TIPS FROM THE STARS’ CHRISTMAS DECORATORS
Everyting you need for te perfect Christmas!
SEASONAL BEST IDEAS MARY BERRY JAMES MARTIN & GIZZI ERSKINE
R IKES FILOY B S E W DA THE FAM s!) a ALL r Chr istm (in time
COOK THE CHRISTMAS
GIFTS, CRAFTS, RECIPES, MAGICAL DAYS OUT & MUCH MORE
Gater round… WHY .. IS A FESTIVE FAMILY HIGHLIGHT
GIZZI’S TOP TIPS
DRESSED FOR DINNER
SET A STYLISH CHRISTMAS TABLE TO REMEMBER
Four steps to te perfect Christmas! 1
Projects to make
Family days out
GEMSTONE NAPKIN RING KIT FOR EVERY READER *P&P CHARGES APPLY
Get the look
FROM THE TREE TO THE TABLE, WE’VE GOT IT COVERED!
Full-on colour or cool white? Nordic chic or classic red and green? We’ve put together a selection of seasonal themes to help you decorate your home.
From the fluffiest roast potatoes and flavoursome turkey to vegetarian haggis and a range of sumptuous puddings, our recipes will make this a Christmas to remember.
‘Tis the season to get creative! Make this a wonderfully handmade Christmas with our quick and easy craft projects, plus ideas for fun days out with the family.
In this section you’ll find ideas and advice for decorating all the rooms of your house – including the outside! We also go and meet the professional Christmas decorators.
Presents for him, her and the kids; gifts for crafters, cooks and gardeners; plus stocking fillers for children and adults to create some magic on Christmas morning.
R ! F O LY S MI 57 KE A GE BI E F P A IN H O W LT NT AL UR T
MARY BERRY JAMES MARTIN & GIZZI ERSKINE PAGE 31
CONTENTS 8 christmas countdown
have a creative christmas
let there be lights
Our failsafe to do list for 25 December
44 CINNAMON CANDLES
Don’t forget to decorate your outside spaces!
Light the way with these gorgeous votives
68 FIRESIDE STYLE
45 WHITE DOUGH DECORATIONS
Make your living room the place to celebrate
14 ALL THAT GLITTERS
A fun project to make with your free gift
71 DECK YOUR HALL
Mark the season with gold accessories
46 PAPER STARS GARLAND
Create a wonderful first impression
16 WHITE CHRISTMAS
Get crafty with sheet music and card
72 FINE FESTIVE DINING
Create your own snowy wonderland
47 TRADITIONAL WREATH
Set the table and the mood with our top tips
18 MERRY AND BRIGHT
Welcome your guests in floral style!
75 MAKING LIGHT WORK OF CHRISTMAS
Baubles and more in a host of rainbow colours
48 CARDS FOR KIDS
We meet the professional festive decorators
20 NORTHERN LIGHTS
Two simple projects that children will love
Opt for cool chic with Scandi-inspired décor
50 BEADED HEART
the ultimate gifts
22 CLASSIC CHARM
Bring some sparkle into your home
80 FOR HIM
Go traditional with red and green touches
51 CHRISTMAS LETTERS
Ideal presents for the men in your life
24 CHRISTMAS TIMES
Have a go at fabric découpage
82 FOR HER
With TV viewing a festive tradition we go behind the scenes at the Radio Times
53 POMPOM GARLAND
Accessories, jewellery, homeware and more
Ditch the tinsel and go fluffy instead!
84 FOR KIDS
28 SEASON OF TRADITION
54 PRETTY PAPER TREES
Tremendous treats for tiny revellers
The stories behind our Christmas rituals
No need to vacuum needles with these trees
87 FOR COOKS
55 STAMPED GIFT TAGS
Serve them up something they’ll adore!
