Tag Archives: Christmas

The 12 Days of (Competitive Christmas)

New to parenting at Christmas Time?

Want to know what is required of you in order to give the children their BEST Christmas ever?

Read on for my top 12 tips for a competitive Christmas.  These are the latest MUST HAVES for all parents at Christmas.


Advent calendar

Ideally the purchase should be accompanied by a fanfare and should be talked about ad infinitum.  You must protest loudly about having to buy a chocolate advent. You are supposed to instill the spirit of Christmas and chocolate doesn’t say Christmas. (or does it?)

Letter to Father Christmas

Decision is whether this should be via NSPCC, Royal Mail or some other random company.  Or will you just pretend to post one because really you desperately need to rip it open to read the contents.  Bear in mind that  if you do the latter, you’d better find a good place to hide them before they discover the truth.


Oh yes you must!

Portable North Pole

Let’s not IMAGINE Father Christmas. Let’s actually see him, in the North Pole addressing us personally and showing us photos of ourselves for authenticity.  It will take you about an hour to make and be watched for approximately a minute and a half.

Elf on a Shelf

He’s keeping an eye on you (to feedback to Father Christmas or to murder you – no one can tell)

Buying the tree and decorating with colour matching decorations

If you are the families that do the full kit and kaboodle and buy a real tree, this has to be ceremoniously done AS A FAMILY.  Drag everyone, including the baby down to the ASDA carpark on a cold, wet evening and discuss the merits of the tree that is tall and has thicker branches at the top versus the small one that will actually fit in your house.

Woe betide you if you if you put it up too soon as well. Which is November for most and the first week in December for some.  Get that date right, folks.  For every day it’s put up too soon an elf gets drowned in a little frozen lake at the North Pole.

Father Christmas’ Wrapping Paper

This might be COMPLETELY different to any other wrapping paper you have otherwise small ones will cotton on that you had a hand in it.  This bit isn’t so difficult – it’s the hiding of the damn 1 metre high roll for the other 364 days of the year that’ll kill you.

Christmas eve night 1 Present rule

Family tradition or a case of just not having the patience anymore?  It’s literally 10 hours away people!

Christmas Eve pyjamas

By my calculations that means you’ll have 40 pairs by the time you are ….errr…40!

Milk, mince pies and a carrot

Keep the magic alive by instilling the concept of over feeding in your children. Father Christmas didn’t get to the hefty weight he’s at without re-fueling at EVERY house on his journey.

Reindeer Food

Your going to make it near impossible for Dasher, Prancer, Thingy and so and so to land unless you sprinkle a hefty amount of reindeer food* out on the front or back garden. You’ll need to ignore the fact that this directly contravenes any other rules, pictures or stories you may have led them to believe about Father Christmas and the reindeers landing on the roof.

*porridge oats and glitter

Footprints on the hearth

So apparently you can buy feet shaped stencils to shake icing sugar/talc over. Better still have it run the entire length of the house from the door to the bedroom. Nothing quite as exciting on Christmas morning than having to get the hoover out.

So you got all that?  Written it down?  You should be Christmassed out by about 10pm on Christmas Eve by my reckoning.

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer:  I can neither confirm nor deny whether I do all, some or none of the above.

The Spirit of Christmas


I hear you say, but hear me out.  I’m in a bit of a dither and you may be able to help me.

I need to kick this off by saying that, yes, I am an atheist, but by jingo those Christians know how to create a wonderful holiday.  I’m all for a bit of religion (my daughter is currently dallying in these notions) but it’s not for me.  I tried, honest guv, but my heart wasn’t in it.

However.  I am a M A S S I V E  fan of Christmas. I just love it. Everything.  The tinsel, the lights, the tree, the decorations, the giving and sharing, the eating and most importantly The Family.  It’s such a beautiful day.

I can’t think of a single day in the year where almost every single person is with their family. Whether they love them, like them, find them irritating, slightly dislike them or often hate them, we all share the commonality of spending Christmas day with each other. No mean feat for a lot of people.

However, I’m also a mum and I have a family and there is an awful lot of preparation involved in getting in the “Christmas Spirit”.  As such, I’m a little stretched.  So you can imagine my mood when my sister decided that this year instead of doing lists we were doing “surprise” presents.

I moaned. I complained. I took to Twitter. I moaned some more.  It’s an issue because she designs jewellery, so I can’t buy her any.  She has always been far more into fashion than I have so I wouldn’t dare purchase her a piece of clothing. She has much more money than me so I can’t imagine she wants for much.  Arghhhhh. I was so annoyed.  Why couldn’t she just give me a bloody list.

