Tagged Christmas

How to (Not) Make Christmas Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*

This simple tutorial (*this is not a tutorial*) contains all the instructions you need to create beautiful (*ahem*) handmade Christmas cards (*there will be no cards*) with very young children. Unlike most guides, I have included detailed instructions showing exactly what the children should be doing at each stage. This will ensure that there is no confusion as to when the crayons should be chewed, or the pictures torn up, thus allowing you to achieve a perfect result every time.

 
 
What you need:

White cardboard for pictures
Additional white cardboard for mistakes
Coloured cardboard for cards
Crayons in appropriate colours for pictures
Pencil
Pens for writing messages
Scissors
Double sided tape (of course)
Shoes
Coats
Pushchair

 
Note: This project does not require any sanity, so please do not worry if you don’t have any in the house.

 
 
What to do:

1. Draw some Christmas pictures (such as, Christmas trees, Father Christmas, snowmen, or reindeer) on to pieces of white card. The children will colour these, and you will then cut them out and attach them to your cards to make Christmas scenes, decorated by the children, for your loved ones to treasure.

2. Give the children the pictures with appropriately coloured crayons. At this point, The Toddler should have a tantrum because she wants the crayons she has not been given. Specifically, she wants to colour Father Christmas purple.

3. The Toddler will quickly stop her tantrum upon realising that she can still colour everything inappropriate colours using the crayon choices she has been given. She will set about colouring her tree with the yellow crayon that was intended for the star on top. She doesn’t need it for the star. The star is brown. Because the tree trunk is pink.

4. The Baby should at this point start eating a crayon.

5. By now, The Toddler will have produced a beautiful piece of colouring. On the wrong side of the card. On the side that has the actual picture, there will be approximately two lines of colour.

6. The Baby should be colouring the table cloth red, having thrown her picture on the floor.

7. Resort to holding The Baby’s hand and ‘helping’ her crayon.

8. Take the above step to its logical conclusion by putting The Baby down with some toys away from the art, before returning to ‘helping’ her crayon on your own.

9. Reach a new low as you scribble some blue on to Father Christmas’ jacket and nose, having realised the one year old who has (not) coloured this picture probably wouldn’t neatly colour Father Christmas’ outfit in red.

10. The Toddler will have spent ten minutes carefully colouring her whole picture on white card using a white crayon. She will notice this has not been overly effective, and declare that the crayon is not working.

11. Attempt to hold The Toddler’s hand and ‘help’ her crayon. The Toddler should at this juncture have a meltdown, throw the crayons, and tear up the picture.

12. Draw a new picture on a fresh piece of card.

13. Agree that The Toddler can colour only the wrong side. In white crayon.

14. Relent and allow The Baby to resume participation in the colouring.

15. The Baby should be very excited by her return, and demonstrate this by scrunching up her picture.

16. Return The Baby to the toys.

17. You should by now have one partially coloured yellow and pink Christmas tree; one reindeer coloured entirely in white; one snowman not coloured at all, but with a Jackson Pollock-esque masterpiece on the reverse; and one quite well coloured Father Christmas, scrunched into a little ball. It has gone very well.

18. Fold your pieces of coloured card in half to make your cards.

19. You will now need to cut out your pictures to start making the Christmas scenes.

20. The Toddler should refuse to relinquish the pictures. She has not finished. She is just colouring all of the pictures, top to bottom, in black crayon.

21. At this point, you will all need to put on shoes and coats. Put the children into their pushchair, and walk to your nearest card shop. Buy Christmas cards.

 

(*Well, a two and a half year old toddler, and a one and a third year old toddler, to be more accurate)

A Wayne in a Manger and Other Christmas Weirdness

Christmas, as we all know, is the time of year when we suspend disbelief, believing in the impossible and the incredulous, in order to keep the magic alive.

In this spirit, I present my top ten festive peculiarities and anomalies.

1. The Snowman
In The Snowman, they fly over penguins on their way to the North Pole. That’s certainly taking the scenic route, isn’t it?

2. Father Christmas’ entrance
Why didn’t he always use a magic key? When most houses stopped having chimneys and Father Christmas started to use the magic key to come in the door, I can only assume he fired the person (Bob) who had suggested chimneys. ‘A magic key, Bob! We could have been using a magic key and a doorway all this time, Bob! Do you know how high my dry cleaning bills are, Bob? Dammit, Bob!’

