23 December 2011

My Favourite Christmas... by Sasha Wagstaff

Welcome back to my Christmas 2011 feature! As you know, I've asked lots of authors to write something about their favourite Christmas, and I've been lucky to have a great response. Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming the fab Sasha Wagstaff!

I LOVE Christmas and everything about it, so this is going to be an absolute pleasure for me to write about!

On the 1st of December (or as close to it as possible), I like to get the Christmas decorations down from the loft and set about transforming the house into a glittery, twinkly wonderland. (When I say ‘I’ here, I do, of course mean that my husband climbs up into the loft and does much of the pinning up of tinsel and lights). We carry this out whilst drinking homemade mulled wine (a la Nigella – hers is the best recipe I have found to date – very boozy with the addition of dark rum) and bowls of nuts and crisps.

I always watch Christmas films whilst wrapping presents – Love Actually, The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life are an absolute must (and for my husband ‘White Christmas as it reminds him of his youth). Again, present-wrapping should be accompanied by mulled wine, Baileys or champagne, ideally. I’m quite anally-retentive about present-buying – I have a spreadsheet (eek, I can’t help it – I’m a Virgo!) but I have a lot of people to buy for and otherwise, I’d be ditzy and buy the same things again. People often refuse to give me lists, saying ‘just buy whatever you think I’d like – you buy such lovely things’ – little do they realise that I stress and agonise about this level of pressure! (I love it really). Christmas Day is always spent with my parents and until all the children arrived, we would sit in the same place to open our presents and insist that my mother put up the same decorations year in, year out but these days, new decorations have replaced the old and we sit wherever we can find a pew these days as the children jostle to open all their gifts!

Christmas Day dinner must be eaten with the Top of the Pops Christmas special on in the background (or at very least, Christmassy music) and it’s a long affair, taking place over several hours, with cheese courses, liqueurs and chocolates, coffee and anything else we can cram in. Traditionally, we do a brisk walk around the block after the meal, to work off some of the calories and get some fresh air. It’s also fun nosing into people’s house as it gets dark and seeing them enjoying their Christmas Day afternoon or watching children trying out their new bikes in the street. We then have a picnic tea of cold meats, pickles and bread – delicious!

As much as I love doing the same things every year, I also like the idea of starting up some new traditions, especially since my eldest daughter is almost three. So, it’s new winter pyjamas for everyone to open / wear on Christmas Eve and the Christmas morning muffins I usually bake will have chocolate chunks added to them. I may even replace the champagne with hot chocolate – for the girls, anyway! I also love the sound of Jill Mansell’s glittery roast potatoes, so I might just have to try that one out and Veronica Henry’s mince pies with orange pastry and brandy butter sound divine….see, I love this whole Christmas lark!

All that’s left to say is: have a wonderful Christmas everyone…and enjoy your traditions, new and old x

You can read my review of Sasha's book Wicked Games here. You can buy the book as a paperback and an eBook now. 

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