifts, girly gifts or edible gifts.