With a plethora of Christmas inspiration hitting our
newsfeeds and inboxes from mid-November, it’s easy to get lost amongst the
hordes of recipes and gift guides, the reliability of which are often
questionable. Which is why this year, in search of some failsafe Christmas
inspiration, we asked Claire Stewart, founder of lifestyle blog This Little House, to share her
Christmas tips and traditions with us.
I live in Edinburgh with my husband, Michael and our two boys, Caleb and Archie. I’m originally from Liverpool, so when we’re not at home we spend our Christmas’ there some years. It’s always a big family affair with all our extended family. My mum is amazing and has cooked for just under 20 people before today without breaking a sweat!
This year we will be at my sister-in-law’s for dinner. We’re lucky that her family live just around the corner from us, so we’ll be hosting drinks and canapes at our house beforehand. I’m planning lots of fizz with tasty nibbles but nothing too heavy as we want to leave plenty of room for our Christmas dinner.
We’re very traditional when it comes to our Christmas dinner. It has to be a prawn cocktail for starter and then we tend to have Turkey, beef and ham with all the trimmings. For the perfect Christmas playlist it’s got to be all the old classics for me; Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald are my favourites. But no Christmas is complete without Mariah Carey, The Pogues and Wham.
I remember as a little girl being so excited to wear a pretty outfit on Christmas Day, and nothing has really changed! I grew up watching my mum host and cook in a beautiful dress with heels, and that has very much influenced my Christmas attire to this day.
This year I’ll be wearing my Great Plains Velvet Jumpsuit. It drapes beautifully, which means I’ll be able to sneak in a few extra roasties! I plan to team it up with statement earrings and heels, but I will definitely be switching into my slippers after dinner!
For Christmas Eve and Boxing Day I still like to wear something lovely but a little more relaxed. This Christmas Eve I have promised myself it won’t be a day of rushing around like it has been in previous years. I’m hoping that all that’s left to do will be to wrap the last of the presents and take a walk to our local pub before settling down to a Christmas movie. We’ll see if that happens though!
We will be spending Boxing Day as a family and I’m really looking forward to it. I fancy cooking something delicious but low key for dinner. I’m thinking lots of nice meats and cheeses paired with some lovely wine.
The Family Traditions…
I love little Christmas traditions, and as our boys are still young we’re still making new ones of our own each year. This year we’ll be having breakfast with Santa on a barge at our local pub. If they enjoy that I can certainly see us making that a yearly tradition.
The boys each have their own Christmas tree in their rooms, a tradition from when I was a little girl. They love decorating them with salt dough decorations that we make each year. The trees are potted so once Christmas is over we’ll plant them in the garden.
We do the Christmas markets in both Edinburgh and Liverpool each year. Its one of my favourite traditions. The boys love the little fair rides, whilst I love all the food stalls and mulled wine!
When it comes to decorating my home, I like to have my tree up the beginning of December, but I have been known to have it up by the end of November. I like to blame that on my mum if her Christmas visit to Edinburgh falls early (like it did this year), but secretly I love getting them up early!
We like to make a lot of our decorations. We make salt dough ornaments and I’m obsessed with Christmas garlands. A really good tip for making garlands is to use dental floss as it’s smooth but strong. We string popcorn, cranberries and baked orange slices on to them, and hang them around our home. I love bringing the outdoors inside for Christmas so we always have plenty of eucalyptus, red berry branches and mistletoe dotted about out the house. Also, no Christmas is complete without fairy lights (LOTS of fairy lights!), they are a bit of an addiction of mine.
Any Christmas Disasters?
I’m happy to say we’ve never had any Christmas disasters! One thing I’ve learnt over the years though, with our families all living in different places, is that Christmas isn’t just one day. I think we often put a lot of pressure on the 25th to be perfect. I now tend to view Christmas as the whole month of December and it’s really taken the pressure for perfection off. A month is a much more realistic amount of time to do something Christmassy with everyone you love. I find it makes the whole month of December a really special time for us as a family.
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