How to get into the Christmas spirit

If you’re like me and you turn into a little bit of a Christmas fairy at this time of the year, you’re someone who loves to go all out on everything every year, the food, the decorations, the gifts, ect, someone who just loves Christmas and everything about it then you may find it hard to understand or relate to but there are some people out there that don’t look forward to Christmas, they don’t enjoy the season, in fact they dread it every year and they struggle to get into the Christmas spirit.

I love Christmas, I really do but I can understand why some people aren’t exactly jumping for joy when Christmas comes around… Let’s be honest, Christmas puts us all under a lot stress and pressure. For some people who don’t have family, Christmas can be a lonely time of the year. For some people who have money struggles, Christmas expectations can be a big worry. So to try and help those feel fun and festive in the run up to the big day, I have compiled a list of heart-warming things that always get me in the Christmas spirit for you to navigate your way through.

Here goes:

  • Christmas movies. Curling up on the couch under a blanket with a bowl of popcorn just watching Christmas movies always gets me feeling all Christmassy! Why not watch a different Christmas movie for every night of December? Here are a few of my favourites:
  • Home alone
  • Jingle all the way
  • Elf
  • The grinch
  • Jack Frost
  • Miracle on 34th street
  • A Christmas carol
  • I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
  • Scrooged
  • Love actually
  • Christmas music. Listening to Christmas music while decorating the Christmas tree or baking some Christmas cookies makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Can’t go wrong with a bit of Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey!
  • The Christmas tree. Putting up and decorating the christmas tree is an early Christmas activity you can do with your whole family. I love putting my Christmas tree up, once it’s up it becomes a daily reminder of Father Christmas’ long awaited arrival! Don’t forget to listen to that Christmas music I mentioned earlier while you decorate your tree for the ultimate Christmas feels.
  • Write your letter to Father Christmas. It’s a great way to get the little ones even more excited about Christmas as you wait for his reply. No one experiences the magic of Christmas more than children do, so seeing this holiday through their eyes will make it more special for you too.
  • Elf on the shelf. If you have little ones (or even if you don’t!) Elf on the Shelf is a great way to count down to Christmas Day while having fun coming up with different ideas daily for your elf.
  • Christmas shopping. Okay, Christmas shopping can be a lovely experience but it can also be daunting. If you’re gift giving, have a look around online first see what deals you can find before you head to the shops. Also to save yourself the stress of Christmas shopping, plan what you want to buy and start buying small gifts early.
  • Read. Read a classic Christmas book to your child. I read a different Christmas book each night to Kory starting on the first night of December leading up to Christmas Eve. Reading is the best way to get into the world of Christmas for us both, Kory loves being read to and really gets sucked in by the stories.
  • Baking. I love baking but there’s something about baking festive recipes that I just love that bit more. I love the smells and all the different decorations. Why not try decorating a gingerbread house or making some Christmas cookies? This is a delicious way for you to get into the spirit of things.
  • Events. Check your local area for any events that might be taking place nearby. Some of them might even be free and don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg! Here are some to look out for:
  • Christmas lights. Whether that be attending a Christmas light switch on near you or even just driving around at night to admire the Christmas lights and decorations.
  • Meet Santa. Take the little ones to meet the big man himself!
  • Christmas fairs, Christmas markets, public movies and carols.
  • Treat yo’ self. And last but not least, just try to enjoy Christmas, don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t put yourself under any unnecessary stress. Instead of worrying about all of the things that you have to do, like those 20+ gifts that you still have to buy, try and remember that Christmas isn’t just about presents. It’s about helping others, celebrating with loved ones and feeling joyful. So don’t worry about those gifts you still have to buy, instead think of it this way. I am so lucky to have so many loved ones in my life! Christmas is a time to be enjoyed and everyone should be able to enjoy this time of the year.

Merry Christmas!

Things that I love about Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, sharing and spending time with family. I’m 24 years old now and from being a child I still get so excited for Christmas because there is just so much that I love about this time of the year. So, as part of blogmas I have decided to share with you a list of things that I love about Christmas.

