The third Advent blogpost is from English team member Charlotte Reed, and celebrates what all teachers are good at – planning and preparation!
I love Christmas. I love the tradition, the indulgence, the present buying and wrapping, I love it all. I am an irritating Christmas Elf who has completed most of the Christmas shopping by October half term.
It starts in earnest at the end of November, when the study becomes the Christmas Command Centre. The trees and decorations brought in from the garage are checked with fear and trepidation for mouse damage. The house is stripped of the usual ornaments and these are packaged into the garage for the festive season. On the 1st December I decorate, room by room, lounge first whilst watching another tradition – Elf. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
Books you ask? Aren’t you going to mention them? Well of course, this is the time when I need my non-fiction selection as unlike Buddy the Elf (see above) I can’t survive on the 4 main elf food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. So, first up Rachel Allen’s Bake, with her essential gingerbread recipe for making the gingerbread hearts, stars and men to go on my trees and wreaths. Sometimes, I even make them to eat! This is the perfect recipe as it is a hard bake that lasts the season and makes the house smell like Christmas as they adorn the trees and stair wreaths!
Next up is my Christmas Bible, Nigella Lawson’s Christmas – the chocolate peanut butter cups are fabulous for presents and the fudge freezes beautifully and you can eat it straight from the freezer and look like a domestic goddess when people drop by. It’s all about the planning!
There is always one evening when we make the final menu decisions. That evening usually involves all the cookery books, and we have a few! Jamie Oliver’s fail-safe butter for under the skin on the turkey, Nigella’s chestnut sprouts, the Hairy Bikers chocolate roulade. It’s like seeing old friends once a year. And just remember to agitate the Limoncello every so often (thanks for the recipe Cathy Openshaw).
Then begins the wrapping, labelling and writing little messages on those perfect (well hopefully) gifts I have been storing all year and I begin to feel very Christmassy. By mid-December, right around now, when everyone else is running around like a headless chicken, I am sitting back, feet up with a glass of my most favourite fire water – Limoncello topped up with prosecco. Cheers!