With Poppy’s 4th birthday out of the way and a week of cards and cake dutifully observed, Christmas has finally entered the cottage. A huge succession of large parcels have descended (thank goodness for next day delivery) and in true last minute Margot form, all food bar the main event arrived by the back door in time too. The postman and I are on first name terms and he brings Monty biscuits. Keep it between us, dear Reader…..I have panic bought pretty much everything for Christmas. Every year I promise myself that I will have everything ready by the beginning of December so that I can actually enjoy the lead up to the big festive day and apart from the year that Poppy was born, I haven’t managed to be even vaguely organised! However, I’ve decided that the best way to combat all the Christmas rush and stress is to take a leaf out of the Danes’ book and embrace ‘hygge’. Everything else can wait.
From what I can gather, Hygge (pronounced hooga) is all about the art of cosiness – enjoying good things with good people, creating a magical glow with candelight, making time to stop and think, appreciating what we have, rather than wanting more…… The perfect winter antidote. So this Christmas, I shall making like a Dane, feasting with the people I love, taking a moment to stop and stare at the roaring fire in the grate (whilst sipping sloe gin obviously, dear Reader), remembering that cooking Christmas lunch is only like cooking a Sunday roast and switching off from the world outside to make Lego farms with Poppy and Primrose, sip hot tea, eat crumpets, savour long muddy walks in the woods, scoff Quality Street, finally watch the end of Mad Men and dive into my latest haul of Raffaela Barker novels.
Before I sign off until the New Year though, dear Reader, I thought I’d share my 2015 Christmas favourites with you – my 12 ‘faves’ of Christmas….
- Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a pheasant wreath so here is this year’s homemade effort. Thanks so much to Phil the pheasant who was trapped in the dog proof fencing and as I went to rescue him, decided to fly off, leaving me with all his tail feathers in my hand! Phil, I do hope you haven’t been the butt of numerous jokes – pop back and I’ll find you a jumper.
2. Despite the ridiculously unseasonal weather, I will STILL be snuggling down on the sofa with my favourite people by the fire, even if it means we will be wearing t-shirts and drinking pina coladas in the sitting room. Letters written to the Big Man have already been laid on the fire and we watched as the smoke curled up the chimney, hoping they reach him in time.
3. Hot steaming mugs of tea and good books with my beautiful cashmere bed socks before everyone else gets up – Yawn London you have made my Christmas this year so a huge thank you to you.
4. Finding out who’s been naughty or nice with Primrose and Poppy at the Long Barn in Alresford – really magical and so much fun.
5. Our very own handmade pigs in blankets from our first pig, Cumberland.
6. How could I forget the Christmas tree? Ours doesn’t go up until after Poppy’s birthday but I adore it when it is finally in situ – you can’t beat the smell of fir in the house. I even managed to embrace the tree decoration free for all…….
7. We always have a new book for Christmas and Christmas week, we read our favourite Chistmas bedtime stories including an Oxford Annual of Christmas I’ve had since I was 6! Poppy and Primrose love the stories of Victorian Christmases and Mummers. However, the book that is asked for time and time again has to be The Jolly Christmas Postman.
8. Christmas Monty – I promise he hasn’t eaten Father Christmas but he IS terribly suspicious of men in red suits falling down the chimney….
9. We’ve been so busy with one and thing another, that I forgot to tell you about a new four legged friend of ours. Introducing Willow, the 28 year old Welsh Mountain pony. A very sweet farmer’s daughter who lives nearby asked us if we could fuss over her old pony, groom her and take her out for hacks. As you can imagine, it was like all Poppy and Primrose’s Christmases had come at once and now it’s Willow this and Willow that. Christmas Eve will see us taking carrots to her and her horsey companion. A complete wish come true for 2 pony mad girls and 1 pony mad Mummy, dear Reader. Jerry has taken to frowning at the number of riding hats and paraphernalia in the hallway……
10. Cheese. Need I say more. I have a fridge full and it makes me rather happy, dear Reader. Oh that and the Christmas Double Issue of Country Life! I shall be sneaking down the stairs in the dark, Nigella style, to midnight feast on Stilton and Tunworth cheese whilst reading a page or two of this country Christmas treat.
11. Winter walks – in between all the feasting and present giving, there’s nothing like trudging up to the woods and blowing away the cobwebs. Can’t wait for a crisp frost to coat our little corner of countryside.
12. Perhaps the best thing under the Christmas tree this year will be our newest addition…. Meet Isadora, dear Reader. Dora for short. All black velvet and gorgeous puppyness. Arriving on an early Christmas delivery, we’ve already been enjoying plenty of cuddles. Jerry certainly knows how to get a Christmas present right! However, Monty is still not too sure if it is love at first sight. He will be taking a view on the whole puppy pulling his ears and sleeping on his bed situation, post Christmas.
SO that takes us to 2 cats, 2 dogs, 5 hens, 1 pony and a pig in the freeezer……wonder what else we can find a home for in 2016?!! I would say that we were mad but if you’ve been reading this since the very beginning, then you already know that, dear Reader! Wishing a very Happy Christmas to you and yours – may your Christmas be filled with feasting, plenty of cosiness and most importantly, love, peace and a little gin. See you on the other side x