The countdown is on! November is done and dusted, advent calendars are out and we’re starting to countdown the days until Christmas. Not long to go now – and before we know it, it will be all over again.
Do you already have all presents that you need? I have to admit Christmas will be a small one for me this year as my family had decided last year they’d rather all go on holiday then celebrate Christmas together (what grinches, right?!). I think it simply got to pressurised and also stressful for them – with work until the last day before Xmas, me flying over and needing to be picked up from the airport, christmas present shopping, food preparation… and to be honest: my family still makes a big and complicated thing out of it everytime I come over as I am the only vegan in the family.
‘What do I need to cook for you’ is just a typical question I hear every time I announce that I am coming to visit. So I am not surprised that a holiday is needed this year instead of the stressful family celebrations.
For the past 15 years we have celebrated Christmas eve together with my aunt , uncle and cousin – and the group has been growing over the past years with Nick and my brother’s girlfriend joining in. Oh – and yes of course: we celebrate Christmas eve rather than Christmas Day. It usually starts with a lovely Christmas meal, followed by presents which we call ‘Bescherung’. We always stuck to the scheme ‘one present after another’, so with our big group this could usually take a few hours.
This is how we’ve been handling it since I was a kid and I absolutely love it.
Even though I won’t be with my family this year for Christmas, Nick and me still have a lovely vegan Christmas meal planned and I am sure that we will have a lovely time.
With plenty of things to get me into the right Christmas mood I’m already looking forward to creating a lovely Christmas dish. Here are a few of my things to tick off my to-do list before the ‘big day’ can come:
1. Roasted Chestnuts & Mulled Wine
I can’t believe it has taken me such a long time to try chestnuts for the first time, but 3 years ago I have fallen in love with these – it was love at first bite I have to say! It’s a shame they are mainly only around for Christmas, but since discovering them in 2014 they have been my absolute favourite thing on Christmas markets. Why not make your own at home? They are so easy to roast yourself!
Simply carefully cut a cross into the outer shell, then roast in the oven by 220 degrees until the shells start peeling away from the cut – but make sure not to burn them (genius tip: when they turn black, it’s too late :p)
2. Simple Christmas decoration
This Christmas decoration takes me back to the Christmas time when I was young – it brings out such a lovely scent that let’s me travel back every time and gets me into the right festive mood. And so simple to create! All you need is an orange (or multiple ones) and cloves – and done!
3. Getting the kitchen Christmas ready
Believe me: nobody likes to prepare a Christmas meal in a dirty and messy kitchen. For me it is important to have a clean workspace to start with in order to let my cooking creativity flow.
This year we therefore treated ourselves to a professional oven cleaning by Fantastic Services and I was absolutely wow’ed by the results (see for yourself below!) To be honest, I have always been scared to break anything when cleaning my oven and the furthest I ever got in taking it apart and ‘deep cleaning’ it, was me taking off the door (and still panicking that I might not be able to get it back on!)
It was therefore very calming to leave the work to a professional and let me tell you: I did not recognise my oven anymore! A little ashamed I also have to admit that I did not realise how dirty the oven actually was until I compared the before and after pictures. The guys from Fantastic Services have done an absolutely solid job at cleaning my oven and I will definitely be using their services again in the future!
Also: a perfectly useful gift idea for your parents or other family members – in case you are still looking for the perfect gift (if you keep your eyes open you might find a voucher giveaway on my Instagram soon ;))
4. Bringing the cosiness into my home
For me this means 3 magical things: blankets, candles and fairylights! On my sofa alone 3 blankets have found their home = alongside 4 groups of fairy lights that make the whole place super cosy in the dark time of the year.
And candles? Ohhhh I lovely the scent of a good candle. Harper’s Candles are currently my favourite, they are made from soy wax and have the most amazing scents on offer. I recently bought their ‘Holy Moley‘ candle which totally reminds me of a pack of Haribos!
Their Jaffa Cake candle is amazingly on point too – if you’re into that (I know I definitely am! ;))