Holidays, Musings, Shopping

6 Ways To Get That Festive Feeling (Maybe)

I’m on my second corny made for tv Christmas film of the day, sitting beside a Christmas tree, writing Christmas cards, and I still don’t feel like next week is Christmas. I’m just not getting the festive feelings at all this year.

The Tree Is Up

Putting up the tree is usually the start to Christmas season, and quite the event. Branches have to be fluffed and brought back to life after 11 months of hibernation. Baubles are delicately taken out of boxes and hung on the tree waiting to be destroyed by cats.

As you may be aware I have four cats, and nothing is more inviting to a cat than a shiny ball twinkling and dangling just within reach.

They’ve even taken to photobombing the tree.

A photo of my green Christmas with gold and cream decorations and sparkly lights. There is the face or a black fluffy cat peeking in from the right hand side.

Christmas tree is on the right hand side. To the left is a radiator with a tabby cat laying on it beside the tree.


I enjoy giving gifts more than I do receiving them (I think!). That doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful or don’t want any gifts, send them this way. It’s great though, when you see something that really suits a person, or that you think they’ll really appreciate. They say being kinder makes you happier. I agree with whoever ‘they’ are.

Shopping with an aim can be a mission any time of year, with the added pressure of a deadline.

I’ve been ‘planned’ Christmas shopping twice recently. The first was to Centre MK in Milton Keynes. This isn’t local to me but is right near a good friend of mine, so perfect for a catch up. We had a delicious lunch, I bought myself a few new jumpers, she acted the perfect tour guide (except when directing us the opposite way than required!). The Christmas gifts though….. let’s just say I still needed to go shopping.

So I did, in Norwich this time, with another friend. We had pizza, sorted the worlds many wrongs. I even got a donut, who doesn’t love donuts? People expecting Christmas gifts, that’s probably who.

The friend got loads done, I excelled in my advisory role as shopping assistant. However every time it came to finding something I needed, it was out of stock. It wasn’t meant to be.

I’d say I’m 50/50 when it comes to online or high street shopping. I like the idea of browsing stores for inspiration, it’s so much easier than browsing the web when you don’t know what you’re looking for. However when you know what you want, internet shopping is where it’s at. It’s not very festive though.

Christmas Films

These made for tv movies I’m watching are so awful that I can’t stop watching them. Seriously. I’ve watched 13 this week so far. All with a similar theme and storyline. I need only have watched one really. But I’m hooked.

The houses in these films are perfectly decorated with real trees and giant wreaths and pretty lights. There’s always a moment by the tree when eyes meet or hands brush while hanging baubles or untangling lights.

Always a gingerbread house scene too. Has anyone other than in the movies actually successfully managed to construct and decorate one of these?!

Each film highlights what Christmas spirit is actually about. There’s the person that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, and the one that has the most magical family festivities you could ever imagine.

Snow angels, eggnog, cookie baking. An idyllic Christmas. Always snow, the fluffy-pretty-white kind, not the grey-muddy-slush kind.

I got a TV guide, you know the ones made from physical paper, and highlighted all the shows I want to watch. I haven’t done this in years, but I can’t be the only one that had this ritual in their youth?! I won’t watch them, not live anyway, because that’s not what you do these days.

Christmas adverts don’t excite me this year. We all wait in anticipation for the new John Lewis ad. Tissues at hand. I could be wrong, so don’t shoot me down, but I heard that advert with the clumsy little dragon cost £8 million. I can think of better things to spend their money on.


Christmas does not happen for me without an advent calendar. I know, I’m 34 years old, but the warm up to Christmas has always been my thing. More than the day itself.

I’ve had many variations counting me down to Christmas. You may remember my loose leaf tea advent calendar from Tea Revv, that was epic. I’ve also indulged in mini nail polishes, daily tea light candles, the usual chocolate treats. One year I even had a wine advent by accident (my Mum ordered one, but two arrived!).

There’s not much better than a daily dose of chocolate/tea/wine, or so I thought. Until I found the most versatile advent calendar yet. Cheese!

The front of my advent calendar has a wreath on made with images of the various cheeses.

Is the season to be nibbling. Is written on the inside of the calendar. The layout is of windows of a house, each one opening up to reveal the days cheese.

I’ve had cheese as a stand alone snack, cheese with pickle and crackers, cheese on toast, on pasta, in a toasty. If you think of any other ways to be creative with my cheese, do let me know. There are still a few days left!

The mature cheddar is pretty tasty, as was the Red Leicester. I had a little shock when first trying the spicy mexicana, but warmed to the idea. It warmed me too. Ha. The Applewood has to be my current favourite, with Jarlsberg coming a close second. I hadn’t tried that before but it’s rather nutty in flavour. Wensleydale with cranberry is a festive favourite anyway, but the gingerbread Wensleydale I’m not convinced by. I don’t know what to eat it with?!

Not only do I get a cheesy treat everyday, but the little perforated door is also host to a cheesy joke

‘What cheese would you use to coax a bear from the woods?’

‘What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you?’

‘Why didn’t the cheese want to be sliced?’

‘Where can you buy second hand cheese?’

I think that’s enough for now. The answers can be found at the end of this post!

