All the Mummas say…
Christmas is a stressful time for everyone, what to buy people, Christmas parties, family gatherings, writing cards, decorations…the list goes on. Before we all had children the run up to christmas was fraught but manageable. Now with toddlers in tow we have less time, less money and less patience with the world than before. Is it possible to reduce the stress of Christmas? Lets see…
When do you put up the Decorations?
Leyton’s Mumma likes to put them up in every available corner on the 1st of December so as to enjoy the magic for as long as possible. She gets annoyed at Festive things prior to this date to be honest (as thinks you can have too much of a good thing), but once December hits, she is ready to go feet first into tinsel, festive music, jumpers & earrings and has just bought Leyton some Christmas crockery to match hers and her hubbys (December is the time to have your breakfast in festive bowls surely? 😀 ) Saying that, she takes it all down again once it gets past Boxing Day – to her, the festive season is the build up not after.
Nathan’s Mumma on the otherhand decorates on the second weekend of December. In Nathan’s house the decorations invade every room downstairs, even the kitchen! It used to be done over 2 evenings with help from Nathan’s Dadda. Not much chance of that this year with an almost 2 year old. Nathan’s Dadda will be sent up into the loft at the beginning of December for the decorations and put them in the spare bedroom, where Nathan’s Mumma can sort them out and do a room per evening (not many spare evenings in their house) over the first 2 weeks of December.
Amelie’s Mumma has gone all out creatively and done a large felt Christmas Tree and felt baubles so Amelie can have lots of fun taking them on and off the tree, figuratively speaking! There are lots of kid friendly decorations like this and others on www.pinterest.com
To tree or not to tree?
Nathan had a real tree in a pot last year for his first Christmas, but as he was almost 1 and getting quite mobile, the tree went on the windowsill. The tree this Christmas will be of the artificial variety so that:
- There are no needles to clear up/eat
- Nathan’s parents don’t have to remember to water it
- That if it comes crashing down its not too heavy
There are obviously all the safety considerations…keeping fairy light cables out of reach and bulbs out of mouths. Tinsel in out-of-reach places along with bunting and garlands. Candles will be kept in high up places (as they are all year round) and delicate ornaments will either take a festive holiday or be placed in a Nathan proof spot (high up on a shelf). Poisonous plants will remain at the garden centre.
The Fire Service have tips on staying safe here: http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/christmas
Last Minute Gifts
So your house is decorated in a child friendly and beautiful manner, it’s time to think about Christmas Shopping. Unless you were super organised and thought to do this before the Christmas rush…. Leyton’s Mumma is quite proud that for the first year ever she had done about 50% of her shopping by 1st November this year with clever online shopping and keeping an eye on deals.
In Nathan’s family there is always one person who is left til last. Not because we don’t want to buy them something…oh no..because they are that difficult person to buy for. The one who has everything they want that is affordable. I could get
Smellies, music, films, clothes, household things, hobby related gifts oh, not a single flipping idea…So We have found….PINTEREST! www.pinterest.com is a brilliant source of ideas for just about everything, especially unusual ideas for the awkward person in you life. Even our awkward person is a challenge for pinterest but we shall prevail. Christmas markets are also a good resource for more unusual gifts…chilli jam, olive wood trees, sheepskin slippers……
Now that we have little people we also have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and Mummas/Daddas to buy for. Special ‘I love my’… mugs, photoframes, teatowels, wooden spoons…the list is never ending. Some great places to find such items are:
- Garden centres (why not have a cuppa and a mince pie while baby enjoys their softplay facilities?)
- Card shops (www.hallmark.co.uk or www.clintons.co.uk)
Now might also be a great time to go to a Paint-a-Pot place and get decorating some items with your little ones footprints or handprints – it can be personalised to your recievee and a thoughtful keepsake to keep forever. Just bear in mind it takes a couple of weeks usually to wait for any item to be glazed etc so this will need doing in advance (check with your local Pottery Painting place as all companies differ.)
Stockings, Santa Sacks & Traditions
Once again the lure of pinterest is slightly overwhelming. The desire to make our children a personal stocking or santa sack is very tempting. If you have the time then its a lovely thing to give them, a great tradition. However, we don’t all have the time, or skill set, required to take up this challenge. Fortunately there are some lovely options on the internet and in the shops…www.marksandspencer.com, www.next.co.uk, www.toysrus.co.uk
The last few days of internet searches for christmas tradition ideas has been rather fruitful too. We loved these…
Marking out Santa’s footprints for the morning is a brilliant idea, if not a little messy. The traditional plate for Santa’s mince pie and sherry, along with a carrot for Rudolph is lovely to have personalised. Choosing 24 books, Christmas related or otherwise, to enjoy as an alternative advent calender is a lovely gift too… there are companies that make specific Book Advent Calendars too for around £10-15 which you can keep year on year and make a good alternative to chocolate. Nathan’s Mumma has purchased the ’24 sleeps til Christmas‘ activity calender as it will last a few years with Nathan only being little and won’t want to do all the activities. Nathan had an Elf on the shelf last year for his first Christmas, his name is Percy and it was just as much fun to set up for his Mumma and Dadda as it will be for him in subsequent years. The Christmas Eve box it the new thing in Nathan’s house this Christmas, filled with new festive pyjamas, snacks, a Christmas movie and lots of other exciting things for a snuggle with Mumma and Dadda on the sofa.
