10 Things I Loved About Christmas 2014

Alas, Christmas is officially over. The Twelfth Night has been and gone, the Pipers have piped, the Lords have leapt and the Partridge has left the pear tree. The tree is down, the Elf has returned to the North Pole, and we have a house crammed with new toys and cardboard I STILL haven’t taken to the tip.

I have decided to do a post outlining ten of my favourite things from Christmas 2014. In no particular order….

1). Winter Wonderland: Christmas started early for us, on our Winter Wonderland break at Center Parcs, Sherwood. We headed down at the end of November for a Monday to Friday break.

One of my favourite moments was our festive Horse and Carriage ride on this beauty. It was brilliant! The kids were both awe struck, and I was very brave. (I’m terrified of horses)!

The midweek fireworks display over the lake was another amazing moment from our trip, but I was enjoying it too much to take photos. I LOVE it when that happens! We also visited Father Christmas while we were there, and Sam threw a china plate full of chocolate coins at him – TWICE! (The poor old guy looked very confused. Once I had reminded him about Sam’s autism, he popped the plate out of sight, and promised Sam he would still be on the nice list!

The entire break was amazing, and We’ll definitely be back there again for another Winter Wonderland break soon.

2). Christmas Smells: I am one of those people who buys every festive scent going. I cannot get enough of them. I was beyond excited when the guys at Febreze sent us this amazing Christmas Hamper. It contained their festive Apple and Spice spray, candle and Set and Refresh starter kit. It was all divine! We’ve actually bought more of it, we liked it so much!

The set and refresh made the house smell really welcoming to visitors, and ourselves too! (We positioned it in the hallway). It lasted for 4 weeks, and we’ve refilled it, we liked it so much. We’ve also bought a couple more of them and positioned them around the house to keep things smelling fresh. (Two potty training toddlers means there can be a few lingering smells at times)! I don’t usually use aerosols as they tend to cling to my chest and make me wheezy, but this one didn’t do that. It has been my “go to” spray for covering up that delightful post nappy change aroma for a few weeks now, and works well.

3). Christmas Jumpers: I went a little Christmas Jumper crazy this year! Syd ended up with 5 new ones plus 2 hand-me-downs from Sam. Sam got 3 new ones and I got this beauty from M&S. It’s actually from the Men’s range. I paid £17.50 for it, and it is really snuggly.

I am gutted I can’t wear it again for 10 months. I fear I’ll be buying myself a couple more next year, and living in them from 1st November onwards! 

One of Sam’s is a Fairisle Batman Jumper. It was also from M&S and came with a pair of matching socks. It was a total bargain at £14, and he will definitely be wearing it throughout Winter, Spring and Autumn – It’s beautiful!

I do need to calm down buying them for Syd though – I dread to think how much money I have spent on hers, and there’s no way she will fit into them next year, the rate she is growing! (Don’t tell DaddyGeek)!

4). Christmas Crafts: I love making Christmas stuff. Syd and I have done a few bits together this year. We made paper chains, baubles, a Christmas House and some Christmas Cards. I also did a few felt Tree Decorations by myself. My favourite “make” was the huge, fuzzy felt tree I finally made in Mid December, after bookmarking it about 2 years ago. It is 1 metre high and stuck to the end of the kitchen island.

It is 100% felt, and all the decorations are moveable. The entire thing cost about £4 to make. I got the large green felt from Amazon, the yellow star and brown trunk were made from felt I had lying around & the decorations were pre-cut and I paid £1.74 for them in Tesco.

It is stuck on with double sided tape. I had hoped Sam would love moving the decorations around on it, but he mostly just enjoyed sweeping them all off and making a huge pile on the floor. I gave up after a week and took them off! It was pretty while it lasted, though! I was proud of myself for finally making it too!

5). Advent Calendars: We splashed out a bit on advent calendars this year.I had a Hotel Chocolat one. It was nice, but not really very exciting to open, as every day contained the same flavour – a bit of variety in flavour would have been lovely!

The kids had WOW Toys Advent Calendars, which were a let down if I’m honest. I paid £15 each for them, and the main toy in Sam’s (a car) which he waited all month for was broken when he opened it on Christmas Eve. He was gutted!

