I have no idea how we ended up half way through November already. I feel like I need to take a day out just to plan everything I need to do before Christmas. You see Christmas starts on the 1st December in the Mudpie Fridays household. This is partly due to our Christmas Traditions, the things we have put in place over the last five years since having Monkey and then Kipper. I have created a little bit of a rod for my own back but it’s such a special time of year and I want to ensure we really capture the magic. So our traditions…

That darn elf!

Part of me really regrets starting elf on the shelf! But Monkey absolutely loves it running downstairs each morning to see what ‘Elfie’ has been up to. Of course last year he was joined by another elf since it was Kippers first Christmas. It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without them both. I try to make my life easier by planning in advance all their antics so that I have a little timetable of activities on the 30th of Novemeber. Anything that needs to be brought or arranged is already done, so I a not scrambling around for ideas. I also make sure that I have the camera near to wherever in the house the elves maybe, so I can capture their reactions. Although Kipper is still far to young to really have idea of what is going on!


Advent activities and calendars

For Monkey’s first Christmas we brought him a wooden advent calendar. It’s in the shape of a Christmas Tree. Each year I plan the contents of the little boxes along a theme which is particularly relevant to him at the time. In each box there will be a little gift, a chocolate coin (his favourites) and an advent activity. The advent activities are designed to make sure we take the effort to do all the little things that mean so much this time of year. Including donating unwanted toys, Christmas crafts and photos I want to capture on festive days out. As its all too easy to get caught up and forget the things that really matter. Of course, for us adults, I make mulled wine using an easy mulled wine recipe.


Cutting down our Christmas tree

We have a specific Christmas Tree farm which we visit each year to cut down our own tree. After we have picked one we have tea and cake on a double decker bus. I find it really builds the magic of getting the tree. I have so many photos of Monkey picking out the tree dressed in his little reindeer outfit. I cant wait to get the same photos of Kipper this year!


Seeing the Christmas lights

As a child myself it was a real treat to go and see the Christmas lights and I still remember those visits now as an adult. We try and get into London to see the lights and look in the windows. Seeing all the effort that has gone into the window displays and the stories behind them is such a nice day out.

Visiting a Christmas market

We have only ever visited markets in the UK but hope to visit some abroad in the coming years once the boys are a little bit older. There’s something special about walking between the little wooden huts, sipping mulled wine looking at all the bright colours of the decorations for sale. If you are lucky with a band or festive music in the background.



Making hampers for the grandparents

I think its difficult to buy something for grandparents from the children. A personalised gift is so much more valued so for the last couple of years we have been putting together little hampers. With a selection of goodies we have made or brought on our travels. Each grandparent has their favourites when it comes to food, drink , sweets etc. So we incorporate some of these mixed in with handmade items such as jam picked from blackberries. Maybe a photo item such as a key ring or little printed book of photos and something the boys have made.


Making Christmas decorations

As part of the Hamper and for our own tree Monkey has made a Christmas decoration each year either a ceramic paint your own one or a handprint made out of salt dough. I also order a little wooden decoration each year with the top five things on the children’s Christmas list. Up until now these have not been very commercial it will be interesting to see how they change. I also try to buy one new Christmas decoration a year, normally from somewhere we have visited. This year we actually brought ours when we visited Tuscany in the Summer.


Visiting Father Christmas

This goes without saying, we now have a collection of photos of when we have visited the big man over the years. Last year we were lucky enough to start a new tradition by visiting Lapland UK one which we intend on keeping this year.


Making the effort to see loved ones

We spend our time constantly running from one thing to the next. Over Christmas I purposefully try to make sure that we don’t do that as much. That we have more time to spend with family and close friends. Making and documenting those all important memories. I want Monkey to remember Christmas with his grandparents in this way.


So those are our main Christmas Traditions. Last year we also managed to add one more with Monkey starting school . The Christmas Nativity and assemblies are now also very much part of our tradition. I love looking back of the photos from the previous year to see just how much he has changed. I will probably still be looking at them when I am old and grey. Photos are so pivotal in documenting our Christmas with a photo book from Truprint I can make sure I record all, our special family traditions. Meaning they are not stuck somewhere on a memory stick or hard drive. Instead we are reliving them every time we turn a page.

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  1. Yolanda Davis

    I used to love doing xmas crafts, like cards & decorations, with my kids but they are getting to old to be interested now. Bring on the grandchildren!!

  2. sharon stanley

    Lovely traditions. We made a hamper for a local elderly neighbour and hope that he can make use of it over the Christmas season.

