Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions – when you’re a kid you don’t really think about the things that you do each year at Christmas as it’s a given. It’s not until you’re an adult and have children of your own that you realise that it’s these traditions that make Christmas special. It’s those things that our children will remember.

A Pinterest Pin with colourful Christmas trees with the wording Our christmas tradtiions

My Childhood Christmas Traditions

I was born and brought up in a little village called Rishton in Lancashire and my Nan would visit us most years from Exeter, Devon where we live now.

We always looked forward to my Nan coming as she would always bring us treats.

Every year without fail my Nan bought us all a new dressing gown, slippers and pyjamas (nightdresses for us girls). Looking back they were really old fashioned grannyesque nightdresses with quilted dressing gowns with material buttons. My sister and I always got the same but in a different colours or patterns.

We always went to Sunday school and took part in whatever crafts and carol singing they were doing.

My Nan was an amazing baker and whenever she visited she always made various things including jam rolypoly. We all fought over being the helper and would play with the biscuit scraps for ages

The Christmas number one was always something to be anticipated. We used to listen to the radio for the top 40 countdown every Sunday whilst my mum ironed our school uniform, and Top of the Pops was a much watch. Of course you had to watch it ‘real time’ which I know is quite retro these days.

A trip to Rays – this was a local shop that sold a bit of everything. Growing up with a single mum meant that it was always up to my Nan to make sure that we bought our mum a Christmas present. So we went to Rays to choose something. I remember buying her this like picture frame on a swivel stand (a bit like a mirror) that was full of coloured sand that you tipped up to create sand patterns. It was really naff but my mum said she liked it.

Christmas films – any Christmas films that were on the TV (all four channels) were something that everybody looked forward to. Santa Claus the movie and Home Alone were my absolute faves.

We had an Advent Calendar that was shared between the three of us. It wasn’t like the calendars are now. There weren’t even any chocolates in the doors. It was pictures that represented Christmas such as a Christmas Tree, a mince pie, the Three Wise Men etc. We had to take it in turns to open the doors, and we loved it.

My Mum used to pay weekly for a food hamper for Christmas which was delivered in these huge polystyrene boxes. They were full of all sorts of what we considered ‘treat’ foods. We had ham in a tin which you had to open with a little key that came on the side of it. It came out of the tin in a huge blob like mass and was covered in jelly. It makes me cringe when I think back to it, but we really enjoyed it at the time. There was a cupboard in our lounge where all the good stuff was kept – boxes of biscuits, the Christmas Puddings and mince pies, bags of nuts and the tubs of twiglets and crackers.

Creating our own Christmas Traditions

When Ryan was born we had to make our own traditions, based on what we enjoyed of our own childhood christmases.

I love the idea and thought behind the Christmas Eve Boxes, but it wasn’t heard of when Ryan was little, but we had our own things that we did every year without fail.

Christmas Pyjamas

Every year the kids get new ones to wear on Christmas Eve. In the last few years, it’s been matching family pyjamas which I really like. I’ve yet to convince Chris to wear matching pyjamas but one of these days we’ll get him to do it.

Christmas Eve Just Us

Christmas Eve is definitely a hot chocolate and Christmas movie day. We quite often have takeaway or pizza and snuggle up on the sofa ready for a solid few days of non-stop eating. We don’t make any plans with friends or family on Christmas Eve as it’s OUR day as a little family. Something we’ll carry on for as long as we can.

Christmas Decorations

I love seeing all the colour coordinated glamorous looking trees, but I love our tree. Our Christmas decorations have been collected over the years or made by the kids an mean so much more. We buy a new Christmas decoration each year so we’re building up quite a collection. I feel quite nostalgic when we unpack these as we remember where they came from or who made them. We always decorate the tree to cheesy Christmas music whilst eating Christmas sweets and chocolates.

Writing Father Christmas a Letter

The kids love doing this and then we make a special trip to the post box to post the letter off. It’s such a lovely thing to do each year.

Father Christmas visit

Who doesn’t love to take the kids to see Father Christmas. We’ve been to some lovely ones and also some not so lovely ones over the years. I think we missed a couple of years as Isabelle was terrified of him. The worse one we went to was one that just ended up being a photograph opportunity that you could buy for an extortionate amount of money and we were shuffled along like an Aldi checkout.

Christmas Stockings

Where do you put yours? We started off by putting it at the end of Ryan’s bed l, but one year he was terrified about Father Christmas being in his bedroom so we started putting it outside his bedroom door and we’ve carried this on. The kids all have different stockings. Ryan who is a fully fledged adult these days has a knitted one that stretches so much that you can fill it with quite a lot, and we still fill this up for him each year.

