christmas, with a little c


Want to celebrate the season with a little more calm and a little less crazy?  Then this one’s for you.  We’re surrounded by it.  Magazines and TV shows have been telling me how to slow-roast a turkey since November and how to ‘get my sparkle on’.  But the funny thing is, we went through all of this last year.  And the one before.  So, you don’t have to keep reminding me what to do with your shouty adverts and giant fonts – I’ve got this!

Spoiler alert to my family – you’ve all got books this year (again).  And not just because I want to keep reminding you “Hey, remember that book I wrote and stuff?  And how I’m, like, an author now??”, but because bookshops are a sanctuary in this time of festive fever.  While other shops compete for your custom with the loudest Christmas hits (and misses) for two months prior to the actual day, bookshops retain a sense of dignified calm.  In fact, someone in the bookshop remarked that  Christmas shopping over-stimulates the senses, working us up into a frenzy and stressing us out.  And that’s how Christmas can feel sometimes – a complete sensory overload, so you miss out on the simple things.

People have all sorts of reasons for wanting a more laid back holiday season.  Maybe you just can’t be arsed lugging all of the decorations out of the attic, or maybe you’ve had the kind of year that makes a tinsel-tastic Christmas seem like too much.  Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, maybe you’ve got health issues, maybe you’re short on funds, newly single (or oldly single!) or maybe you’re just sick of the same old ding-dong.  For me, I think it was the commercialism that drove me to seek out alternative ways to do Christmas.  Also, I like easy!  Minimal effort with maximum effect.  So here are some really easy ways to do Christmas if you’re feeling a bit non-fussed, but want to tip your cap all the same.


First off – Free Christmas Printables.  These are the bomb!  Just Google ’em and print out whatever designs you fancy.  Pop them in a frame and boom – Christmas is here.  They also double as pretty cool (and cheap) pressies.  I got these frames in Tesco for a fiver.  They’re a lovely, contemporary way to decorate your house, without feeling like you’re coming down in baubles and bows.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Nigella Lawson (apart from the virtues of midnight snacking in a negligee) it’s the magic of fairy lights.  And not just for Christmas. Simply adding a string of white fairy lights to any surface in your home, instantly creates a festive glow, without screaming ‘PARTY SEASON’.


The Christmas Wreath.  Well this one takes a bit more craftiness, but my house feels very Dickensian with my ivy wreath!  It’s also a great way to use up some of that rampant ivy that is slowly taking over my entire garden.  Just get yourself some twine, some bendy twigs that you can fashion into a circle, then tangle the ivy around it until you just can’t be bothered anymore.  Red ribbon to secure and you’re done!  Now get yourself a nice glass of port, you’ve earned it 🙂


Finally, you’re going to need something yummy to go along with your alcohol, but if baking isn’t your thing, why not try these Mini Christmas Puddings!  Anyone can make these – it’s the culinary equivalent of mixing cement.   They’re quick, full of the flavours of Christmas and they’re healthy.

Makes 12 balls:

100g Apricots

100g Dates

80g Ground Almonds

1/2 teaspoon Cinammon

1 teaspoon Mixed spice

Zest of 1/2 Lemon & Orange

Just stick all of these ingredients in a food processor and blitz.  Squeeze in a little orange juice if the mixture is a bit dry, then take a teaspoon amount and roll into little balls.  Stick them in the fridge to firm up.  Meanwhile, make the topping.  Get some Creamed Coconut (you can buy it in blocks or packets – I used Patak’s) and melt in hot water.  Mix with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (ish) and dollop a small amount on the top of each pudding.  It hardens pretty quickly, so don’t dilly-dally.  For presentation, top with… anything really.  Maybe redcurrants, dried cranberry, some marzipan, or like me, just use what’s to hand.  I chopped up some apricot and cut some mint leaves from the garden to create little clementines.  Et voila!  The cutest Christmas bites you’ll ever make and you didn’t even have to switch the oven on.  You’re welcome!

If all else fails, just put cinnamon in everything and light a few candles for a fuss-free December.  Got any tips to make Christmas easy?  Just pop them in the comments 🙂

Happy Christmas Everybody