To hell with bright copper kettles and raindrops on roses, these are the things that are making my holidays a little brighter this year.
Number one has got to be my mum-made Christmas-themed face mask. Rudolph frolicking with Santa is the best way to share holiday cheer without spreading anything unwanted.
And number two is the plethora of sparkly decor like this beauty of a tree at The Circle made entirely of rose gold disco balls. Even our neighbourhood is a little extra bling-y this year.
With Christmas markets on hold and only few Glühwein stalls open, I’ve turned to homemade solutions. Thankfully there are lots of at-home options, including stealing sips of my husband’s B Like Beer all-Swiss beer advent calendar and quaffing the 100ml bottles in my own wine version.
Vin Chaud Blanc
This Helvetic Kitchen recipe from Swiss/Canadian food blogger Andie is an excellent base for mulled white wine, French style. I also add a shot of Cointreau or Triple Sec for a little extra citrus hit.
For years I thought I hated gin… turns out it was more about the nearly omnipresent tonic than the spirit itself. Who needs quinine?
The idea is pretty simple. Gently warm 200ml unfiltered apple juice with a wedge of fresh lemon studded with four cloves, a cinnamon stick, and a hunk of fresh ginger if you’re feeling spicy. Dissolve a tablespoon of honey in the juice. Pour 50ml gin into a heat-proof glass or mug (I used Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin which is wonderfully punchy without being juniper-heavy) and top with the warm apple juice. Garnish with a slice of lemon or a twist of peel if you want to be fancy.
Klaus directed by Sergio Pablos
The Santa origin story I didn’t know I needed. This animated film ticks all the boxes for holiday entertainment: celebrity voices (like Rashida Jones and JK Simmons), jokes that land, and a bit of tearing up at the end.
It’s Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries by Carly Rae Jepsen
An ear worm in the best possible way. The music video is classic kitch, with a few first-world-problem twists.
Pub Crawl by the Arkells
I haven’t actually done a pub crawl in Toronto, but this makes me nostalgic for that thing that never happened. It’s like the modern-day, Eastern-Canadian update to Spirit of the West’s The Crawl.
The 12 Days of Christmas from Shepreth Wildlife Park
Cute animals? Yes, please! I particularly love the coatis (day 10) and squeaky otters.
‘Dave Cooks the Turkey’ by Stuart McLean
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without either reading or listening to this CBC classic.
Lots of Canadian content in this list… perhaps that’s indicative of a little homesick-ness setting in. Anything recommendations for satisfying my Canadiana cravings? Or to encouraging me to expand my horizons?