Christmas Crafts

We always do a few Christmas Crafts in the lead up to Christmas. This includes making Christmas Bisuits, decorations, cards and other handmade presents. The kids always enjoy this and like to choose what crafts they do.

Christmas Day Outfit

We always have something new to wear. We do get dressed for Christmas Day, I know a lot of people like to stay in their comfies, but I like something with a bit of sparkle in it.

Elf on the Shelf

We now do the Elf on the Shelf, but be warned. Once you start it, there’s no going back. You can find loads of inspiration online for what you can do that range from really easy to putting in a ridiculous amount of effort. My only advice would be to plan this as its the absolute pits when it gets to 10pm and you’re have to think of what to do with the Elf!

Christmas morning always starts the same way. I’m always awake first and I either noisily make my way to the loo to wake the kids up or send the dog upstairs. I then make Chris a coffee and myself a cuppa before the kids pile onto our bed with their stockings. I should at this point mention that even the dog gets in on this as well. He has his own stocking and you’ve never seen such an excited dog! This is probably my favourite part of the day when the excitement is at its highest. We then make our way downstairs for the present reveal.

Christmas Market

We have a lovely Christmas Market in Exeter and we make two separate trips. One with the kids (a nightmare) and one on our own (total bliss).

I enjoy these things far more than the whole buying and wrapping presents which I find quite stressful. I love seeing my children’s faces on Christmas morning but the pressure to spend seems to get more intense every year.

What traditions do you have with your family?

Updated post – Originally posted 30/11/18

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas?

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas?

Do we need a back-up plan for Christmas? We all thought that this was going to be the year that normality returned. We are allowed to mingle and there are no restrictions in terms of numbers gathering etc etc. We all know that we have to be personally responsible in terms of if we’re ill don’t knowingly spread our germs around by visiting others, going to work or just carrying on as normal.

But this year, we’re still not in a great position.

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas

Coughs, Colds and Everything Else!

We’re all coming down with coughs and colds, which we’re spreading around. Employers want you to be at work and we don’t want to be penalised financially, so it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

The school’s stance is that if your child has a general cough and cold that they should attend school, which again adds to the spreading.

People aren’t using their heating as much which probably isn’t great if you’re poorly and need to stay warm to recover.

We’ve also got Scarlet Fever going around both of our kids’ schools at the moment which is very contagious and not very nice. Belle had this a few years ago and it was a very worrying few days for us.

Strikes

It’s not just illnesses that we’re contending with at the moment. Just when we thought we could have a normal Christmas, the rail strikes were announced which is going to impact so many people hoping to travel to see family this Christmas.

Border strikes are also happening, so again if you are planning to travel by air there are loads of warnings that delays and cancellations are inevitable.

Postal strikes have meant that some of our purchases might not turn up over Christmas, which isn’t the end of the world but has a huge impact on small businesses that have taken huge hits over the last few years anyway.

Health strikes are going to have a huge impact on routine healthcare, but all emergency work will continue.

Cost of Living

Never has life felt more doom and gloom than it does at the moment. I’m part of local mums’ Facebook groups, and every day it’s flooded with people asking for advice regarding not being able to cover bills, not having enough money for food and lately a very sad stream of parents offloading their worries over not being able to provide a ‘good enough’ Christmas for their kids.

I should mention that there are a lot of people who are in a better position offering help and support to families which is absolutely amazing. We’ve been putting together presents for children who otherwise might not get anything for Christmas. I think this is a good lesson for our children to know that they are fortunate and not all children have the same as them so showing kindness is always a good thing to do. We’re not well off by any means but are happy to support others.

Weather

We live in Devon and had a very light sprinkling of snow at the weekend. We were predicted snow last night but this didn’t happen. However, we have had heavy snow in the past and given that we as a country are completely unprepared for and may also have an impact on our plans.

Back-up Plan for Christmas

So my point of this post was that given all of the above, many of us might not make it to our preferred destination this year. Given the predicted weather and strikes you may not be able to get where you want to be, and if someone in your household or the household you’re going to gets ill, you may need to change your plans.

So does that mean we all need to have a back-up Christmas Dinner plan just in case?

We’re due to go to my in-laws and it’s about a half an hour drive away from us, Chris’ sister is around an hour away and our son is coming from Winchester.

I’m keeping everything crossed that none of us gets poorly so that we can spend the day together, but obviously, if any of us are poorly we’ll have to stay at home.

I’m thinking that we might have to stock up the freezer just in case this happens so that we can still enjoy a Christmas Dinner. Otherwise, there’s going to be a mass hunting of turkeys, veg and all the trimmings come Christmas Eve!

Do you have a back-up plan?

Fantastic Non-Toy Christmas Gifts for Children

Fantastic Non-Toy Christmas Gifts for Children

Fantastic Non-toy Christmas Gifts for Children. Hands up if after Christmas you could do with an extension just to fit in all the new Stuff that the kids get.