  • Listening to Christmas songs. For me there is nothing like hearing your first Christmas song of the year. It really kicks things off and gets me feeling all festive and ready for the holiday season. I especially like hearing Christmas songs when i’m walking round shops doing my Christmas shopping and I like listening to Christmas songs when I’m wrapping presents and decorating the Christmas tree. There’s just something about hearing those songs that makes me feel happy.
  • The decorations. Putting up lights and decorating the house and Christmas tree always fills me with warmth and happiness. Once the decorations are up that means Christmas is near!
  • Buying presents for loved ones. I definitely get more happiness out of buying a gift for someone that I just know they’re gonna love over receiving a present for myself. I always put a lot of thought into the presents that I buy, I take interest in what that person likes and the things they enjoy and I get all excited when I buy someone something that I know they’re gonna really like and I can never wait to see their face when they see what I’ve bought them!
  • Holiday treats. I always buy special treats for over Christmas, like nice chocolates and cakes and I’m gonna be honest with you, I am very much that mum that when someone says ‘can I have one of these’ i say ‘no they’re for Christmas!’ And save all of the treats I’ve bought for Christmas Eve onwards.
  • Family time. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post What Christmas means to me Christmas Day is the only time me and my family all sit down together – which is a shame but it is what it is (I go into more detail about this in my previous post.) With that being said, this is why Christmas is so important to me and all the more special. On Christmas Day we all gather for our Christmas dinner, give gifts and enjoy the Christmas festivities together and we all have the best time with one another every year.
  • Seeing Kory’s face on Christmas morning. This is the one that’s hard to beat. I absolutely love coming downstairs with my little boy and partner Christmas morning. My partner goes downstairs first to ‘check’ that Father Christmas has been and me and Kory follow after him. After we see that he’s been, we all excitedly run into the living room to gather around the Christmas tree to open all of our presents. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see the smile on my boy face Christmas morning.

So those are the things that I love about Christmas. What is it about Christmas that you love the most?

Christmas on a budget

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year… But it can also be the most expensive and stressful time of the year for some people too. I will be honest, I myself have been one of those people. I have been plagued with anxiety worrying about the cost of Christmas, stressing over buying christmas presents and whether I’ve spent enough money and worrying whether people will be satisfied with what I’ve bought them or not.

But I realised that by stressing so much about all of that stuff, i wasn’t enjoying the run up to Christmas like I should have been. I was taking the enjoyment of Christmas away from myself and was forgetting what it is that Christmas is all about. It isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about how much money you spend or what gift you buy someone. It’s the thought that went into buying someone that present that matters. If someone spent £500 on me, I’d be flattered and massively grateful but if someone bought me a £2 pair of slipper socks because they know I love them I would be just as grateful and I can tell you which present would mean more to me and it would be the socks because of the thought that went into buying them. So this year, don’t feel like you have to go skinting yourself to please others.

If you too are feeling the pressures of Christmas this year, here’s some tips I have for you that I hope will make you feel better:

  • Start Christmas planning in the following January. That is when I hit the shops to buy all of my wrapping paper, cards, decorations and small gift sets for the next Christmas because they’re all reduced and in the sales. I bought 10 rolls of wrapping paper for £1!
  • I start to buy small presents in September when stores start to reduce some of their stuff, I then put them away for Christmas to avoid last minute panic buying in December which is often expensive.
  • Set yourself a practical budget and stick to it. Don’t feel pressured to buy certain presents if you simply can’t afford them.
  • Buy a jar and save any change you have throughout the year. Use this money at Christmas to help towards your Christmas food shop, ect.
  • There are lots of free activities that you can take part in with your children over the Christmas period. Just research free Christmas activities in your area.
  • If you don’t already, try out budget supermarkets. They are a lot cheaper than some of the others. Some supermarkets offer a loyalty points scheme, save them throughout the year and use them all towards your Christmas shopping.