DaddyGeek’s Lego City Advent Calendar was a huge hit, though! It was brilliant watching hubby showing Syd how to build the models each day. It was the only one which was worth its money, in my opinion. I suspect there will be 3 shiny new Lego Advent Calendars in our house come December – plus a home made chocolate one for me! Unless a Cake advent Calendar is invented in the meantime!

6). Christmas Drinks: Christmas drinks are another of my guilty pleasures. I cannot get enough of them! Before I ditched booze, I could easily put away a bottle of Mulled Wine a night over the festive period. That was many many moons ago, though. I have been on the wagon for a long time now!

These days, I’m more partial to a festive Hot Chocolate. Costa’s Black Forest has been my favourite for several years. I made an at home version a couple of years back now (pictured to the left of the photo).  M&S’s Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate was my favourites this season, though. I was spending an absolute fortune on them, so I had to come up with a home made version of that as well (Pictured to the right of the photo). Feel free to check out my recipe section if you want to try making them yourself. The coffee shops stop selling them this week, but I am all set to make my own – thank goodness!

7). Christmas Lights: I mentioned earlier that I love festive smells, so it’s probably no surprise that festive candles are also on my list. We had one burning whenever we were at home. Our favourites this year were the Glade and the Febreze one (pictured).

We have candles burning in the evenings all year round, but it seems like we light them more at Christmas. Maybe it’s because we spend more time at home – who knows?! Either way… I love them! I love watching the light flickering and reflecting off the Christmas tree (at a safe distance from it – obviously)!

I love to see Christmas lights in windows and on Christmas trees, too. I feel they really add to the festive cheer. I’m not a fan of the “Griswold” effect though (a house covered in external lights)! We had a near miss this year – one of our window lights almost set alight. Thankfully I was in the room at the time, so no harm was done. PLEASE be careful though, and remember to turn off fairy lights when you go out or go to bed!

8). Elf on the Shelf: Elf on the Shelf took over our lives in December. The kids watched “An Elf Story” on the 30th November, and then on the morning of 1st Dec, our Elf arrived. I had wanted to call him Noel, but Syd was adament he should be called “Chippy” (Like the Elf in “An Elf Story”).

Each morning, she raced downstairs to see what he had been up to overnight. She took it very seriously, and was always on her best behaviour when Chippy was nearby.

We went to visit ClearlyBex for a night, and she was amazed that he flew there, and was sat in their Christmas tree when we walked in!

He’s been gone for a couple of weeks now, and I am still really missing him – as is Sydney! “Chippy’s gone home” is still something we hear at least once a day. I almost burst into tears at about 12pm on Christmas Day when she said “Syd say Fankoo to Chippy” and went to look for him. She looked heartbroken…. until her shiny new Rocking Horse distracted her!

9). Excited Children: DaddyGeek and I are both HUGE Christmas fans. I loved the fact that Syd understood most of what was going on this year, and was genuinely excited about it all. (She turned 2.5 on Christmas Eve, so I wasn’t expecting her to be that fussed this year).

She insisted on having hot chocolate every time I did, so she now has one epic Babyccino addiction – I’ve created a monster!!

Sam would get excited about certain things, (the Christmas tree and the drawers on the wooden advent calendar being his favourites), but he didn’t show much interest in anything else). I got so much pleasure from seeing Sydney get excited by the festivities. Not just the presents, either. She loved the songs, making things, the food, decorations and (of course) “Fa Mismas” himself! She must have watched those PNP videos at least 500 times each!

Sam loved some of his gifts as well, and he got really upset when the decorations were packed away, so I suspect he probably knew (and enjoyed) more than he was letting on.

10). Family Time: Without a doubt the best part of Christmas was spending lots of time as a family. The photo shows us with a Reindeer – this was at the Trafford Centre back in November. DaddyGeek and I are much more excited than either of the kids!

We did lots of fun festive things together. Between our holiday, visiting Father Christmas, seeing family, shopping and visiting Legoland several times, we’ve made lots of brilliant Family Christmas memories too – which is what it’s all about for us.

I know the “real” reason of Christmas, but for us, it’s all about spending time with the people we love, exchanging gifts and making lots and lots of happy memories!

We had plenty of unhappy moments as well, but let’s not dwell on those – it was the season of GOOD cheer, after all!

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