3. It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life is the quintessential Christmas film. The perennial favourite. The Christmas classic. We all know this, right? We’ve never actually, well, seen it though, have we? No one has seen this film. Have you seen this film? Do you know anyone who has seen this film? No. No one has seen it. The film might not even exist. Does anyone conclusively know it exists? Maybe they just did a title, a poster and a vague description of ‘something about an angel’, and never actually made the film.

4. Tinsel
Tinsel is apparently dangerous to cats and young children. They should not play with it. SO WHY IS IT SHINY?

5. Nazis
The Sound of Music and The Great Escape are shown every Christmas without fail. When, and how, did it get decided that it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Nazis, and various highly improbable escapes from them? Nothing says Christmas spirit like the SS, right?

6. We Three Kings
What are the real lyrics to We Three Kings? Does anyone know them? Is it just a myth that there were real lyrics? Was it always about a scooter?

7. Home Alone
Some parents admit that they have left their eight year old home alone in Chicago while they are in Paris. Not only do Social Services have no issues at all with this situation, but the police have to be persuaded to go and check on the small child fending for himself. They eventually rock up, knock on the door, and get no answer. So they leave. They don’t break down the door or search for the child, oh no. They report that there was no answer and everything is fine. Did they believe they were supposed to be checking that the eight year old home alone wasn’t going around doing anything dangerous like opening doors?

8. The Elf on the Shelf
That elf. The original one. It is clear that the only rational reaction to seeing that thing is to cut off its head, burn it and quarantine the area, just to be safe. But, no, people are taking it into their houses, and encouraging their kids to interact with it. How is it doing this? Clearly it has evil powers. Mind control? More importantly, what does it want with us? If you see one of these, DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT. (Please note: as a precautionary measure, it is advised that you do not look directly at Instagram for the remainder of the festive period.)

9. A Wayne in a Manger
I’m not religious, so I’ve probably got confused, but who is this Wayne in a manger we sing about, and what has he got to do with the Nativity?

10. Baby gifts
Did the Three Wise Men not read any new baby gift guides on Mumsnet before they set out? You know the ones: ‘don’t get lots of clothes in newborn size; booties do not stay on feet; newborn babies do not enjoy gold, frankincense or myrrh…’

 
 
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a slightly bewildered night.

In My Opinion: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

A bit late this week (due to Silly Mummy – The Toddler didn’t shockingly decide she was having a quiet week), it is time for the Ten Funniest Things feature. We have accidental bottom inspections, a bit of Christmas, and The Toddler is offering her opinion.

Without further ado, The Toddler:

1. On the contents of her nose
Silly Mummy goes to get The Toddler out of the car. The Toddler has something in her hand. She holds it out: ‘Can you take this?’ Silly Mummy trustingly puts out her own hand, and The Toddler places something sticky in it: ‘I think it’s from my nose.’

2. On Father Christmas’ biscuits, eating them
Silly Mummy is explaining to The Toddler that, on Christmas Eve, she should put out milk and biscuits for Father Christmas. Part of this gets The Toddler’s attention: ‘Ooh biccies! I’d like to eat them.’
Silly Mummy perseveres: ‘You can’t eat them – they’re for Father Christmas.’
The Toddler also perseveres: ‘I think I’ll just have a little bit, then.’
Silly Mummy stands firm: ‘They’re not for you. They’re for Father Christmas.’
The Toddler compromises: ‘Okay, I think I’ll just have Mummy’s choccies.’
Hmm…you’d like to eat Father Christmas’ biscuits, you say?

3. On Dave
We have seen the return of randomly calling people ‘Dave‘ this week, during a visit by a BT engineer. Said engineer goes upstairs to check some cable. The Toddler is concerned about this sudden departure: ‘Where’s Dave gone?’ As far as Silly Mummy is aware, he isn’t called Dave. At least, he wasn’t when he entered the house.

4. On Christmas, not being ready
The Toddler comes downstairs in the morning to discover Silly Mummy has put up the Christmas decorations: ‘What have you make? It’s christmas! What have you make? You made Christmas! I’m not ready!’ She does not clarify in what way she feels unready. Perhaps she hoped to meet the decorations dressed as a reindeer.