Thank you for reading my tips on ‘Christmas on a budget’, if you are feeling under pressure about Christmas, I hope you found them to be helpful and I hope they made you feel better.

Just remember that above all else, the thing that really matters at Christmas is family. I know it might sound like a cliche but it isn’t essential to spend a lot of money at Christmas time especially if you can’t afford to. Your family and friends appreciate you, not just how much money you spend on them.

What Christmas means to me

Christmas for me is all about spending time with family. It is a time to be surrounded by love, friends, fun, good times and food.

I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, well shouldn’t you do that sort of stuff anyway? And I agree. Yes we should. We should all make time for one another, enjoy ourselves and make memories with our family and friends because isn’t that what life’s all about? But the truth is, it isn’t always that simple. Work, being a parent and life in general all just gets in the way and before you know it it’s been months since you last seen your friends or since you had dinner with family.

Me, my partner and Kory have Christmas dinner at my nan and grandad’s house on Christmas Day every year with my mum, my sister, my uncle, auntie and Kory’s cousin and we always have the best time but did you know that this is the only time we all come together to sit down with one another to have dinner and to enjoy each other’s company. Sad, I know, but that’s reality.

I see and speak to my mum and sister every day, I speak to my Nan and grandad on the phone every day and usually see them every other day, my auntie and uncle I don’t see that much but their little boy, Kory’s cousin, I try to see as much as I can with Kory as I’d like them to be close. We’re quite a close knit family, it’s just difficult to get us all in the same room at the same time. That’s why Christmas to me means family. I’ve always had Christmas dinner at my nan and grandad’s house, I’ve never missed and I’ve always spent it surrounded by family and although we don’t get together as much as we’d all like to, we always have such a nice time together when we do and I think the fact that Christmas Day and Christmas dinner being the only time that we’re all in the same room together at the same time, as much as that sucks it just makes Christmas that bit more special.

So, that’s what Christmas means to me. What does Christmas mean to you?

Letter to Father Christmas

This year is the first year that Kory has wrote and sent a letter to Father Christmas. In the past he’s been a little too young to understand and take part in certain Christmas activities like this one for example but with each year that passes, he’s getting older and he’s becoming more excited about Christmas so not only was it magical for me to finally be able to do an activity like this one with him but it was a nice activity for us to sit down and be able to do together.

Because Kory is only 2 years old, I obviously helped him to write his letter but he was still very much involved, I would ask him questions such as ‘what is it you’d like me to tell Father Christmas to bring you?’ And Kory would answer by saying ‘toys, presents’ and so that’s what I’d write. He also got to decorate his letter once we’d finished writing it by sticking lots of stickers that he’d chosen all over it. I started the letter by introducing Kory, his name and age. I then went on to say that he’s been a very good boy this year and mentioned what it is that he would like for Christmas. On the back of the letter I wrote our address so that Father Christmas can reply back to Kory.

Did you know that the Royal Mail supply an address that you can send your letter to and they will respond with a letter written from Father Christmas? All you need to do is put your letter in an envelope with the address:

Santa/Father Christmas,

Santa’s Grotto,

Reindeerland,

XM4 5HQ

On the front and supply the stamp. Also, make sure you post your letter before the 7th of December!

Not only did Kory have a lot of fun helping me to write his letter to Father Christmas but he also had a lot of fun posting it too! He helped me to put the letter inside the envelope, write the address on the front and he came to the post office with me to buy a stamp. He was so excited to post his letter through a post box! He insisted on holding his letter and held it tightly in his hand all the way to the post box. Posting the letter for Kory might have been the highlight of this whole activity for him! Every time I say to him ‘Kory, did you write a letter to Father Christmas?’ He replies with ‘Kory post letter, red box!’ With the biggest smile ever on his face.

All you really need to write a letter to Father Christmas is:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Envelope
  • And some stickers (make it fancy!)

So if you haven’t already, get writing your letters to Father Christmas!

