Kirstie Alsop has a lot of time on her hands. While most of us are running ourselves ragged trying to find the ultimate Christmas present so that our loved ones can experience “a real John Lewis Christmas”, Kirstie is making tat out of bits of rubbish and claiming that this is the real meaning of Christmas. Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas is the latest of the Kirstie makes series of show. No longer is she trying to help people find their perfect home; she is now trying to help people make their perfect Christmas decorations/food/drink/hangover cure.
Kirstie is now fully vintaged up and on this week’s show resembled a 1940’s housewife, complete with set hair and floral housecoat (although that may have just been a floral dress and apron combo). With these shows she is definitely tapping into the wartime “Make Do and Mend” and “Keep Calm and Keep Crafting” mentality. I was half expecting her to have to take cover part way through the show from an approaching doodle bug.
Her first craft project was a Christmas tree diorama decoration. What you do, is take an empty mints tin and stick a cut-out bit of last year’s Christmas card in it, bung a bit of tinsel around and hey bingo, you have a decoration. (However, don’t do what I did and use an empty Tic-tac packet. The effect isn’t quite the same.) Yep, I remember doing a similar thing to this when I was at primary school; but like colouring-in books and reading Harry Potter books, apparently this is now acceptable behaviour for adults as well.
Speaking of children, she seemed to employ four of them from “the local school” to help her out. Not sure if OFSTED are aware of Ms Alsop’s child catching antics. She press-ganged them into doing potato print of penguins on a piece of brown wrapping paper and then got them to stick googly eyes on the penguins to make Christmas wrap. “Can you imagine a more simple craft to do at Christmas?” She questioned. Yep, get thee down to Poundstretcher, 3 rolls of wrap for a quid. Simples.
There really was a contrast between the activities aimed at what we mere mortals can do (sticking bits of ribbon on a card to represent a tree or a present) or what the professionals could do, which seemed to require a kiln, a chocolate warmer and a blow torch. The Danish chocolates were sort of achievable, but my efforts would probably end up on the disaster section of The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice. The ceramic birds were lovely, but alas I don’t have the time or gas supply to bake them in a kiln for thirty hours at a thousand degrees. For me, the most impressive “make” (as they say on Blue Peter) was the Christmas tree angel decoration. I’ve seen similar things on Christmas Markets and probably balked at the price, but having seen the amount of time, effort and commitment that goes into making one, I have a new-found respect for creators of such items.
I think the only things that I may attempt to make from the show are the drinks. (When did making a drink become crafting? Is that what a craft brew is?) That just seemed to involve throwing stuff together in a bottle. At the end of the show Kirstie advised us that before we receive our Christmas guests we should take the time to sit back with a glass of something sparkling and enjoy the fruits of our labours. Sorry Kirstie, but the minutes before my Christmas guests arrive I can usually be found at the corner shop stocking up on all the stuff I didn’t have time to buy before. Nothing quite says Christmas like a grab bag of Quavers and some clothes pegs. Happy Christmas!