It’s lovely that friends and family natural want to buy something as a gift at Christmas time but does it always have to be a physical thing?

Here is a list of alternative Non-toy Gifts that you can buy or recommend for friends and family to buy for your little ones.

1. Cinema Gift Cards

These are ideal for older children and will give them something to look forward to do with their friends.

2. Classes

The possibilities are endless. This could be for swimming lessons, gymnastics, trampolining, ballet, football, cricket, badminton, tennis. I could go on…..

buying a series of classes is a great alternative Christmas Gift such as ballet lessons

3. Concert or gig tickets

Surprise the teen with tickets to their favourite band.

4. Theme Park Tickets

These don’t have to just be for older children. These could be for the smalls for places like Peppa Pig World or Cbeebies Land and make a great family day out.

Tickets to sporting events make a great Christmas Gift

5. Sports Events Tickets

Do your children have a favourite football, rugby or cricket team. These are likely to go down a storm and could double us a joint father son present.

6. Books

You can never have too many books, especially for bedtime story reading. We love books and could probably open our own library, but we always welcome more.

7. Tickets for local activities

Petting zoos, Farms, Swimming, Indoor play areas, Crazy Golf and activity parks. Whatever activities your children are into these will be great when you don’t have any plans. Even better, you could buy an annual membership.

Buying tickets for local attractions are great to give as a gift for kids

 

8. Clothes

Both of ours at 4 and 15 have an interest in clothes and are quite particular about what they wear. The 4 year old likes sparkles, pretties and skirts or dresses that are swishy and the 15 year old is particular about the brands that he wears. Makes an ideal gift for any age.

9. Paint your own Pottery

We have a lovely place near us where you can sign up for a class such as jewellery making, canvas painting or pottery painting. All the materials are included and you come away with your creation.

10. A Camera or Video Camera

All kids young and older would like this as a gift. My daughter has one which also has themes such as moustaches and big ears or backgrounds to the pictures taken. It’s fun to do as well.

11. Magazine subscriptions

This is an ideal present for everybody from pre-schoolers to your in-laws.

12. A watch

Help them to learn the time which is a useful and essential life skill as well as a great accessory.

13. A Journal or Diary

Not something that I’ve ever done, but I do have a bit of a thing for gorgeous notebooks.

14. Recipes and ingredients

Write or print out a recipe and put together the ingredients. You could even include some utensils or an apron.

15. Craft Supplies

The possibilities are endless with anything from chalk, paint, glitter, card, paper, coloured pipe cleaners. Collect loads of bits and bobs and put them  together as a bit of a craft treasure trove. We have loads of Kids Craft Ideas which you could do together.

16. Musical instruments

Have the kids been begging to learn something. The cost of these dependent on the instrument can be pricey so would make an ideal gift.

17. itunes voucher

Are you forever paying for music or apps like us. A voucher of all amounts would be a great gift for a teenager.

18. Coupons

Put together your own little coupons with things written on them such as shopping trip, baking session, craft session for your little ones to cash in. Great for rainy days.

19. Movies

DVD’s are ideal for watching together. Wrap them with some cinema style snacks and snuggle down to watch together.

20. Money

Set up a bank account or give them the cash to do what they please with. Sometimes for older kids this could be to go towards something expensive such as the latest games console, phone or other bit of technology that takes their fancy.

If you have great non-toy Christmas gift ideas of your own, feel free to pop a comment.

Happy Shopping

 

 

Christmas Decor Hacks

Christmas Decor Hacks

*This is a collaborative post

Christmas Decor Hacks

These are some fab tips, and there are loads more on the blog.

Why not take the quiz and find out How Christmassy you are. I am 69%!!

Find out what the Christmas trends for 2017 are. I wish I could be totally trendy and follow a colour scheme, but we don’t our Christmas tree and decorations are things that we’ve collected over the years.

Let us know your Christmas Decor Hacks to make Christmas that little bit easier.

Lisa

*This post was originally written and posted in December 2016.

Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper

Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper

Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper is perfect for making your gift extra special, particularly for Mummy’s, Daddy’s and Grandparents. Using brown paper is also much better for the environment since usual wrapping paper isn’t recyclable.

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For this you can use either plain brown paper (the type used for packaging) or you can get a roll of white paper from most craft shops.

Isabelle sat waiting to get started with her handmade christmas wrapping paper
Waiting to get stuck in!

We cut a good size piece of paper and used bluetak to attach it to table making the job easier.

Printing onto brown paper with Christmas sponge shapes
A spot of sponge painting

Using stamps (we found some sponge Christmas stamps in our local craft shop) and red paint. I let Isabelle loose with the stampers and armed with glitter she went to work to create a great piece of Christmas Wrapping Paper.

