Christmas 2015... the one with all the poo

I often think Christmas is a bit like a wedding - the basics are all the same, it's a big family thing, and because everyone puts their own stamp on it, they all think their way is best.

Because the basics are the same, it's often easy to get different years mixed up in our memories, as the Christmases of our childhood blend together into one big carol-singing, present opening, chocolate covered mess.

And that is why I want to remember the little bits of our family Christmases that will, as the years pass, fade from memory.

As always, this year we had lovely food, great presents and lots of fun. It was Ollie's first Christmas and it was magical. Lily gets more and more excited every year. It was stressful at times getting everything ready, but most of the day went without a hitch. But I also want to remember:

Christmas Trees and Elf School

There are plenty of fun and festive family activities in and around High Wycombe - you may have already seen my post here where I talk about the ever popular 'Winter Wonderland' at World's End and The Tree Barn at Christmas Common. This last weekend we tried a few more, with two completely free activities in Wycombe town centre - perfect for a break away from your Christmas shopping!

2015 Christmas Tree Festival at All Saints Church
The beautiful All Saints Church is an easily recognisable local landmark and plays an active part in the community. Throughout the year they hold events, concerts and a lovely little toddler group on Friday mornings. It's a welcoming church with a friendly cafe, called The Mustard Seed, at the back and a small children's area with toys and books.

Wicked Wednesdays

This is what happens when Santa's Elf 'helpfully' suggests a choice of gifts from the pile stacked around the room and Daddy thinks that the 'make-up' would be fake.


Feeling Festive

Things have been getting festive in the Kirsch household. The decorations are up, presents are appearing under the tree and I keep looking for excuses to make Christmas biscuits.

So here's a quick catch-up of our advent festivities.

Winter Wonderland at World's End Garden Centre, Wendover
This place has a cult following if you live in Buckinghamshire. Everyone with kids, and even those who don't, make their way to view the wintry displays in the 'Wonderland' and visit Santa in his cabin. They also have a couple of fairground rides and some craft stalls and tons of decorations and Christmas trees to choose from. For the past few years I've gone on a weekday with my best friend, but it meant that Matt had never been and so we went on a weekend and it was packed. Even after an early lunch we still had to wait in the queue for ages - I'd recommend going, but only on a weekday! It's worth it!

Help! How do I cope with my daughter's first Nativity?

Next Tuesday is a big day. When my darling 3 year old little girl steps on to the stage for her debut performance.

She's a 'king' in the nursery nativity.

The 'king with gold' to be precise.

A note came home from nursery advising parents of the 'casting' choices and simple costume requirements. The children have been practicing for a couple of weeks and the nursery staff are experienced in guiding children through their first am-dram performances.

Simple enough.

But for me, next Tuesday presents a minefield of new social etiquette to navigate. How does one suitably demonstrate pride in your child's performance without stepping over the line into over-bearing, fanatical pain-in-the-arse?

Our Christmas Book Box

A couple of years ago I 'rescued' a gift box from work, brought it home with me and turned it into an ever-so-special box of books that only appears once a year.

Not only is this a great way to avoid being asked to read stories about Santa in June, I find it's another great way to build excitement during advent. I get it down from the loft when we put up our decorations and love seeing Lily's excitement as she reacquaints herself with some old favourites.

Our box includes a variety of books given to us from other generous book-lovers, and fab second-hand finds like these gorgeous vintage pop-up books that my Mum found a while ago.

10 things I love about our new home

We've been in our new place for a month now, and slowly, it is beginning to feel more like home. We've spent the last week or so getting it all sorted so that it's nearly ready for Christmas, but I imagine it'll be some time yet until I feel it is 'perfect'. In the meantime, here up the top ten things I love about our new home.

1. The size
Who says size doesn't matter? With the exception of our bedroom, every room in the new house feels bigger than our last house. When it comes to our bedroom, I'm sure it would feel bigger if it wasn't full of crap that we haven't quite got round to sorting yet!

2. The space under the stairs
So often the space under the stairs can be a dead space. Maybe it's used as a cupboard, maybe for storage, maybe, if you're a super-parent, it can be used as a fantastic playhouse like these found on Pinterest.

Or, if you're like me, it can be used as a little home corner - not quite on the same scale as the playhouse but still a lovely space for the toy kitchen and various bits of doll paraphernalia...