Blogmas – My Top Five Christmas Movies

So it’s pretty much a given that decorating the tree requires wine and Christmas songs (check out my top ten festive tunes). Wrapping presents, on the other hand, requires a stash of Christmas movies and a humongous tub of Quality Street to go with the wine which is non-negotiable (and probably the reason the tenth Christmas present never looks quite as pristine as the first).  Now I’m about to make an announcement that I realise many of you may consider to be sacrilege…I don’t like ELF! I know I am in the minority but I just can’t bear to watch Will Ferrell so it was never going to be a winner in the Rhoades household. That bombshell aside I’m not overly fussy when it comes to Christmas movies…of course, I have my favourites but I’ll happily watch pretty much anything that’s Christmas- related…I even own ‘Jingle All The Way’ on DVD (yep that’s the one with Arnie dressed as Turboman) so you see my standards are not particularly high within this genre. Heres what made my top five Christmas movies…

Christmas Movies

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas has been my favourite Christmas film for the past, I would say five years. It tells the story of Arthur – Santas second son who takes it upon himself to deliver a present to a little girl whos been missed! The whole concept is so clever and offers a very modern interpretation of how Santa manages to get around the whole world in one night. The characters are brilliant (there’s Steve, the Versace wearing elder brother, the retired, cantankerous Grandsanta and Briony The Elf – special skills include wrapping any gift with only three bits of sticky tape)! Just pure awesomeness!

The Muppet Christmas Carol

There are so many variations of A Christmas Carol and randomly, this is one of the best! Growing up it was always My brother and I’s favourite and we had a tradition of saving it for Christmas Eve! Everybody knows the story…Miserly Scrooge is visited by three spirits – the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. Over the course of one Christmas Eve, he is shown the error of his ways, emerging as kind and generous and full of Christmas spirit! Michael Cane makes the perfect Scrooge and Kermit & Miss Piggy as Bob & Mrs Kratchit is sheer genius! The music is what makes this film – I’m pretty sure my brother and I know all the words my heart!

The Santa Clause

I went to the cinema to watch this (the Lonsdale for all you Carlisle peeps) and vaguely recall not being impressed! It’s obviously a bit of a grower as its the first one I reach for when December hits and has spawned two sequels! It’s a very American tale of a high flying businessman who finds himself as the new Santa after knocking the old one off his roof! Much hilarity ensues as he finds himself slowly becoming Santa over the course of a year and having to deal with the inevitable fall out with his family who thinks he’s lost the plot!

Home Alone / Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

For anyone born in the 80s, Home Alone was the definitive Christmas movie. Given that I was only a couple of years younger than Kevin when the film came out, everything he did just seemed hilarious! I vividly remember sitting in the cinema belly laughing at all the booby traps set for the hapless burglars! The music still has the power to take me right back to my childhood Christmases and I honestly think that the sequel is every bit as good if not better than the original (the least said about the third and fourth instalments the better)!

Love Actually

I honestly don’t remember a Christmas without  Love Actually and yet it’s not really that old! The critics all seem to hate this movie but I’m yet to come across anyone who doesn’t just think its the best thing EVER! There are so many perfect moments in this film – Hugh Grants Prime Minister dancing down the stairs, Emma Thomson silently sobbing as she realises her husband is having an affair, Andrew Lincoln declaring his love for Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy in pretty much every scene he’s in, the final All I Want For Christmas number…I could go on and on but I’ve got myself all fired up now and need to watch it immediately!

Which Christmas movies make your top five?

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Elf In The Night Garden

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Blogmas – The Scent Of Christmas

Of all the senses, the sense of smell has the power to evoke feelings and memories like no other. Christmas is always going to be a nostalgia-heavy time of year. It’s an annual ritual that for good or bad is bound up with the memories and feelings that we gather as we go through life. I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite Christmassy scents – the traditional scent of Christmas and those extra special smells that conjure up memories of Christmases past…

Mince Pies & Eucalyptus

Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

I’m not sure who decreed that the aroma of alcohol and spice is a festive idyll but that fragrant, boozy scent is what Christmas is made of! As soon as December rolls around I crack out the mince pies, pour myself a steaming mug of mulled wine, make a wish and take a deep breath…Christmas has arrived!

