Things have gone a bit haywire lately and all the usual reading materials have been somewhat abandoned (albeit that I have still read plenty of great blog posts and one too many Christmas Gift Guides!). I have been reading loads of Christmas stories with the kids at bedtime and we’re still loving Santa comes to <insert name of our town> that I bought last year – it makes Christmas feel really real to be talking about Santa landing in real places just around the corner from where we live!
After reading lots of lovely posts from others about the Christmassy things they have been getting up to I decided to draw up a list of potentials for the boys. I considered everything from the Santa Express on the Watercress Line to Lapland UK, but a lot of the fun to be had does come with quite a price tag attached. Then a National Trust newsletter dropped into my in-box I was reminded that, being members, we have the ability to turn up to any number of venues and make the most of what’s on offer for the season.
This week I have mostly been getting over my Christmas anxiety and malaise and getting on with the first necessary steps in order to start feeling a little bit on top of it all. Having said that I still have a lot to do!
During the week I have:
Made a homemade snowglobe
Made some jars of homemade brandied cherries (for gifts)
Bought some books, pyjamas, santa hats, advent chocolates, slipper socks and a special silver reindeer bell for the children (plus a few other miscellaneous bits and bobs)
Bought some more supplies for gifts in jars from Amazon (deliveries are all a bit sporadic and haphazard though!)
Taken the children to see Santa arrive on a ‘monster truck’ at the local garden centre
Booked tickets for the children to visit (another) Santa at Osterley Park and House (National Trust) this Sunday
Attempted (unsuccessfully) to establish just what we intend to do with ourselves on Christmas day
Chosen my food for my work’s Christmas meal at All Bar One
Agreed with a good friend to book tickets for this year’s Woking panto starring, once again, JJ’s favourite, Justin Fletcher (AKA Mr Tumble).
Confirmed a Christmas Eve lunch with my cousins and children.
Next steps will be sourcing presents for the hubster, EJ, my step daughter, my nephews, nieces, my Mum and Dad, Sisters and Brother in Laws, deciding what to wear and buying, writing and sending Christmas Cards. Phew!
I realise that this all might seem a lot of thoughts about Christmas already but for me, it seems less like four weeks and more like four days (i.e. four days without the children!). I will need to decide when to put up some decorations (I’m erring on later rather than sooner just because of the EJ destruction factor 🙂 ) and then making sure I still have the time to get all the presents wrapped and ready to pile around the tree cometh the hour…
This past weekend was one of the hubster’s work weekends. I often take the boys over to my parents house at times like this, but they are currently holidaying in Sicily (lucky things!). Fortuitously, we had been invited down to Salisbury to stay the weekend with my sister-in-law and her two boys, where they have just moved into their new house after a five year stint in Germany. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances this plan had to be postponed. On the up side this left us free to arrange a get together with my sister, brother in law and nieces for a lunch date on Sunday.
(For part one of this mini-series – don’t miss out on chicken poxy shenanagins! – click here.)
On day two we were already suffering from that vague sensation you get when you go on a self-catering holiday entirely unprepared for mealtimes. After a bit of a verbal scuffle with the hubster I had to concede that eating out every day was not going to be an option. We decided on a trip into Norwich (“A Fine City”) which would allow us to treat the boys to a cheeky Happy Meal at the Golden Arches.
At the weekend the boys and I headed over to my parents for an overnight visit whilst the hubster was working. During the week my mum had told me to pack wellies and splash suits so that we would be free to take the boys out whatever the weather. In the event it was actually a lovely sunny afternoon – despite torrential rain and thunder storms in the morning.
As both my mum and I now have National Trust membership she suggested we head over to one of the local NT properties a short drive from where they live – Ham House, on the Richmond Riverside in South West London.