Children’s Christmas for £50

Children’s Christmas for £50

Okay, so I wrote a post about the things I would love to buy my daughter following ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read’ in the future. I loved picking out all the beautiful dream gifts.

The thing is: we are broke. So broke! I chose to be a stay at home parent, and I wasn’t even good with money when we did have it.

Something I love about Yes Bebe is that there really are lots of great choices for any budget. So I thought I would redo my list with a more realistic £50 budget (I’m including the 10% discount shared on the Facebook group. Also I went over budget a little bit. Did I mention that I’m bad with money?). I’m still completely stoked about these choices!

1 Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: Lanka Kade small rainbow ark and characters – £34.95. Are you kidding me? What an absolute steal. So bright and lovely and full of animals for a little person to explore for years to come

NEED: Grimms small rainbow – £11.95. My daughter has had this since she was under a year old and it has always drawn her attention, from persistently dismantling it as a baby to looking at the colours and making simple arrangements with it now that she is 19 months. Personally, I prefer this to the six piece as I think the thinner wood handles more nicely (NB the packaging warns this is a choking hazard for under 3s)

WEAR: VillerValla anti slip socks – £4.95. Cute little sockos with anti slip to help with first wibbly walking

READ: Snow – £3.99. Whether there is or isn’t snow at Christmas, we can talk all about it together

TOTAL – £55.84 – Less 10% = £50.26

Two Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: BigJigs Carpenter’s Belt – £15.49. What baby wouldn’t love to run amok with a tiny hammer? And a tool belt to wear. I love everything about this. The little nuts and bolts are a great way to perfect a fine motor screwing action as well

NEED: Tegu Travel Pals Kitty – £15.30. Great to take out and about and keep little hands busy, as well as starting to understand how magnets work

WEAR: Smafolk mittens – £19.96. To keep her little hands cosy and cute

READ: Rosa rides her scooter – £4.99. A fun book to look at together and start to talk about road safety

TOTAL: £55.74 – Less 10% = £50.17

Three Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: Janod Doctor’s Suitcase – £26.80. So much fun for role play, as well as building empathy. The bag looks so beautifully made as well.

NEED: Smallfoot Wobbly Tower – £3.49. A lovely travel pack which can also work on turn taking and balance skills

WEAR: Maxomorra playsuit sunflower – £18.90. These playsuits are so beautiful. Getting one in Sunflowers in a year is clearly a pipe dream, but this is a wish list after all

READ: Cook it! – £4.99. A sweet book full of details about cooking, which will be a lovely way to embed information, as in the heat of the kitchen she’s usually too distracted by pinging the empty toaster rack down

TOTAL: £54.18 – Less 10% = £48.76

(I’m assuming the discount can still be applied to imaginary Maxomorra)

Four Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: Grapat Tomtens – £31.90. This is such a gorgeous set. Grapat is so wonderfully made and there is a little bit of everything here, from cute characters to little trees, mushrooms, coins, fire and honeycombs, which makes it really versatile for creative play

NEED: Okonorm watercolour paint – £6.12. A sweet little palette for a budding artist to practise with

WEAR: Maxomorra unicorn dreams tube scarf – £9.90. A beautiful and hassle free scarf for keeping the chill out

READ: Dinosaurs – £5.99. A perfect amount of detail about each dinosaur along with cool pictures

TOTAL – £53.91 – Less 10% = £48.52

Five Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: Ambrosius mermaid doll – £14.95. What a sweet, magical little friend to carry around and confide in

NEED: Orchard Toys What a Performance! £15.95. Christmas family fun which builds on so many creative skills

WEAR: Little Green Radicals sherpa hat – £18.00. Adorable, snuggly goodness

READ: The Emperor’s New Clothes – £5.99. An important message to discuss in this story, and the flaps to lift will add extra interest

TOTAL: £54.89 – Less 10% = £49.40

Six Years Old:

£50 budget want need wear read

WANT: Haba Terra Carving set: £26.52. How cool is this? I can set her to work whittling us a fleet of toy animals, look out for our store (launching 2022)!

