Blogmas Bonus Day: My Christmas Routine

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I know I’ve done my 12 Days of Blogmas, but I’ve decided to do one extra post because it’s Christmas Eve! How exciting?

I’ve shared with you recently how people from all around the world celebrate their Christmas, so I thought I’d share with you how I personally spend the day.

Christmas has changed vastly since my dad passed away. Last year we decided to do things completely differently where we had guests over for Christmas dinner which we cooked ourselves, rather than going out as usual, but this year, we’re going back to original plans, but making sure we keep my father close in memory.

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A photo I decided to take of my dad one year when we helped out at a Christmas event – yes, he was very inked!

I usually hate getting up in the morning, I don’t normally get to see what early looks like, but even at 21, I’m so excited and cannot wait to get up. I barely even sleep. Since I’m now “an adult” and no longer “at the age to get up at the crack of dawn”, we usually tend to get up around 8:00am – though that’s impossible for my mother since she is an early bird, but likes her coffee and chill in the mornings. Then everyone gets up, has breakfast (usually pan au chocolât and orange juice, which is my favourite) and my stepdad will head to my gran’s to pick her up. When she arrives, tea and coffee is made before we all go into the living room and sit next to our “Santa sacks” (basically a massive Christmas bag with our presents in). The old routine was to each take it in turn to open a present, but with one missing, we’ve decided to switch things up. On the count of three, we dive into our presents and get opening, while showing one another what we received and thanking one another for what the other has bought us.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 10: Decorating a Gingerbread House

gingerbread-house

I’ll let you into a secret; I’ve never made a Gingerbread House before. Well, I still haven’t. But I’ve now decorated one.

To get into the spirit of Christmas, I thought it’d be nice to do something more traditional and fun to decorate a Gingerbread House.

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The contents

 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 9: My Fear of Father Christmas

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Father Christmas. Santa Clause. St Nick. The man of the moment. The Symbol of Christmas. Everyone loves a jolly old pudgy man who brings lots of presents for kids all over the world right?

Father Christmas. A big, scary old strange man who breaks into your house without consent, coming too close to you for your liking with a roaring laugh enough to hurt your tiny little eardrums.

The first? A description that seems to fit the typical seasonal icon that we hear so much about. The latter? My views on the terribly terrifying elderly bloke who scared me half to death.

I know what you’re thinking- “Jazz, he’s nice. He gives you presents.” Yeah, well he also knows when you’ve been sleeping and knows when you’re awake. To me? That sounds super stalkerish.

Okay, okay, I’m not afraid of the fictional character anymore, but when I was little and during the period where I believed he was indeed a real person, I was petrified. I don’t remember exactly what caused me to be so afraid (though, bare in mind, I have been diagnosed with anxiety. Could Santa be the root of the cause? Probably not, but clearly I was a nervous child since birth) but my Gran recalls that when I was just the tender age of two, a Father Christmas tried to take me off my mother outside a supermarket and I was not having any of it. The following years saw me absolutely trembling with fear over him. I remember at a very young age being in a B&Q and there he was; my version of Satan. A big bloke head to toe in red and a dodgy beard to cover his true identity. All he wanted to do was give me a lollipop, but I let loose from my mother’s grip and ran down each aisle. Every aisle I reached the end of, his face would peer followed by a high pitched scream from myself before running away again. My mother had to tell him to just give up because I did not and would not like him, regardless of how many free lollipops he had to bribe me with.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 8: Christmas Crafts

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It’s time to get creative! With the big day less than a week away, I’ve spent time with my mother to demonstrate some Christmas crafts for you to do. Whether for yourself or to give to others.

Christmas Heart decorations

Add a touch of homemade love to your Christmas tree with these easy to make heart decorations.

You will need: Scraps of fabric, stuffing of your choice, paper, pencil, scissors, pins, sewing machine or sewing kit.  

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  1. Fold a piece of paper in half
  2. Draw half a heart on the fold line
  3. Cut the heart
  4. Open to reveal a whole heart
  5. Pin to fabric and cut around the heart
  6. With right sides facing, hand or machine stitch most of the way around, leave a gap to turn out
  7. Turn out and stuff with stuffing. This could be old tights, stuffing from an old cushion, beans, rice,etc.
  8. Sew the rest and add a loop to hang. You can use the ribbon inside your clothing used to hang or string

Mammy’s note: “We used craft fabric to make ours but we have also used old ripped PJs in a Christmas pattern previously, which is ideal for crafts on a budget.”

