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Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions. it’s something I’m sure most households have over the festive period, what everyone does though depends on the individuals and what they had when they were growing up. Here are some of the Christmas Traditions we have in our family. Most of them are ones I had a child but as the years have gone on I have added a few of my own and now every year we enjoy doing them.

Christmas Films.

As soon as December begins I can’t wait to start watching Christmas Films. C is at an age now where he’s really starting to enjoy sitting down all snuggled on the sofa to watch a film. Some of the favourites in our house is Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, The Snowman, The Santa Claus ( you know the original featuring Dudley Moore) and C has been enjoying Arthur Christmas this year.

Speaking of films, what better way to watch Christmas films than on an Ultra HD 4K TV Panasonic. 4K TV has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, more than 8 million pixels in total, which is four times the number in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080). Watching TV on a 4K TV will give you amazing quality and a crystal clear picture for all those fantastic films to watch over the festive period. The 4K experience will no doubt soon be the norm amongst broadcasters as the BBC have started trialling programmes in this format. Here is more information about 4K tvs.

Advent Calendars.

At the start of the month, we obviously have advent calendars – they both usually end up with a couple each because family members get them and for the last few years I’ve been using a re-useable one for each of them. I pop a little treat inside each day with a special one for the 24th December.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Tree.

We put our Christmas tree up the first weekend of December. The whole family gets involved. We have Christmas songs on the TV and once Mr S and I have worked our way through sorting the branches out and the dreaded lights we then leave the actual decorating of the tree to the kids … whilst I usually sit back and take a ton of photos of them. I have to say they do a pretty good job of it as well. It’s finished off with a little train that goes around the bottom …. something I have wanted for years.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Tree Decoration.

Every year we add a new decoration to our tree – for the past 4 years, we’ve had them personalised with our names and the year. It’s lovely getting them out of the loft each Christmas working out how old the children were on the year certain ones were purchased. This is only a tradition we started a few years ago but it’s a firm favourite now and one that we will continue to do every year.

Visiting Santa.

We always go to see Santa in his grotto every year – this year we are going a local garden centre and they’ve even got real reindeer. I try and get a booking as near to Christmas as possible. This year we’re going on Sunday so it’s exactly a week before Christmas.

Message from Santa via PNP.

If you’ve got children and you’ve never done this it’s a must! Honestly, it’s brilliant and every year creates a new video and it’s even personalised too.  All you have to do is add the details and await your email from Santa.

Christmas Eve Box.

Ever since L has been born I have always bought her a new pair of pyjamas. They used to be on her bed waiting for her after she was out of the bath on Christmas Eve, but about 4 years ago I changed it into a new tradition of a Christmas Eve box. I usually make them up a box of goodies containing new pj’s, some hot chocolate & new mug, a new book to read before bed for C and a novel for L, some reindeer food, and usually some sort of Christmas art for C to do during the day. I give them their box in the morning on Christmas eve.

Reindeer Food & Treats for Santa.

Before bed on Christmas Eve we scatter some food on the grass outside for the Reindeer and in the front room on a little table we leave a plate of goodies for Santa …. this for us usually entails a glass of milk & some cookies. We also leave a carrot out especially for Rudolf too …. he needs his vegetables on such a busy night!

What Christmas Traditions do you & your family have?

 

 

Christmas at Marwell.

We were thrilled to be invited along to experience Christmas at Marwell recently. The day before our arrival the kids were really excited when we received an email from the elves at Marwell the night before our arrival with a special poem:

ONE MORE SLEEP

For Christmas as Marwell there’s one more sleep

A special memory to treasure and keep

Whilst in bed I mustn’t peep

I’ll close my eyes and start counting sheep

And when I wake we’ll make our way

To Marwell Zoo for a fabulous day

Meerkats squeek and penguins bray

I wonder what dear Santa will say …

Christmas at Marwell
Photo courtesy of Marwell

C wanted to wear his Elf Christmas jumper & Santa hat. He also chose Elf to come along with us for the day. So all wrapped up with our scarfs, hats and gloves we headed off.

