It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…already

The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected.

In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for the stocking fillers, which we’re saying are from Santa.

Soaking fruits for black cake

Which brings us to a question we’ve not really asked ourselves before. What are we going to say about good ol’ St Nick? Do we pretend he’s real but be visibly half-serious? Do we go all in for it? Do we ignore it altogether? I’d love to know what other families, of any faith or none, do.

Certainly, whenever the subject of Christmas comes up – and it does because of all this flipping point of sale marketing everywhere – I say that Christmas is coming and that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. I tell her that we celebrate Christmas to thank God for Jesus and to remember that He will come again.

I guess that’s the other reason why Christmas feels like it’s entering our lives so early this year. I didn’t grow up with Advent at all. I think maybe it was considered a Roman Catholic and Anglican thing and we weren’t either. Yet I’ve come to really appreciate it in the years I’ve lived in England. It’s a beautiful way of preparing our hearts for Christmas. So, this year I’m making an Advent calendar and preparing little activities that point to Jesus throughout the month because, for us, Christmas is about so much more than warm feelings of togetherness.

Not that those feelings are being neglected either. I really want this to be a special time for our family and for our children to grow up with traditions that they remember, like the tree going up in early December.

Pouring rum over fruits for black cake

So, I’ve already started one tradition I hope to commit to in years to come. Today, Talitha and I soaked the fruits for our Trini Christmas black cake. Dates, currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries and almonds, soaked in Angostura bitters, cherry brandy and dark rum. I felt more than a little odd popping into The Co-op for rum in the middle of the day. I felt even weirder letting my two-year-old pour all the alcohol into the fruit! We’ll let that soak for a month and hopefully let that be our November tradition.

Fruits soaking for black cake

Has Christmas started inching it’s way into your life yet or is it still very firmly ages away?


12 Comments

  1. November 7, 2013 / 7:17 am

    Love this post and the pics. Traditions are great and learning from those further down the parenting road they do make an impression even if it feels like extra work right now. Christmas prep starts early for us too so as to make December and Advent a time we are ready to enter into. As far as gifts go we do stockings on 6th Dec for St Nick but the boys know that they are from us but no deal is made of it eitehr way – its gifts in a stocking, then Christmas day is gifts from wider family and we then celebrate epiphay on the 6th Jan as just us and do our own gifts that day. Helps keep the pressure of overload down and makes the season go further. Our advent calendar has a picture of the story of Christmas which we hang on our tree and also an activity for the day. So our tree gets decorated over the season rather than all at once, I always find the first few days of a rather bare tree hard but very quickly it is filled up. There are various reasons we do things the way that we do, one though being to spread the fun and the highs out over the time rather than in burst of intensity which our boys would not respond well with so it makes it more peaceful and enjoyable for all of us.

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      November 7, 2013 / 8:36 am

      Wow, Roz. That’s very organised and very interesting. I like the idea of spreading the gifts out. It did get too mental with presents last year and I think it may have been a bit much for Talitha, and for me, in fact. Decorating over the season is a lovely idea too. I must admit I had to look up what the Epiphany was! How fitting to give gifts to mark the wise men’s visit! Thanks for sharing.

  2. November 7, 2013 / 4:06 pm

    I’m not a Christian so we don’t celebrate Christmas the traditional way (or proper way as some people might say), but I love the season and always have done since a kid and there’s just something magical in the air in the lead up to the 25th Dec. I’ve always had a little nod to pagan festivals and the winter solstice is no exception, it’s nice to celebrate the coming of longer days with lots of twinkly lights and parties (and lots of food) and being surrounded by friends and family you don’t see much of during the rest of the year. This year I am trying very hard not to think about Christmas until December; last year I got myself so wound-up and excited for Betsy’s first ‘proper’ Christmas (I sometimes think I am the child in our family) during November, I was burnt out by mid-December. I am starting to think about making mincemeat and Christmas pudding though. Oh, and your black cake sounds amazing, that’s a fantastic selection of fruits and booze, please tell me you’ll be putting up a recipe for that when you make the cake!
    Charlotte recently posted..Baking Amazertron

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      November 7, 2013 / 5:04 pm

      I will indeed be doing a recipe on here! Too true about it being a good idea to celebrate longer days. Too often we can view them with negativity but actually the long, cold nights have a charm all their own.

  3. November 7, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Oh gorm girl, why you had to go there, lol. I have yet to make a Xmas cake. I just may try this year lol Fruits looking great.
    MsXpat recently posted..Guest Post: Top Tips for New Moms

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      November 8, 2013 / 1:41 pm

      Woman, get your story sorted now! 🙂

  4. November 12, 2013 / 6:33 pm

    I love Christmas and I love knowing that other people think similar to be about the Christmas meaning. I also feel it and think is time to be with family and enjoy of all the coming festivities thanking God for Jesus, congratulations for having such a nice way of showing your little one traditions that will remain for her whole life.

    • Adele Jarrett-Kerr
      November 18, 2013 / 9:30 am

      Thank you. I hope they do.

  5. Alina
    November 13, 2013 / 3:32 pm

    I’d love to know what activities you plan for advent – my little girl just turned two and she’s ready for a more meaningful advent this year, but I’m struggling for ideas and would gladly hear yours 🙂 Alina

  6. Nell@PigeonPairandMe
    December 2, 2013 / 7:46 am

    I’m going to soak some fruit next year – what a fantastic idea! Didn’t get round to it this year, though. We’re atheists but still celebrate the festival. It’s a way of making long, cold winter nights fun rather than miserable!
    Nell@PigeonPairandMe recently posted..Silent Sunday

    • December 2, 2013 / 8:03 am

      Definitely a great way to warm up and brighten up at this time of year!

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