Christmas is a time for traditions. Old ones, new ones and those that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without. When I was growing up, my family never subscribed to the ‘traditional turkey and all the trimmings’ Christmas day fare. But whilst our meals might not be traditional, we still have things we do, year in, year out. The one that seems to have stuck is creeping through to the living room on Christmas morning, making a pot of tea and opening our presents before breakfast is even mentioned. Although it has been years since I’ve lived at home, this is a tradition that’s completely ingrained in me now, and I couldn’t think of starting Christmas Day in any other way.

One thing that really excites me about this time of year is making new traditions. In the nearly eight years Rob and I have been together, we’ve developed our own set of must-do things over the festive period. Every Christmas Eve, we eat lunch at The Dome, and I always end my meal by sipping a French Martini, whilst trying to figure out how they got that Christmas tree up there (all these years later I’m still none the wiser). I then go home, pop open a bottle of bubbly, which we share whilst singing along to the She and Him Christmas album, another thing we feel we simply ‘have to do’.

We also always watch Elf, which we can now quote line-by-line, and talk at length about how much fun it would be to stage our own rendition of the “Santa! I know him!” scene in the John Lewis toy department. Whilst watching this film we work our way through some homemade mulled wine.

I prefer a fruitier-tasting interpretation of this Christmas favourite, so I add a selection of dried fruits, which makes all the difference. Here’s my recipe, which will give around six small glasses:

Mulled wine

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 clementine, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • 4 dried figs
  • 5 dried apricots
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp of light brown sugar
  1. Add the wine (for this recipe I used a bottle of Merlot), to a saucepan with all of the remaining ingredients. Heat over a moderate heat, and stir to make sure the sugar dissolves. Don’t allow the wine to boil at any point.
  2. Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat down. Allow the wine to sit on the lowest heat for around 25 minutes, so that all the flavours will infuse.
  3. If you are serving straight away, strain and ladle into glasses. If you are making this in advance, don’t remove the fruits and spices until you drink the wine. This will allow the flavours to intensify further.

Not only is this drink delicious, it also gives me an excuse to get my beloved Ikea glass mugs out. Accompanied by mince pies and Buddy the Elf, this really is the perfect Christmas tradition.


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  • http://theheartbeatsfaster.blogspot.co.uk/ Louisa

    I love all of your traditions :) It’s me and my boyfriend’s first Christmas living together and I love the idea of starting new traditions. Also, those glass mugs are so pretty!

    • chiara

      Thanks Louisa. I hope you enjoy your new traditions!

  • http://www.thecakehunter.co.uk Sophie {The Cake Hunter}

    I love the She & Him Christmas album, it’s so lovely to have one whilst you wrap presents. I have those mugs, they are really cute.

    • chiara

      They are cute, aren’t they Sophie? I fell in love with them the minute I saw them!

  • http://www.thehautecookie.com thehautecookie
  • chiara

    Thanks Sooae!

  • http://thegirlwiththemessyhair.com KD

    Amazing photos!!!

    Glad to have found your blog. Im following you now. Hope you can share the love back by following and visiting my blog too.

    Much love from Canada~

    • chiara

      Thanks KD!

  • http://www.forkandflower.com scarlett

    you are so sweet! i love your pictures and posts.

    • chiara

      Thanks Scarlett!

  • http://www.forkandflower.com scarlett

    ps: just got the cd, by the way! it’s amazing! i’ve got a huge girl crush on zooey deschanel anyway. sighs… thanks for the tip!

    • chiara

      It’s a brilliant CD! I’ve listened to it pretty much non-stop since the 1st of December!

  • http://www.forkandflower.com scarlett

    ps2: aaaand also, i just listed you in my blog roll… i hope you don’t mind *blush* xo

    • chiara

      That is so kind of you Scarlett, thanks very much for that!

  • http://www.conversationpieces.co.uk/ Zoë (Convo_Pieces)

    Yay for Elf :) And for other fun Christmas traditions too. I think opening your presents without any mention of breakfast (and eating any chocolate you have in your stocking) is the way it has to be done! ;) Merry Christmas xx

  • chiara

    Definitely Zoe, chocolate on Christmas morning is the way to go. Have a good one!

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