Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Our festive fun during Advent

I'm one of those, maybe boring people, who is against putting up decorations until December the 1st, however this year I caved in and they started going up on the 23rd of November. We'd had a crappy day and G didn't remember the decorations from the years before so it was like a bag full of magic and excitement. Plus she's been bugging me for a few days about putting the trees up!

When it reached December and the Advent Calenders came out I felt at peace with the tree being up ha.
I love all the festivities that come with Christmas and although funds are tight yet again this year we are still having some festive fun.

Here is what we have been doing/will be doing/would like to be doing in the lead up to Christmas!

23rd: A Winter Fair: Handforth paddock fair to be exact, it was supposedly a Christmas fair although the Christmas music was barely audible and there was no sign of Santa but still a good time to be had!

28th: St. Georges Christmas Tree Festival - Ok so this was in November, the very end mind, but it helped get in the festive mood. A local church to us is filled full of lovely twinkling trees decorated by local organisations. It was £2 for an adult and free entry for G. She enjoyed a nice christmassy biscuit for just 20p (a big one too) and had a photo with a cuddly version of Santa and high fived an elf. I wish I had some photo's of it all!

29th: Nurserys Christmas Craft Session. Nana and Grandad had arrived for the weekend that morning so it made it more Christmassy. A lovely hour an a half at G's nursery doing christmassy crafts such as snowman making out of marshmallows, decoration making, reindeer food making and more along with a nice tea or coffee (and squash for the children) and a piece of Christmas cake or a mince pie. (photo)

29th: Santa's Grotto: I decided to fit this in when Nana and granddad were visiting so they could come too!
I chose the Arndale's Grotto as adults didn't have to pay. 
 I also liked the look of Tatton Park Grotto & farm, The Trafford Center Grotto and the local garden centers grotto's and breakfasts with Santa. The only problem with those though is that they limit accompanying adults to 2 per child. I need another child!
G enjoyed her visit and I thought the Santa was great. She got given a little chocolate reindeer lolly, as did mummy (woohoo!) and a reindeer soft toy.

29th: Watching Frozen with nana and grandad - Now my lg is a big frozen fan like so many other children right now but we don't actually watch the film over and over like others do. Nana and grandad had also never seen it before so it was nice for G to snuggle up on the sofa with them and watch it.

Christmas desert - After visiting the pet shop, some other shopping and an active trip to a local park G's nana and grandad took us out for tea to Pizza express. Their mince pie clotted cream cheesecake is SO nice. It was a tough choice between that and their snowball doughballs but I definately made the right one.

1st: Advent Calenders - Ok so this year we just have the not so imaginative chocolate ones from the shop but these are still exciting for a 3 year old and if you have the money there are an exciting variety of alternative calenders out there. Next year I hope to be making our own. Here's some wonderful homemade options I like the look of.

Decorating the tree/trees - I know a lot of people prefer to do this when the kids are in bed but it's so much nicer for them to join in even if the tree does look a bit unusual after. I love classic beautiful trees, beautifully lit and those with colour themes but I grew up with one that was bright and colourful full of meaningful decorations so that is what we have with our main tree now.

Making Salt Dough decorations  We had a go at some this year too however after a bit of shape cutting and the girls getting covered in flour (G may as well have been a snowman) my sister and I ended up doing the shapes whilst the girls played (read trashed the front room) happily. Salt Dough ornaments can make a great personal gift. G was happy doing anything that afternoon as she loved having someone round to play with.

Dance to a Christmas CD - I would love one with Mariah's classic, Slade, East 17 on etc but last year I just brought the cheapest one available with has the older classics on ....Bing Crosby etc. G has enjoyed dancing around to it and becoming familiar with the songs.

A Christmas Fair - St Matthews, another local church, with lovely friendly people, held a Christmas fair the sat just gone that we popped along to for a bit. I would have liked to have tried Marples Christmas Cracker too, mainly because of the reindeer (as G has been asking to see some) but we couldn't get there. Maybe next year!
Taken by Pam
Go on a Christmas lights walk - This costs nothing but your time and a normal walk is jazzed up by the presence of Christmas lights. We go spotting them on our walk home from nursery but I'm going to take her out on a walk to spot some in the rest of the neighbourhood.

7th: Blogger Christmas craft event I was very lucky and excited to have been invited to my first Blogger event last weekend. It was held at the Ministry of craft venue Fred Aldous in Manchester on behalf of GUMI - Growing Up Milk Info. A Christmas craft event of decorating stockings with guidance from some wonderful tutors accompanied by tea and cake. It was lovely to meet other bloggers and I will be posting about it once I've finished my stocking as popping out to get some fabric glue to make some final adjustments as I ran out of time on the day.

Courtesy of Frank PR/GUMI
Photo courtsey of Frank PR/GUMI

Local Christmas events: Cale Green park was holding one on 7th unfortunately at same time as the blogging event but I'm sure was lovely for all who went with bell ringing and carol singing.

9th: A Nativity Play: G is doing her first Nativity in nursery this year. Today I got to see her and the rest of the red room in action. They all did really well and it was so cute and funny. I just don't have a photo of her in her costume to ass yet.

Christmas Cards: G is actually quite enjoying doing Christmas cards this year although I'm a bit stressed myself as I usually don't leave them so late and the price of stamps makes me want to cry. G got one today from her best friend at nursery which was nice.
Visit/go on a Christmas experience If you're thinking of planning one a bit last minute check out the Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park. We visited in 2012 and it was wonderful. I can't afford a Christmas experience this year but I'd love to go back another year. I also like the look of Lapland UK, the Santa steam specials and Winter wonderland in Event City to name a few.  

Ice-skating: G really wants to go ice-skating soon. I took her once about 9 months ago and it was like Bambi on ice! Thank goodness for Sammy the Seals. Both Spinningfields and The Trafford Center have ice rinks near me. If you are lucky enough to be able to go during the week, I'd suggest going then as it's a lot quieter from the looks of things.

 21st Christmas Carol Service: Last year i wanted to take G to her first Christmas carol service but I ended up incredibly ill in hospital with my Crohn's and it's complications. This year, touch wood, I hope we will make it. I'm not religious myself (spiritual though) but the services remind me of my childhood. I remember my mother taking us to a christingle one year when we were young and then in secondary school we had a carol service at the local church every year.
My mum kindly brought her a little carols books from a charity shop and G is loving singing them at night times with me before she goes to bed.

Christmas eve box - This year I am doing one for G for the first time after hearing all about them the past two years. I was too unwell/broke last year and also this year I think she is now old enough to appreciate it. also her great Nana very kindly gave some Christmas money for her so that has helped!

Here is what I'll be putting in it: 

  •  New Christmas Pyjamas
  • A Christmas DVD - possibly Aurthur Christmas
  • A mug with hot chocolate sachet and mini marshmallows
  • A Christmas Book - The Night Before Christmas
  • A Santa Key

What have you been getting up to during Advent?

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