I seem to have created a bit of a Christmas blog tradition for myself, it started with Amelia’s first Christmas back in 2016 when I wrote about how different Christmas was with a baby, then with a one year, then with a two year old and now we’ve experienced our first Christmas as a family of four; with a 3 year old and a 10 month old.
It’s like nothing I could have prepared for, the joy and magic of Christmas is wonderful through the eyes of a child who believes and who finally understands what it’s all about. Then there’s the baby who frankly couldn’t give a shit and just wants to eat the tree.
I love Christmas and all the decorations so I insisted we put the tree up on Dec 1st, to make it less stressful I did the boring bits like assembly and lights the night before on my own and then Amelia and I decorated it together in the morning. She understood that Santa would visit and leave some presents for us under the tree; what she didn’t grasp though was that there were 24 more sleeps to go and so every single morning she would ask if Santa had been and I’d have to explain that no not yet, but that didn’t mean she was naughty and he wasn’t coming, he was just still busy making toys and feeding the reindeer. Every. Single. Morning.
Tree up on Christmas Eve next year?
I tried really hard this year to take advantage of being at home with the girls and do lots of Christmas activities; Taya can’t really take part at the moment so we did a lot of the crafty stuff when she was napping but she did come along to all of the places we visited even if she was just in the pram amused by all the lights.
We visited a couple of garden centres because who can resist a Christmas display at the garden centre, Amelia loved it, especially the displays that were set up for people to take photos in. Although, fake snow and that hair…disaster!
I didn’t take Amelia to see Santa this year; in fact I’ve never taken her, mainly because she’s quite a timid child and doesn’t like new things very much. I could imagine paying, standing in a queue and then having her flat out refuse to go and speak to him and it all being a stressful waste of time and money.
We did see Santa a few times though, once when he came down our road in his light up sleigh, once outside Tesco and again outside John Lewis. He also made a special guest appearance at her pre school Christmas party. In fact, when we saw Santa outside Asda the other week she said she didn’t need to go and see him, she’s seen him a lot lately. So glad I didn’t waste any money on it.
If you can’t tell from the above photo Taya wasn’t fussed about the old man but she has been enjoying all the lights and sparkly decorations; she’s made it her life mission for the month of December to get to the tree.
I thought I was being clever by blocking it off using Amelia’s little arm chair until Taya outsmarted me by climbing on it to reach the baubles.
Taya 1 – 0 Mum
Although I’ve been at home and supposedly had all the time in the world (if you ask my husband) I actually found it quite difficult to get things done. Amelia is only in pre school 2 days a week now and she’s too switched on to do anything whilst she’s around. I found myself trying to cram in all the shopping, prep and wrapping into the days she was at pre school which made me feel super guilty about not doing more with Taya on those days.
She wasn’t fussed though and I think she quite enjoyed helping me wrap…
On the days Amelia was at home, I tried to find us lots of Christmas related activities to do whilst Taya was napping. Trying to make it special and different for her even if we didn’t go out somewhere.
We made paper chains, Christmas masks, a gingerbread house decoration. We made special ribbon baubles for the tree and decorated a felt Christmas tree.
We also had Amelia’s first ever pre school Christmas concert and it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not crying.
She was an elf and they sang songs, danced and even did sign to match the words. No one cried, no one refused to take part and when she spotted us in the audience her little face lit up and she gave us the biggest wave.
I wanted to do something really special but it’s hard when you have a baby who can’t really do much yet. We couldn’t take her to the cinema or to a panto and the weather had been rubbish for weeks so anything outdoors wouldn’t have been too fun.
In the end I decided we would visit the Christmas Woodland Walk at Keydell Nurseries which is a garden centre near us.
It was incredible! I loved it don’t know about the girls haha. Display after display after display, each one different, beautiful, magical. Amelia didn’t know what to look at first. She was mesmerised by the lights and the animals, it was absolutely beautiful and well worth the trip and the money.
Taya spent the whole thing in her pram as it was heaving with people but she was smiling and chatting away so I think she enjoyed it too.
