We’ve started many of our family Christmas traditions already. The littles are all enjoying their advent calendars, the tree is up and the Christmas CD is in the car, but we’ve still got so much more planned and lots more festive fun to look forward to.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to see the jolly man himself. In the past we’ve been to the Grotto at Middleton Hall in Milton Keynes which was lovely. It has the most magical two story merry-go-round and is surrounded by a winter wonderland and Christmas market. You can even take a train ride through the delightful wintery forest before you see Santa. This year, however, we’re off to the Snowdome in Tamworth to meet Santa’s reindeers and play in real snow. Snow Angels here we come!
From an early age we’ve taken the boys to a Pantomime. Last year because of a last minute hiccup with babysitting we even took Anabelle along, which I have to admit I was quite nervous about as she was only 1. But she was an absolute gem and loved every minute. She sat on my lap, clapping and jigging and behaved herself the whole time. We were so proud of her, we’ve decided to take her along this year too. This years production is Cinderella and we can’t wait for all the “he’s behind you” and “oh no he isn’t” pantomime banter.
Christmas Eve Box
On Christmas Eve we all like to snuggle up on the sofa in our new PJ’s and watch a Christmas film or two. Hot chocolate & marshmallows in a novelty mug in one hand and popcorn in the other. There are obviously some chocolate coins and a cookie or mince pie thrown in for good measure too.
I pop all the treats we’ll need for the evening in the special ‘Night Before Christmas’ box and after an early dinner of Nanny’s sausage rolls and party food, the littles will open the box together and find out what film we’ll watch this year and see what new pyjamas they have. Over the years my absolute favourite pair of pyjamas I bought the boys was a Raymond Briggs The Snowman set, but as the boys get older I have to make sure they are a little bit less novelty and much more trendy. Gap has definitely come up trumps with some super sets for older boys as well as super cute girly ones for younger little ladies.
Anabelle being so young will go to bed quite early, but before she does we’ll all sit and enjoy a story together. The Night Before Christmas is an obvious choice, but ever since the boys were bought a copy of Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man it has definitely become a family favourite and we are so excited to watch BBC’s animated film of it on Christmas Day as well as David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy on New Year’s Day.
Treats for Santa
Also included in the Christmas Eve box is a ceramic Santa’s treat plate & milk bottle, a carrot for Rudolph and reindeer food. I just mix up some of my porridge oats with glitter and hey presto, magic food to help the reindeer fly! The treats for Santa plate & milk bottle set was from Matalan, which I think sold out within days but I also absolutely adore this set from Mothercare which includes a dedicated carrot plate. I’m half tempted to purchase it just for the carrot plate alone! This is obviously all prepared by the children and laid out just before they go to bed and then enjoyed by Mummy and Daddy when they’re fast asleep – minus the carrot and reindeer food of course!
I’m not entirely sure how the leaving treats for Santa tradition will go down this year as I’m sceptical whether the boys still believe anymore. Obviously they will take part for their little Sister, but deep down I can’t help but feel they are questioning it all and this could be our last year of them believing 🙁
I’m hoping viewing the orbiting international space station earlier in the evening and me telling them it’s Father Christmas’ sleigh will restore their faith and bring back some of the magic.
Rob & I will continue saying “you need to be good otherwise Santa won’t bring you presents”, asking them to write letters to Santa and hiding all their presents until Christmas morning, and won’t say anything until they do!
We’ve never been one for stockings although I know this is a very popular tradition for lots of families and I think after seeing Lottie’s Perfect Stocking Filler post I am definitely tempted to start this as a late tradition. As a child I was always told that all the presents came from Father Christmas, so I continued this white lie with my family. This approach however has not aided in them fully believing for long. As once the boys were old enough to read and write, they were reading the labels on presents and writing thank-you letters to family members for their gifts. I of course had to change my approach slightly the following year by telling them Santa just delivered all the presents and opted for one gift from Santa in a different wrap. This seems to have been a much easier process and I wish I had been more consistent with details regarding Christmas and Santa by establishing clearer rules earlier. I will certainly not be repeating my mistakes with Anabelle.
Christmas & Boxing Day
We are lucky enough to spend Christmas Day at home, surrounded by a mountain of gift wrap, boxes, instruction manuals and those crazy twisty wires they use to keep everything in place and we’re usually joined by my family for dinner and tea. The boys love it as they get to play with all their gifts and we love it as we get to pop them to bed and enjoy a Baileys and a stand-up comedy DVD.
Boxing Day is saved for Rob’s family. First we have lunch at his Mum and Dad’s House with his Brother, Sister and Niece’s, followed by football on the TV. Then an early tea and Trivial Pursuit at his Grandparents’ with his Uncle, Aunt and Cousins. Every year there seems to be more and more of us and less and less seating! We also pop to his Nan’s in the evening to spend time with his other Aunt and Cousins, indulging in yet more food (!) and partaking in a game of ‘Chase the Ace’. It sounds hectic and it is, but we all absolutely LOVE every minute of it.
We’re so lucky this equal share of Christmas time with both sets of family has worked out as we never have those awkward where are you spending Christmas questions that I know poor Charlotte and many of you have had to endure this year.
I seemed to have gone completely overboard with festive knits and outfits for all the kiddies this year. Thanks to Lolly’s Best Christmas Outfits for Kids post they are all set for Christmas Jumper Day on the 18th. Anabelle also has an adorable silver and grey version of this angel winged tutu set from Mamas and Papas as well as another tulle skirt with stars from Zara which she’ll wear on Christmas and Boxing Day. The boys’ outfits are proving a little trickier as they like to choose their own clothes now, but we’ll get there.
So what family traditions do you have? Do you have older children who still believe or do you think they are playing along? What festive fun will you be getting up to?
Only 11 more sleeps until Santa. Can somebody please come and help me with my wrapping!