5. On being impressed
The Toddler has come over all Masterchef this week. Silly Mummy hands her a snack: ‘I like this one. I’m very impressed.’

6. On her church building work
The Toddler is travelling in the car. She points out of the window and announces: ‘Look at that big mountain!’
Silly Mummy looks: ‘That’s a church. It’s not a mountain. It’s a big building. It’s very tall, isn’t it?’
Always one to take credit where it isn’t due, The Toddler agrees: ‘Yes, I think I made it taller.’

7. On people being wrong about her
Silly Mummy is mildly chastising The Toddler for a bit of naughty behaviour. The Toddler is not standing for it: ‘You’re wrong about me!’

8. On being shy
The Toddler is meeting Father Christmas soon. The Toddler likes to meet people. The Baby does not. The Toddler considers that this might be an issue: ‘I think The Baby might be a bit shy.’
Silly Mummy agrees: ‘I think she might. Can you say hello to Father Christmas for her? Can you tell him her name?’
The Toddler has sudden concerns about this course of action: ‘I think I might be a bit shy.’
Silly Mummy snorts: ‘I don’t think you’re a bit shy!’
The Toddler disagrees: ‘I think I are a bit shy.’

9. On buttons, not to be confused with bottoms
The Toddler is in a dark corridor with ultraviolet lights at the aquarium. She is excited by everyone’s white items of clothing glowing. Grandma attempts to show her how the buttons on the front of Auntie’s coat are glowing: ‘Look at Auntie’s buttons, The Toddler.’
The Toddler inexplicably disappears around the back of Auntie, where she closely inspects Auntie’s backside: ‘Oh yes, there’s her bottom. It is her bottom.’ You may have misheard, The Toddler.

10. On muffins, in her opinion
Silly Mummy is eating a muffin. The Toddler asks to try a piece. She looks at the muffin and says, ‘I think it’s a cake.’ Silly Mummy agrees that muffins are like cakes. The Toddler eats a bit and revises her original comment: ‘Well, in my opinion, it’s not a cake.’ This may well be the greatest thing she has ever said (in my opinion).

 

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 13: I’m Not a Hufflepuff
Week 15: We Are Not a Stinker
Week 23: I Resent to You
Week 26: Be Quiet

Look What I Made: a Handmade Christmas With Nipper and Tyke

Some of you may know Alice at Nipper and Tyke: funny blogger, owner of a sleep helmet wearing genius, and talented artist and maker of tapestry (tapestress is almost certainly not the word). Alice also offers tapestry classes and makes do it yourself tapestry kits, so that we can all pretend to be talented tapestresses (definitely not the word).

For Christmas, Alice has made kits to make your own gorgeous tapestry Christmas tree decorations, and she has kindly given me a kit to try. The decorations come in a variety of designs and colour schemes, and each kit makes three decorations, in different sizes and shapes. They are all so pretty, but I chose the red and white design as I love the heart and snowflake motifs.

The kit comes in a little bag and contains everything you need. You get the tapestry needle, six plastic canvases (two for each decoration), all the threads, the hanging wire, instructions, and the pattern for your chosen design.

The designs are stitched in a half cross stitch. You sew each design twice, to make the two sides of the decoration, and then stitch the sides together and attach the wire for hanging. The instructions are very clear, and the patterns are really easy to follow (as in, I was able to follow them). There are simple methods for neatly securing loose ends at the start and finish. This may seem an odd thing to mention, but I know it will appeal to any other people like me who may be out there. That would be people who enjoy sewing, are actually reasonably good at embroidery, but inexplicably have never mastered using any kind of sensible, tidy method for dealing with the loose threads at the start and end. You would not need to have any pre-existing abilities or knowledge when it comes to sewing, embroidery or tapestry in order to follow these instructions. I would say your level of experience would really only affect the speed with which you can complete the decorations.

It’s really very relaxing to do the sewing, and it is satisfying seeing the pattern coming together. As you progress, and can see the designs appearing, it becomes pretty intuitive to see where the next stitch goes without needing to closely count out the pattern (though, of course, you can still do so, if living on the edge is not your thing). The best part is that, as Alice has done all the hard work of designing the patterns, providing instructions, and collecting up the necessary materials, it really doesn’t take all that long to make a lovely handmade decoration. You then get to look awfully clever and creative, whilst secretly knowing that it wasn’t actually that hard (because really Alice is the awfully clever and creative one).