NEED: BambooCUP for kids – £11.95. Her own special cup for drinks on the go

WEAR: Slugs & Snails tights – £12.99. Aren’t these adorable? They will look amazing with big warm boots too

READ: Never Ever – £5.99. A lovely reminder that life can be more exciting than it seems

TOTAL: £57.45 – Less 10% = £51.70. Close enough!

 

How about you? Do you have any budget superhero present picks to share? How else do you save money at Christmas? Any tips gratefully received!

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Dreaming of a Yes Bebe Christmas…

I’ve done a lot of Christmas shopping already – from Yes Bebe – of stocking fillers and odds and ends that will add up to make Christmas for my three boys. We don’t buy them individual presents, as they have ample grandparents  (two sets on each side), aunts and uncles (I have 6 siblings) who buy for them as indivuduals. We look to get greater value by buying toys that can be used in different ways at different developmental stages and won’t be outgrown soon, meaning we can continue to build on our collection year-on-year instead of simply replacing outgrown toys. This means lots of lovely open-ended wooden toys – rainbows and building blocks and animals – oh my!

Being Pagan, we begin our Yuletide celebrations on solstice morning, and celebrate 12 days of Yule. To celebrate the solstice we will bring greenery into the house – holly and ivy to represent the male and female and misteltoe for fertility, the evergreen tree to represent the new life of the coming Spring – and make a wreath to represent the cyclical nature of the year.

On solstice morning the children wake up to a gift, with a further small gift to follow on each of the 12 days of Yule, including something larger and a small stocking on the 25th to tie in with Christmas tradition. Last year I set up a story sack for each day; this year I am hoping to begin Yule with a stone circle scene with Ocamora teniques and Ambrosius fairies, with a Grimms fire in the centre, then something like hang a wrapped Holztiger animal for the 5 year olds and a Lanka Kade toy for the 18 month old on the tree to open each morning. I also have a few story sacks planned – I’ll write another post about those!

lanka kade jigsaw christmas

I hope to give them each a beautiful Lanka Kade jigsaw:

Coby: Lanka Kade 1-10 dinosaur jigsaw

Conall: Lanka Kade a-z dragon jigsaw

Harris: Lanka Kade 1-25 crocodile jigsaw

IF we did advent, I would have bought one of these 25 piece jigsaws for each of the twins and given them a numbered piece each morning, with the final piece on the 25th.

My Dream Yuletide

There are so many goodies on the Yes Bebe website that I would love to bundle together for the kids. If I were to somehow come into some extra cash between now and December, here’s what I would buy:

For the 18 month old…

dream christmas 18 month old

We have so many lovely toy cars which Coby loves to push around the house. I would love to extend this play with:

Way to Play King of the Road – or in fact, any of the Way to Play roads.

A Grimms Bridge – natural or rainbow… or both…

The Lubulona Lubu Town Winterberg Maxi would be ideal for building cityscapes (recommended for 3+ years but how gorgeous???). Alternatively, some Grapat houses and Nins would work to build a townscape.

Grimms 6 coloured cars – I know I said we have plenty of cars, but come on!

For 5 year old twin: Conall

dream christmas 5 years old

Conall loves all things fantasy: castles, dragons, knights, fairies, wizards and witches… He also LOVES building with blocks.

Hape medieval quest marble run – its a castle AND a marble run!

Ostheimer Dragon and Cave – he would tell me so many stories about this…

Conall is also austistic and has certain sensory needs. He loves our Creatimber but often has to fight his brothers for it. I’d love to buy him his own Spectra Swing to rock on. I would also love to buy him a Magic Wood Marble Tree as I believe the sound would soothe him.

For 5 year old twin: Harris

dream christmas 5 year old

Harris is currently viking and monster obsessed, and enjoys drawing. He is also showing a genuine interest in numbers.

Magic wood viking boat and vikings would be an obvious place to start!

Although not on his radar, I’d love to buy Harris some TicToys Binabo as I think he will love the creativity of this!

And as he loves to draw, I think these gorgeous Crayon Rocks might spark his imagination…

Sumblox have been on my list for ages, but as Harris is actually interested now I finally have an excuse to invest!