Silver labels that are a wonderful keepsake
89 FOR CRAFTERS
58 WINTER WONDERLANDS
Creative gifts for crafty people
Our round-up of the best family days out
91 FOR GARDENERS
62 MAGICAL CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Presents to delight green-fingered loved ones
Special reader offers to visit a selection of UK and European markets
94 STOCKING FILLERS
trends & traditions
All the recipes you’ll need to make your Christmas dinner a delicious success! A selection of starters, main courses, side dishes and desserts, including recipes from Mary Berry, Gizzi Erskine and James Martin
66 A WARM WELCOME
A selection of gifts for under £10
STYLE IT UP
Take the accent colours of your room and use these as the starting point for your decorations, like with the bold red and blue of the sofa and coffee table in this fresh and bright living room.
THE WOW FACTOR
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
You’ll find every colour of the rainbow (and a few more besides!) in this unique and fairtrade felt ‘funk wreath’. £49.50, www.feltsogood.co.uk
Give your tree a Mexican makeover with these bright tin bird decorations. £4 each or £11 for the set of three, www. notonthehighstreet.com/dejaooh
Get the party started with this great confetti cannon, which delivers a blast of brightly coloured paper and mixed foil pieces. £6.99, www.pipii.co.uk
MERRY AND BRIGHT
WHAT A CRACKER These handmade crackers are created from screen-printed recycled paper and will add a gorgeous pop of colour to your table. £35, www.sophiavictoriajoy.etsy.com
Give yourself the gift of a vibrant Christmas with these joyous decorations in a dazzling selection of bold colours
BRIGHT BAUBLES We love these delicate glass teardrop baubles – they’re just the thing to give any Christmas tree a welcome splash of cheer. £19.99 for a pack of 24, www.dobbies.com
Inject even more fun into your festivities with this bright paper fan decoration – it’s a must for any colourful Christmas scheme. £3.99, www.candleandcake.co.uk
This multi-coloured reindeer doorstop by Dora Designs would certainly give Rudolph a run for his money! £22.50, www.cuckooland.com
Metallic beads inside a bauble make for a stunning contemporary decoration that will look great anywhere where it will catch the light. £4, www.poshtottydesigns.com
Recipe and image courtesy of Love Beetroot (www.lovebeetroot.co.uk)
Photography: Emma Lee
APRE ST ECI R
BRAISED SOUR RED CABBAGE WITH POMEGRANATE
HONEY GLAZED BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BEETROOT
The jewelled sweetness of the crunchy seeds beautifully complements the cabbage
Begone boring sprouts! Adding beetroot gives the festive vegetable a seasonal makeover
INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp olive oil 2 red onions, thinly sliced ½ large red cabbage (or 1 small one), cored and thinly sliced 100ml red wine vinegar 150ml (5fl oz) water 3 tbsp brown sugar 50ml (2fl oz) pomegranate molasses 3 juniper berries A pinch of ground cloves Seeds from ½ pomegranate Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
INGREDIENTS 680g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp butter 3 cloves garlic, minced 60ml water ¼ tsp salt 2 tbsp honey 250g pack cooked beetroot, diced 25g crumbled blue cheese 25g walnuts, chopped
HOW TO MAKE THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS 1 In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter to medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and allow them to cook cutside down for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. 2 Add the garlic and the water and cook for 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the Brussels sprouts are cooked to your liking. 3 Add the honey and chopped beetroot and heat for 1-2 minutes until the beetroot is hot. 4 Transfer the sautéed Brussels sprouts and beetroot to a serving dish and add the blue cheese and chopped walnuts. Toss everything together and serve.
HOW TO MAKE THE CABBAGE 1 Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions gently for 8 minutes, or until they’ve softened and started to get a golden tinge. Add the cabbage and fry for a further 5 minutes. 2 Pour over the vinegar, water and sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the molasses and spices, then pop a lid on and let it slowly simmer for 40 minutes. You may need to check the water level at this stage. What you’re looking for is that, when you move the cabbage away with a spoon, it slowly leaves a drool of lightly syrupy liquid. You don’t want it too dry, but not too wet either. Season with salt and pepper and stir through the pomegranate seeds before serving.
COUNTDOWN TO SUCCESS...
Spread the cost of your Christmas food bill by adding a few non-perishable items to your weekly shop from September onwards. By the time December comes you’ll have everything you need in the larder but without the massive till receipt. Organise your fridge and freezer in advance, so you’ve got plenty of space for your festive cooking and you’re not trying to fit dishes into a cluttered space.
Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings by Gizzi Erskine (Mitchell Beazley, RRP £25) is available to Simply Christmas readers for the special price of £17.50 including free UK P&P. To order, please call 01903 828 503 quoting ‘MB649’. Offer subject to availability, please allow 7 days for delivery. 36
Recipe and image courtesy of BerryWorld (www.berryworld.com)
Recipe and image courtesy of UK Shallots (www.ukshallot.com)
HONEY ROAST SHALLOTS AND CHANTENAY CARROTS
CRANBERRY, APPLE AND SHALLOT SAUCE
These are also wonderful served cold the next day ‒ if there are any left!
Once you’ve tried this sweet and spicy homemade sauce you’ll never buy a jar again
INGREDIENTS 500g Chantenay carrots 12 shallots, peeled and cut in half 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp clear honey 2 tsp sesame seeds
INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp olive oil 2 shallots, finely chopped 500g fresh cranberries 2 Pink Lady apples, peeled and roughly chopped 1 star anise 1 cinnamon stick 100ml red wine 150g caster sugar
HOW TO MAKE THE CARROTS
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/390°F/Gas Mark 6. HOW TO MAKE THE SAUCE In a roasting tin, toss the Chantenay carrots and shallots 1 Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the shallots and in the olive oil to coat them and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. cook gently until softened. Add the cranberries, 3 Remove from the oven and add the honey apples, spices, wine and sugar and stir together. Cook until the cranberries and and sesame seeds and again toss to coat apple have softened and the sauce is a the vegetables. Keep it simple and limit 4 Roast for a further 5-10 minutes, after jammy consistency. Leave to cool. your menu to three or four 2 You can store this in the fridge for up to side dishes. It’s better to do which the shallots and Chantenay carrots a few really well than should be glazed and sticky. two weeks. 1 2
tie yourself in knots trying to make a dozen.
Give frozen turkeys plenty of time to defrost. As a rule of thumb, allow 10-12 hours per kg if defrosting in a fridge set at 4°C, or 3-4 hours per kg in a cool room (below 17.5°C). Make sure it’s safe from hungry pets! Once defrosted, either cook it immediately or store in the fridge until you’re ready, keeping it covered and well away from other food. Remember that the freezer is your friend, and many
elements of Christmas dinner can be made in advance and frozen, such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy and pastry. You can also parboil and freeze vegetables. On the day, decide what time you want to eat and work backwards from that, to make sure you have enough time to cook everything, particularly the turkey. This will ensure that you don’t end up sitting down hours later than planned with ravenous guests!
PAPER STARS GARLAND Adorn a mantelpiece, window or chimney breast alcove with this pretty papercraft decoration and let its vintage-style beauty shine bright
HOW TO MAKE THE GARLAND 1 Make a five-pointed star template (about 10cm high) from card and cut shapes from your papers. For each 3D star you’ll need at least four star shapes. Don’t worry about being too precise with the sizes, as a more rustic look adds to the individuality of each star, and the pattern layers stand out if the stars are slightly mismatched.
2 Lay out a combination of book pages, music score and red patterned pieces for each star – it’s worth planning how the layers will go. If you vary the top layer of each star, you can also plan the pattern order of your finished garland.
YOU WILL NEED Selection of red patterned papers Selection of secondhand books and music scores (Christmas theme optional) Scissors and white cotton Sewing machine 2 lengths of red ribbon
3 Take a length of ribbon and machine-stitch zigzag stitches back and forth along the end 2cm, then sew the first star to this end. Take the four layers in a rough pile and sew together, then keep sewing together each four-layered star without raising the machine foot, leaving 4cm between each one.
4 When you reach your desired length, machine-stitch a few zigzag stitches back and forth along the end 2cm of your second length of ribbon, then attach to your final star, creating a tie at the garland’s ends.
Designed by Ruth Southorn
5 Gently fold forward some of the layers for each star along the stitched line to create a 3D effect and show each layer, then hang.