Frost

I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say frost! I don’t think its even a smell as such, more of a mixture of senses combining to form that gorgeous sense of the season. Its the feeling of the cold on the tip of your nose, an unexpected shiver and that clean, sharp, fresh scent of winter.

Neom Christmas Wish

If you’ve been following Blogmas on Jessica Rhoades you will have seen that a luxury scented candle has made it onto not one but two posts so far…lets make it an uneven three! If you are looking for Christmas in a candle you won’t find better than the annual Christmas Wish Candle from NEOM. I’m a bit of a sucker for NEOM in the general sense (Their Real Luxury candle is on my permanent wish list alongside Diptyques Mimosa which was my wedding day scent). The fragrance of mandarin, cinnamon and tonka bean not only fills the house with that warming traditional scent of the season but also helps you to relax and unwind in the process.

NEOM Christmas Wish Candle

Agent Provocateur Eau De Parfam 

I’ve worn Agent Provocateur on and off for, probably clocking on twenty years (oh my bloody god). It’s certainly not Christmassy in the traditional sense – it’s a heady, old-fashioned rosey-musk that’s both sexy and uber glamorous. This scent is made to wear with sumptuous fabrics – velvets, furs (faux of course) and sequins –  it’s the perfect Christmas accessory!

Agent Provocateur Eau De Parfam

Christmas Decorations

Bear with me, I feel I need to justify this one. There’s something about that first whiff when you open your box of decorations after a years hibernation. A mixture of must and tinsel (I don’t even own any tinsel so lord knows why my decs have taken on that particular scent) this takes me right back to my childhood – when that smell takes hold, I feel I can almost touch that childish sense of excitement and wonder!

Stuffing

The scent of stuffing = the scent of Christmas dinner. i.e the roast to end all roasts. I actually think stuffing is the best bit of the whole meal…you know that scene in the Vicar of Dibley (yep the one with three Christmas dinners) where shes presented with a starter of ‘balls of stuffing’ – that’s actually my Nirvana!

Eucalyptus & Pine

At this time of year, I am often to be found stalking the flower stalls in the market as they lay out fresh tubs of Eucalyptus and pine. There is nothing in the world like this scent on a frosty morning – with a little imagination you could have landed right in the middle of Dickensian England, rubbing shoulders with Scrooge and Bob Cratchit…the power of scent!

What typifies the scent of Christmas for you?

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Elf On The Shelf Wearing My Shoes

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BLOGMAS – How I Store My Christmas Decorations

Last Christmas I had an epiphany. There I was happily unwrapping my (really quite extensive) bauble collection from the mass of shredded tissue paper they called home when it occurred to me that surely there must be a safer and more organised method than the one I was currently using! ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ they say so if you want to make life easier for yourself next Christmas (it’s too late for this year – you might as well embrace the chaos) then follow these top tips for storing your Christmas decorations.

how to store your christmas decorations

Arm Yourself With The Correct Tools.

Invest in the right tools now and avoid a post-Christmas meltdown when the awful day you have to de-Christmas your house comes around. (That day is depressing enough without breaking your favourite ornament trying to stuff it into a tatty cardboard box). There’s nothing quite like being prepared and having the correct tools. In this instance plastic storage tubs, bubble wrap and a Label Maker (I don’t know how I have managed to get through life but to my shame, I still DO NOT own a label maker…that’s definitely on for the Christmas wish list)! If you have any large gift boxes lying around, these make excellent alternatives to a plastic storage tub or if your an organisational nerd, Lakeland does a dedicated Christmas ornament storage box which comes with handy winders for your Christmas lights which brings me nicely on to…

Leave The Lights In The Same Condition You Wish To Find Them 

Yes, we’ve all done it but there is nothing, I repeat nothing more frustrating than getting in a tangle with your Christmas lights. You can literally lose hours of your life detangling a string of fairy lights so do yourself a favour and spend a few more minutes carefully winding them around a firm piece of cardboard before putting them into storage…your future self with thank you!