Santa Egg Hats

Make breakfast more festive with these cute little Santa hats for your eggs.

You will need:  red and white yarn and knitting needles (4mm, UK size 8) 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 7: A Helpful Hamper

Christmas is about giving and it’s important to remember not just your friends and family, but those in need, too.

Normally at Christmas, I would do a hamper either for my uncle who live alone or my dad or even my step brother when he was at uni, but with circumstances changing, this year we have decided to create a hamper for someone in need. These could be for absolutely anyone you feel would benefit, but this year we will be giving it to the local food bank for those who need it.

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While it looks extravagant, this cost us so little as we would put one or two items at a time in with our shopping and didn’t really affect the costs at all. It doesn’t have to be branded – it could be the store’s own (ie: ASDA Smart Price), anything really is beneficial.

Of course, Christmas is very close to us now, but if you could pick up even five pounds worth on your Christmas shop. Perhaps in the new year, you could make it a resolution to buy one or two tinned items or food that isn’t dated to save and then make a hamper for someone. An elderly neighbour, someone who isn’t as fortunate financially or unable to get to the shops. If you donate to your local food bank, they usually have a list of what they typically run out of most. Any donation is hugely appreciated and the warmth you feel for helping someone is truly a special Christmas gift alone.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 5: Mushroom Wellington Recipe

Whether you’re catering for a vegetarian or just like the sound of it, Mushroom Wellington is perfect to serve with a Christmas dinner, so today I’ll be giving you my family’s recipe on how to make it.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions (approx. 1/2 lb or 250g)
  • 400g/just under 1Ib of mushrooms (any – we have used white)
  •  1lbs or 500g of store bought or homemade pastry (a good recipe for pastry can be found here if you choose to do homemade)
  • 125ml  of fresh cream
  • Brandy or white wine
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Parsley
  • 1tbs of olive oil
  • 1tbs of milk

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 4: Christmas Around The World

I have lots of family and friends who live around the world and, personally, I find it rather interesting and exciting to see how different countries celebrate Christmas. Here in the UK, we’re all pretty familiar with the opening of presents before stuffing a lovely Christmas dinner in the shape of a Sunday roast, telling a few jokes from crackers and flopping out in front of the TV for Christmas specials, but what do other countries do to celebrate this festive time of year? I spoke to some friends and family to find out what they do for their Christmas traditions.

Denmark

My friend, Line, was kind enough to tell me about her Christmas traditions…

Follow Line over on Twitter

“In Denmark, we open gifts on the 24th December. We eat things like duck and roast pork. After dinner, we have a lot of candy and walk around the Christmas tree and sing both English and Danish songs.  We play a game and win gifts. We eat play a game where we eat Risalamande (a Danish dessert traditionally served at Christmas) and inside there is an almond. Whoever finds the almond nut wins a small gift.

We also have Christmas calendars like in the UK to open from the 1st to 24th and a calendar candle, too.”

Germany

Fellow blogger, John, talks about Christmas in Germany…

Check out John’s blog here

“Christmas is a magical time in Germany, the best bit is that we get to do it twice. The first Christmas happens on 6th December on St Nikolaus. Children leave their newly cleaned shoes at their front door in the hope that St Nikolaus will fill them with chocolate and sweets. At 2pm across Germany on 24th December, Germany falls silent and stays that way until the 27th. On Christmas Eve families come together to decorate their Christmas Tree and exchange presents. On Christmas Day most families eat Goose rather than the Turkey that is eaten in many countries. I love it that everything is closed for Christmas, everyone has the chance for a proper rest and spend time with their families.”

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 3: A Gift Guide for Bloggers

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Whether you’re buying a present for yourself or know of another blogger in your life you want to buy for this Christmas, here are some great blogger gift ideas to consider getting.

Enya Large Rustic Brown Wrap Journal – £25.50

Rustic Brown Wrap Journal

An organised blogger is a happy blogger, if you ask me. This journal is a luxurious one that would be perfect for someone who really does take and make a lot of notes. Of course, you can get any style journal, but for a special gift I recommend this one, especially because it can be personalised.

