Jingle bells, deck the halls, let it snow etc etc etc. The festive period is here and I, for one, am loving it. I’ve always enjoyed Christmas, but as you get older, it kind of loses the magic. That is, until you have kids. Being able to see the magic, excitement and joy through their tiny eyes is enough to melt your old, cold heart.
Last year, Toddler L kind of got the concept of Christmas. She knew that there’d be presents, she knew that Santa would land on her roof and she knew that it’d be cold (check out the Xmas themed conversations with my toddler for more insight). There was no question that she enjoyed Christmas, but I fully expect this enjoyment to be off the scale in comparison now she’s older.
At 3.5 years old, her understanding of concepts like Christmas has come on leaps and bounds. Nursery has helped massively in this. I obviously talk about the festivities, we read Xmas books and we watch Christmas films. However, nursery gives her a more expansive perspective. For instance, she’s been learning about the nativity story and knows the words to Christmas songs – probably two things that wouldn’t have happened if she was just here with me.
That’s not to say that we haven’t done anything though. In fact, in the first few weeks of the festive period, we’ve done more Christmassy related things than in previous years. Again, this ties to her age and the fact she can do more things now she’s a real kid. Even though the big day hasn’t actually arrived yet, we’ve got some great memories already. Here’s some of the festive things we’ve been doing to date:
Lapland UK – Our festivities this year started with a bang as we visited Lapland UK. We went last year as part of a review and absolutely loved it – genuinely the most magical Christmas experience you’ll encounter. With the bar set so high, we decided to go again this year as anything else would have felt like a let down. Even though we went in November – a little prematurely for Christmas, I know – we had an awesome time and L loved it. Interacting with the elves, helping in the Toy Shop, decorating gingerbread with Mother Christmas, ice-skating and seeing the big man himself – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit.
Christmas Lights Switch On – After missing it every year of Toddler L’s life to date, we managed to make it down to see the Christmas Lights turned on in our local town. We’d have missed it again though had it not been for a friend who text to see if we were there – cue a mad dash to the high street which got us there just in time. We saw the lights switch on, Santa (again) and L went on a few rides. I need to make sure I get 2018’s in the diary asap.
Putting Up The Tree – One of our few family Christmas traditions is putting up the tree on the first weekend of December. After buying a cheap tree when we moved into our house seven years ago, we decided to upgrade the tree and decorations this year. It now has built-in lights and looks more real, although I can’t really see the difference – well, except to my bank account. I find decorating the tree is always nicer in theory than practice – particularly with a toddler. L wants to help and get involved, but her bauble distribution has something to be desired. Still, we got there in the end and I did a good job of biting my tongue.
Snow Days – Two unexpected things coincided recently – we had a lot of snow and Toddler L got chicken pox. Both of which ensured that we were cooped up in the house more than normal, although only one could be described as festive. Despite the dreaded pox though, we did manage to get out in the snow which proved to be a great distraction from scratching. We enjoyed crunching in the snow, throwing snow balls, making snow angels and trying to build a snowman – it wasn’t as easy as depicted in Frozen.
Christmas Crafts – Part to get into the Christmassy spirit, part to find entertainment whilst quarantined with chicken pox, we’ve been getting our craft on. This has included making Christmas cards, salt dough decorations for the tree, paper chains and even foam Santa and and Elf door hangers. Kirsty Allsop, watch your back, I’m coming for your TV show.
Getting our Christmas craft on by making a foam door hanger elf. Don’t worry, it’s a ready-made pack, I’m hardly what you’d call a Pinterest Dad! This is one of many indoor activities we’ll be partaking in over the next week as L woke up with chickenpox. She’s been a bit off the last few days, but today has been the first with those dreaded red spots – or chicken pops as she calls them. Bless.
Nursery Christmas Party – After recovering from chicken pox just in time, L was able to go to her nursery Christmas party. It’s always difficult to suss out what they’ve done at nursery as their descriptions of activities are a little left field, but I gleaned that she’d had fun playing musical statues, pass the parcel and pin the tail on the reindeer. They’d also had some party food, read some Christmas stories, sang some festive tunes and made party hats. It’s certainly different to the corporate Christmas parties that I used to enjoy in a different life!
L’s chicken pox have scabbed over so she can go to her nursery Christmas party today. Great for her, not so much for me considering I’d planned my self-employed Christmas party for today. The guest list is down to 1 – me.
— The dADVENTurer (Dave) (@The_dadventurer) December 14, 2017
Those are some of the things we’ve been doing to get into the Christmassy spirit this year – some fab memories and we’ve not even reached the big day yet! As someone who lives a big part of their life online, I have no issues in capturing these memories – be it through photos or words. It’s great having them backed up on the cloud forever, but I miss the good old days of actual photos.
So, as part of working with HP on their #ReinventMemories campaign over the last few months, I’ve been making more of an effort to make these captured memories more tangible with the help of our new HP ENVY Photo 7830 Wireless All-in-One Printer and the HP Instant Ink service. I’ve been able to quickly and easily print photos at home, which has meant we’ve been able to put together a photo scrapbook, update photos around the house and even create thoughtful stocking fillers for family.
What have you been up to so far this Christmas? How do you ensure that your family memories are captured and enjoyed? Let me know below!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with HP. We were also sent the printer and have a 6-month Instant Ink subscription as part of the #ReinventMemories campaign.