As soon as Halloween and Fireworks night are over, there is a whiff of cinnamon in the air and we start asking, ‘What are your plans for Christmas?’.
Now is the time to get your Christmas activities booked, some Father Christmas visits sell out faster than Glastonbury!
As parents Christmas comes to life again, the nostalgia is boundless. Lights sparkle with more magic and if Miracle on 34th Street was real life we would proudly wear our ‘I believe’ badges. So, what should we do this festive season?
A trip away…
Christmas ‘life admin’ in December is all consuming, Elves to put on the shelf etc. Having a pre-Christmas getaway is tempting. Legoland Windsor have a great festive itinerary, including themed entertainment and visits to Father Christmas. Or find a cosy cottage and escape the pressure. If your children like to visit Father Christmas combine this with your weekend away. The Chill Factore Santa Grotto in Manchester and Santa’s Grotto at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland are offering amazing experiences for 2018.
This month sees the release of ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ and the new animated film ‘The Grinch’ to start putting us in the mood for Christmas.
However, the Christmas blockbuster this year has to be ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, featuring Emily Blunt. Your local cinema may provide a Mother and Baby showing. These sessions usually have lower volume, lighting and are buggy friendly. If you prefer to cosy up at home you could watch the original Mary Poppins or Netflix original ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ by the makers of Harry Potter.
Check out your local pantomime for old fashioned fun for all. Your children will treasure the light up wand they persuade you to buy and you can enjoy your favourite soap star taking to the stage. The London Palladium this year is showing Snow White, starring Dawn French and Julian Clary.
The much loved Christmas favourite ‘The Snowman’ is being brought to life by Carrot Productions at various venues throughout the UK. Enjoy watching the beautifully illustrated film as a live orchestra play the soundtrack.
Christmas traditions are heartening, continue those you enjoyed as a child but also start your own. If you are happy to have an ‘eclectic’ Christmas tree, visit a local Christmas market each year and ask your children to choose a decoration. Have a cosy afternoon with a gingerbread house making kit, put the Christmas tunes on and get creative. Just don’t expect it to look like the one on the box because it most likely will have a more rustic vibe. It seems commonplace now to have a family Christmas Eve box. Fill it with Christmas pjs, hot chocolate, popcorn and a DVD to enjoy together before all the chaos of Christmas begins. A yearly family photo in bed on Christmas day makes a lovely keepsake. As does everybody writing a festive letter to each other.
Colchester zoo is hosting a ‘Christmas Twilight Experience’ allowing guests to stay in the zoo after closing time, meet Santa, have an ‘Elven Supper’ and take a magical train ride around the zoo. At London zoo you will follow a one mile long illuminated path through the zoo accompanied by Christmas background music.
There are some beautiful festive illumination experiences across the country that are worth wrapping up for. Christmas at Kew features stunning lights, Father Christmas and the elves can be sighted whilst you enjoy a glass of mulled wine. English Heritage are offering a number of ‘Enchanted events’ across the country, including Eltham Palace in London, where the historic properties are illuminated with interactive displays.
Grab your diary and get your Christmas events booked in. We promise we won’t ask you what you are doing at Christmas again, until November 2019 that is!
by Louise Lennon