It's the most wonderful time of the year - or so say the words of one of my favourite Christmas songs go and I do love it and over the years we've merged together traditions for my family and from my husband's background and new traditions emerge as our kids get a little bit older so I thought I would share some of our traditions with you as it's never too late to start a tradition and why not make this year the year you incorporate something new into your festivities.
The lead up to Christmas for us starts back in January - yes you read that right back in January, before we put the decorations away we check to see if anything is broken and head to the sales to pick up any replacements we may need, last year one set of our outdoor lights went crazy blinking none stop and nothing we tried fixed it - they either blinked or that was it they were off completely. The sales are also the perfect time to top up any cards and wrapping paper as everything is on special offer at that time of the year.
Come October our planning really kicks up a notch - my husband and I sit down and budget for our Christmas deciding how much we can spend on the kids, each other and for other family members. This year, I decided to get a little creative and make presents for our close family so we set off creating. Although we don't have a large savings account we always keep enough in our current account to cover events like Christmas but how much we have depends on what we've been up to this year - holidays mean that this year is a more frugal Christmas than previous years but those memories make the year.
Our real family traditions start on the 1st of December although I have a little planning before hand. We have an advent calendar that is brought out every year - it was made for us as a wedding gift by my mum. It hangs at the bottom of the stairs and "magically" appears on the 1st December morning full of tiny little ornaments as well as a gold coin for each child to eat and hang on our mini tree. We also have our activity calendar which this year is a snowman calendar that contains ideas and activities to do as a family as we countdown to Christmas.
Throughout the month there are extra special days - like choosing a Christmas Tree - we go for a real tree which is grown locally and go and purchase it. This year instead of our normal Nordham Fir - which is amazing at not losing its needles we've brought a Douglas Fir - it has scents of orange and pine and our house smells amazing. We've also purchased a potted tree which I've added to my kitchen which is where I spend most of the time over the festive period.
Throughout the month we craft together, cook and do little activities like learn a new carol or Christmas Song, see the lights in town or go for a Christmas nature walk looking out for the Holly and the Ivy as well as any Mistletoe that we can find.
Christmas Eve for me is spent in the kitchen - preparing as much as possible for the meal the next day and extra treats to enjoy - it's always been that way in my family we do as much as we can on Christmas Eve so Christmas Day which is also my mum's birthday we can spend together as a family.
Out Now! - Countdown to Christmas Ebook
When life gets hectic in the lead up to Christmas wouldn't it be great to be able to spend a little time with the family creating gifts for others, food to enjoy together and traditions that make magical Christmas Memories?
But what actually happens is you spend hours searching through Pinterest looking for ideas and realise halfway through saying you are going to start that you have only 1 thing on the materials list!
I've been there!
So that is why we've put together our 24 favourite Christmas Activities, Crafts and Recipes with full materials lists and step-by-step instructions so that you have everything at your fingertips.
Produced as a PDF you can download, print and use these ideas throughout the festive season with your children and families.
Find out more as we share with your our Favourite Ways to Countdown to Christmas.
Whilst I cook the kids help where they can but if not my husband who arranges annual leave for Christmas Eve spends time with the kids having a go at some crafts (always amusing to watch) and watching some of his and their favourite Christmas movies. Our magical Elves deliver a box in the morning which has quick and simple ideas for the kids to do with my husband as well as new pyjamas and a story to enjoy together.
Because, the kids are still young they've always gone to bed fairly early which gives plenty of time for the Christmas Elves to make their magic happen and build any toys that may need building.
On Christmas Day, the kids are up even earlier than normal - 4 instead of 5 and we try our best to get them to go back to sleep till 5 - but inevitably we will be opening presents before 5am and luckily a tradition we had as kids has stock a stocking in their rooms with little presents that they can play with. Then it's party clothes for the day and down for breakfast of Gingerbread Muffins and a glass of Buzz Fizz.
After breakfast, the present opening happens and then the day is filled with food, family and time together playing with the new toys and watching the Christmas Movies on TV.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of TSB