Christmas Trees, Toddlers & Traditions

I’m sure if you are up to date on my last few blog posts that you will have realised that I’m pretty excited for Christmas at this point. For me most of the excitement is in the build up to the big day; it’s in putting up the decorations, baking gingerbread men, doing crafts with Darcie all while having the Christmas radio stations on all day every day and then snuggling up to watch Christmas films with hot chocolate and mince pies. It’s one of my favourite times of the year and so I like to make the most of it. Growing up our Christmas tree would always go up a couple of weeks before Christmas and we would always decorate it together. There would be the annual argument over whose turn it was to pick the colour scheme, the lights would go on and then we would cover it in as many decorations as the poor thing could handle. It was one of the things that we always did as a family and those memories will always make me smile. I’m so keen to carry on this tradition with my own little family, just with one difference; I’ve realised that one of the best parts of adulthood is getting to decide when the tree goes up and so in our household it goes up the first weekend in December! I now that many mums of toddlers have opted not to have a tree this year, or to have a small one up high that little hands can’t reach or to get one of the felt ones that are designed for little people to play with. But not me, I was adamant that I wanted a real one! We always had a real one growing up and so to me, Christmas doesn’t really feel Christmassy unless there is a real tree. My only real reservation was how expensive a real one could be but when I heard about IKEA doing them for £25 I was sold, literally. If you buy a real tree at IKEA for £25, they give you a £20 voucher to spend in store, effectively you’re getting a real tree for a fiver and an excuse for an IKEA shopping trip too. I needed no more convincing than that! I’m not endorsed by IKEA at all by the way (although that would be great!), I just think that’s a genuinely great deal that I wanted to share with you all). We headed down to get our tree on Saturday and after I’d convinced Dan that Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas with a five foot tree, we headed home with our six foot beauty. Dan had a little cry about the pine needles in the new car because somebody (no idea who!) had forgotten to bring the old duvet cover, but there was no harm done. I won’t bore anyone with the ‘getting the Christmas tree in the Christmas tree stand’ saga, but eventually we got it upright and could crack on with the decorations.

A few years ago I decided that I wanted to start a family tradition of buying a new decoration for the tree every year. I like to have a vague colour scheme (usually gold) on the tree but also to have some quirky and colourful decorations that have some meaning to us scattered into the mix. We have a wooden heart for our first year together, a key for the year we moved in together and a special glass one for Darcie’s first Christmas. We still have a couple of years that we need to find something for but I love putting these significant decorations on the tree the most and giving them pride of place (and out of toddler reach). This year I think we will get two new decorations, one that Darcie can choose and one to represent this year.

For anyone wondering how it’s going having a toddler and a real Christmas tree in close proximity to each other on a regular basis, it’s not great. She loves the tree, it makes her so happy to see the lights and to play with all of the baubles that she can reach, which is a lot actually, she is very tall! Between us we must have decorated, un-decorated and redecorated the tree a hundred times and she’s still not bored of the game. Dan is currently building a little picket fence to go around the tree and I’ve even got her her very own mini tree to play with. I decorated it for her to destroy but then she just invented a new game of taking all the decorations off the main tree and putting them on the little one, so I probably just can’t win. Another new favourite game of hers that she has discovered is to fill her trousers up with baubles to transport them from one place to another. There’s no sight quite like your eighteen month old waddle running across the room with her trousers full of baubles. So yes, it has been annoying having to sort the tree out every five seconds, I’ve already had to super glue the Nutcracker’s head back on and there is glitter everywhere all the time, but we have also made so many memories in this short space of time and I’m sure there are more to come so I’m so glad that we went for it and got the tree.

Darcie is just loving the build up to Christmas so far. This is our first Christmas in this house; we unknowingly moved into the most festive Close in the village and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Almost every house has lights up outside, Christmas trees in the garden, light up reindeer, light projectors and massive inflatable snowman. Darcie loves to look at them all from the window  when it get’s dark and I think that tonight I’m going to take her for a walk to see them all close up. So far Christmas is proving to be absolutely magical for us and it really is true that having a child makes it all so much more special and exciting all over again.

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