You can experiment with the papers to match your festive colour scheme.
HOW TO MAKE THE CHRISTMAS WREATH Round off the inside and outside edges of the foam ring with a sharp knife or by rubbing it with your fingers – this gives you a larger surface area to work with. Drop the ring into a bucket of water and allow it to soak thoroughly. Don’t push it into the water as this will create air pockets in the foam, which will prevent some stems from getting water. 1
Give guests a warm welcome with a glorious handmade wreath. We’ve used pine cones, berries and dried oranges for a traditional feel, but you can also try white roses, sage and eucalyptus for a more modern look
2 Pin a length of ribbon around the inside and outside edges of the ring, (not the part you stick the stems in). Decide where you want the top of the wreath to be, and wrap florist’s wire around the ring here to hang. Leave a tail for tying later.
YOU WILL NEED 30cm floral foam ring Mixed foliage Wide ribbon Florist’s wire Pearl pins Wired pine cones Wired dried oranges Hypericum (red berries)
3 Find the foliage with the largest leaves and begin attaching this to the ring. Cut it to the length required and insert into the foam at a natural angle. Insert your first two stems into the top of the foam so that they make a wide V shape (with around 1cm between each leg of the V), then insert a shorter piece in the middle of the V. Build up the foliage this way, making sure you always insert each stem in the same direction to create a good flow. Remember to add foliage to the inside of the wreath as you go along.
5 Once all the foliage is arranged, create five groups of embellishments, each containing a pine cone, a clump of hypericum and a slice of dried orange. You can add each item separately to the foam, but cluster the items to achieve a nice balance. If you want to wire the pine cones and oranges yourself, simply wrap florist’s wire around the bottom and twist to secure, then trim the wire so you have a tail of about 4cm left to stick into the foam. When complete, hang on your front door and admire your work!
Designed by Marie Parry
4 Once you’ve achieved even coverage with your first type of foliage, add the next and then the next, using the largest leaves first. Turn your wreath each time you add a stem, to ensure even coverage. Stop when the foam is covered.
WONDERLANDS Get into the spirit of the season with family visits to venues around the UK. Here’s our pick of 2016’s Christmas events
or many of us, Christmas is at the heart of our childhood memories. From lovingly filled stockings and homemade mince pies to wonkily handmade tree decorations and finding the perfect carrot for the snowman’s nose, it’s all precious stuff. Reliving treasured experiences while creating new traditions is a huge part of contemporary family life – we’re always looking for ways to make the season special. As well as the big day itself, there are so many more festive events to enjoy from November, even October, onwards. At home, there’s stirring the Christmas pudding and making cards for family and friends to look forward to, while out in the community there will be numerous fairs to visit and enjoy. If your family tradition is to have a real Christmas tree, the whole experience of visiting a farm or grower, picking ‘the one’
and bringing it home to be lovingly decorated is wonderfully festive. Meanwhile, a trip to town might reveal stalls with stocking filler presents and roast chestnuts, or if you’re fortunately placed, a full-on festive market packed with stalls selling local foods, gifts and crafts (turn to page 62 to take advantage of our handpicked all-inclusive tours to Christmas markets in the UK and Europe).
GETTING OUT AND ABOUT For a truly memorable family outing, however, forget the shopping and find a full-on festive excursion. The choice of experiences is amazing and you’re bound to find one to suit your family’s interests as well as that all-important budget. While a light dusting of snow would undoubtedly enhance the festive feel of our surroundings, we’ve long since realised that,
in the UK, white Christmases are few and far between. But all is not lost – there are many opportunities around the country to embrace the midwinter atmosphere in a range of venues, from theme parks and aquariums to stately homes and museums. Theatres will have planned a wonderful Christmas schedule of productions, too, for everyone from toddlers to grandparents – every good panto includes jokes for all ages! Look in your local papers, magazines or parenting bulletins for more ideas close to home (and often discount vouchers), but there are also some venues worth making a journey for – Blenheim Palace, Edinburgh Christmas and Lapland UK just for starters. We’ve had a sneak peek at what’s coming up for Christmas 2016 and picked out ten events up and down the UK that will be worth a visit. So plan your day out and enjoy making those treasured memories...