I have taken pictures showing the materials, the stages and a completed decoration. Mostly because I have always wanted to be a little bit Blue Peter, and push my just started piece out of the way to plonk down my ‘one I made earlier’. In fact, if I have one criticism here, it would have to be the disappointing lack of double sided tape and washing up liquid bottles involved in the making of these decorations. Of course, for all those who have less romanticised recollections, and remember the reality of Blue Peter creations, this could only be seen as a positive for Alice’s creations.

N&T 1N&T 2
N&T 3N&T 4

You can purchase these kits on Nipper and Tyke’s Etsy store. I would definitely recommend them to add a bit of homemade charm to your decorations, or as lovely handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family, not to mention an enjoyable craft activity.

I give The Toddler and The Baby a Christmas decoration every year, and this year will be giving them each one of the Nipper and Tyke decorations I have made myself, so that will be extra special. I may neglect to mention that the credit is really all Alice’s (sorry, Alice): ‘Look what Mummy made you! Isn’t Mummy clever?’

N&T 5

 
 
(You can see more examples of Alice’s work on Nipper and Tyke’s Facebook page, as well as in her Etsy store.)

 
 

Disclosure: I was sent these items by Nipper and Tyke to review. All opinions are my own.

Fairytale of New Parents

(To the tune of Fairytale of New York, my favourite Christmas song)

 
 
It was Christmas Eve (help)
For the parents
The children said to us,
Can we have more chocolate now?
If we do not allow
Then they’ll have a cry
Til we give in to them
And kiss discipline goodbye

We need a lucky night
The kids to go to sleep
We’ve got a feeling
It might not last for long
We’ll quickly wrap the gifts
And fill the stockings up
Hope they stay in bed
How could this go wrong?

They got Lego galore
Princess dresses in gold
But they just like the boxes
In which they were sold

When they first went to bed
On a cold Christmas Eve
We promised them
Presents were waiting for them

They were excited
They were giddy
They got a little bit lippy
When we finished their stories
They called out for more
One started bouncing
The other was singing
They must go to sleep
They can’t dance through the night

Father Christmas in his sleigh
Is travelling on his way
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas Day

We’ve got sprouts
We’ve got stuffing
And potatoes for roasting
Lying there on that tray
Dinner’s in disarray

We’ve got pudding
And crackers
Where are the nutcrackers?
Merry Christmas from Mummy
Dinner may not be yummy

Father Christmas in his sleigh
Is travelling on his way
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas Day

We could have organised
We shouldn’t be surprised
There’ll be no dreams for us
Won’t get to bed tonight
We underestimated
all we had to do
Do kids need breakfast too??
We built our plans around chocolate

Father Christmas in his sleigh
Is travelling on his way
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas Day

Christmas Is a Wrap With Zazzle

The Toddler was 20 months old last Christmas. She has surprisingly good recollection of the whole event. Mostly based around chocolate, however, so perhaps not so surprising. She remembers the decorations. She points at the shelves that had Christmas ornaments, lights and bowls of chocolates for the Silly Parents: ‘Lights were up there…with the choccys!’ She recalls her advent calendar. She has no idea what the point of it was, but she remembers there were chocolates in it (some days). She looks a little bit vague at mention of Christmas trees, but dutifully nods: ‘Yes, Christmas…I had choccys, didn’t I?’

Like all self respecting toddlers, The Toddler and The Baby enjoy the wrapping paper at least as much as they enjoy presents. The Baby enjoys shredding paper, chewing it, and the knowledge that she is bonding with the cat through their shared love of playing in the wrapping. The Toddler enjoys opening things, whether they are hers or not, and also ‘reading’ the tags and cards. All items ‘read’ by The Toddler, whether a gift tag or a takeaway menu that came through the door, tend say: ‘Dear The Toddler, Once upon a time…’ This is usually followed by random things that The Toddler has been thinking about or doing. Or the food she can see, in the case of the menus: ‘Once upon a time pizza.’