  3. Rachel Butler

    I love these! We do the elf on the shelf too! We also go to see the Christmas lights, see the pantomime, have a slow cooker hot chocolate night xoxo

  4. We love going to see Christmas lights and definitely have to see Santa a few times at a few different places! Can’t wait for Christmas this year, kids are so excited already

  5. Jo Hutchinson

    It is definitely a treat to go and see the Christmas lights

  6. Lorna Ledger

    Love your traditions, they are very family orientated , my daughter is 17 now so ours have sorted shifted (traditions) we still enjoy putting the tree up, and food out for Santa, also I have my Niece and Nephew, so I get to go through it all again with them too, we like to visit the garden center and see Santa

  7. June Lord

    I actually think I’m going to give this a try. Thanks for the review!

  8. June Lord

    What a really good idea for an advent calendar. It really encourages the kids to really think about what they’re doing and the meaning.

  9. Kerry Norris

    Those are all lovely Xmas traditions. Funnily enough I’ve recebtly started doing hampers for grandparents. Such a good idea x

  10. Elizabeth

    How wonderful you get to cut down your own tree! Growing up in Canada that was my brother’s and my job to cut one down from the wild. Great traditions you’ve got! 🙂

  11. Zena's Suitcase

    I think Christmas traditions are such a lovely way of making this time of year special. We love to have a breakfast with Santa and it seems to be a big hit with the kids for now

  12. Toni | This Mama

    Some fun traditions there, we don’t have many traditions as such as with being a special needs mama we tend to have to play every year by ear and can’t really plan too far ahead but we still try to do lot’s of fun things and make time for our family especially. I think our main tradition is just having a big family Christmas

  13. five little doves

    I love all of your traditions and we do many of the same. One of ours is to make our own decorations too, we always make salt dough decorations of the childrens hands and feet and it’s lovely to see them grow each year. Making hampers for grandparents is a lovely idea. xx

  14. I for one, also cant believe it’s nearly December and Christmas is looming ever nearer! I love how you have shared your Christmas traditions. I also like advent calendars and visiting the Xmas markets – they really make you feel festive and warm! I hope you have a lovely run up to the festive season 🙂

  15. Beth @ BethinaBox.com

    Wonderful Christmas traditions.. 🙂 Hampers for the grandparents are great – the most extravagant decorations we make are paper chains.

  16. Some great traditions here. It is so magical when the children are small. I try to keep it magical but my children are all growing up so quickly.

  17. I know what you mean with the rod, once you start something your kids expect it every year and it’s difficult to leave it out. We have an Elf this year, but I’m thinking of skipping the daily scenarios and just letting them play with it.

  18. Cath - BattleMum

    You’ve got some lovely traditions there. Ours are sort of out the window this year as we emigrated in May and ALL our Christmas stuff is in storage, we just don’t have room for it in our current home. I’m really hoping we’re in our house next Christmas but realistically it might be another year again before we can get back to our real Christmas!

  19. Rhian Westbury

    These are some good traditions and good on you for being so prepared with your elves antics x

  20. Lyndsey Cooksey

    Aww your Christmas traditions sound lovely! I like the ideas of homemade advent calenders and putting your own things in. I have 17 year old daughter and I could fill one up with make up, beauty blenders etc. I live the going to see family too. Although there’s no reason Severn it having chance to visit someone throughout the year, with Christmas it makes it seem more than an effort! I’d love to go to the German market as we don’t live far away but it’s the cost of things that put me off and the hustle and bustle!

  21. The Frenchie Mummy

    I so have to do the elf too! But I think Baba is too small for it this year. What a cute idea to make hampers for the grandparents. That is so nice and it’s so in the mood for xmas!

  22. Lyndsey OHalloran

    We don’t really have any traditions yet. Next year Erin will be nearly 3 so maybe time to start then when she will remember more


    Your family have lots of fab traditions, love this post

  24. john prendergast

    love going to a christmas market with all the different stalls

  25. fiona waterworth

    I agree with photographing everything, we have photos from our children at christmas and now their children as well

  26. Margaret Gallagher

    Great ways to celebrate CHRISTMAS through the ages

  27. Tracy Nixon

    Thank you for sharing! Yours are similar to ours – makes Christmas magical!

  28. Brilliant! I love reading about Christmas traditions!

  29. Michael Brogi

    What an amazing idea with your advent calendars, I love the thought of our Matthew coming downstairs each day and not just thinking about the chocolate he gets to eat – but thinking more about the real meaning of Christmas.

    Do you have any recommendations on where to buy an advent calendar similar to Monkey’s?

  30. Sounds like you have some wonderful traditions! I especially love cutting down your own tree, how lovely!

    Katie xoxo

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