Thanks for reading. Have your children wrote their letters to Father Christmas yet? What have they asked for this year?

Elf on the Shelf

This is our first year taking part in the Elf on the Shelf. Meet our elf, Buddy!

On the 1st of December Buddy made his first appearance. He had left advent calendars for us and a note to Kory explaining who he is, where he’s from and why he’s here. (Basically he’s one of Santa’s elves and Santa has sent him to come stay with us so that him and Kory can have lots of festive fun together and he can also use his magic to go back to The North Pole each night to tell Santa whether Kory has been naughty or nice.) Having never done this before, I thought we were off to a pretty good start!

Today, we went downstairs to see that Buddy had been making snow angels!

It’s only day 2 and I’m already running out of ideas of what to do next with this elf! So after looking online, I came across lots of great Elf on the Shelf ideas that I thought I’d share with you. 24 elf ideas to be exact, so that if you too are taking part in the Elf on the Shelf this year, you won’t be stuck like I was!

Here goes:

  • Place a piece of paper next to your elf that reads ‘can you find all 12 candy canes?’ And then hide candy canes around the house for your child to find.
  • Leave notes/letters from your elf for your child to read. There are lots of free printables online or you could choose to write your own. (Certificate, Arrival letter, goodbye letter, ect.)
  • Place your elf on the couch with the remote and a bowl of popcorn.
  • If you have a dog, put your elf next to the dogs bowl, make it look like he’s been eating the biscuits and leave a note saying ‘worst cookies ever! Do not leave out for Santa!’ Lol
  • Start a jigsaw, leave it unfinished and sit your elf beside it. Encourage your child to help finish the puzzle.
  • Put your elf inside a glass with a card that reads ‘HELP.’
  • Leave a gingerbread house kit with your elf and a piece of paper that reads ‘do you want to build a gingerbread house?’
  • Leave a packet of reindeer food with your elf for your child to use.
  • Place your elf next to everything you need to make Christmas cards and a note that reads ‘Let’s make Christmas cards.’
  • Leave a colouring book or some colouring pages and crayons with your elf.
  • Place a treat (donut, lolly, chocolate, ect) on a plate in front of your elf and a note that reads ‘I made this for you, Santa said you have been good. Keep it up!’
  • Cover your elf in stickers and leave a note beside it saying. ‘Stickers are fun!’
  • Stuff your elf inside a glass jar and write a letter that says ‘I have stuffed myself in this tight spot so you can carry me around for the day. Don’t pop the lid because I will fall out and lose my magic. I am excited to see what you show me today.’
  • Place an open book in front of your elf, what have they been reading?
  • Leave your elf in front of your child’s packed lunch with a note that reads ‘I made you lunch.’
  • Leave a baking kit besides your elf with a note that reads ‘do you wanna bake some _____.’
  • Let your elf present a new book you’ve bought for your child to them by leaving the book beside the elf with a note that reads ‘I’ve bought a book for you!’
  • Put your elf on the back of a toy dinosaur.
  • Stick wrapping paper and cello tape over your elf, make it look like they’ve been wrapping presents for Santa.
  • Put your elf on strike for bad behaviour.
  • Make it look like your elf is trying to climb up the Christmas tree.
  • Put your elf on the potty!
  • Put your elf inside a toilet roll tube and roll them down the stairs.
  • Set up an ‘elf car wash’ by placing lots of toy cars in front of your elf and a sponge.

Are you taking part in the Elf on the Shelf this year? Are you a first timer like myself? I hope you find these Elf on the Shelf ideas to be helpful… What has your elf been up to?

Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!

Kory has been asking me for weeks now about our Christmas tree, probably because so many people we know, family and friends have already put theirs up. Every time he seen one he would get so excited and shout ‘Christmas tree! Christmas tree!’ and when I asked him what did he want from Father Christmas, he said a Christmas tree… I’ve felt so bad for not putting ours up sooner, I love Christmas but November just feels too early to be putting our tree up for me. But Today we finally brought our Christmas tree down out of the loft, put it up and then decorated it!

