Here we are once more, slap bang in the middle of the festive season. It’s perfectly acceptable to belt out Christmas hits any time you’re out and about in the car. Or, if you’ve been partaking of the mulled wine, any time you’re out and about, full stop. Is your tree up yet? Or has it been in pride of place since the start of Advent? And are ‘the stockings hung round the chimney with care, in the hope that St Nicholas soon will be there?’

Wishing You Christmas Cheer

You’d better not shout, you’d better not cry; you’d better not pout, I’m telling you whyyyyy… Santa Claus is coming to toooowwwwwnnnn… It’s true you know; Buddy the Elf was right. The best way to spread Christmas cheer IS singing loud for all to hear!’

It’s true though. Singing is a brilliant mood lifter (probably avoid Adele. Or the Smiths. Eighties dance tracks are always a winner, when it’s not Christmas anyway) and if you get up and dance a bit, so much the better. Everyone’s stress levels and mental health can take a bit of a knock, at this time of year especially. As the saying goes, it’s ok to not be ok. However, it’s helpful to look after yourself and at least aim for ok. Take time out, don’t spend what you can’t afford, and don’t spend time with people who make you unhappy.

Christmas Magic is Real – and it’s Not Stuff

Christmas is about SO much more than just one day, and happy memories are about so much more than presents. That may sound counterintuitive. After all, we’re a gift shop. But that’s just it. Gifts aren’t about mail-order madness and expensive, high-tech everything.

Gifts should be about thought, hand-picked perfectly for the recipient. Maybe even hand-made, or a gift of a promise if money is really tight this year (if anyone’s asking, a promise of cleaning and laundering would be just DANDY. Thanks).

But seriously, small gifts, bought with love, are the ones which will matter; the ones which will form part of happy memories in years to come.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the same with special decorations and little family traditions. Those are the memories that will live on and form part of the undeniable magic of Christmas. These special decorations could be glitter-encrusted crafts from the children over the years, specially framed photos of little ones with Father Christmas, or carefully chosen baubles added over the years. Traditions could be a simple as evening walks to see neighbourhoods which have really gone to town with the lights; a trip out to a farm to choose a tree; frosty walks or gatherings with friends and family. Some of our favourites include:

  • Tea out at the Hanging Gate Chapel, where barely an inch is left undecorated.
  • A wander round Bramhall Hall on a frosty day.
  • Christmas hot chocolate made in the slow cooker and topped with cream and snowballs (marshmallows). A drop of spiced rum, Tia Maria or Baileys for the adults is good, too.
  • We always loved the train ride to see Santa at Brookside Garden Centre, and although he doesn't accept visitors anymore, he's often seen waving from his factory.
  • A panto trip is always a winner – local theatres’ offerings can be just as fun as the expensive shows.
  • Choosing or making special decorations to add each year.
  • Family photo shoot on a frosty day. If the budget doesn’t stretch to a photographer, a DIY attempt will still be fun and make many happy memories.
  • A girls’ or friends’ lunch, day or weekend out – or at home, with everyone supplying food and drink.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be stressful to organise – the fun and the laughter are worth so much more.

Have YOURSELF a Merry Little Christmas

What about you, and your friends and family? What forms part of your traditions? What makes your happy memories? THOSE are what make Christmas magical and those will live on long after the latest must-have gadget is obsolete. Can we help with your Christmas shopping? Drop us a line, pop in the shops, or browse the website. With us, you can shop local AND online – but better still, with us, it’s personal.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Or a merry BIG Christmas. Whatever suits you, your loved ones, and your family. Be happy and above all, be kind – to yourself as well.