Colour Coordinate

If your anything like me you will have baubles and trinkets in every colour under the sun. Now I like to colour coordinate different areas of my house (for example my stair garland is decorated in shades of blush pink and gold where my tree is usually a more traditional red, gold and green) so it makes sense to me to store like with like making decorating the enjoyable and stress free task it rightly deserves to be!

If In Doubt Bubble Wrap Is Your Friend

If the budget doesn’t allow for an influx of new plastic tubs or if you’re short of space then bubble wrap is your best friend! You can buy huge rolls of bubble wrap form hardware or stationary stores for not a lot of money and it is truly worth its weight in gold when it comes to protecting the more delicate and valuable Christmas decorations.

Take Pictures For Next Year

A few years ago I tried something a little different and more elaborate with my mantlepiece garland and absolutely loved it! When it came to recreating it the year after I became increasingly frustrated trying to remember what I had done until it suddenly occurred to me that (of course) I had taken pictures! Now in this day and age taking photos of your Christmas decorations is pretty much a given but make it easy on yourself and create a ‘decorations’ folder on your phone – that way you have a handy template to work from!

Set Aside Space To Store Your Decorations

We are in the process of remodelling our garage and I fully intend to have some dedicated decoration storage built into the plans! At the moment they reside in the loft, a place Mr.R has decreed I am not allowed to venture and yet hates to venture himself! I’m currently gearing up for the yearly battle to get him up there to bring my decorations down (on a side note if you haven’t seen Michal McIntyre’s sketch on this very topic then do check it out…hilarious)!

Do you have any top tips for storing your Christmas decorations?

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Andrex Puppy Elf
Tuukka Tuukka’s been taking tips from the Andrex puppy!
Elf On The Shelf Ideas
Someone’s been having fun!

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BLOGMAS – Christmas Cards With Papier

*disclaimer* If you are on my Christmas card list then please avert your eyes now!

I know there are people who don’t see the point in Christmas cards and see the whole process as a massive chore but I absolutely love it when December begins and suddenly the morning post gets interesting. I relish the process of selecting my cards and find it fascinating to see the cards everybody else picks. I’m not so fond of the writing part (I honestly don’t think my hand has recovered from the amount of thank you cards required when you get married and have a baby), so this year I’ve cheated ever so slightly by buying them pre-written from Papier. Papier does the most lovely personalised paper goods (we bought Luna’s first birthday invitations from here and the quality is just fantastic)! There’s a plethora of designs to choose from and you can buy them individually or in packs. I’ve chosen two designs – a rather jazzy Christmas pineapple and the lesser seen Christmas tiger! Are Christmas cards a big thing in your household? I’d love to hear all about your unique traditions.

Papier Christmas Cards

Pre Written Christmas Cards

PAPIER CHRISTMAS CARDS

Elf On The Shelf

I’ve always adored Christmas but like most people, I was sad to find that the older you get the less magical things begin to appear. So, when Luna was born I threw myself with gusto into each and every Christmas tradition I could think of! Luna was far too young to pay attention but I couldn’t help myself. I was like well, a kid at Christmas! Now, Elf On The Shelf wasn’t doing the rounds when I was young but what an amazing concept (although do come back to me on the 24th when I’ve done the whole of advent…my feelings towards the little scout elves may have changed somewhat)! Our elf is a ‘she’ who is currently nameless (when Luna’s old enough she can do the honours) although I think I’m going to start calling her ‘Tuukka Tuukka’ as that’s pretty much all Luna says (except for dadadada but lets not open that old wound)! Every day in the run-up to Christmas I’ll be showing you what Tuukka Tuukka’s getting up to…what this space!

elf on the shelf december 1st
December 1st…Tuukka Tuukka arrives bearing gifts – Luna’s very first advent calendar!

THE ELF ON THE SHELF – GIRL

THE ELF ON THE SHELF – BOY

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