And therein lies the problem, dear readers.  I wanted the easy way out. The quick fix. The non thinking option.  I didn’t want to think too hard about buying something or giving it too much thought, because it was an inconvenience.  Now, admittedly I have bought her something that she doesn’t really need, but by goodness I put a lot of thought into it.  I’ve also bought her a jewellery travel wrap, something I’m sure she has, but this one is gorgeous and she has a lot of jewellery.decoration

It really occurred made me realise that I often go through the motions when it comes to Christmas and presents and I forget that moment when you are thinking of your loved ones whilst hovering over a shelf of goods in Debenhams and you imagine their reaction.

The same goes with the writing of Christmas cards.  I may have reduced my list of recipients as the cost of stamps have gone up, but every one of those cards took time to write, I have put a different message in each one. Some I’ve written updates in.  I ranted about the lack of Christmas cards writing last year here, but I donated to charity this year AND wrote some cards out.   They remind me of what it is all about, I realised. Each and every card that I have to take the time to fill in, gives me an opportunity to reflect on the person it’s for and what they mean to me, when I saw them last, how I feel about them.

So I think I learnt a big lesson this year. I think I may have managed to retrieve My Spirit of Christmas through a few lessons learnt.

Do you still have The Spirit of Christmas?  What does Christmas mean to you?

Merry Christmas

I did have a couple of posts lined up for today and next Friday, but I’m getting the distinct impression from other bloggers that readership is generally down in the lead up to Christmas as everyone is busy with preparations, Christmas parties or just too tired to find the time to read.  So I thought I’d wait until after Christmas before I blogged again.

photo courtesy of 94 sugars .co.uk

photo courtesy of 94 sugars .co.uk

This has been a very exciting year for me so far (still a few weeks to go).  I became a blogger, gained a readership (you lovely people), met other bloggers through my blog or via twitter, met some amazing, funny, entertaining people via twitter and learnt some amazing things through knowing you all.



I would like to wish you all a very very Merry Christmas and hope you will join me after Christmas for some more tales and opinions from the 40 year old (soon to be 41 year old…..arghhhh).

XXX Bella

The other C word

I recently wrote a post about Age and the C word, but I’m talking about a different C word.  A much nicer one (although it still stresses some people out)…. yup it’s Christmas.

Whoaaa………hang on, don’t go. I’m not writing from a super woman, look at me, look how organised I am, check out the meal I’ll be cooking, presents are wrapped kind of angle.  Nor am I forcing anyone to step into Christmas territory too early for your own liking.  I’m just telling you how it is for me and the challenges I face at this time of year because I’d really rather not be doing it.

Frankly I could have written this post in April.  It saddens me to say it, but I honestly have no choice but to start planning that early because of the following:

  • Christmas Eve – The Monster’s birthday
  • Christmas Day – everyone in vicinity celebrates
  • Mid January – Pickle’s Birthday
  • Beginning Feb – My birthday
  • Beginning March – Hubby’s birthday.

Then WE ARE DONE. That’s it.  All celebrations, meals, parties, presents are planned at the same time and are over in those 3.5 months and all gifts have to last the whole year.

We aren’t massive earners. We have a big house and we live in a London Borough so our outgoings are pretty mammoth.  I have no choice but to be planning for December and January (the kids) at the beginning of the year because there is just no way I would be able to afford to buy everything in December.

I have just argued with my husband because I’m asking for his help on kids presents. I need him to think of gifts too. We are buying two sets of gifts for each child, so that’s a lot of presents to think up.  Even thinking of 1 main gift and maybe 5 little gifts means I need to find 24 presents for them.  He started by saying “Well I haven’t been thinking about Christmas, but I’ll start thinking about it now”.  I shouldn’t have to ask, he knows we have to do it.  He agreed but then he started a conversation with “Look, you’re really organised and I’m not. I do things last-minute…”  This really wound me up, because whilst I am a fairly organised person generally, I’m not doing it to be some sort of annoying organised super woman. I have no choice.

Quite clearly I’ve written this post to get it off my chest.  Quite clearly I’ve also written about it because the second I mention to someone I’ve started buying presents they launch into some sort of “oh you’re so organised, I couldn’t be bothered until at least December” conversation with me, which means I then feel I have to justify it.  Be so much easier if I only did it because I wanted to and I could just sit in my own smugness thinking others were stark raving mad.  However, I’m honest and inevitably have to tell them everything I’ve just told you….

Hopefully now I’ve got it off my chest, I may just keep it to myself.  I think I’ll just give the impression I buy it all on the 24th of December to fit in.

So are you organised?  Last minute? Or like me, do you have other challenges that mean you have no choice?