Sponge painting onto brown craft paper with christmas shapes
Stamptastic fun!

We have stashed this away to use for Daddy’s Christmas present and will finish it off with some matching red ribbon.

adding some glitter to make it extra special
Adding a sprinkle of glitter

Easy peasy!

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If you’re feeling extra crafty then why not give making Easy Christmas Tree Bunting or make Christmas Tree Shaped Pizzas. 

 

 

Puffy Paint Snowman Christmas Cards

Puffy Paint Snowman Christmas Cards

Pinterest has been a massive inspiration for lots of things, especially craft ideas to do with my daughter. I’ve created an Christmas Board which you can follow for some great inspiration.

Isabelle loves to make cards for any occasion and they’re much nicer than a bought one.

Whilst browsing recently I found this great idea for Puffy Paint Snowman Christmas Cards.

Shivery Snow Paint Snowman Christmas Cards

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of Shaving cream (we used the cheapest we could find)
  • 1 cup of PVA glue
  • Glitter of your choice
  • Peppermint essence
  • Black Card
  • Orange Card
  • Blank cards and envelopes

How To:

Put the glue in the fridge for a while and then mix the glue and the shaving cream together.

Using shaving cream and PVA glue to make the puffy paint snowman christmas cards
How to make Puffy Paint

Add in the glitter and peppermint essence (not essential). We used our favourite colours, purple and silver and mix again.

Mix together glue and shaving cream to make puffy paint
Mix together the glue and shaving cream

Use the paint mixture to draw a snowman (use lots as this will give you a better effect). Using a bigger brush is easier as a smaller brush left marks on the snowman.

Use glitter and stickers to create your snowman
Get your glitter on!

Cut out a hat shape from the black card and a carrot nose from the orange card. For the eyes  and buttons you could use buttons or cut out the shapes in the card. Alternatively we used little sequins to add some extra colour.

Painting the snowman using your puffy paint
Paint your Snowman

We added a few more blobs for snowballs.

Using sequins to give the snowman eyes and buttons
Adding some sequin details

Wait to dry and hey presto!!

Have a feel and let us know what you think!

If you’re feeling extra crafty then why not give making Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper or make Christmas Tree Shaped Pizzas.

 

how to make puffy paint snowman christma cards

#Blogmas – My Christmas Wish List

#Blogmas – My Christmas Wish List

When I’m asked what I want for Christmas I always feel a bit awkward, but there are a few things that I’ve been coveting so I thought I would write My Christmas Wish List.

My Christmas Wish List

Last year Chris bought me a Powder Beauty Drawer Box which I absolutely loved so I’m going to put something similar on my wish list for this year. This one from Glossy Box looks pretty awesome!

My Christmas Wish List

A ‘Team No Sleep’ Hoody from the Unmumsy Mums brand spanking new shop since pregnancy insomnia has arrived early and then will come the baby! There are loads in the range, one of which all mums can relate to.

My Christmas Wish List

A new cosy dressing gown. Especially as much of my time at the moment is spent resting on the sofa when I get home from work and the rest of the time sleeping (trying) I fancy a new dressing gown. I like this Ted Baker Grey Dressing Gown from Debenhams. It’s the colour and the cozy-looking-ness of this one that I like.

My Christmas Wish List

Sticking along the comfort line, I would really like some lovely comfy (and stretchy) pyjamas. I really like these Peacock Pyjamas from Next which are not in the maternity range but they do have an elasticated waist to they will probably be fine.

My Christmas Wish List

I love a planner or notebooks so I’ve picked this Passion Planner which I’ve heard mentioned a few times around the blogging world which I would LOVE.

My Christmas Wish List

A Light Box –  I’ve wanted one of these for a while but just haven’t got round to buying one.

My Christmas Wish List

A New Bag – I can just see Chris rolling his eyes at the mere mention of another bag, but I don’t have anywhere as many as most women so there! I like this one which is an everyday bag which would be suitable for work.

My Christmas Wish List

A pair of Maternity Skinny Jeans. I’m a little way off maternity clothes at the moment but the time will come when I need some stretchy clothes. I’m going to pick these Skinny Jeans from New Look since they will go with anything.

My Christmas Wish List

A New Coat with room for a bump. The coats that I currently have are all quite tight fitting so it won’t take long for my belly to be popping out.

My Christmas Wish List

Last on my list is a pair of new boots and I’ve spotted these ones that are totally lush and would go with my skinny jeans and the above coat whilst holding my new handbag. My Christmas Wish List

As you can see pretty much everything I’ve chosen is a practical item but they are things that I want.

What are you hoping to get this Christmas?

Lisa