It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

In fact, it’s less than a week until Christmas and I’m beginning to wonder where the year has gone. Whilst there is still time to reflect on the whole year, I’ve actually been thinking recently about what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. Whilst the shops may start preparing for Christmas from September (which is far too soon), this year I’ve actually managed to have a whole host of Christmassy activities lined up in the lead up to the day itself. Even discounting a magical trip to Cologne Christmas markets, there’s plenty I’ve done which has made the whole season feel festive, rather than just one day.

Durham

I’ve been to Durham twice over the course of the ‘festive season’ for two very different events. In November, I attended a military wives concert in the Cathedral with my parents. I hadn’t actually realised until we got there that the concert was going to be made up almost entirely of Christmas songs. I have to admit, my heart sank a little. I don’t mind Christmas songs, but not as early as November! But it was excellent. Both choirs who performed were incredibly good, there was an opportunity for audience participation, and the surroundings were beautiful. When we left the concert I almost expected to see snow falling.

The second trip to Durham was at the beginning of December in order to see the Durham Christmas Festival. If you plan to go I would recommend taking the train. Either that or get there early and use the Park and Ride. After spending a long time stuck in traffic in the city, we left for the Park and Ride. There wasn’t a problem getting a parking space, but on the return back there was a very long queue for the bus. You have been warned! The festival itself was alright, but not the traditional Christmas market I had been expecting. My favourite part was the food and drink stalls which were set up in the cloisters of the Cathedral, making it feel a bit like you were at the Hogwarts Christmas Fair (if such a thing exists). There was then a large marquee on the castle green which housed a number of craft stalls. It was a nice day out, but in future I might not bother. I’d prefer to return to York for the day!

Edinburgh

I really like Edinburgh at any time of year, but it’s a great place to go Christmas shopping and there is a market.The market this year seemed to be particularly good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was particularly good that we came across a stall that seemed to be dedicated to wooden moose decorations! We also enjoyed a snack of poffertjes (mini pancakes) which I had first been introduced to in Dusseldorf, and then had struggled to find elsewhere ever since.

Gingerbread House

For some reason, this year I was desperate to make a gingerbread house. Perhaps I had been inspired by Great British Bake Off, or maybe it just seemed like a Christmassy thing to do. James was up for the challenge, so last time he visited we made it our mission to construct a gingerbread house…

It’s a lot harder than it first appears. It is also incredibly time consuming. We did not end up with the beautifully decorated cottage that we had been aiming for. We did create a rather large gingerbread structure that perhaps resembled a rustic church. We did not have a house that stayed complete – the roof fell off within two minutes. We did have a very tasty concoction. Our endeavor was stressful, but a lot of fun. Will I try it again? Perhaps…

What have you been doing to get in the mood for Christmas this year?

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