Why #blogmas went wrong

I had all the good intentions. I would blog every day at Christmas. It would be great – everyone would love my posts about nativities and Christmas crafts and how generally wonderful I am at Christmas at just about everything…

…and then basically “the shit hit the fan” as my Father would say and I got so busy and everything was such chaos that I didn’t even have time to look at Facebook (the horror), let alone blog every day. I’ve only looked at Twitter twice in the past week – twice!

At one point, I was shaking with sheer horror at the fact I’d set off to a party (late) and realised I’d forgotten the secret Santa presents, which would mean 2 children would be present-less if I didn’t immediately turn back for them.

We eventually got there and had a glass of Prosecco and everything was ok again.

However, amidst chaos there has been wonderment and joy- hooray! I fairly packed it in, didn’t I, our Christmas activity timetable.

It’s Christmas Eve and I thought I’d have a quick run through of what we’ve been doing over the past week or so as I thought it would be cathartic for myself it would be good to share.

The Winter Wonderland Experience

Last Saturday we took ourselves to Winter Wonderland at Event City at the Trafford Centre. The kids loved it- rides galore, sweet stalls, people dressed as elves and fairies dancing to Christmas tunes, a Frozen singalong session and a Sooty Show. It was very good actually- at the time we felt it was a bit pricey for basically an indoor fairground, but they did enjoy it lots.

Winter Wonderland, Trafford Centre

The eating of Lobster Thermidor

We are very, very lucky to have kind friends who invite us round at Christmas time to eat Lobster Thermidor. It was my first time eating this dish and I have to say it was really amazing. I can still taste it now – lovely cheesy béchamel sauce on top of amazing fresh lobster.

Lobster Thermidor

Many, many Christmas nights out

I never go out! And then suddenly I’m out like about 3 times a week. I’ve enjoyed it but at times I admit I’ve been on the floor with tiredness, craving a green vegetable juice. Below you can find myself and the very festive Hodge Podge Days after a tipple or two.

Liz and Jane

Ace Lantern Magic event at Chester Zoo

This was by far the best family activity we’ve done this Christmas, if not ever – Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo. It was really well organised and magical for the children. They entered an ice tunnel made from a big white tunnel-like tent and were greeted by elves who gave them lanterns and asked them to choose a colour of fairy dust to sprinkle over it. The adults got a big giant lantern, too. Then proceeded a walk through the zoo at night, with the trees magically lit with fairy lights. We were given glasses which made the lights take on the appearance of different animals. There were displays of animals lit up amongst the woods, a flying owl puppet, a visit to Santa’s grotto, a hot chocolate mid-way through the walk and a really good quality supper at the end. This is something I’d definitely do again next year.

Chester Zoo Magic Lanterns

Many, many children’s christmas parties

It’s one big party for the girls at the moment! Even today we are going to the Cristingle service at our church which for them will be like a big party with all their friends. We’ve had nursery party, playgroup parties and friend’s parties. They’ve had the most wonderful (and hyper) time.

Children's Christmas Parties

Today I’m busy preparing food so I can relax as much as possible tomorrow. Homemade cranberry sauce is done and I’m into parboiling potatoes. Merry Christmas everyone!

Favourite family Christmas traditions

Putting the angel on the christmas tree I’ve decided to participate in #blogmas14, which means I’ll be subjecting you all to a post a day during the 25 days of Christmas. They’ll be mainly Christmas-related of course, but I warn you that from time to time I may think “BORED” and write some complete nonsense.

So – day 3.  I thought I would write about our favourite family Christmas traditions.

My two girls are only 4 and 2 so our own little traditions are still emerging. But here are a few that we love:

Putting the angel on the tree

Yes, having said this is a favourite tradition, I totally forgot to take a photo of this epic moment this year.  So see last year’s photo, above!  The tree is a source of great excitement for my two – the choosing of it is undertaken by the girls and Daddy in a most diligent and exacting way, with careful consideration of the size and position of branches and the bulk of the needles.  This is even the case upon buying a fake tree, which we decided to do this year.  Then it’s the decorating, which includes handmade decorations by the girls and usually a decoration each that they’ve chosen from the fantastic display at the local garden centre.  And, after the girls have gone to bed, I dutifully move most of the decorations from the bottom third of the tree to the completely bare upper two-thirds.

The angel is the best bit, although I’m usually on pins as Daddy ascends the step-ladder, relevant girl in his arms to enable her to place it.  And voila!

Our cloth advent mouseAdvent Mouse

Most families will have advent calendars containing a chocolate per day – we have a cloth advent mouse with chocolate and small toys each day.  We have a very creative family member (i.e. not me) who made this for us and the girls are so excited to see what’s inside the pocket each morning.

New pyjamas on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a time for cozying up, drinking mulled wine (adults only – ‘spiced ribena’ for the girls) and opening new PJs bought for each other. Or matching nighties in the case of my two, one of which has refused to wear trousers since she was 18 months old and that includes pyjama trousers. In the past few years, we’ve only bought these for our girls, but this year I’m extending it to the olds. We are each tasked with finding a suitable pair of PJs for the other. These are a pair of potentials for me.

Sprout stalk
Unexpected vegetable recipes

Let’s face it, the actual Christmas dinner can be dull. It’s basically a spruced up roast – there’s just more of it and it’s turkey instead of chicken. I like to spice it up a little with an unexpected vegetable side dish. Sometimes it falls flat on its face, and sometimes it’s a hit – but it’s a talking point either way. Last year’s was the ‘roasted sprout stalk’ which received mixed feedback (about half positive, half “wtf?”) and the year before some unusual butternut squash effort which one family member actually asked to take home seconds of. Undecided on this year’s (please leave any ideas below!).

So those are just a few of our own little traditions.  Obviously we do the usual stockings, present opening and general ridiculous amounts of eating and drinking.  What are your own family traditions?