This Christmas will undoubtedly be a very different experience.
Simone Thomas shares her thoughts on how to ensure that this is still the most magical season of the year!
How do you prepare for Christmas?
It is no exaggeration to say that this is a year we will never forget, despite the many highs and lows, I prioritise celebrating this season as a season of joy and relaxation. I love the Christmas season – the cold Winter days, wrapping up in layers, and celebrating with an abundance of seasonal foods and festivities!
Christmas is a time for me to switch off and relax with family and friends. Whilst business never stops, I think it is important to slow down and to take time out.
I love filling the boys stockings and treating them to early presents on Christmas Eve. We do a little box from Santa’s elves, which we leave in the sitting room for when we get back from a beach walk. The box always has some new pyjamas, a popcorn snack, a book, some pens, and a Christmas colouring book.
Christmas is also a time for celebrating, so on the 23rd I prepare a few treats – homemade mulled wine, a cheese board, and walnut rolls. There is rewarding when you know you have made them yourself! If you are like me and love to pick away at special titbits on Christmas Eve, then look at my December recipes on my page NutriHome.
What does Christmas Day look like in your family?
We go out for Christmas lunch, however this year I will be cooking at home. I am really looking forward to it! I have ordered a lot of my Christmas Day foods from my favourite organic grocer Abel and Cole, where I do my weekly shop.
I do not have any rituals per se except for a lazy Christmas morning; movies are on in the sitting room, music in the kitchen, we light the fire, and the boys go wild for presents. If it is dry (and my Christmas Eve blow dry from my salon will not get ruined in the rain and high winds), then we go out for a lazy beach walk and a visit to the pirate park as well.
Will Christmas day be different this year?
I love to travel over Christmas however in such uncertain times I want to be here to support my team at the salon. Sadly, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I will not be able to see my brother and his family this year.
The way I see it, it is only one year of change in our lives and it is not a big ask for us all to have one year where we cannot do the things we normally do. It is not what any of us expected, so I am just going to embrace the change and enjoy time with my family.
What are your favourite Christmas foods to indulge in?
I love cooking with fresh, whole ingredients so the food I eat is healthy and will help power and recharge my body. Christmas is the exception because I like to treat myself to a few indulgences: mulled wine, cheese boards, small sugary sweets, and savoury nibbles. All my favourite Christmas treats can be found on my NutriHome page for December.
What are your favourite Christmas activities to do with your boys?
Getting fresh air, going for beach walks, exploring the New Forest and this year I am taking them to Lapland UK on Boxing Day. They are big enough now to enjoy a trip and I am sure it will be a fun day out.
I have also booked Stourhead Garden for the winter illuminations. As a child I spent a lot of time in Stourhead. It is a magical place to me and seeing their colourful Christmas lights reflecting on the water is simply wonderful.
What is on your Christmas list this year?
I tend to be that person who says do not get me anything! I prefer to give gifts and tend to buy what I want for myself while I am at it! However, I do love candles. I can never have enough scented candles in my house. True Grace are my absolute favourite.
How do you like to prepare for Christmas? Are you a last-minute shopper or are you organised?
A little bit of both! I get everything for the boys early on and then prepare this bit-by-bit in the build up to Christmas. The boys’ birthdays are either side of Christmas, so I don’t go crazy with presents.
I tend to treat my friends to a nice meal out instead of presents, as for us dining out together whilst sharing a good bottle of wine is perfect.
How do you like to celebrate the build up to Christmas with your friends and family?
Normally it would be dinner parties and lunches but this year we sadly will not be continuing those traditions. Instead, we have been doing beach walks. I have really appreciated having a bit of time away from the social scene, this has provided me with more quality time with my family.
Although 2020 has not turned out as we expected, we all deserve peace and happiness at Christmas. Wherever you are and however you are celebrating, I hope this season brings you joy, rest and relaxation. Merry Christmas, one and all!