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Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. It’s a time we prepare for from the end of summer, planning Christmas dinner, buying gifts and watching as many festive movies as we can before the big day arrives. This year Mr Kipling asked us to write about exactly what Christmas means to us and really, it’s simple. Christmas is everything.
Even back when I was a small child Christmas was the highlight of my year. It was the time when Father Christmas came, bringing me gifts I had been hoping for – marking them in felt tip in the Argos catalogue months before. It was a time when we went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, when we had a house full of festive treats and when we stuck cloves in oranges at school, making the house have that wonderful spicy scent that will forever remind me of Christmas.
As an adult, before having children, I would spend whole days sitting on the floor in front of the TV, watching my favourite festive movies and spending hours wrapping gifts in beautiful bows and ribbon. Wrapping presents was such an occasion and I knew that as soon as I started wrapping that Christmas had begun and I do miss those lovely, long days of watching Love Actually, The Holiday, Christmas on 34th Street and the Muppet Christmas Carol whilst wrapping gifts, eating mince pies and drinking endless cups of tea – or an occasional glass of Baileys.
Since becoming a parent the year has gone back to revolving around Christmas. It’s a time we work up to through the year, it’s something we look forward to and something that we really make into an occasion. We have our first mince pies as soon as the children are back at school after the summer holidays and we always look forward to seeing festive sandwiches in the bakers and festive hot drinks in coffee shops. For me, a turkey, cranberry and stuffing sandwich, black forest hot chocolate and a mince pie are the flavour of Christmas – and once I have ticked those three boxes I know we’re full steam ahead to Christmas.
Research conducted by Mr Kipling has shown that 10% of people share my view – that the first mince pie signifies the true start of Christmas. Although I’m sure I’m not alone in being able to happily eat mince pies all year round – they really aren’t just for Christmas as far as I’m concerned. But, 30% of people did say that a mince pie was favourite Christmas sweet treat – people after my own heart. Mr Kipling Deep Filled Mince Pies are always our first choice and although they are new and improved this year with a great new recipe they have been awarded the Good Housekeeping ‘Taste Approved’ logo and taste even better than ever before – as hard as that may be to believe.
Another huge marker when it comes to the countdown to Christmas is seeing our first Christmas advert on the TV – and this signifies the start of Christmas for 30% of the people surveyed. I love seeing all the big department stores, supermarkets and food and drink brands bring out festive adverts and trying to spot them during our evenings of TV watching. They really a big part of a modern day Christmas.
Once Christmas season has started we love to cram in time with as many family and friends as possible – and it seems that 60% of the country are just the same. We organise meals together, a chance to catch up and a chance to toast Christmas with those closest to us.
The rest of the time we spend together, as a family. We play festive games, watch even more festive movies and eat countless mince pies. I’m actually amazed that 23% of the British public hold off eating them until December! The children love having time at home, snuggling in blankets, candles lit and just enjoy each other’s company.
A highlight of Christmas for the children is always decorating the tree. It goes up as close to the start of December as possible and we make a real event out of it. The children put the baubles on the tree, one by one, whilst we listen to Christmas music. Afterwards we watch a Christmas movie in our pyjamas and have hot chocolate and treats. It’s one of my favourite days of the year – aside from Christmas Day, of course.
So for us, Christmas has already started. I have been buying gifts, watching Christmas movies and eating mince pies for a couple of weeks – and am looking forward to more of the same all the way through until Christmas.
So, what signifies the start of Christmas for you? Is it the Christmas shopping, the Christmas TV adverts, the TV shows that count their way down to Christmas, the first Christmas song on the radio or that very first mince pie?