How to Get in the Festive Spirit

Buckle up kids, Christmas Katie is in full swing!

I think I’ve mentioned this a few times on here, but I missed some of the run up to Christmas last year. For most people this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s one of my favourite times of year. So this year I’m going all out. I’ve already watched 3 suspect Christmas movies – A Christmas Prince, The Princes Switch, and the Christmas Chronicles if you must know, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Below are my tips on how to turn from the biggest Grinch into Buddy the Elf.

Get Cosy

Hygge is a way of life people. One that I full embrace. It’s all about wearing cosy clothes, lighting candles, eating comfort food, leaning into these dark days. Right now, my favourite candles are Fig from Sostrene Grene. Such a lovely warming smell. I’ve bought about 4 of those lovely cosy blankets from Penneys/Primark. They’re great to have to hand when you want to curl up on the couch and watch something. I’ve got a full video on my latest cosy homeware purchases below.

I’m a big advocate of sweatpants at this time of year. Why wear jeans when you can wear an elasticated band around your waist? Cosy jumpers are also a must. I’m essentially living in this one from & Other Stories. Cosy, while also being not too baggy and oversized, meaning I can wear it to work. Dream. Embrace the hygge way of life people, you’ll be the happier for it.

Comfort Food

Now that you’re all cosy posy in your sweats, the candles are lit, maybe you have a fire lit, or fairy lights strung about, it’s time to get comfort eating. This time of year is cold. Cold weather makes you want to eat carbs so you’re insulated. It’s science people. Don’t fight it, instead make the most incredible Mac & Cheese of all time. There’s bacon and four types of cheese in this bad boy. It’s like a hug on a plate. Great to keep in the fridge and reheat portions in the evenings when you get home and are too tired to even think of chopping a vegetable.

Another great recipe to make is chicken noodle soup. I don’t put the celery, mushrooms, chickenpeas or kale in this one, instead I add sweetcorn, ginger, fresh chilli and spices. Great for helping to fight colds, thanks to the ginger, garlic and chillies, as well as whole wheat noodles which work so nicely with the broth. Another hug in a bowl. What more could you want?!

Cosy Drinks

You guys, why has it taken me so long to find Abuelita? It is the best hot chocolate. I’m obsessed. I only had the powder which I bought in LA when I was there recently, but I’ve found an amazing Mexican store in Dublin which stocks the box, so I’ve stocked up on that now, as well as a few other Mexican treats. Honourable mention to the OGs for Irish people –  Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate and Bewleys Hot Chocolate.

Another favourite of mine is Baileys Coffees. Oh yum. It combines two of my favourite things, coffee and alcohol. (I’m kidding mom if you’re reading this. I don’t like coffee that much). They’re super simple to make, but generally using good quality coffee will lead to a more enjoyable drink.

And let’s not forget, hot whiskeys. We all love a hot whiskey when we’re smothered with a cold, and I’m convinced that they have magical powers. If you find yourself under the weather with a cold, make yourself one of these before bed. It’s a game changer.

What to Watch

Ok so you’re in your sweats, you’ve got your candle going, you’re wrapped in a fluffy blanket eating your Mac & Cheese and sipping on a hot chocolate. Now, you just need to pick a movie. I’m a big advocate of working on your Netflix list. It’s the only way to always have something to hand and not enter that endless cycle of “what do you want to watch?”. I have created a list of different things to watch in these darker evenings, but this time I’m focussing solely on Christmas movies. Because I love them. The cheesier the better, as evidenced by the ones that I mentioned earlier. In no particular order, here are some of my favourite movies to watch at Christmas:

  1. Home Alone
  2. Home Alone 2
  3. Miracle on 34th Street, the one with baby Mara Wilson
  4. The Grinch, the one with Jim Carrey who was born to play this role
  5. Elf
  6. Love Actually
  7. Frozen (don’t @ me)
  8. The Sound of Music, not a Christmas movie, but it’s not Christmas unless you’ve watched at least a snippet of this
  9. White Christmas, an oldie, which are my favourite to watch this time of year
  10. The Santa Clause

Hardly high brow stuff for the most part, but who cares!

What to do

Like most people, I am super busy around Christmas. It really is all go for that season. But I love it because I know that when it comes to Christmas Day and the days after, there will be plenty of time to relax. One of the things I love doing around this time is going into Dublin City for a wander, a coffee and maybe a glass of wine. No shopping bags, no plans to shop. Just enjoying the lights and the time of year.

Every year my family and I go into town, normally the 22nd/23rd, either for breakfast or dinner. This year we’ll be going to the Ivy for a nice brunch before having a wander. Trying to get around when you have a million shopping bags in your arms is beyond stressful. So try to carve out a day where you can just enjoy the time.

I also love a cosy evening in an ‘old man pub’ as we call it. You know the one, dark, little dingy, but has the best pints, a roaring fire, and great music. I actually did this last weekend with friends of mine and it was so lovely to just catch up over a few drinks, no where to be, just content.

One thing I hated doing when I was younger, but my parents always loved doing was going for walks around Christmas. Now, I would rather poke my eyes out than go for a walk on Christmas Day, that’s strictly a pyjama day for me. But, I do want to go for more walks in the run up to Christmas. Getting out in the freezing cold air for a bit means you’ll get exercise, actually see daylight for a few hours, get those endorphins going, and then you can plonk yourself, guilt free on the couch afterwards to fulfil the above. Bliss.

What to do if Christmas just isn’t a good time of year for you

First and foremost, that is 100% ok. Don’t feel that you need to be merry and bright just because it’s Christmas. There’s a lot of people out there for whom this time of year is tough. They’ve lost loved ones, they’re alone, they’re having a tough time. Whatever it is. It’s ok to not want to get into the spirit.

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Ugh posting this last for obvious reasons

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I would recommend that you still do many of the things I recommended above – make yourself a nice comforting meal, buy nice candles and cosy blankets, go for walks to clear your head, watch something you love on Netflix. Do what you’ve got to do to bring comfort. Christmas isn’t the be all and end all.

Let me know if you try out any of the recipes, movies, or anything else in this post. I’d love to know what you guys think!

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