Bargains, Crafty Makes, Family Life, Organising, Reviews

Christmas – Burton Style!

And…with a blink of an eye the presents are open all over the floor, we’ve eaten so much food we are rolling around instead of walking and the stress was all worth it with those little smiles on our kiddies faces!

Well it was my first time to host Christmas and as you can see by my Facebook post I managed it quite well. The two days before I think I managed to get to bed for 1am with all those mad things we do leading up to the “day!” cleaning, sorting beds for family and late wrapping (which never usually happens). I even managed to mess up the Chocolate Torte, I some how missed the words Plain Chocolate on the recipe and used Milk Chocolate. I frantically tried to thicken it for 30 minutes but it was still like chocolate soup rather than thick sauce, so poor Dan rushed out to buy Plain Chocolate and I got it right in the end!!

Thankfully I had some info written down on my calendar to keep all other stress at bay. I should of wrapped the presents a week before so I left that 6 days too late but me and my mum both made desserts a day or two before that kept in the fridge (Links to recipes below). Daniel helped out and we prepped the veggies the night before, which made the cooking much less stressful on Christmas day.

Christmas Family Time
Christmas Eve Eve and Christmas Eve is our Family time. We went to see Father Christmas on Christmas Eve Eve, we kept it simple this year as QW is too young and we booked Breakfast with “Santa” at the local Dobbies Garden Centre.
I have to say I was extremely impressed, the slot is for 9am as the garden centre opens and your the first ones in! They left a card for each child on your table so you knew where to sit and it was a lovely personal touch. The staff went all out – dressed and acting as elves, they engaged all the children and came to each table to talk to them all individually. We all enjoyed a nice cooked breakfast with plenty of Coffee!!
A balloon modelling man was there and made every child something brilliant – of course CM asked for a Dinosaur and he worked really hard to make him one!
After breakfast Father Christmas came and spoke to each child at their tables, he then went and sat down and called each child by name and gave them a gift with plenty of time for us parents to take pictures! It was great morning and I highly recommend it!!

Christmas Eve the boys woke up to Christmas Eve Boxes, which I know is now a big trend in the UK. I use wooden crates and pop in Pyjamas, Book, Sweets and something else christmassy I find to pop in.

This year we bought personalised books from Dinkleboo and CM loved his! I haven’t put a name on QW’s crate yet, as he is too young to understand this year. Later we baked and burnt the Gingerbread house – needless to say it went in the bin!!
We also held the “Elves” for a few cwtches, as they didn’t need their Christmas magic to fly back to the North Pole, as they go home with Father Christmas!

Pressies
We never go overboard with pressies, CM has always loved what he gets and he always gets what he asks Santa for, as to date he hasn’t asked for a lot. This year he asked Santa for a racing car track and Chocolate. We managed to get a few bargains in the Argos 2 for £15 and 2 for £30 back in September and topped this up with family/board games which you can get fairly cheap in sales or if you opt for the unbranded names.
We also took an idea from the Money saving expert show, spreading the cost by giving a day out as a gift every month of the year! We gave CM a small box with a cardboard envelope for each month of the following year, in each envelope is a day out or experience weekend, this spreads the cost out and provides a big family day each month to look forward to.
I hope it creates monthly excitement to see what is in each envelope, it could totally flat line but I will keep you updated.
QW had a few baby toys, which were more for his later development, as at 5 months everything is interesting particularly anything he can grab and put in his mouth!

Christmas Food
After managing to cook the Christmas dinner, although later than I planned, I only burnt a few pigs in blankets. Thankfully I bought an extra pack of these, I must have know something was going to get burnt with an oven the size of a shoe box!!
We had a lovely goats cheese and sticky pear starter and then enjoyed the huge mountain filled plate for dinner. We enjoyed Beef, Pork joint and Gammon and my tip for small ovens– Cook the biggest joint the night before on low and warm up in the oven on the day, cook smallest joint on the day and use the natural fat from this for your roasties. Gammon is always great in a slow cooker, I popped it on that morning and left it until we were ready to carve at 2pm.
After eating far too much, way too fast haha I now realise how hard it is to fully enjoy your crimbo dinner when your the cook! Hats off to all who do this every year its hard frigging work and I only cooked for 5!!!

We managed to eat our desserts about an hour or two later, when we found room and my mum made some delicious trifles and we ate the infamous Chocolate Torte!!

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We ended with a few games – Who am I, we had this in some crackers and it was a good laugh with our hour wait to dessert, Quizoo was hilarious – Daniel cannot for the life of him play a tune on the Kazoo!! and CM beat us all at Junior Monopoly.

Boxing Day
We enjoyed left over Crimbo meats, home cooked chips, pickles, salad and dips. Honestly I thought this was a British tradition but it maybe just my family.
I ate my body weight in food again and honestly I think I lost weight in stress the two days before Christmas and put it all back on again and probably more with the over indulgent dinners!!
We ended the evening with Charades, this had us in stitches for ages …none of us knew what we were doing but we managed to guess them in the end. Daniel turned out to be a cheat looking at them all to pick the easiest ones!

Our Mam, Brother, CM & Dan …Boxing Day Dinner
nom nom!!

Bargains
Day after Boxing Day we went to the shops to grab some bargains, we found some lovely bargains:
*A local Card shop reduced all Christmas items 50%, lovely cuddly toys as little as £2.50 and Christmas gifts by “Mad Dots” only £1.
*Primark had clothing reduced down to £1 (I’m not 100% sure if this was a mistake) the baby clothing was worth it, I like to buy the kids bigger sizes for next year.
*Supermarkets kids Christmas clothing half price or less – great for next year, some of their party food was also reduced due to short dates and I bought the freezable items for NYE
*At Poundland all Christmas items half price so 50p! I stocked up on wrapping paper
*Wilkos only had a small selection left but we bought sweets and some tree decs 50p
*Aldi had a lot of Christmas cupboard food left but not all was reduced.
*B&M I bought the littlies plates and cups for next year at 50p, a pretty light up decoration £2.50 and kids Christmas bedding for next year reduced to £5

I think this year the best deals to be had were actually the last few days BEFORE Christmas not after like its always been. I am going to try and remember this next year and do a small shop for bargains before hand!

With Love Jay xx

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