So there are officially 20 sleeps till Christmas!Gasp, Shock Horror etc etc etc (At the time of writing this).

Or another way to look at is….

Day(s)

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Hour(s)

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Minute(s)

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I know people who have not only bought all their presents but have them all beautifully wrapped, have decorated their entire house with Christmas lights and decs and I’m sure are now calmly baking mince pies and frosting their Christmas cake! I may sound a little bitter – I’m not – I just have “organise envy”.

Every year I swear this time next year it will be me! I will succeed at being organised, Christmas cards will be written ready to post for the first day in December.  2016 sees me fail yet again – maybe I’ll do it for 2017!

As a busy working mum of two, I often find that my hours in the day just evaporate! I often joke that if it were a 30 hour day, I might just about catch up! However much I jest, I do despise the fact that life seems to be a continual rush for one, or all of us, to be doing something, or to be somewhere else.

Christmas the supposed season of “Good Will” can more often than not, make family time even more stressful! Not only is there the added expense but also the constant thinking of what to get who, parties and school plays to attend, costumes to make, seeking permission to be out of work to watch aforementioned plays, friends to catch up with, cards to write and the last minute bits that can literally only be sourced ”last minute”. Stresses, to name but a few, that can quite easily distract from the “Holly Jolly” season.

The dawning realisation that our littlies, wouldn’t be little for long, hit me like a fresh snowball a couple of years ago! It actually didn’t matter that I didn’t hand sew their costumes, they had one to wear and looked great! What was then, and always is far more important, is that family time that we spend together! My two are still caught up in the wonder and magic of Christmas; I know that this time is limited, my eldest is already asking questions about Santa! However, what will remain are those special treasured and cherished memories of our time together when they were young, full of wonder, excitment and amazement (“how did Santa get down our chimney?”) So leave the stressing and the need to be perfect behind and spend the time making memories with them.

Christmas can be a great opportunity to chill and take that good quality family time in good measure. It’s not always easy but it really is a MUST DO!  So with December already upon us, here are just a few of our family special MUST do’s that we do together to de-stress and make those special memories.  Maybe some of our activities may give you some ideas with what to do with your littlies over Christmas!

  1. pnpSet up the personalised Santa messages from the PNP (Portable North Pole) Ok so the first bit of this is strictly done minus the children! This super website will let you have a standard message for free; for a small extra cost you can add pictures and details that gives your message from Santa that extra personal touch! You get to decide whether your child is on “good”, “naughty” or “must try harder” list! You can even go behind the scenes and meet the Reindeer and the see the busy Elves at work! There is nothing quite so magical as watching our girls view their own personal message from Santa; it has us in tears every time.
  2. All snuggle up for movie night and watch Elf! We do it every year and Christmas never starts until we at least have our first watch! We all still giggle at the same silly jokes and as our little ones get older, they get more and more of the humour! There are other great Christmas movies too, Arthur Christmas, The Polar Express, National Lampoons Christmas vacation, Disney’s Christmas Carol, Nativity, Home Alone, The Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street to name just a few – You’re allowed to be cheesy it is Christmas after all!
  3. Bake and decorate Gingerbread Reindeer! I found this idea on Pinterest a few years ago. It’s an ace idea of turning the little gingerbread cutters around, transforming them into mini Reindeer decorated as Rudolph heads! My girls absolutely love creating (and eating) them. We make them every year and is most definitely one of our annual classic must do’s! I’ve included the link!   The Purple Pumpkin Blog
  4. Elf on the shelf. So this is a new MUST DO for us and is already a huge hit!   We’ve watched many random pictures of Elves in precarious positions appear on Facebook posts over the years and this year we’ve decided to partake in this hilarious activity! We started on the 1st December, but it can start whenever you choose!  Basically the idea is that an Elf from the North Pole comes to visit for a certain time in December up to Christmas Eve and reports back to Santa on how good the children have been! Every evening he leaves and nips back to the North Pole to relay his findings to the big man! The Elf then returns home each morning but never to the same place. Our kids have already had a blast trying to find him each day. Although to be honest – I’m not sure who is having the most fun, us coming up with whacky ideas and places to arrange him, or the kids hunting him in the morning! I may include the odd pic or two!!! Any ideas would be gratefully received.
  5. Go Ice skating! Nothing creates good family fun like children complaining that they are cold, wet and their feet/bottom hurt! In all seriousness, I was dreading the first time we took them skating, knowing just how much my kids can whinge! I was adamant that there would be complaints and moaning a plenty – but they loved it – we had such a great time! Yes feet hurt and faces were cold and we couldn’t wait to put our comfy boots back on and enjoy a hot chocolate with marshmallows – but we had a blast!!!   Lots of garden and shopping centres have indoor temporary ice rinks (although you often have to book – so be prepared). Lots of the rinks have little ‘ride ons’ or ‘hang ons’ for little ones so they don’t get to miss out all the fun.
  6. Play the After Eight Challenge. We love this game! However, I think the kids like it more for the fact that they get to eat lots of chocolate in one sitting! So the objective is to place an After Eight chocolate on your forehead and then try to manoeuvre it into your mouth without using your hands (obviously). The fun that has been had watching various “Pop eye” type faces that are made whilst trying to get a half melted, and therefore stuck chocolate, into ones mouth, is truly hysterical.
  7. Jar of memories Ok so I know this sounds terribly cliché and very “happily familyish” but it has been a real hit! This is something we do all year round and on New Years Day we sit around the table and read out all our happy memories of the year just past!   We amaze ourselves at how much we’ve actually done and achieved and laugh at the various anecdotes that I’m sure we would have just forgotten in time and space had we not have recorded them! One of my favourites from last year – was my youngest telling my husband very seriously about Elvis (our dog) “having a very red paw” My husband looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders – we were both very confused – until I remembered that I had caught the Elvis on our bed and had said out loud that I had caught him “red handed”! LOL

So these are our family absolute must do’s over the Christmas period, to ensure there are lots of fun and memories to be treasured forever. So what the Christmas cards haven’t been written and there are still loads of pressies to buy and wrap. They will get done eventually!! There will be the odd rush and I’m sure there will be a bit of stress along the way – but I’m determined to make the most of the time with the family and as usual I will definitely make sure that I’m more organised for December 2017 ;0)

Come back soon!

Susie x