Today, I have tidied away our decorations, filled in my Christmas planning book and reflected on Christmas 2016. It was fantastic and made very special by our holiday to Lanzarote where we could just focus on our little family and have fun together, with no other pressures. The more Christmases I experience the more I look for the true values and sentiments of the season. I do think I held steady to my beliefs this year, I bought from local shops, only buying what was needed and took great care in my present buying. My favourite present given was to my Mum and daughter, I sent some of Little Miss’ favourite old dresses to a lady who creates a keepsake from them, they both love their rabbits and the story of them. Our family received one of the most thoughtful and fun presents this year, a family advent calendar, my friend chose 24 presents and labelled them with our names and the date so we could take turns in opening them. My presents included a coffee at a favourite cafe, lovely samples of expensive toiletries etc.. It was an incredibly thoughtful and a delight to open every day.
Below are my highlights of the season, interestingly most of these were community events with very little cost (except the holiday)
1. Carol concerts and the Nativity. We attended two carols by candlelight services, one for beavers and the second for school. They were beautiful and a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary music choices. Both made me focus on the spiritual side of Christmas and the peace which accompanies such reflections. The nativity was incredibly sweet, Little Man wore a tea towel on his head as part of his inn keeper costume. It was as every nativity should be, it was with sadness that I realised that was probably my last as it’s only Key Stage 1 who do the nativity at the children’s school.
2. The Christmas tree festival. In our town this festival just gets bigger and better. It’s the opportunity to see 45 decorated trees, do Christmas crafts, listen to live performances, dress up in nativity costumes. It’s truly magical and a real treat.
3. The Christmas Market. The market is one of the highlights of the year. The main Street is closed and beach huts brought in to become alpine sheds. There is live music all day performing different styles of music, from sing along carols to glam rock Christmas hits. This year there was a crafty and artisan theme to the stalls and I bought a few decorations. There are also lots of charity stalls for local causes ad it is just an occasion to meet friends and enjoy hot chestnuts and a warming drink. We had a fish and chip lunch after our visit, which was a perfect end to the trip.
4. Advent calendars. I was totally won over by the Lego advent calendars this year, the children loved them and as they were not allowed to open them until they were dressed the morning routines became so much easier in December. I justified the cost by simply deducting the price from my Christmas budget. Little Man has already asked Tommy the elf who arrived with the calendars if he can have another next year.
5. Tommy the elf. Our little elf is just pure magic and my favourite new family tradition. Tommy rocks x
6. The kindness of neighbours. In my Christmas Day post I explained how our neighbours set up our Christmas for us and filed our fridge with all the necessities. Their help meant that the children may just believe for a few more years.
So this has been Christmas 2016, I am already looking forward to 2017 and have noted a few ideas to follow up. I believe it’s never too early to start planning!