Available  from Central Crafts

Nikon coolpix S7000 Superzoom Compact Camera – £149.00

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Bloggers with a camera get to take their own fab photos rather than relying on the use of internet uploads. Now, I’m no camera expert, but a friend recommended this one as a gift for bloggers. Some of its product features include 16 megapixels, 20x Optical zoom plus built-in WiFi and NFC. If you want a more trusted opinion, you can always ask around, or you can trust the information given to me and check out this sweet little camera which is travel-friendly.

Available from Currys 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 2: 5 Gifts That Keep On Giving

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Giving presents are great, but what about giving presents that keep on giving? If you’re a bit stuck on what to give this Christmas, I’ve picked a couple of special gifts that will keep on giving to others…

Toms Shoes

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Not only are you giving one pair of shoes to someone this Christmas, but you are giving another free pair to someone less fortunate who needs them. “TOMS offers brand new, made-to-order shoes in a variety of styles to meet the needs of the children our Giving Partners serve.” As of right now, the company has given over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need. For more information about the project, check out the website.

Adopt a TIGER

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Adopting a tiger for someone this year means your monthly donation will help the WWF protect tigers as well as the world we live in. In return,  as an ‘official Tiger Protector’ you will receive a personalised tiger certificate, regular tiger news, a fact pack and a personalised story book ‘The Tiger Protector’ featuring a child and adult of your choice in the story.

For more information, click here

Sponsor a Dog

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With personal experience from this, I can tell you this was such a fun gift growing up. When my dad’s dog passed away, he was too ill to get another and so he used the money he spent on Jasper to sponsor a dog for me. My dad’s choice of charity was ‘Dogs Trust’ and I loved getting regular updates from my sponsor dog, Smudge, as well as little gifts and a certificate. There are multiple charities who do the ‘sponsor a dog’ for different causes.

For more info on Dogs Trust’s sponsor dogs click here, for more info on Guide Dog’s sponsor dogs click here, or for info on sponsoring a Hearing Dog click here.

Gift of Emergency Supplies To Help A Syrian Child

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For some people, giving materialistic gifts is not of much worth to them, so how about this year instead of gifting to one another, you donate to a worthy cause? Of course, there are millions of charities who offer gift options, but one in particular that caught my attention was this UNICEF one. For just £18, you can send emergency supplies to help a Syrian child.

UNICEF offers many different gifts. For more info, click here.

The Gift of equipment for a Traditional Birth Attendant

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The gift of equipment for a Traditional Birth Attendant is a donation to provide the funds for training materials a basic set of sterile equipment and kit bag for an IMPACT-trained Traditional Birth Attendant.

TBAs safeguard the lives of mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth and beyond. IMPACT gift tokens are presented in an attractive gift wallet and come packaged with details of the gift; newsletter; and a tea towel designed by the artist Jilly Sutton, which was inspired by her visit to IMPACT’s projects in Bangladesh.

For more info, click here.

So this year, instead of gifting something that may not be too appreciated or end up soon in a skip or on eBay, I hope that many of you will choose a gift which keeps on giving.

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MORE FROM BLOGMAS… 

Day One: Christmas Tag

Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Blogmas Day 1: The Christmas Tag

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It’s day 1 of The 12 Days of Blogmas and today I’ll be taking ‘The Christmas Tag’ which I found somewhere online (I cannot remember where for the life of me) to get us in the festive mood…

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie(s)?

I really like Elf. Like a lot. But I’m also a fan of A Christmas Carol. Which one? Well, I’m torn between the Disney cartoon version (where Mickey is Bob Cratchit and Scrooge McDuck is Scrooge… kinda fits…) and The Muppet version! Also, they’re not movies, but Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas are just legendary in my household. They’re fab to watch, regardless of age.

2. Do you you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning! Even at my age, I get itching to opening them as early as possible, even if it means passing out right after. As I get older, we have to get up later and have breakfast first, but who has time for breakfast before presents? Not me.

3. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Yeah, a few. But they don’t look gorgeous like in the films. It’s this ugly sludgy grey/brown snow because the gritters have been out. We also go out for food so it’s been tricky, but with cautious driving, we make it.

4. What made you realise the truth about Santa?

Well, I always had a fear of him as a kid (don’t ask), so I always wanted him to not be real, but my family persisted with the whole myth. One day, I saw my post it note I left out for him was in a drawer a few days after Christmas (like, parents, have you not heard of a bin?) and kids in school were suspicious around 7, so I forced my mother to tell me the truth. I was not best pleased.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.