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A Want-Need-Wear-Read Christmas

Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read

Christmas (especially with children) can mean an overwhelming amount of presents. I love the increasingly popular concept of giving only four; something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

It means that I will have to think carefully about what will be the most meaningful gift to my daughter at that time, instead of reflexively buying things because it’s Christmas.

Fewer presents frees up so much of the day to focus on other traditions, each other, and to really appreciate each gift.

The trouble is: I love my baby so much! And I love toys! And how can I not give her all of the toys??

I’m trying to rein myself in by planning ahead. I promise myself that I will give her all of the toys. Just not at this one Christmas.

So here follows my fantasy list of something to want, something to need, something to wear, and something to read for years to come.

One Year Old:

christmas want need wear read 1

WANT: Grimms 1001 Nights – the most beautiful, chunky, perfectly formed blocks in existence. So easy for little hands to grasp and build something which looks significant

NEED: The Wee’Un – a Pikler triangle to help babies explore their growing mobility; be it standing, climbing, or crawling underneath

WEAR: Piccalilly Hooded Playsuit – to keep my sweet adventurer snug and snugglable

READ: Dear Zoo – the perfect first book with so much to offer: lifting flaps for motor skills, and learning animal names, noises and characteristics, and colours

Two Years Old:

christmas want need wear read 2

WANT: Holztiger Dolls House! It’s so lovely! And so open ended she could basically fall clean through it. It could be used as anything from a stable to a garage as my baby’s imagination and interests develop

NEED: Utukutu Spectra wooden swing – fun for rocking and swinging when she’s full of energy, or can be tipped on its side and used as a shop counter for role play

WEAR: Sarah’s Silks playsilk in Sea – a lovely tactile playsilk which she can wrap herself in like Princess Elsa’s dress, wear as a veil, or use as water in a play scene

READ: My First Book of Woodland Animals – a sweet book to expand on her exploration of nature

Three Years Old:

christmas want need wear read 3

WANT: Way to Play for creating city scenes from the lounge to the garden to the bath

NEED: Grimms 12 piece rainbow. It would be rude not to. For stacking, sorting, and using as tunnels with the Way to Play

WEAR: Gluckskafer Doll’s Carrier – How. Cute. Is. This. Sling. She can take care of her dollies on the go

READ: Montessori Map Work: a lovely first introduction to basic geography

Four Years Old:

christmas want need wear read 4

She’s going to be four years old?? Who is chopping onions in here??

WANT: Hape Quadrilla marble run, for hours of construction and playing. I love the musical add-ons where the marbles hit bells and chime bars on their way

NEED: Sumblox. A simple way for her to experiment with numbers which is practical and playful

WEAR: Maileg crown. I may have to purchase one of these in advance and wear it in secret as part of my self-care

READ: The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies – beautiful pictures and fantasy for us to enjoy together

Five Years Old:

christmas want need wera read 5

WANT: The amazing Ostheimer ship and cabin – for playing pirates, storing animals, and looking beautiful

NEED: Hape piano – a beautiful piano at her height and size would be great for her to experiment with music

WEAR: Blue unicorn mini foldable backpack – encouraging her independence and looking adorbs at the same time

READ: First Encyclopedia of Dinos – the internet is a great resource but I love treasuries like this which can really spark more exploration

Six Years Old:

christmas want need wera read 6

WANT: Grimms Sparkling Mandala Sun – It’s so shiny! Young girls like shiny things, I believe? Love the different scenes these pieces can create, and it will work well with existing blocks to make more fantastic creations

NEED: Bajo keepsake box – a special place for her to keep her treasures

WEAR: Maxomorra one piece – these look amazing at any age, so convenient and comfortable for happy adventures

READ: Three cheers for Women! She will be a woman all too soon, and I hope she’s inspired by her amazing sisterhood

 

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A Sustainable Secret Santa

secret santa claus doll

Ahh the workplace secret santa: that annual event we’re all forced to participate in even though we neither want to buy nor be bought another comedy mug. Rather than spending pennies pointlessly on most likely plastic-wrapped, throwaway items that will end up in the charity shop in a week/year’s time, why not buy something pointedly sustainable instead? Here are a few ideas…