Leyton and Nathan are also going to meet Santa in the coming weeks, but there are lots of festive treats on at Theme Parks, Zoo’s, Garden Centres and Shopping Centres to name a few…. so hopefully there will be plenty of opportunity to see Father Christmas or a Reindeer or two in your local area after a bit of research.
Leyton’s Grandad started a tradition a few years back of watching a Christmas Movie every day of December until Christmas to get in the mood (it’s easy to take your pick from what’s on the telly), but Leyton’s Mumma might not start this tradition until Leyton is older and has a longer attention span! Leyton’s Mumma is starting her own tradition (spotted somewhere on the internet many moons ago) of sewing a pretty button or a Christmas Badge on Leyton’s Santa Sack each Christmas Eve to show that Santa has been (This will be done by Santa’s Elf clearly).
TOP 10 Favourite Christmas Books
As far as the book idea goes, and you wish to choose Christmas books, here are our TOP TEN favourite Christmas titles to get you started…
- The Littlest Elf
- The Snowman and the Snowdog
- Silent Night
- Maisy’s Christmas Day
- The Jolly Christmas Postman (The Jolly Postman)
- A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Yellow Back Book (Dr Seuss – Yellow Back Book) (Dr. Seuss Yellow Back Books)
- Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century
- Dear Santa
- The Christmas Story
TOP TOYS (Supposedly… *free will needed)
According to the 2014 Hamleys Top Ten, this years “must have” toys are:
- My Friend Cayla
- Disney Frozen Ice Skating Anna Doll and Disney Frozen Ice Skating Elsa Doll
- Xeno Ultra Violet Electronic Toy
- Play-Doh DohVinci Style and Store Vanity Complete Design Kit
- KidiZoom Smart Watch (White)
- Barbie Colour Change Handbag
- Transformers Age of Extinction Stomp and Chomp Grimlock Figure
- Teksta T-Rex
- LeapFrog LeapTV
- BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster
BABY AND TODDLER TOYS (Our Mumma’s Say)
However, these are all a bit old for our babies at the minute so we have put together our own top ten for the under 3’s (click for more details):
- Bigjigs Rail BJT015 Town and Country Train Set
- Childrens Wooden Easel
- LEGO DUPLO 10580: Deluxe Box of Fun
- Hasbro 29413 Play Doh – Case of Colours
- B Parum Pum Pum Musical Instruments
- Tomy Aquadoodle Classic Drawing Toy
- My Calendar Blue Wall Hanging
- Galt New Baby Puzzles – Farm
- Molly Dolly My First Doll Stroller
- Little Tikes 4-in-1 Trike (Purple)
Remember there may be some presents that your little ones would appreciate out of the box… and by this we mean, if it’s an all singing and dancing toy that needs a few screws and batteries to work then it may be more fun for your little one if you’ve done the prep work before Christmas Day. And if you’ve remembered to stock up on the suitable batteries too!
Try reduce stress Christmas Day by assigning tasks to guests and family members, and take the stress of yourselves by doing any preparations you can in the days that lead up to the 25th – split the workload across several days so any curveballs your baby throws in the mix isn’t catastrophic (we all know an ill baby means the To Do list goes out the window!)
In terms of food, Leyton’s Mumma will be cracking open the Slow Cooker to do some easy one-pot recipes in the last couple of weeks of December. With December being a prime time that friends and family want to meet up, and you’re squeezing that extra shopping in, it’s good to take the pressure off in other areas if possible. If you have a young baby don’t be sucked in to the idea of a perfect First Christmas with all the homemade delights and craft ideas…. keep it realistic and don’t go overboard with too many ideas and make yourself overwhelmed! We’ve noted a few to try inspire you but the most important thing is spending the time with your family, and if you keep remembering that everything else will hopefully fall into place.
Whatever you buy, decorate or celebrate this Christmas, have a wonderful time enjoying creating new traditions and passing on old ones with your babies.
Feel free to comment with your ideas, tips or presents you would recommend too!
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from the Mumma Says team