Also, if you think what you see on Insta is real life, I just want to mention that Taya did a poo all up her back at some point in the Woodland Walk and guess who didn’t bother to bring the nappy bag so we had to make a quick dash home after and hope for the best.
For the last couple of years I’ve made Amelia a Christmas Eve box, so this year I got one for Taya too. Cue excitement overload when they spotted them under the tree.
Amelia dove straight into Taya’s pulling everything out to show her and this photo is one of my favourites because just look at Taya’s face when Amelia is reading her new That’s Not My Polar Bear book to her.
As a tradition I always get them new pjs for Christmas Eve, partly because my parents always did that for me and partly to entice an early bedtime before the main man arrives with the presents.
It worked a treat and they were both in bed by 6.30pm hurrah!
Thankfully the girls are not old enough yet to really tell one day from the next so I didn’t have an early morning wake up from Amelia, they were both up at their usual 7am and having sneakily hung up their Christmas Day dresses in their room the night before Amelia asked to do her hair and wear her new dress before she even realised there were presents waiting downstairs.
In fact, even when we go downstairs the first thing she did was check if Santa had eaten his mince pie and drank his milk. When she released he had, she declared she must get another from the kitchen in case he’s still hungry. I had to ask her what else was under the tree before she squealed PRESENTS.
Then it was game over!
She did listen when I told her which were hers and which were Taya’s and she asked if she could help Taya to open them which was really sweet but after that it just became a flurry of paper and excited shouting.
She moved from one to the next before I even had time to see what it was, after a few I asked her to stop opening to play with what she had so far which was all well and good if it didn’t take an arsenal of sharp knives and scissors to get into all the packaging. Seriously, why so much plastic?
As wonderful and exciting as Christmas Day is it can be really tough on little ones; they still need to eat and sleep and do all the things that make up their routine. Luckily at the moment Taya is too young to protest or to really understand what’s going on so we were able to give her the usual morning nap whilst Amelia opened and played with more gifts.
In the afternoon we headed to my parents as we do every year; car boot bursting with all the things we might never need for 4 hours out of the house.
Christmas Day at my parents is always special, my mum makes the best Christmas dinner and although Amelia refused to eat any of it and opted for her usual spaghetti bolognese toddler meal, Taya had a full roast with a bit of everything. She threw almost all of it on the floor but did eventually eat it.
Watching your children at Christmas is an absolute dream come true; but it’s also exhausting trying to keep up with them, trying to make sure they stop and eat something, or get enough rest. Trying to make sure the baby doesn’t eat the wrapping paper her sister discarded on the floor or doesn’t get hold of those pesky plastic tags that hold toys into packaging. That she doesn’t pull all the baubles off the tree when your back is turned, that you remember she still needs her afternoon milk even if you did only just finish Christmas dinner, she still needs her naps and nappy changes.
Oh and if you thought you were opening any gifts today; forget it. It really is all about the children; keeping them from ending up under the tree or headfirst in the wrapping paper bin bag, watching them open their toys and spending 10 mins tearing your hands to shreds trying to open them. If, somewhere in there you do find time to open one of your gifts, your child will probably want to open it for you.
On Boxing Day my parents come to us, we spend the afternoon opening the rest of the girls gifts because they always run out of time at our house on Christmas morning.
We play with everything, have it all over the lounge, we have another family dinner and just generally enjoy family time without the stress of the Christmas dinner to cook or over excitements of too many presents to open.
We’re currently in the middle of the Crimbo Limbo where we don’t know what day it is or if we’re meant to be somewhere or is it still ok to eat cake for breakfast?
We’re trying to take it easy for these in-between days; watch films, play with toys, have naps for the baby when she needs them.
Christmas is only a couple of days but it feels like it takes a while for the children to get back to normal, to find the routine again and settle back down so we’ll be taking it easy for a few days whilst we soak up the last of the festive fun.
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, I hope you’ve spent it just the way you wanted to.
Merry Christmas, here’s our annual family photo.