For my part, I love Christmas and decorations, and I am one of those people who likes to wrap everything in coordinated paper, with ribbons and matching tags.

The upshot of this is that we are all very happy to be reviewing Zazzle‘s wonderful range of Christmas wrapping products. Zazzle have a massive range of paper, tags, stickers, address notes, ribbons and anything else you can think of for beautiful Christmas gift wrapping. There is a style to suit everyone: traditional, pretty, cute, funny, quirky, tacos (really). As with everything at Zazzle, there are also numerous ways to personalise the products. Many wrapping papers can have your photographs added, which is a particularly lovely idea for new babies and children. Others can have personalised messages printed on them. You can select the size of the roll, and there are different types of paper to choose from, including Tyvek, a super strong, rip resistant paper (perfect for people who like to re-use wrapping paper for crafts, or those who don’t like their toddlers/cats to shred wrapping paper all over the floor). The tags and stickers can also be personalised with printed messages, as can the ribbon.

I have traditionally chosen my wrapping paper to coordinate with the colours of the tree decorations. However, we are foregoing the big tree with presents underneath during the toddler years, in favour of a small tree on the table out of reach. Mostly because it seems likely that festive spirit would be somewhat dampened by a month of ‘LET GO OF THAT’, ‘STOP EATING THAT’, ‘STOP CLIMBING THAT’, ‘STOP PULLING ON THAT’, ‘STOP TEARING THAT’, and ‘THAT IS NOT A BALL DO NOT THROW IT’ at 30 second intervals. Therefore, I have opted for cute and quirky papers that compliment each other, with tags that match, and ribbon printed with a festive message.

Zazzle X 1Zazzle X 2

As my perfectionist/anal wrapping behaviour does tend to take rather a lot of time, I am really pleased to have been able to have the tags printed with messages. I have got tags with messages pre-printed for The Toddler and The Baby, to go on their main presents. I also chose some stickers. I have had some printed with a Christmas message from all of us, which will be a quick and simple way of labelling gifts for people outside our immediate family. I also chose a sheet of stickers for each of the girls for their stocking/little presents. They both love stickers and I picked really cute designs. I had these labelled as from Father Christmas and, again, this will save a lot of time. We have stocking presents from Father Christmas, but main presents from Mummy and Daddy (and Father Christmas) in our house. Stickers will be an efficient way of labelling the numerous little gifts, with the added bonus of not getting knocked off in the stockings. All of the products are great quality and really lovely.

Zazzle X 3Zazzle X 4

Overall, our verdicts are as follows. I am very excited about how pretty all the presents will look, and the easier labelling options. The Baby thinks it all looks very tasty. The cat thinks she may agree a truce with The Baby in order to form a paper ripping alliance. The Toddler is very pleased to be receiving – in her favourite sticker format – a traditional Christmas greeting from Father Christmas: ‘Dear The Toddler, Once upon a time pizza…’

I would recommend taking a look at the range of wrapping products at Zazzle, for a beautiful under tree (or very high shelf, if you own a toddler) look. Now, the Sillies are off to decorate the house. In chocolate, as far as The Toddler is concerned.

Zazzle X 5Zazzle X 6

 
 

 
 

Disclosure: I was sent these items by Zazzle to review. All opinions are my own.

The Twelve Days of Toddler

On the first day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me a cabbage in a teapot.

On the second day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the third day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my toddler stole from me four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my toddler hid for me seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me eight books she required in her bed during nap time, seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me nine tantrums a wailing, eight books she required in her bed during nap time, seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me ten demands for lunch before 10am, nine tantrums a wailing, eight books she required in her bed during nap time, seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my toddler gave to me eleven photos of the carpet taken on my phone, ten demands for lunch before 10am, nine tantrums a wailing, eight books she required in her bed during nap time, seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my toddler threw at me twelve imaginary cakes, eleven photos of the carpet taken on my phone, ten demands for lunch before 10am, nine tantrums a wailing, eight books she required in her bed during nap time, seven DVDs down the back of the sofa, six blankets no longer folded and residing in the drawer, five fingers stuck in the letterbox again, four handfuls of cereal out of my bowl, three items of clothing removed from about The Baby’s person, two part chewed raisins, and a cabbage in a teapot.