The first day of December feels like the perfect day for a blog post. Due to other commitments, I have been neglecting the page a little, however December’s arrival seems to have spurred me into action! Having totally ignored Black Friday (again) and avoided the onslaught of Christmas adverts (no TV) I am waiting to start the festivities my way. With a younger sister born on the 28th of November, whispers of Christmas were always delayed until December actually started anyway, and I like to keep it that way.

Out on my regular Sunday walk, I bumped into a man who agreed with me – today is the day to start thinking about the festivities. As I strolled through the sunlit cemetery across I often cut through on my walk up the hill into Beeston, I came across a man looking up at almost bare twisted trees that line the path. Curious to see what he was looking at, I averted my gaze as I drew closer to him. “See that, up there?” he pointed to a mass of leafy greenness in among the twigs. “Ah…mistletoe!” I exclaimed, surprised that I had not noticed it before.

Both delighted at discovering the abundance overhead, we struck up a conversation, chatting about the traditions of Christmas. We shared our opinions about what makes this time of year special for us and he talked fondly of his family, and how much joy his grandchildren visiting on Christmas day brings him and his wife. Then with a glint in his eye, he tells me that his favourite festive activity is decorating the house with traditional festive plants. As we tend to spend less time outdoors in the colder months, he likes to bring the outside in.

As we say our goodbyes, my eyes enjoy surveying nature’s baubles in the form of white, red and purple berries in the hedges and along fences, making bold statements against the dry dead branches or evergreen leaves. It is with renewed excitement that I gather together the initial ingredients to make my own Christmas cake. Pouring over a generous helping of brandy, I marvel at how jewel red the glace cherries now look among the dark brown mix of currants, sultanas and raisins. I have started my homemade Christmas.

And as my handmade cards from Bec and Charl Designs also arrived this weekend, I have started my handmade shopping in earnest. Bec is an ex-colleague who has started an ethical business with another young mum and a third of their profits go to support Water Aid.  As well as making some of my own presents, I am looking forward to getting over to some of the exceptional handmade events that Nottingham has to offer. Starting with Nottingham Makers and Vintage Christmas Market next weekend!