Kory was so excited! He really wanted to get stuck in and help with all the branches and putting the baubles on. So we stuck on a movie and got to work decorating the tree.

I love our Christmas tree. We’ve had it for a few years now and we didn’t pay much for it when we bought it but every year when it’s time to put it up I fall back in love with it all over again. It might not look like much to some of you but I love it’s size, how easy it is to put up, it’s bushy branches and the glitter on the ends of each branch add a lovely sparkle to the tree. I’ve always stuck to the same cream-gold Christmas look. Just because I think it compliments the gold glitter that’s already on the tree nicely and also with our living room being natural colours it suits really well.

This time last year Kory couldn’t care less about a Christmas tree and didn’t know who the hell Father Christmas was (probably because he was only 16 months old at the time.) Where as this year he’s helped with all the decorating and we speak about Father Christmas all the time! It’s crazy how much your child grows and how much things can change in just one year! I just know that with each passing year, as Kory starts to understand more and more about Christmas it’s only going to get more and more magical…

When do you usually put your Christmas tree and decorations up? What do you love most about your tree?

Christmas traditions

The other night me, my mum, my sister (and Kory) all helped to decorate my nan’s Christmas tree. This is something I’ve always done from being a small girl, it’s something that we’ve all always done every year together and it’s a tradition that Kory is beginning to take part in and enjoy now that he’s a little older too.

He’s really excited for Christmas this year!

We all go round to my Nan’s house and we all help to decorate the Christmas tree whilst listening to Christmas music with a takeaway. This Christmas tradition always gets me so excited for Christmas, it really kicks off the festive period for me and it’s when I really start looking forward to Christmas. I can’t wait to put all of our own Christmas decorations up now!

For me, Christmas is all about family and family traditions. Now that I’m a mum myself with a little family of my own, we have some of our own Christmas family traditions. Heres some of them:

  • Decorate our Christmas tree whilst listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate
  • Put up all the Christmas decorations around the house
  • Visit the Christmas markets
  • Write a Christmas list and a letter and send them to Father Christmas
  • Go and see Father Christmas
  • Watch Christmas movies (we have a list of must watch Christmas movies)
  • Elf on the shelf
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • New pyjamas ready for Christmas
  • Christmas Eve box

Over the festive period I am going to try my very best to write a blog post for each one of our Christmas traditions and share a little more detail about each of them with you.

I am so excited! It really is the most wonderful time of the year…

Do you and your family have any Christmas traditions of your own?

My REAL sister

If I had £1 for every time someone said to me ‘ohhh, so she’s not your REAL sister?’ or ‘Oh, so she’s your half sister then?’ I’d be a very rich lady!

I don’t quite understand what is it that people are asking when they say that? She’s real alright… She exists if that’s what you want to know?

Are you asking if we share the same mum? Because yes, we do. Are you asking if we have the same dad? Because no, we don’t. But she’s always been my sister from the day she was born, she’s never been anything but. I’ve never called her half or referred to her as ‘step’ and I think we would both be offended if I did.

We might not look anything alike, we might have two totally opposite personalities and completely different traits from one another but we’ve grown up together. We’ve been on family holidays. We’ve shared memories and good times together. Despite a 10 year age gap, we’ve also argued and fought like cat and dog but we’ve stuck up for each other and had each other’s backs too. She drives me mad, sometimes I could kill her! We’ve been through so much together, I watched my baby sister grow up into a young lady and become my best friend. We’ve ate together, watched movies together, been shopping together, laughed together and even cried together.

She is Kory’s auntie. She isn’t his half auntie or his step auntie. She’s his real auntie (as they would say) and she’s his only ‘real’ auntie too and one day when she has kids of her own, I will love them with every bone in my body as if they were my own kids because they will be my niece or nephew and Kory’s cousin.

So if you’re asking if we have the same mum then the answer is simple;

Yes we do.