Fans of Frozen, both young and old, will adore this lavish skating production of the film
Father Christmas will be in residence at Lapland UK
The majestic gardens of Blenheim Palace have a brand new trail of lights
DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS FROZEN 13 OCT – 30 DEC
The appeal of Disney’s Frozen hasn’t melted away yet and this touring ice spectacular is perfect for fans of Elsa and Anna. Sing along with Let it Go, DoYou Want To Build A Snowman? and more, plus learn the snowman dance during the pre-show warm-up. The show will be at venues in Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and more from 13 October. Prices vary according to venue and seating. INFO www.disneyonice.com
EDINBURGH’S CHRISTMAS 18 NOV – 8 JAN
Edinburgh’s Christmas is a spectacular, six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the Scottish capital. The calendar of both free and paid-for events features ice skating, food and craft markets, and fun rides, including the 60-metre-high Star Flyer with breathtaking views over the city. Keep an eye on the website as new events are still being revealed in the run-up to the opening day.
the palace. Along the way you’ll find a scented fire garden, singing Christmas trees, a swaying lawn of fibre-optic colour, illuminated cascades and much more. Visitors will be able to toast marshmallows, ride the vintage carousel, browse the gift shop and enjoy traditional Christmas fare. An advance family ticket costs £48. INFO www.blenheimpalace.com
visitors walk though snowy paths, help out at the toy factory, go skating, see real reindeer and huskies, and meet Santa himself. Family tickets start at £55.
18 NOV – 24 DEC
Now in its tenth year, Lapland UK is worth a visit if your little ones love Santa but a trip to the real Lapland is beyond your budget! The award-winning immersive theatre experience offers families a journey through the Arctic homeland of Father Christmas and his elves. Hosted in Whitmoor Forest on the Windsor estate in Berkshire, the event lets
CHRISTMAS AT BLENHEIM 25 NOV – 2 JAN
This year’s Christmas at Blenheim features a brand new festive trail of lights around the formal gardens of
NATIONAL TRUST NOV – DEC
Few do a traditional Christmas as well as the National Trust. From stately homes to grand castles, many of its properties will be decked in historical styles this year, including Edwardian, Tudor and Victorian. Liverpool’s Speke Hall will be hosting Victorian Christmas Fridays – take a stroll around the beautiful house, decorated for a traditional Victorian Christmas, listen to carols in the Great Hall and enjoy a festive meal in the restaurant. Or head to Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, for the Garden of Fire and Light, complete with fire sculptures and leaping flames. Entry fees apply. Visit the website for more information on each venue’s celebrations. INFO www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Edinburgh’s Chris tmas 59
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ALBAI BEAR SOCKS
MR HAPPY/ LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE TRAVEL MUG
£4.50, www.oliver bonas.com
£4.95 each, www.blooms burystore.com
COLOURWORKS PIZZA CUTTER £3.99, www.kitchencraft.co.uk
CAMERA CASE £3 each, www.tiger-stores.com
SET OF TWO WOODSHED ANIMAL EGG CUPS £4, www.george.com
SILVER TEALIGHT HOLDER £1.99, www.dobbies.com
HAPPY JACKSON ‘HIGH FIVE’ HAND CREAM £4.95, www.blooms burystore.com
HO HO HO MILK CHOCOLATES £2.50, www.hotel chocolat.com
WHO DARES WINS PLAYING CARDS £4, www.tch.net
MINI BOOK LAMP £3.95, www.dotcom giftshop.com
FRUIT SHOWER SPONGE £1 each, www.tigerstores.com
CHRISTMAS STAMP SET £4, www.paperchase.co.uk
SET OF TWO EXPLORER NOTEBOOKS £4.50, www.tch.net
LE’XPRESS HEART TEA INFUSER £3.99, www.kitchencraft.co.uk
ALPHABET LUGGAGE TAG £5, www.accessorize.com
WILD ABOUT BEES GIFT SET £5, www.johnlewis.com
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