I really can’t believe that it’s December already, and we are preparing for the second Christmas in our ‘new’ home! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or mulled wine), but I absolutely love Christmas – the decorations, trees, cosy nights in, the FOOD, parties, and the wonderful giving, loving atmosphere. It’s one of the most bonding times of the year, where you feel more inclined to chat to strangers in the supermarket, or give well wishes to your Hermes driver (depending on whether they actually delivered to your door, or just chucked your parcel over the fence into a muddy puddle). Anyway, the second 1st December hit, I got out the decorations and the cheer! Even without grand entrance halls or characterful fireplaces, New Builds can be beautifully decorated for Christmas, and given their own special character. Read on for some festive decoration tips, and a rundown of what Christmassy events are taking place in Ebbsfleet Garden City this month.
One of my most enjoyable activities this Christmas has been making my DIY Christmas Garland. Moving to a two-storey house from a flat, it’s been great having a dramatic stairway in the entrance hall to decorate! I didn’t love the traditional garland styles that I saw in the shops, and wanted to make something more woodland-inspired, with lots of foliage and gold. While I would have LOVED for this to have been real, the cost and longevity factor made me decide faux would have to do! I bought an artificial Christmas pine base garland from TK Maxx, added fairy lights, and then lots of other faux garlands (eucalyptus, lambs ear and fern sprays are particularly lovely for this!) and botanical bits from Ebay and Party Delights UK. Using cable-ties I fixed it to the stairway, where it’s an immediate talking point whenever visitors first arrive.
My husband and I got this lovely nativity scene 7 years ago when we moved into our first home together. For me, Christmas is all about family and memories, and so I love bringing it out every year and finding new ways to decorate around it! This year I’ve gone all out and created a botanical setting on the hallway console table, with twinkly lights and plenty of glittery white mistletoe berries.
The question of the season – real or fake?! I’ve always had real Christmas trees, even growing up in Singapore we would go get our imported real tree from IKEA! However, they are such a pain to clean up after, especially with a cat who likes to play boxing with the bottom branches. This year, I got the most beautiful artificial 7ft Noble Fir from Balsam Hill UK to go in the carpeted living room, and then we went to the local family business Springhead Nurseries and the kids chose a 5ft real tree to go in their playroom/the open-plan kitchen. I then let them decorate to their heart’s content – no colour co-ordination or perfect bauble spacing here! Even though I’ve gone with a gold and white theme for our ‘fancy’ lounge tree, there are still lots of decorations on there that I’ve had for years, were gifts from friends and family, and have lots of sentimental value.
While it’s lovely to be curled up on the sofa with the Christmas lights twinkling and mince pies in the oven, there is also LOTS to do in and around Ebbsfleet Garden City this month! My two highlights in the calendar are going to Leeds Castle Christmas Market and the Castle Hill Community Carol Service . It’s no secret how much I love visiting Leeds Castle (I think it features in my ‘things to do’ guide for every season!), and its especially magical at Christmas! Not only is the castle decorated, there is a fantastic outdoor market with rides, food and drink stalls. Sadly this is the last weekend its open, but you can go Saturday 14th or Sunday 15th from 10am till 5pm (last admission is 3pm).
On Sunday 15th at 3pm there will be a Community Carol Service at the Castle Hill Community Centre, which everyone is invited to. There will be mulled wine and mince pies afterwards, and children are encouraged to bring the festive spirt and come dressed as angels (or Batman, whatever convinces them to come!). We will be there, and would love to meet some new or potential neighbours! Cherry Orchard Primary Academy is also holding a Christmas Fair on Friday 13th, between 3-6pm, where there will be all kinds of Christmassy stalls.
Well, there is nothing left to say apart from MERRY CHRISTMAS! If you are spending your first Christmas in your new Ebbsfleet Garden City home then congratulations, and I’m sure it will be one you will remember. I’ve spoken to and met quite a few people waiting to move into new homes who haven’t quite managed to complete during 2019, and I just want to say please don’t be disheartened, things always fall into place and it WILL happen. Soon all the house buying and moving stress will be a distant memory, and you’ll be settling into your new home and preparing for next Christmas! We have absolutely loved all of the memories we have made in the last year and a half living in Ebbsfleet, and can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store!