Tomorrow is the day when we can start saying "Christmas is this month!". For me, this is unofficially the time when it becomes ok to listen to Christmas music, get started on the Christmas shopping, put up the decorations and begin to work your way through all the Christmas films (except Love Actually. Everyone knows you can start that 6 weeks before Christmas...).
I've bought myself an advent calendar (in addition to the one I have at home. Just one of the perks of living away from home for university) and I'm already feeling pretty festive. And to help you all get into the Christmas mood, I'm listing my twenty-five favourite things (in no particular order) about Christmas right here:
1. The whole cheeriness and general atmosphere at Christmas time. Everyone seems happier and friendlier and excited!
2. Christmas Dinner. Obviously. We have big roast dinners at home pretty often, but at Christmas having all the extra trimmings and triple the number of desserts make it even more special.
3. Christmas street decorations. It just makes everywhere look so pretty! If anyone's in Bristol over the Christmas period, Park Street looks incredible at night.
4. Big tubs of chocolates. Sadly they seem to be getting smaller every year, and I definitely prefer the metal tins to these plastic tubs, but they still symbolise Christmas to me and we get through quite a few over the festive period!
5. The Christmas adverts. I'm not sure when these started becoming a 'thing', but this year I don't feel like the last person to see the Coca-Cola advert- I've seen it twice already!
6. Christmas songs. I have well over one hundred in my iTunes that I love putting on as soon as December starts. Hearing them on the radio, in the shops and being sung all over the place puts me in such a good mood.
7. Christmas specials on TV. Generally watched after Christmas because the actual day is so busy, but I love an extra episode from my favourite series.
8. Giving a really good present. Christmas shopping can be tricky, but when I'm confident that the person will absolutely love what I've chosen, I get really excited about seeing them open it.
9. Giving the dog a Christmas present. Yep. I'm one of those people and I have no shame about that. Saffy might not really understand Christmas, but she still looks really cute when she gets all excited about getting a new teddy bear. (Poor teddy doesn't usually last much past midday...)
10. Waking up at 4am to check my stocking. I'm still a big kid at Christmas. Even if nowadays I have to pretend I was actually asleep when 'Father Christmas' delivered it at just before midnight... (shh, don't tell anyone!)
11. Driving (being driven) home for Christmas. My university terms are getting longer and longer, so the journey home is getting closer to Christmas and it feels so good when I can finally stop studying and pack up to go home for a couple of weeks. And I sing Driving Home for Christmas in my head the whole way back...
12. Playing games with friends and family. A Christmas get-together usually involves some form of competitiveness- whether its the simple classics like 'Who am I?' or a game of Trivial Pursuit using cards I'm sure are old than me.
13. An excuse for new clothes- I love picking out a new outfit to wear on Christmas day. It's less frilly dresses and sparkly tights these days, but I still like making an effort!
14. Mince pies. I missed out on these for years after making the classic mistake of assuming they contained meat. Oops.
15. Decorating the house. We've never had a proper Christmas tree at uni and we might not be in the house on Christmas Day, but it's still fun to drape tinsel everywhere and hang those foil snowflake things. And then to leave them up as long as possible (i.e. until you move out in the summer).
16. Christmas jumpers. This wasn't something I ever really did until the past couple of years, but I'm slowly accumulating a collection of Christmas-themed knitwear. That I may or may not wear at other times of the year...
17. Catching up with everyone. Christmas events are a great way to see some of the people I don't see at other times of the year and I love that. My old Rangers group put on a Christmas meal every year and invite those of us who've moved on to come back and see old friends which is lovely.
18. The fact that it's completely acceptable to start every day with a piece of chocolate in December. I'd be sad if I didn't have an advent calendar...
19. Comparing Christmasses. I love that everyone does their Christmas slightly differently and I genuinely enjoy chatting about what traditions other people have.
20. Having time off. As I get nearer to finishing university and having to start work, I'm really starting to appreciate the fact that my Christmas Day is completely free. There will come times when I have to work over Christmas, so I'm enjoying the fact that until then it's a day off!
21. Mulled wine. Just the smell of it will do, although it tastes pretty nice too! I've marked a recipe for chocolate mulled wine in one of my cookbooks- perhaps I'll give it a go this Christmas?
22. Christmas films. Nearly always cheesy and predictable, but because I only watch them at this time of year I don't mind at all!
23. Meeting kids who are really excited about Christmas. It always makes me smile- hopefully as I'm on a paediatric placement at the moment there will be plenty of kids who are well enough to be at home for Christmas.
24. Christmas themed outings- ice skating, Christmas markets, Christmas drinks, there are so many fun things to do at this time of year.
25. Christmas cracker jokes. Ok, I'll admit I'm scraping the barrel a bit here (25 is a lot of things to think of!) but I've made my own crackers the past two years so researching the best cracker jokes has been a big part of my Christmas preparation!
So those are some of my favourite things about Christmas, how about you?