And if you’re asking if my sister is my REAL sister…

Yes she is. We’re just like any other sisters, we grew in the same womb, we grew up together, we’re not half sisters, we’re not step sisters. We’re sisters. She’s my sister.

She’s my REAL sister.

Preschool Watch review

What I really like about the Preschool Watch is that it doesn’t have numbers, the animals that go around the face of the watch represent minutes and the different colours shown represent hours. So as soon as your toddler can recognise animals and colours, they can start using the Preschool Watch and learn to tell the time which meant Kory could start using the watch right away!

The idea of the watch is not to tell the time as such but to help toddlers understand the notion of time. For example; ‘When the big hand reaches the rabbit, it’s play time.’ The Preschool Watch also helps with helping your toddler to be more patient and helps your child to establish daily routines.

Here are some simple and effective methods using the watch that can help teach your child the concept of time:

  • First, start by just using the big hand (minutes) to discuss time and when your child feels comfortable, then introduce the small hand (hours)
  • Use the small hand (hours) and the corresponding colours for events happening beyond an hour, for example, ‘we are going to the park in 2 hours’ becomes ‘we are going to the park when the small hand reaches the purple.’
  • Combine the big and small hands together for events happening beyond, but not directly on – an hour. Such as, ‘ your friend is coming to play at 4:30pm’ becomes ‘your friend is coming to play when the small hand is touching the pink and the big hand is on the frog.’

Here are some more helpful ideas on how to use the watch ^^^

The watch states that it’s suitable from ages 3+ Kory is only 2 years of age and obviously can’t tell the time like most other 2-3 year olds and even older kids but he still loves knowing things like that when the big hand reaches the horse, it’s tea time and what all of the other animals represent too. Kory couldn’t wait to try his new watch on and was so excited to show me all of the different animals! For even more fun, we named the dog icon ‘Harley’ after our own dog!

The watch is available in lots of different designs that you can choose from that your child will love! Lauren from the Preschool Collection very kindly sent me one of the blue ‘truck’ Preschool Watches to try with Kory. The watch itself is a hypoallergenic silicone strap, it is certified safe for kids, it is lead and BPA free, it is water resistant (splash proof) and the animal icons even glow up in the dark!

The watches retail at $24.95 and if you’re in the US comes with free shipping. If you’re from the UK like me, the Preschool Watch would cost £19.39 plus shipping and can be purchased from the Preschool Collection website;

http://www.preschoolcollection.com

You can use promo code CYBERWEEK25 to get an extra 25% off everything until Monday the 26th November!

Your Preschool Watch also comes with one year limited guarantee and if you’re unhappy with the watch, can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. 5% of all profit from each watch sold is donated to organisations improving children’s health and education.

What I love even more about the watch is that the founder and CEO of the Preschool Collection, Lauren, is a mum just like you and I. She was always trying to find a way to explain to her kids when to expect things (aren’t we all!) for example; bath time and when to take a turn but wanted to do so without having to have an argument. (Difficult, right?!) Then one day she had the idea to replace minutes on an analogue watch with animals – something her son already knew and recognised to help him understand time better and to give him a better understanding of when to expect things to happen and it worked! Understanding time suddenly turned from a chore to something fun! Thus, the Preschool Watch was born!

To read more about Lauren’s story and the Preschool Collection, here is the link:

https://preschoolcollection.com/pages/our-story

Preschool Collection can be also contacted on the following platforms:

Email: contact@preschoolcollection.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/preschoolcollection

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/preschoolcollection

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/preschoolcollection

Thanks for reading my review on the Preschool Watch, Kory had a lot of fun trying the watch out and I had a lot of fun teaching him the time! I always thought helping Kory understand time would be a long and difficult process and a bit of a challenge but the Preschool Watch has definitely helped with that and now I’m excited to see him learn more and more about the time with his new watch! I hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on this brilliant product. Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments…

* Please note, I recieved this product in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own. *