I'm not usually one for doing tag posts but I spotted this over on India's blog Jewel Beauty and as I'm a huge fan of Christmas and have a couple of Christmas based traditions I thought I would do the Christmas tag.
My Christmas tag image may not look particularly Christmasy but I visited London with my boyfriend to see the light's and have a wander round in Dec 2009 and this was the window display that greeted us when we got to Harrods. So this photo means Christmas to me!
1. What time of year do you start your Christmas shopping?
I'm usually pretty organised and start my Christmas shopping in October. I did start in October this year but I do still have a couple of presents left which I need to organise soon. I'm definitely not a leaving it until Christmas eve kind of person, I can't be bothered with that!
2. Do you have any festive recipes for food or drink you limit solely to the Christmas season to share?
There's no recipes that my family limit to just Christmas but there are certain foods that mean Christmas to us. I don't think there's anything that we only eat or drink at Christmas but there are some food items that we have to have for Christmas time in general or Christmas dinner. For Christmas dinner we always have turkey and then have to have brussel sprouts (I love them!) and pigs in blankets, I think my brother would stage a protest if we didn't have pigs in blankets!
In general I love to have Lebkuchen each year, which is a traditional German baked Christmas thing that is like a cake with a gingerbread flavour and a very thin kind of icing over the top, yum! For some reason you only appear to be able to get Cheeselets at Christmas and both me and my brother love them so mum stocks up on several pots when they come out at Christmas.
3. Tell me how Christmas goes down in your house?
Obviously when we were both younger we used to wake up really early to unwrap our presents but now I'm 31 and my brother's 27 we're (slightly) more restrained! Yes unfortunately I am still at home at 31. I was due to move out four years ago but then I was redundant so I'm currently still at home, but that does mean I still get the same Christmas' I've grown up with which is great. Dad starts cooking the dinner and we get ready. We then open presents and have a look at what we've received before we then have dinner. After dinner we settle down to watch TV or mess around with any presents we've received that need assembling etc. Later we'll have a small tea (we've stuffed ourselves silly at dinner!) and we'll watch whatever soaps are on and various Christmas specials.
4. Do you have any Christmas traditions?
We do have some traditions but these are all being provided in answer to other questions :)
5. Do you have a favourite festive coffee?
I don't actually drink coffee or tea because I can't stand either! I have spotted people Tweeting about fabulous sounding hot chocolates like peppermint and black forest though so I'm determined to try one of these out this year as I'll happily drink hot chocolate.
6. Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
I love Christmas songs and have several favourites including the amazing Fairytale of New York, but I think my top favourite has to be Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas is you. I used to dance (I had to give it up when I lost my job) and one year we went and did a Christmas show at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Each school that took part had to do one standard song and one Christmas song. We did Car Wash (the Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliot one) and then we did Mariah Carey complete with little red and white santa costumes including a skirt that barely covered my bum because I'm so tall! It was a fabulous Christmasy dance and we had so much fun.
7. What do you do on Christmas Eve?
The only set tradition for Christmas eve is that we don't really have dinner (saving space for a massive Christmas day dinner!) but we always have a big prawn cocktail (yes I know, slightly random and retro). When I had a 9-5 job I would sometimes be working on Christmas eve depending on what day it fell on but now I'll probably just watch TV, browse on the internet and just do whatever I fancy doing. Sometimes I may go out for something to eat and a meetup with friends but this varies year to year.
8. What's your Christmas wrapping strategy?
I love wrapping presents and because I'm such a perfectionist I've developed quite a good technique over the years. I actually posted a present wrapping tutorial which can be found here after I asked during a bloggers chat if anybody would be interested in a present wrapping post and the response was a resounding yes.
9. What's your dream gift this year?
My dream gift this year would definitely be either a new camera or a tablet. Although my current camera doesn't do too bad for blogging I'd love a more expensive one to try and improve my photos. My current laptop is also getting a bit old now and is definitely ready for retiring and I'd love to move on to a tablet so it's more portable.
10. Describe your Christmas tree? How tall? Real or artificial? How is it decorated?
Our tree is I think about 6ft tall. It's artificial and a fibre-optic one. As it's fibre-optic we don't decorate it very much but we do put a couple of simple silver bauballs on so it doesn't look too bare.
11. Do you decorate just the tree or other area's of your house?
The living room and dinning room are decorated with a few hanging decorations. Yes we do use those pretty tacky foil type hanging things but we've been doing that since I was little and it just wouldn't look right if we didn't put some up! I used to decorate my room a little as well but as I currently live half between my parents house and my boyfriends house I don't bother with that so much anymore.
12. What do you wear on Christmas day?
For me at least it's always been a tradition to dress up on Christmas day. I would often buy something new specifically for wearing on Christmas day in the past but since being unemployed and then moving into the work I do now, which is freelance/ad-hoc, I don't tend to do this anymore. I will still wear one of my best outfits though. However this does only last until just after dinner when I'll then change in to whatever new PJ's mum has bought me for Christmas (another tradition) and I'll snuggle up in dressing gown and fluffy socks to enjoy the rest of the day.
I hope you've enjoyed my answers. Do let me know if you decide to do the Christmas tag after seeing it on my blog.