Well as yesterday was October 25th (and when I originally planned to write this post, the children however had other ideas...) it means that Christmas is only two months away! I have begun my Christmas planning in earnest, so that I can have it mostly done by the time December rolls around and it does not interfere with the prep & planning of the birthday of my youngest son, which is just one month before Christmas on November 25th, and also then not left too late to get everything done.
I have started planning our meals for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That includes everything from the three main meals, to snacks, treats and all of the ingredients I will need for our holiday baking. We have special breakfasts each day, although Christmas Day we let the kids eat chocolate for breakfast at the crack of dawn (*gasp!*), before we venture downstairs for present opening and our actual breakfast, which this year will again be pain au chocolat and croissants at the kids request. I will share our complete Christmas menu a little bit closer to the time, when I have finished writing it!
I have also begun planning our Christmas baking, this year the children each want their own gingerbread house... Great! So I have been collecting cardboard sheets to set them on, and working out the ingredients I will need to bake five houses (one for each of the big four, and another spare, or for any visitors we might have who wish to decorate them with us!) plus extra decorations. It's all good fun though, we had such a great time decorating them last year and it is such a lovely activity to do together on Christmas Eve, definitely a new family tradition we will be upholding.
Another tradition we have had for several years is that we make candy cane cookies to have with the hot chocolate that the elves leave the children while they are having their baths on Christmas Eve, they also leave a present for them to open before bedtime! And when bedtime comes, after checking the NORAD Santa Tracker, we leave out a mince pie and glass of beer for Father Christmas (although I heard a rumour that Mrs Christmas wants to have a well deserved glass of wine left out too), some reindeer food on the lawn, and the special key for him to use to get in our house (as we don't have a chimney, he hangs it on the tree when he leaves! eBay is handy for these) and then we read the children "The Night Before Christmas" before tucking them in.
I've started designing the new Christmas placemats for the children for our table, too. They have placemats already that I purchased online, that they use for our regular meals (saves bickering as to who sits where - if the mats are down, then that's where you sit, end of!) but I will be designing and making these myself. To be fair I bought the others to get a good look at how they were made so that I *could make my own, they're pretty straightforward so I am hoping that my designs will look nice all printed out!
I have been looking up new ideas for table and home decorations too, I really want to go for a different 'look' this year, though with the same colour scheme as last year. A little more vintage I think, traditional decs and things with a more 'homey' feel to them. Alicia and I are going to make our own napkin rings and centerpiece too. I can't wait!
I'm also researching some good local photographers for our family pictures. The last ones we had done were taken when Erica was six weeks old so we are very much overdue for new ones, plus I need a good family one for our Christmas card. I have three shortlisted at the moment, it will all come down to price & value for money because their work is beautiful. I'll be sure to share my top three when we have made a decision.
And the last thing on my list is find some good family movies for our 'movie marathon' on Christmas Eve. Last year we watched the Harry Potter boxset. What are your favourite movies, festive or otherwise? We have a good collection but I am always on the look out for good titles that I may have missed or overlooked so please feel free to share your suggestions with me, I'd love to hear them!
As for Christmas shopping... WELL! I can't say too much here because of little eyes that may be spying on my blog for a hint (hello Alicia!) but I have made a good dent in it already (though running out of room to hide things!) and plan to do some more next week when my topcashback pays out. I am so excited, I love present shopping!
Only 59 days to go! Exciting!