Christmas Traditions.. Old and New 

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We love Christmas in this house.. From present buying to festive film watching to catching up with friends and family.

Since having Josh we have certainly adopted a few new fun traditions but some have remained too. This is what the run up to Christmas looks like in our house and some of the things we love to do!

Early December:

I try and get the house decorated before the tree goes up, taking the multitude of bags out of the shed and sorting through the wreaths, balls and wrapping paper!

  
Our tree goes up usually the first weekend and this year we got it from Glencullen Christmas Tree Farm and it’s definitely been the freshest yet.

With Josh now, Santa is thrown into the mix-this year we visited Rathwood and Airfield, both lovely in their own way. Santa letters are written and Josh got a real kick out of posting it this year-we got a response from An Post yesterday and he loved it! Such a lovely idea! 

  

The National Craft Fair is a day out I really enjoy with my mum where we pick up some gifts, some foody bits and always squeeze in a lovely lunch! 

I try and get the mincemeat and chutney made early too before weekends get filled with being out and about.

  
Mid December:

At this stage we are mostly juggling nights out between us. School friends, work friends and mama friends, getting to catch up with everyone in festive spirit is a real treat.  Pressies are finalised and the last couple of years we have also visited the Live Crib in the Mansion House. This year we tied it in with going to see The Shelbourne Hotel’s festive display and it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

  
 

I love a good Christmas film so any down time we do get is usually spent cosied up watching one of the classics, Elf and Love Actually are still favs for me. 

Late December:

As Christmas approaches it is actually my husbands birthday so last year we started the tradition of going for afternoon tea. Last year was The Merrion and this year The Shelbourne, The Merrion slightly pipped it for me but I do love the atmosphere of The Shelbourne at this time of year. 

  

We usually try to have a group of pals over for a mince pie and some mulled wine which works well for friends with kids so we can exchange little gifts and all get together before the madness ensues!

The Week before the Big Day:

This week is about visiting family, doing the food shop, eating naughty things and putting the feet up having finished work! Nothing nicer than knowing you have almost 2 weeks ahead with family to enjoy. I try and get some prep done a few days ahead with dessert and canapés so Christmas Eve can be free enough to enjoy. 

  

Nighttime story books for Josh are all about Santa at this stage so excitement is reaching fever pitch!

Christmas Eve:

Our tradition here has changed somewhat in recent years. It has always started in town for what used to be a boozy lunch in The Merrion with close family friends. This is now a kid filled but fun and tasty brekkie in Avoca. The evening used to be going to the pub and seeing friends from afar but slowly it has changed and this year we will be coming back after town and whilst Josh naps final preparations will take place. Later we will visit one of the many festive lit up houses for charity and grab a pint at a cosy pub near by. 

Santas treats will be laid out-2 mince pies apparently 😉 Once Josh is tucked up, Santa will lay out his gifts and a take away will be ordered so no cooking is required. My mum and a family friend that comes to us for Christmas will join and we will tuck into some food and wine before trying to get an earlish night ahead of the excitement.

  

Christmas Day:

Again has changed a little in recent years but not a whole lot. I have adopted the task of hosting the last 3 years and I enjoy it a lot. For us it’s a day like it is for many others filled with family food and friendship. It’s mums for brekkie then ours for some canapés, the main event and some fun and games.

 2013-2014-2015 to come.. 

I saw this quote recently on The Journal and it warmed my heart. Something that rings very true right now. 

  

We have had a bit of a rough time of it in our little family of late, something I may be able to talk about in the coming weeks but for now I am going to enjoy Christmas for what it is-a time for reflection, family and gaining a few lbs and look to the new year for some hope and happiness for all. 

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It’s a Kids Christmas-Plans and Ideas  

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Christmas really is all about kids. The magic, the memories and the mayhem! For us December used to be all about socialising and catching up with friends and in part it still is but Josh is really clued in this year so we have a few things planned.
We had a sudden family bereavement just as we arrived home from New York hence the delayed ‘top spots’ post.. Because of this we want to make sure it’s a lovely family Christmas and here are some of our plans below. 
Last weekend kicked off with a recorded Late Late Toy Show with Homemade Gingerbread Men session. Then on Sunday we went to Rathwood for the Santa Train, I had heard mixed reports from other years but we loved the Teddy Bear picnic so we are hopeful. You can see my review here.
Yesterday we will be posted Josh’s  Santa letter and An Post do something lovely which means they get a return letter from Santa-I can’t wait to see Josh’s reaction!

  
At the weekend we have a workshop in The Maritime Museum in conjunction with NGI and Dun Laoghaire Christmas Fair. Sunday is my husbands work family Christmas Day and tree time which I think he will love this year with all the sparkly lights! We are going to try here for our tree this year-Glencullen Christmas Farm
The following weekend we are hoping to go in and see the live crib at the Mansion House.

Then that Monday we are doing Santa again {yes about his 4th time to see the big man} in Airfield with my mum which will be lovely. 
We have one more workshop pencilled in for the 19th in the National Gallery but we just hope to get a spot.

  
Some other festive ideas {that aren’t booked out}:
Reindeer Run 

Christmas Kingdom Malahide

Believe Christmas Market 

I also got this idea from a fellow blogger Mum of Boys and it’s a tradition I am definitely going to take up this year! 
Create a Christmas Box. Create a box for the festive season that can be pulled out on 1st December every year. Include Christmas stories, DVDs, music CDs, figurines, decorations, and festive toys. When the kids see the box coming out of storage, they will know that Christmas season has begun!

I love these boxes that are supplied locally to me so may get one of these for it!

  

Next up with be some pressie ideas for any last minute shopping that might still need to be done! 

Santa @ Rathwood

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We set off this morning on a wet and very blustery day but that didn’t dampen the excitement in our house.

