December 12, 2018

Our Christmas Traditions

It’s lovely to have Christmas traditions and each year they have become more and more important to me, especially as we now have three kids.  Even before I had kids, I always felt it was important to see family, take part in the traditional festive celebrations and enjoy that special time.

I’ve been thinking about what I love to do in the lead up to Christmas and over the Christmas holiday, so I thought I’d share with you some of our Christmas traditions as I love hearing what other people get up to!

1.Christmas Night out – Over the years, it has become more of a tradition that my two sisters, Mama and I have our Christmas night out.  We will usually just pick a lovely restaurant and eat some delicious food and have a drink (or two!)  We often spent a lot of time together with our children, so it really is nice to get dressed up and let our hair down!

2.Elf on a shelf – I know, people either love it or hate it.  But we have joined in with this Christmas tradition over the years, and its safe to say, the kids love it.  We started off with one Elf called Snowy, then when Miss W was old enough to understand, we had a second Elf called Sugar.  I am sure a third will visit us next Christmas.  I do enjoy it when the kids come down in the morning and see what the elves have been up to, but there has been several times I’ve woken in the night and panicked that I hadn’t moved the bloody elves! (read my ideas for Elf on a shelf here!)

Have toy cars or ride ons? Get the Elf to sit on the car making tracks in flour in this elf on a shelf idea

The elves visit us each year and is one of our Christmas traditions

3. Advent Calendars – I try and not do chocolate ones as I like to do something a little different, but I have to bare in mind that some can be rather expensive!  This year, I got Mr B a Match Attack football sticker calendar and Miss W a Crayola (which is fantastic!)  We’ve also had lego calendars, play-doh and playmobile over the years!

4. Christmas books – these come out each year and the collection is getting bigger and bigger!  I love reading the traditional stories about Bethlehem and when Jesus was born.  This especially has interested the kids over the years when it comes to understanding their nativities!

5.Baking Mince Pies and gingerbread –  I love the smell of mince pies and gingerbread, so each year I will religiously attempt to bake a batch.  I am not the best baker at all, but I give it a go and the smell is delicious coming from the oven.  I get the kids to help too with different cutters and rolling out the pasty.

Baking gingerbread or mince pies is a real family christmas tradition each year - christmas tree plate with gingerbread biscuits on it

A batch of gingerbread biscuits

6.Visit to Santa – I think its fair that all parents and their children will take a visit to see Santa at some point in the lead up to Christmas.  This year we wanted to do something a little different.  We were kindly invited to Resorts World Birmingham and enjoyed their Jingle Bells: Santa Claus Experience which was fantastic!  It was an escape room aimed at families based around an Elf workshop.  Once escaped, we then visited Santa.  We loved it!

One of our christmas traditions is to visit Santa.  Santa was waiting for us in the Santa's Grotto at Resorts world birmingham after our escape room experience

One of our Christmas traditions is to visit Santa.

7. Christmas decorations – We like to buy one or two new things each year.  And I love to hang up the decorations the kids have made at school, which i think is really special.  We love to decorate our house from around the 1st December, listening to Christmas music and enjoying some snacks or mulled wine.

Robin Bauble looking fab on our Christmas Tree

Robin Bauble looking fab on our Christmas Tree, handmade by the kids

8. Christmas Eve gifts – Even as a child, my Mama let us open a Christmas eve present.  This would normally be a new set of fresh PJ’s or some socks or slippers.  I have kept up with this tradition and now leave a goodbye present from the Elves for the children to open.  This year, the elves will be leaving  some lovely matching PJ’s and a Little Miss/Mr biscuit box to enjoy on the night before they go to bed.

9. Christmas Eve buffet – For the 15 years I have been with Matt, his Mom and Dad have always done a Christmas Eve buffet.  It’s something we do each year and enjoy a festive drink and some lovely food before the buzz of Christmas Day.

10. Gifts for Santa and Rudolf – As I am sure most families do, before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve, we will leave a plate our for Santa and his reindeers.  We will normally leave a mince pie, some milk and a carrot – a Christmas tradition that can not be done!

11. Christmas morning- Each family has different times that they open their presents.  But for us, as soon as the kids wake (normally around 6am) we head downstairs to see what Santa has left.  And silly as it sounds, I have to have my morning cup of tea, so I can relax and just watch them so happy.  We will then crack open the bucks fizz and cook a simple breakfast like bacon sandwiches or pastries.

12. Christmas stockings – its wasn’t that long ago when my Mama stopped giving her adult children stockings!  We used to hang them on our doors on Christmas Eve and when I was older when I would understand about Christmas a little bit more, I would hear my mom filling it up with all sorts of lovely items – nail varnish, impulse body spray, fluffy socks and chocolate.  I always loved having a stocking, so now I do the same for our kids which they love!

The kids stockings.  Filling them up each Christmas Eve is one of our Christmas traditions

The kids stockings. Filling them up each Christmas Eve is one of our Christmas traditions

So that’s our Christmas traditions!  I’d love to hear what your favourite Christmas traditions are?








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Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you




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