All The Foods

I’ve eaten my weight in mince pies. No joke. You have to buy all the varieties and brands don’t you?! Well I do, and try them all. Iceland is surprisingly top of my list at the moment. Although I’m yet to open the Waitrose ones, so stay tuned.

A couple of years back I discovered a mince pie alternative that I think I like even better. The Ecclefechan tart has a title almost as great as it’s flavour. The only place I’ve found them is Sainsbury’s, and they’re out of stock before I even got there. That’s my Christmas spirit gone.

I am looking forward to the shortbread though. I made some once, built like a tree. I’ve got trusty shop bought this year, I festive shapes and flavours. I’m saving it for Christmas. I don’t quite know what I mean by that. Christmas Day, Christmas period, festive time, maybe I’m meant to have already cracked it open. Because I’m not going to eat it all in a day am I?!

We have 15 cheeses in the fridge and that is no lie.

Festive Places

I love a little stroll around somewhere festive. Center Parcs Winter Wonderland was stunning last year and really got my feeling festive.

I returned to Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market this year, as is the tradition. There was even a flurry of snow on the journey, getting my festive hopes up.

It was busy as always, but I enjoy the hustle and bustle, the coming together of people, the bashing of shins with my footplates. It’s inevitable when surrounded by people that look at everything except where they’re going.

My main aim at any type of Christmas event or market is to taste as many things as possible. There was honey and mayo and popcorn of various flavours. Fudge and chocolate and pickles. The star of the show is always cheese, and I tasted them all. Even a chocolate cheese. It was brown. I love chocolate, and I really love cheese. But please don’t ever mix them again.

I had a tasty drink. I’m all for the seasonal drinks as you know. It was a hot mulled pear with rum and butter. It was wow and oh so winter warming. Maybe that was the problem, my festive cheer peaked too soon.

I’ve tried to get my Christmas spirit back, but it’s just not happening.

Tomorrow is Festive Afternoon Tea day with friends at the ever impressive Assembly House. Stay tuned…

Joke answers: Camembert. Nacho cheese. Because it had grater plans. Brie-bay.

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13 thoughts on “6 Ways To Get That Festive Feeling (Maybe)”

  1. Hope you enjoyed the Festive Afternoon Tea! I’m the same with shopping – I like seeing the pretty lights & decorations up everywhere and browsing shops for inspiration, but then it’s easier (and cheaper) to buy online. I’m also the same with not feeling Christmassy this year. It doesn’t seem to compute… Christmas in just a few days? I still feel like this year has gone without me, maybe that’s why. I just don’t feel Christmassy at all. Maybe I need to go stare at the Christmas tree for a while or watch some of those festive TV flicks. Love your photos! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! You have me laughing. Nacho cheese. That was my mom’s favorite joke. I love the idea of a cheese Advent calendar. But, yes, chocolate cheese is disgusting–I’ve tasted it. Next year, I’m buying myself one of the L’Occitaine Advent calendars, because no one else will. We didn’t do a calendar this year, but we’re Catholic, so Advent is ever-present. We do have a couple online ones–a kids’ one for the kids and one from Image, a literary journal, for me. In years past, we’ve tried going to a “Christmas Market”–in the European style, but when it’s in Baltimore, it just doesn’t cut it. I’d rather go to the mall and not be disappointed. I hope you get in the spirit and enjoy the holiday, if we don’t connect before. It is fun watching people open what we’ve gifted them–and with your craftiness and skillful knitting, etc., that should be a joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have that cheese advent calendar too! I’m having an operation on 23rd December, so think Christmas is going to be a quiet affair this year – but then after all the running around in December, chilling out with my closest family, lots of chocolate and cheese and other delights sounds like a welcome plan. I have never tasted chocolate cheese. I’m curious enough to try it once, but not convinced that you should really put these things together.

    Enjoy your festive afternoon tea 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t expect anything less from a fellow cheese lover! What been your favourite flavour cheese and funniest joke so far?

      I wish you all the best with your surgery. And a lovely chilled Christmas.


      1. Thanks for that. I like the Jarlsberg too. I had the gingery one on crackers. I think the gingery one would be fine if the ginger to cheese ratio were a bit less! Happy Christmas and may your cheese board always be full!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My tree has been up two days , the table strewn with gufts to wrap for the seven Grandchildren I love giving best …. (I hate wrapping) The Husband wrote the cards and posted them. I am trying to get in the spirit but somethings are hard when you have beed unwell. Usually I can and do, put on a show this year is tough. I made up two rucksacks for the homeless, a male one and a female, delivered to the drop in centre in October. For me it was what I wanted to do before the weather got too cold. There is always something to focus on by the time the celebrations begin and your cheesey jokes started to lift me. I think I need some cheesy films to get me all the way are on the list. Merry Christmas Gemma.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I should add ‘avoiding wrapping’ to my list of perks to being a wheelchair user. It’s one of the many tasks I delegate to my assistant!
      I’ve been minimal with the cards this year, it feels a bit humbug of me, but they are a strain on my hand.
      That’s great of you for packing up the rucksacks with goodies for those in less fortunate situations over the winter and festive period. I should do more.
      I wish you, the husband, all seven Grandchildren and everyone else a Merry Christmas!


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