Day 3 of Carpe Diem’s countdown to Christmas is  Decorations.


Look past the glitz – not

Frivolous decorations

But time capsules.

I collect Christmas decorations.  Every decoration I put on my tree is a memory of a place, experience or of a person. The ones in the collage above remind me of happy times with my Mum – her helping me decorate my first Christmas Tree in my own home,  her eye’s sparkling as she celebrated Christmases with her beloved grandchildren. The little ice cube snowman is one of my favourites. I bought it during what turned out to be our last ever shopping trip – bitter sweet memories.

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”





Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2015 – Santa Claus


The 6th window in the Advent Calendar of Memories is Santa Claus.

I cherish this battered little tree decoration because he was given to me by Mum and has adorned every Christmas tree I’ve ever had.

As children we did all the usual things. We wrote letters to Santa, visited him at parties and of course we used to leave sherry and mince pies out for him on Christmas Eve along with a bunch of the juiciest carrots for the reindeer.  My brother and I were so excited that we stayed up until the wee small hours and were up at the crack of dawn.  We raced downstairs and just for  a minute we stared in wonder at  gifts he had left in perfectly arranged piles – one for me and one for my brother – before playing with each and every one.  When it was time to go  back to school, like thousands of other children, we had to write our holiday news.  One thing that always baffled me when we did this was that the other children in the class talked about unwrapping presents – the ones with less self control ripped them open.  I didn’t understand this at all because the presents that Santa left at our house were never wrapped up – ever.  So why did he wrap everybody else’s presents and not ours?  A mystery I didn’t solve for many years!

Here are some of my very favourite Santas.

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”



Christmas Music Memories

I came across this Advent Calendar and have enjoyed looking behind some of the doors.


My strongest memories of music at Christmas, as a little girl, are of traditional Christmas carols.  I love them all. The two I enjoyed the most were Away in a Manger and, because we lived in Belgium, Il est né le divin enfant  Still firm favourites that transport me straight back to childhood.

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”


Cranberry sauce

advent-day-18Oophs! Just found this one lurking in the drafts folder – better late than never! Day 18 and its traditional Christmas day trimmings (centre to left of table mat), Brussels sprouts and bread sauce – originally  a medieval recipe.  We prefer cranberry sauce. This recipe is not too sweet.

cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce


250 g fresh cranberries

2 satsumas

100g sugar

150 ml vermouth

Add the cranberries, zest and juice of the satsumas, sugar and vermouth into a pan. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, util berries begin to pop. Leave to cool. The sauce becomes thicker as it cools.


Christmas Turkey

Advent calendarThe final day of the Calendar brings the turkey (right in the centre) and the information that William Strickland is said to have  brought the first six turkeys to the UK in 1526. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy ours. I must say a big thank you to Amanda Loverseed and Phoenix Trading – we’ve had great fun in our house with your advent calendar this December,  tasting some new things and learning some interesting facts.



Christmas Dinner and Wassail

advent calendarThe 21st is a plate full of Christmas dinner (bottom centre), along with the fact that a wealthy family’s Christmas table  in Victorian Britain would have been overflowing with treats including beef, venison and hare whilst poorer families would have paid into a Goose Club all year just to be able to afford their Christmas lunch.advent calendar  The 22nd is a punch bowl full of Wassail (in front of the fireplace to right) a hot mulled cider that got its name from the Saxon toast of ‘waes hael’ meaning be well.  When I lived in Hampshire the village had a big Wassail celebration in the first week of January but I haven’t come across it again since moving up to Northamptonshire.



Christmas cakes

advent day 20

The 20th brings Christmas cake (by the window). The calendar tells me not just about traditional British Christmas cake, but also about the Japanese version of sponge cake covered in whipped cream and strawberries (I like the sound of that one – might try it next year). It also mentions German Stollen, which is very popular in this house. Today is the first day of my holiday so we are enjoying these little Stollen bites at the moment.

Stollen bites