Christmas at Marwell

Our time slot to see Santa wasn’t until 14.45 but we had full access to Marwell as part of our ticket so we arrived around 11.30 to make time to enjoy the rest of the park.

On arrival we were greeted at the entrance and was told to be either back at the gift shop for 14.30 to collect the train to Marwell Hall, or alternatively we could make our own way there.

Christmas at Marwell

First up we headed to the little gift shop & coffee shop just inside the entrance for some much needed hot chocolates and made a note of where the train station was for later.

We made our way round the park stopping by the Penguins, Giraffes, Cheetahs, Zebras, Rhinos .. to name but a few. We stopped by Cafe Graze at lunchtime. Cafe Graze offer full hot meals, from roast dinners right down to sandwiches and drinks. It was nice to be able to sit down in the warm for half an hour.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

After lunch we sat and let C play in one of the play areas for a little bit – he enjoyed the climbing and sliding whilst we sat watching him freezing cold from the benches.

Christmas at Marwell

Before we knew it, it was time to make our way back to the gift & coffee shop so we could wait for the train to take us to Santa.

We weren’t waiting too long because the train arrived on time. We all piled on and off we went. The first stop was the Giraffes – if you didn’t fancy walking round the park like we did you could choose to get the train to various drop off points. Once we had stopped at the Giraffes the driver announced the next stop was Marwell Hall and Santa. C’s face lit up when he heard that!

As the train pulled up outside Marwell Hall I couldn’t help but think it was something like out of Downton Abbey! The house was huge and so very beautiful. There was a huge Christmas Tree outside and there was an Elf waiting to greet us at the door.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

We were led into the foyer which was decorated from top to bottom in Christmas decorations and in the corner the biggest tree i’ve ever seen. We were offered mulled wine and blackcurrant for the children and mince pies whilst we waited for everyone to arrive. There was somewhere to hang our coats and we were told they would be waiting for us at the end of our experience. It was nice to not have to carry them around with us.

There was a big TV screen with a list of people who were on the naughty and nice list – the children had fun looking out for their names. They were both delighted to see they were on the nice list.

We then had a poem read out to us from a very happy and excited Elf whilst we waited for Mrs Christmas to come and get us. He was such a great character and made everyone laugh.

We then followed Mrs Christmas to her story room, the corridor was decorated with sacks of reindeer food and lots of little paw prints of various woodland animals showing us the way.

We entered a lovely room where Mrs Christmas sat down and read the children a story – they all sat on little foam tree stumps and were encouraged to take part in the story with various actions and songs. Underneath their little cushions was a surprise for them to fine at the end in keeping with the story. It was lovely.

Christmas at Marwell

After the story we waited until the Elves in the next room come calling for us – we were taken in and the children each had a place at a table to sit and make edible Christmas Trees. This was the last stop before they got to see the important man himself!

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

One by one the elves called each family, and we were then taken though to see Father Christmas. He greeted them both by their name as they walked in which was a nice touch. He sat them down either side of him and chatted to them both about what they would like for Christmas. Seeing as L is 13 he knew she was acting the part for her brother, so what I thought was nice was he had a little laugh and joke with her. There was a professional photographer taking photos but they didn’t mind us taking our own too.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

They both received a present from Santa before we left and we went through to the final part of the experience. This is where you collect your coats, view and buy any photos you want to. There was a dancing penguin there to entertain the children too.

Christmas at Marwell

We decided to buy one of the photos the photographer had taken – just one of Santa & C, L didn’t like any of the ones she was in so she wasn’t keen on us getting any with her in .. teenagers eh?. Each print cost £7 and not only did they print one there and pop it in a Christmas at Marwell frame we were also emailed a digital copy too. Seeing as most places you only get the printed version I was impressed they gave you the download too.

