As December inches ever closer, a sense of anticipation fills the air for the arrival of Advent. Starting on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, it signifies the time of preparation, and cheerful anticipation for the festive season.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, there are traditional Advent rituals that everyone can do that contribute to a classic Christmas experience.
Marked by the lighting of four candles; hope, peace, joy and love, the four weeks before Christmas are a time to embrace old Christmas traditions, plan ahead and enjoy the countdown to the festivities with family.
Stir Up Sunday
Falling just before the start of Advent, this is the time to get-ahead with your Christmas baking. Falling on Sunday 26th November this year, preparing your Christmas pudding on this day gives the mixture long enough to mature to ensure the perfect pudding on Christmas Day. Adding extra brandy as Christmas approaches turns it into a boozy delight.
The Food Planning
Stir Up Sunday takes care of the Christmas pudding, but there are dishes that you can prepare now and freeze in anticipation of the grand day.
Festive treats such as ginger biscuits, party sausage rolls can be made ahead for last minute guests and freezing some hearty lunches, like a chicken casserole or beef stew saves vital fridge space for those all important Christmas delicacies.
Order your Christmas centrepiece early to avoid last minute shopping panic, our Christmas shop has all the inspiration you need from classic roasts to all the trimmings.
Crafting your own festive Christmas wreath is not just for perfect party planners, but is something that the whole family can enjoy.
Gather greenery to form the basis of your wreath. You can gather fir branches, holly, and ivy on family walks as they are all abundant at this time of year. Natural elements like pine cones, red berries, dried orange slices and bunches of winter herbs can then be secured to your wreath for decoration.
For a final flourish of colour, add ribbons, bows or even baubles. Keep any leftover greenery for festive table decorations.
The lighting of the four advent candles is a Christian tradition, but even for those who are not religious, light is an important part of any winter celebration.
Lighting candles is a way we can acknowledge the darker months and the wait for the return of the light in spring.
Adding candles to your Christmas table heightens the sense of occasion and creates a sophisticated look.
The opening of Advent calendars adds an element of daily joy to the season. Each day becomes a small celebration as windows are opened to reveal hidden treasure.
For those mindful of sustainability, consider using a reusable Advent that can be filled with little hand picked treats. It cuts down on waste and creates a more personal touch for the recipient.
Whatever your own family Christmas rituals, plan now and ensure you have a peaceful and stress free festive season.