Phew, finally finished the Christmas shopping - was panicking there for a minute. Once that (major) bit's done and if you're anything like me, you can start to relax and enjoy the final countdown to the big day (*jumps up and down in excitement*).
Over the last week or so, I've come across a few ideas of things to do which will be magical for the children and I thought I should share them. They also happen to be either free, or low cost. Bonus! Hover over anything in bold to go to the relevant page or for more info.
1. FREE personalised video message from Santa
This is actually real, and brilliant! Very randomly, an Amazon delivery driver told me about it (don't know if I'm more surprised about the impromptu conversation or the fact that he waited for me to answer the door, instead of knocking then scarpering at the speed of light, having left my parcel in full view on the doorstep not knowing if I was in).
Anyway, go to Portable North Pole where you can set up your video. I made the free version for Martha, which is absolutely fantastic. You enter the child's name, which Santa will use in the video, plus age and a few other things which help to make it real. Martha fell for it, magic for her and for us to see. There are premium versions on offer, but the free one was great - at least for her age (almost 3).
2. Personalised letter from Santa
My mother in law has been arranging these letters for Martha since her first Christmas, they're a lovely keepsake and another bit of magic. By the NSPCC, there's a suggested donation of £5 but it does go to a children's charity, particularly poignant at Christmas time. There are 8 different letter templates to choose from with stories tailored to the child's age. We had Rosie's first letter this year too, very exciting.
3. Magical reindeer food
I know you can buy this stuff, but you could just as easily make it at home using some oats and adding sugar for a bit of sparkle. If you wanted to make it extra special, some edible glitter would be great. Sprinkle in the garden on Christmas Eve and recite the poem with the children.
4. See Santa and his sleigh in the sky on Christmas Eve
I saw this on Facebook last night and wondered if it was real, but I've researched it and it is! On Christmas Eve between around 5.30 - 6pm the NASA international space station will be visible, making a 3 minute pass over the UK that you can tell the kids is Santa and the reindeer. You can find out a rough time for where you are by visiting this page: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/index.cfm#.VIrLQNKsUR8
5. Reindeer runway
Perhaps an alternative to the reindeer food, or maybe in addition to, I love this idea I found on a forum to make a runway for the reindeer in the garden. You could use fairy lights, or maybe for next year collect all your glass jars and then line them up and pop tea lights inside with the children before bed on Christmas Eve.
Finally, if you're looking for a family day out and you're in the Midlands (as we are) then this could be right up your Gibb Street (Digbeth, Birmingham).
Digmas is Birmingham’s Alternative Christmas Fair and family day out.
The event features a packed festive programme with Santa’s Grotto and real reindeer; a carousel; children’s face-painting and crafts; sizzling street food by the award winning Digbeth Dining Club and a pop up ‘get merry’ bar by Alfie Birds, Urban Village vintage fair and lots of live music. What's not to like? Hoping for a dry day next Saturday as we're going to try it out.
If any of these ideas have tickled your fancy and you want more, you might enjoy my Christmas tradition ideas blog I posted a few weeks ago. Take a look here. Always love to hear any ideas you may have of your own!
Ho ho ho, Happy Christmas folks!
I always think buying gifts for Mother's Day is harder than for a birthday; there's a little more sentiment behind it. The months and years seem to roll around so quickly these days and each year seems to get a bit harder!
I've actually started a kind of present diary now, I make a note of what I get people (mainly family) so that I can refer back to it; I can also make notes of gift ideas I think of throughout the year. It helps avoid repeating presents too!
With Mothers Day just around the corner, I've put together a list of my favourite gifts for Grandma (or Nanny, Nana, Granny, whichever name you use!).
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I've got the low-down together with some gorgeous examples to get those creative juices flowing!
I don't know about you, but I always feel like a Valentine's gift has to hit the right tone. Somewhere there has to be some kind of meaning or romance to make it worthy of being presented on the day of love!
Well, I've spent hours exploring ideas to fit the bill (and the budget) and assembled my ten favourites here.