Christmas at Marwell

Seeing as we were the last family they held the train back for us until we were ready. We were escorted out by some friendly elves and on we jumped for a ride back to the main entrance. By the time we had finished our Christmas experience the park was closed so we were driven to the main gates.

We had such a lovely day and would like to thank Marwell for inviting us along.

Disclaimer – we were invited as a family to Marwell for their Christmas experience but as always my posts are of my own opinion and all thoughts are my own.

 

 

 

Florida Holiday – Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party – Day 12

So we decided to have a look online to see if they had any tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party before we leave and the only dates they did have were for the next night, the 18th so we went ahead and booked :-D. The party started when the park closed at 7pm and finished at midnight.

 

Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12

Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12

We arrived at the park for around 6.30pm I think to collect our tickets from the desk. The chap that issued them told us a little about the party seeing as we had never been before – he said there were two parades, one at 8.30pm and one at 10.30pm. He advised we missed the 8.30 performance and make use of the low crowds to queue for rides and that by 10.30 the parade crowd is a lot quieter due to the people with younger kids having left. He also said the very first thing we should do was head over to the character signing for the Seven Dwarf – these characters only ever come out at special times and you’ll never see them in the normal park hours and because of this the queue gets really long.
We got out tickets and headed for the turnstiles – it did feel really special seeing hundreds of people leave the park after their day and us being special enough to enter just as the park was closing. The guy on the ticket desk said in a normal day for this time of the year the park has around 55,000 people but on special occasions like tonight the max tickets sold are 24,000!!!!
As we entered we were given wrist bands showing we were part of MVMCP and that way we couldn’t be asked to leave like everyone else at 7.
Pictures for the Seven Dwarf started at 7 so that was the first place we headed for – it was right beside ‘Big Thunder Mountain’ and ‘Splash Mountain’ and both of those queues for the rides were only 5 minutes so whilst L & I joined the queue, Mr S went on both rides.
We were asked to show our wrist bands as we joined the queue and already it was around half an hour long.
Mr S did both rides and still joined us whilst we were in the line for about the last 20 minutes – as he walked past the end of the line he heard someone being told the queue time was 2 hrs so I am really pleased we got there when we did.
The Seven Dwarfs were very cute. They entertained and were in character the whole time so they were fun to watch.
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
There was something quite special walking round in the dark knowing only certain people were allowed in – they had complementary hot chocolate and cookies all over the place as we could have as many as we liked – it reminded me of being at home just before Christmas – we used to pick L up from school and head off to do some Christmas shopping wandering round with a cup of hot chocolate that we bought from Costa .. except this was far better – Christmas Decorations and Christmas music everywhere and the buzz of Magic Kingdom.
We stopped by Cinderella’s Castle where the Characters were performing a show which was lovely.
Seeing the snow falling around was just so special, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, it was amazing
After the show we wandered around to Tomorrow Land because people were starting to get their spots for the first parade. Mr S went on Space Mountain with a very small queuing time. I think he walked straight on.
Afterwards we just walked around the various lands soaking up the atmosphere and getting some hot chocolate & cookies.
Around 8.30pm we headed back to the Castle so we could get a good position for the shows, fireworks & parades.
In January of this year the Magic Kingdom started ‘The Magic, The Memories & You’ show, on Cinderella’s Castle. It is presented just before Wishes. The show is projected on the Castle itself and it is just simply amazing – We saw it the first day we visited MK and even though this was the second time we saw it, it still blew me away. It was just magical and very clever.

