I love Christmas….well mainly the leading up to Christmas. So today I want to kick off the Christmas blogging season by sharing some of my favourite pre-Christmas thrills and blisses.
I love the decorations! I love hearing Christmas music and seeing the malls and streets decorated. Every year in Milton Keynes, the centre (us Americans call this the mall) is decorated to the max. The theme is usually based on whatever pantomime is playing at the local theatre. This year’s Christmas panto is Snow White and The Seven Dwarves starring Warrick Davis (best known in films such as Willow and Harry Potter). Below is just a taste of the decoration at the Milton Keynes Centre.
I’m not a big fan of pantos. I do like actual pantomime (in England referred to as just mime) but here in England there is the Christmas tradition of putting on a slapstick theatrical comedy based on a fairy tale mainly for children and usually starring a celebrity. The shows are throughout numerous theatres in the UK. The costumes and sets are bright and colourful and there is always someone dressed in drag. Kids love it and some parents love it. It gives adults a chance to let their hair down and act silly…why? Because audience participation is a must! I must admit I did pay the extortionist ticket prices in 2009 to take in a pantomime because it was starring Mickey Rooney but how could I have possibly not go to see Mickey Rooney live? He is now 93 and he has starred in so many great movies and is the voice of Santa in Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
Another thing I love is when The Salvation Army band shows up somewhere and plays carols. Soooo much better than musak Christmas carols through shop speakers. They were in my local supermarket last year. I hope they come again!
One of my favourite things about Christmas is finding the perfect gifts for my friends and family. I love shopping for others more than myself. I strongly believe in quality items at a good price so I love finding bargains. It’s what I call frugal shopping…never cheap! I learned about frugal living years ago from Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet). Soooo, I was out doing a bit of shopping yesterday when I decided to check out Whittard. What I have been missing?! Whittard is a shop that sells quality teas and tea pots and accessories but they have now expanded to coffees and hot chocolates too. That’s hot chocolates plural because they have 17 varieties of hot chocolate! I bought three to try at home. Brianna chose the three to buy which were Creme Brulee, tiramisu and mint hot chocolate. The consensus is mixed here at home. Everyone seems to prefer one over the other but really they are all very good.
Whittard does some great gift sets so some loved ones are getting treats this Christmas…but I’m not telling! There is one other thing I bought at Whittard. I had to indulge in a bit of a treat for myself so I bought cinnamon chai tea and I had some last night. Well let me just say I may give up drinking wine in favour of this heavenly concoction! It is the BEST Chai tea I have ever had. It has whole cloves, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, shavings of cinnamon and dried ginger. The fragrance alone is pure bliss. I put one teaspoonful in my tea ball and got two cups out of it.
There is something else Whittard does that I think is pretty awesome. You can blend your own tea. If you go to their website http://www.whittard.co.uk/, there is step by step instructions on how to do this. You start by picking a base and then you choose three ingredients and then a flavoured oil and then you can customize a label. How’s that for a unique personalized gift?
Oc course, I especially love decorating my house for Christmas. It has to look and smell Christmas-y! So scented candles, pot pourri and fragrant oils are a must. below are some pictures of my living room which is the centre of activity on Christmas day.
That’s it for now but more to come!