We popped on our reindeer boppers, stuck on some Christmas tunes and off we headed to Tullow! We arrived down in just over an hour and from the minute we arrived everything ran like clockwork. The lady at reception kindly printed our forgotten tickets then we wandered around the Christmas shop and we were ready to sign in for Santa!

  
It started with getting little red cheeks and noses for the kids, badges for the adults and reindeer head bands for the kids too in a ‘waiting room! Then it was in to see Mrs Claus and Jack Frost to bring back the Christmas spirit, Josh was delighted with the medal he received for the great job 😉🏅.

  
We all hopped on the train and make the short journey through the woods with a glimpse of Rudolph and Santa in his chimney along the way.

We waited a short time then we were called to see Santa. Josh was a little scared of the big man but once in my arms was happy to chat away and the elf kindly obliged in some photo taking.

Back on the train to candy cane lane and to make some elves in the workshop. Josh was starting to get hungry and tired at this stage and by some miracle we got our pic on the sleigh in the midst of a full mortifying meltdown.

  
Some festive purchases with our discount on the way out and despite the tearful end we were promptly told when back in the car ‘dat was luvly’ just as his eyes closed and he nodded off to sleep! Wrecked from all the excitement..

  
A really lovely morning and would highly recommend for future Christmases. We did a quick pit stop in Kildare Village en route home for some mama/dada retail therapy and all was good again

Christmas has come early to Aldi-Big Toy Event 🎅🏻🎁🛍

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It would seem that despite the fact that Halloween has not yet been and gone but Christmas is being forced into the fore front of all our minds.. All the major retailers are now displaying thier sparkly and tempting wares and Aldi is no different. However having done one Christmas as a rookie new mum I realise that Aldi’s approach is spot on. Tomorrow, Thursday 29th Aldi stores nationwide will have a range of wonderful toys from thier special buys range. 

The big toy event is timed well to get some nice pieces out away ahead of the Christmas rush.. They have a selection of lovely wooden toys/books etc starting from only €2.99 however I have chosen some of my favourite items from the collection below and hopefully dada Felton will be able to bustle through the expected throng of people whilst picking up nappies to pick up one or two of our favs for Josh!
Wooden Jigsaws €8.99 each – A selection of high-quality, durable jigsaw puzzles featuring their favourite film characters. Choose from Frozen, Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse or Cars-we will certainly be picking up a paw patrol version of we can

  

Large Wooden Kitchen €39.99– New for 2015, this is perfect for budding chefs! This sturdy kitchen is perfect to help boost their imagination and confidence. Includes Microwave, Front-opening Oven, Hobs, Sink, Shelving and Workspace. Available in Pink or Red with accessories sold separately. Self assembly required and for ages 3+-this is a steal, Josh adores his kitchen but I’m not going to lie I would have loved a wooden version and this is a beaut

  



Wooden Kitchen Accessories €14.99 – The perfect accompaniment to the wooden kitchen , choose from Toaster Set, Pots and Pans Set or Breakfast Tray Set-love this as an add on to the above

  

  

Wooden Dolls’ House €39.99 – Also new for 2015, buy your little one their dream home – for their dolls at least! This beautiful 3-floor doll’s house with intricate detailing is a truly collectible, vintage-looking treasure-a must for any little girl

  

Wooden Toys €10.99 – Classic sets in handy storage tubs. Choose from Wooden Railway, Fruit and Vegetables, Fishing Game-3 of our favs and will be adding the railway to the list for Josh and the fruit for a small family member 

  
See more details on the items above or further items here: Big Toy Event

Christmas & New Year with Josh

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Well we are all full of turkey, the house is filled with new toys and our hearts are filled with joy. What a relaxing, wonderful Christmas it was. We just rang in the New Year with dear friends last night, so a perfect end to a perfect Christmas really.

Christmas felt like it was coming for ages with lot of festive goings on in December but then came and went so fast in the end. My 2 boys got sick just before it but were back on the road to recovery for the big day. They both picked up hand foot and mouth, strange for a non crèche baby and even stranger for an adult but hey ho, back to the fun stuff.

Christmas Eve we were town bound and after his morning nap, Josh was in good form so we enjoyed a Prosecco brekkie with family friends and then went to see the Christmas train in The Shelbourne, he loved it. Finished off with an obligatory drink to lap up the atmosphere then home. That evening my mum and her friend who was joining us for dinner came to us for take away, wine and help with Santa. A really lovely day, quite different to previous ones but new traditions begun that now fit perfectly.

Then Santa spread his magic and Christmas arrived. The morning was definitely a highlight of the festive period if not the year! Josh was just so excited by all his toys, smiling and pointing at mama and dada, so so special. Then brekkie in granny’s with another cool gift of an indoor v tech ride on. He just lapped it all up! He loves playing with his new toys and his vtech garage is a big hit.

The next few days were about cosy time, leftovers, rest and walks, thankfully he pretty much dutifully obliged!

Then it was time for settle in with his new crèche, I was so nervous but did manage to not let it affect Christmas which was good. The first day we stayed with him for just under an hour. The next day he was flying solo and he couldn’t have done any better-he was fine when dada left him, played with his new pals and ate all his lunch. They said that’s a great start. My heart nearly burst seeing pics the girls sent via text come through {a little tear was shed} Going to collect him and seeing his little face-happy and excited to see mama was just the most reassuring moment that maybe just maybe this is all going to be ok. We treated him to his own big boy chair and a Mickey Mouse balloon which he just loved, as if he didn’t have enough already but hard not to spoil him on such a big day!

So as we say hello to 2015 and a new chapter for our little family, I feel hopeful, happy and very thankful for all that we have and all that lies ahead.

Happy New Year peeps!

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