December was a busy month for me, as I suspect that it is for many women. This year I made all my Christmas cards, which were minatures with origami envelopes. I also made most of my gifts, including 23 pairs of crochet slippers, which I filled with little treats such as bath bombs, chocolate coins and candles, in an echo of the European tradition of children leaving their shoes out on the feast of St Nicholas for him to fill. I also made Winter Spiced Coffee Liqueur, and hot water bottle covers from old cashmere jumpers. I knitted a cabled cashmere hot water bottle cover for my Mum, and a pair of mittens for myself. I made a Christmas cake which was more of a pudding, but delicious none the less. I stitched felt robins, went ice skating for the first time in years, and went to two Christmas parties. I fell in love with Bury St Edmunds all over again, and emailed myself several ideas for posts which I never quite got to blog. I took lots of photographs, decided that Scarlett Johansson is my new favourite singer (check out 'relator' on youtube!) and bought another red lipstick.
I shed some happy tears on Christmas morning, as I felt so much love from my friends and family in their gifts. I am going to learn to throw pots, have a frilly pokla dot apron, a cd of french women singers, and a cupcake book with silicone cupcake cases in the shape of hearts!
I decorated three Christmas trees in one week, and devoured as many books (but over the month, not one week!).
Best of all was my visit to Bury St Edmunds. Although I had started making my cards and gifts before Mum and I went, I wasn't feeling particularly Christmassy. After a day spent there though, I felt little tendrils of tinselly excitement unfurling somewhere in my tummy. There was the living nativity again, where I stroked a donkey and a dear little sheep creature on impossibly long legs. We drank Bailey's laced hot chocolate to keep warm, and found ourself thoroughly cheered by all the lovely people and lovely things to see and do.
The other thing that really made me feel Christmassy was the last Women's Institute Country Market before Christmas. Mum and I had both ordered a few bits in advance, and when we went in, they had put our orders into boxes and labelled them. Mum had an un-iced cake, mincemeat and a giant pudding. I had mincemeat and a smaller pudding. We also bought boughs of holly, tiny boxes of home made marzipan fruits, and some beautifully decorated cupcakes. The tea was free that morning, and every cup came with a tiny home made mince pie. The atmosphere was lovely, and it made me really look forward to Christmas.
Christmas Eve we had my family come to visit, and I decided to be inspired by Nigella in my catering. In past years, I have made a vast buffet, but this year I cooked a huge fish pie which had prawns, lobster, scallops, smoked haddock and smoked salmon in it. There was trifle for dessert, and amaretto chocolate soya milk to drink. By 10:00pm they had gone home, we had washed up, and were sitting on the sofa in the glow of the tree lights, feeling relaxed and excited about the next day.
We spent most of Christmas day at my Mum and Dad's house. Mum made some new decorations this year- bunting made of Christmassy fabrics, and then used the same fabric to make fabric paperchains! She also had a lovely little tableau using a bough of Christmas tree with pretty lights wound into it, a tiny nativity scene, and a glittery acorn ornament. I will post some pictures so you can see! We spent the evening at Carl's parents house, where we played board games until midnight. It is so lovely to spend time just laughing and enjoying each other's company.
Oh, and I had a new outfit for Christmas! A black and white striped dress from New Look, which looks a bit Parisenne. It has a black blow with some large pearls and crystals, which pins to one side where you would usually wear a brooch.
I hope that you had the most scrumptious of Christmasses, were surrounded by love and laughter, and have some wonderful memories to look back upon.