 

Straight after ‘The Memories, The Magic & You’ was ‘Wishes’ – again this never fails to amaze me and that night was even better, they used more fireworks and instead of them just being over the castle they literally went everywhere, to the side of us and behind us. It really was lovely.
I said in my pervious MK blog I didn’t think the Parades were as good as they used to be but the one they put on for MVMCP was excellent – they had far more floats and as each one went past they had different Christmassy smells coming from them. They had cinnamon smells, gingerbread ones, vanilla, spices etc. The last float also had Santa on his sleigh so that was really nice.
I did take some photos but they didn’t come out all that good due to it being so dark but here are a few that come out best:
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
As Santa was the last float the crowd were getting up and walking behind and following down main street and we were lucky enough to be right behind. So there we were walking down Main Street in the snow, behind Santa with the parade still going on in front – it was amazing.
The snow was really life like as well – it was all fluffy and when it landed on you it dissolved.
So we’re really pleased we got the tickets – seeing MK with Christmas Decorations in the dark, with snow and fantastic shows and parades really was something special.
Coming up next Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios.

It’s been a while …..

Long time no blog. We are also in to a brand New Year too. Happy 2016 everyone. I hope you have all have had a nice Christmas.

I have so much catching up to do and lots has been happening here (hence my lack of posting) but it’s a New Year and I am raring to go with It’s a Blogs Life.

So what has been happening …. well back sometime at the end of October I randomly one night browsed the internet for evening jobs. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but I come across a job advertised that would work perfectly around the family – it was in the evenings, which meant S would be home to watch the children whilst they were in bed. I applied, and honestly didn’t think anymore about it. I’ve not worked since before Lauren was born so I don’t have much of a CV. However to my surprise a few days later I received an email offering me an interview!! Now I began to panic. I hadn’t attended an interview for years and years and I worried I wouldn’t be confident enough. But sure enough though I found myself replying and accepting the interview date.

The morning of the interview I didn’t feel as nervous and I had expected. I went along and found the whole thing really quite enjoyable and easy … as in I was able to answer everything I was asked and ended up having a 1hr 30 min interview when I was told at the beginning it would only be around half an hour – the time just flew by.

I still wasn’t expecting things to go any further, but a few days later I ended up getting offered the job. I can’t tell you how much that boosted my confidence, it felt amazing. I’ve now been working there for about 8 weeks and I really do enjoy it, I like the fact i’m meeting others on my team, there are talks of nights out & I feel like i’m actually doing something rather then sitting in front of the TV seven nights a week. I work four nights a week – 20.00 – 00.00. At first the lateness of it took a while to get adjusted to, especially when getting up in the morning when C wakes up. I tend to go to bed around 1am because I can’t just come in and go straight to bed.

The only downside to it though, is I took the job on knowing it was only a temporary contract for the Christmas period – I have been extended a few extra weeks but as it stands at the moment they don’t have anything to offer me permanently, which is a huge shame because I would like to have stayed on. We’ll have to just see what happens over the next few weeks.

Christmas for us this year was really very lovely. We had my parents over for almost three weeks over Christmas & New Year and we were able to spend the seasonal period with my Sister & Brother in Law. We’ve been all living apart for the last 6ish years so we’ve not all been together for Christmas for a long time. Our house was full of excitement, happiness, joy and laughter … just how I like it.

Now we’re into 2016 I hope we have a happy, healthy and prosperous year – last year was tough at times for us and we had a big move to make and a new business to set up. I am also super excited at the prospect of becoming an Auntie any day now. My Sister is expecting her first baby, my nephew in just under two weeks. This little boy is a miracle, six years in the waiting and after a failed IVF he’s coming along to join the family. I cannot wait to meet him and experiencing the love and joy as as Auntie and not as a parent (if you get what I mean). I am also overjoyed at being asked to be a second birthing partner jointly with my Mum. Our local hospital only allow two birthing partners so Mum & I will swap over every so often to be an extra support for both my Sister & Brother in Law. Being a birth partner is something i’ve always dreamed of and to be able to get the opportunity to be one is one that I feel so honoured to be asked to do.

Anyway that is what has been happening here for the past few months. It has been an busy time for us. It’s been full on and rather quite busy at times!

Here’s to 2016 x