When I took part in a Parenting Course at my local Children’s Centre there was one particular topic which stuck in my head (well, there were quite a few actually) and this year in particular it got me thinking. I always do all that I can to create happy memories for my children, to make their ‘childlife’ as magical as possible because I want them to look back on these years and really treasure them. So the topic I have been thinking about is ‘traditions’. I remember us all talking about the different ‘traditions’ that we had in our families, for me I remembered always being able to decorate the smaller Christmas tree in the front lounge and how the whole family would come and stay with us every year at Christmas. I loved having everyone together and the house being chaotic, I remembered year upon year excitedly trying to stay awake to hear the reindeer bells with my cousins and then waking up at silly o’clock in the middle of the night and sneaking downstairs to see that Santa had been.
Ever since my first Christmas as a family with Hubby and Curly I began writing letters to Curly from Santa and sending him the videos from the Portable North Pole. The look on his face when he read his letter or watched his video was priceless and I have continued that tradition with the tiddlers too.
1st December Advent Box
I spoke to Hubby about traditions from his family and he remembered how his Mum would get out a jigsaw puzzle and leave it out on the table for the whole family to do over the Christmas period, not in one long slog, just in dribs and drabs as the mood took them. Then I saw this post and an idea began to form. I hunted around the shops to see what little festive goodies I could find and came up with some Silicone Christmas Tree and Stars baking cases, Usborne Christmas Stencils, strawberry flavoured Candy Canes, a book of Christmas Stickers, some plain white cards and envelopes to make our own Christmas cards and two packs of pigment ink stamps for some creative fun. But something was still missing and then an email landed in my inbox . . .
Wentworth Wooden Puzzle
“would you be interested in reviewing Wentworth Wooden Puzzles . . .” perfect, now we could carry on Hubby’s family tradition. Hubby and I had a look through the site where there were sooo many gorgeous wooden puzzles to choose from. Since we wanted this to be a Christmas tradition we knew that we wanted a Christmas puzzle and were both drawn to this traditional image of Santa’s workshop. The plan is to get a sheet of MDF to build the puzzle on and then we can slide it under the sofa out of the way and pull it out when we want to do some more because unfortunately we don’t have a surface big enough and empty enough to leave it out all of the time.
The puzzle arrived beautifully boxed and when you open the box it is wrapped up in a fabric drawstring bag and you are instantly hit the aroma of the wooden pieces. What I wasn’t expecting when I opened the box was to find that the jigsaw pieces are far from ordinary, yes they are wooden but each piece is a work of art. They have been finely cut into the usual jigsaw shapes and a myriad of shapes to follow the theme of the puzzle, in this case “Christmas”. This is a puzzle which we are going to look forward to completing year on year.
Finley McJingles the Elf
If you’re on the internet often enough you would have to be blind to have not noticed all of the Elves making an appearance this year, more commonly known as the ‘Elf on the shelf’. I liked the idea of the Elf on the shelf, a magical elf sent by Santa to keep an eye over the children over the Christmas period to make sure they are being good and to return to Santa on Christmas Eve. What I didn’t like was the rather creepy face of the one you can buy online so I decided to make my own. I didn’t use a pattern, I just made him up as a I went along. I wanted our Elf to be a special one with meaning so I used one of my favourite baby sleepsuits which Jelly Bean had outgrown from The Essential One and then I used a cut up sock to make his head, hands and feet. I used one of the letters from the chest of the suit to be his initial on his front and then we decided to call him Finley McJingles. He arrived a little late (he fits with the family so well!!) and came with his own letter from Santa and a Passport (which I made on Microsoft Publisher) and in the beginning I don’t think the children really believed him. They didn’t notice me watching them when they stuck their tongues out at Finley so the next time they were out of sight I pulled down the Christmas stockings and advent calendar in the hall and sat Finley on top. When they spotted him on the floor they couldn’t understand what had happened so I questioned them on whether they might have done something to upset him. Timidly they told me how they had stuck their tongues out at him and realised their mistake. The next time I looked out at them, they were sitting on the floor drawing pictures for Finley to say sorry and in return he left them a Chocolate Lolly each to say he had accepted their apology and now they have truly bought into him. They look for him every morning when they wake and return from school. They leave him little gifts and talk to him. I’m hoping that Finley will be able to return each Christmas for many years to come before the magic is broken.
Every year on Christmas Eve when the children climb up the stairs to bed they find a present on their beds waiting for them. In this parcel they always find a new pair of Christmas Pyjamas. This is actually a ploy for Mummy to get nice photographs on Christmas morning with them all looking sparkly and new but to them it’s the sign of the morning to come.
Do you have any Christmas traditions? How do you keep the magic of Christmas alive?
DISCLAIMER: We were sent a the Wooden Puzzle free of charge for the purpose of this post. All words, opinions and images are my own and may not be copied without my permission. I have not been instructed what to write.