Secret Santa: under £5

Skincare: Unless you know someone really well, soap can be taken the wrong way, but lip balm is always both useful and appreciated! The Organic Essence natural lip balm is universally appealing and a great option for men or women who are stuck in an office OR subject to weather, on a playground for example. (Which also makes it a great option for classroom assistants /nursery leaders /teachers etc…)

Travel: The Funky Soap Travel Tin can be used for so much more than soap, and as it’s made from aluminium it is fully recycleable. To make it look like more, pop in a few wrapped sweets or some fudge from your local sweet shop.

Kitchen: There is no excuse for using clingfilm any more – buy a regular offender an alternative like these vegan food wraps and they’ll never look back. And we would never encourage cheating, but if £5 is really more a guideline than a rule, splash out an extra £1 on a Keep Leaf baggie.

Lunch time: Who doesn’t love bees? This cool bag is waterproof, lightweight and will keep lunch cool until, well, lunchtime. If bees aren’t their thing there are other options – flamingoes, seaside or puffins, Eco Chic have got it all!

Out & About: These gorgeous organic short-handled string bags are deceptively spacious, holding far more than you’d expect but squishing down to nothing in a pocket. A bargain at £5 exactly.

Desk-top fun: Check out Goki’s fab brainteaser puzzles, many of which come in under £5.

Secret Santa: under £10

Garden: Surely no-one with a garden wouldn’t appreciate a bee bomb? Add a jar of local honey and you’ve got a gift everyone will be buzzing over! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Kitchen: In this price range straws are a great option! Bamboo or stainless steel, the choice is yours!

Lunch time: You can’t go wrong with a reusable sandwich pouch, such as those by Planet Wise and Keep Leaf – both have some stunning design options available.

Monbento have some really trendy options available for those who bring leftovers for their lunch. Their biodegradable cutlery is really stylish, while their chopsticks are frankly beautiful!

The Equa 600ml bottle just squeezes in under the £10 mark and offers a great alternative to single use plastic water bottles. There are several lovely designs available; my favourite is Universe.

Secret Santa: under £20

If you’ve got £20 to splash out there are endless possibilities! There are lots of lovely reusable drink options, from water bottles to insulated flasks to juice boxes.

Wooden toys are not just for children, as many of us can attest. How about treating a colleague to a desk-friendly Grimms small rainbow, some grapat mandala pieces  for mindfulness practice or a Goki puzzle 3D?

A hamper (see below) could also come in under £20 if you pick carefully…

Secret Santa: over £20

Why not make a personalised gift hamper? Some ideas could include:

For the lunchbox regular: choose from straws, beeswax wraps, reusable cutlery, sauce pots… monbento are a great place to start!

For the parent: build a fabulous rainbow picnic hamper from the amazing Re-play range – and they are so reasonable you could even manage a small hamper under the £20 mark!

For the commuter: Help them while away the train journey with some brainteaser puzzles from the Goki range, or a Grimms magnetic puzzle for the ultimate in compact open-ended “play”. Add an insulated flask for their mid-journey cuppa and a bar of chocolate as a treat!

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Gift picks for £5, £10, £25, £50, and £100

Send help! I can’t stop looking at the Yes Bebe website! I’ve been picking out my favourite things within price ranges, and there are absolutely loads for any budget.

I’m including the Facebook discount, because I’m assuming nobody would miss out on that blessing. So here’s what I’d get for:

Gift picks for £5ish

gift picks £5

  • Lanka Kade puzzle: these are lovely and chunky and an absolute steal (like all Lanka Kade) – my 19 month old has a few Lanka Kade puzzles and never gets tired of them
  • Planet Wise snack bag: who doesn’t need more beautiful bags? Good for snacks, stationery, makeup, soap, sanitary biz, just keeping some things clean and in the right place in your giant handbag…
  • Le Toy Van rocket! Zoom to the moon! A renowned crowd pleaser
  • Bamboo straws: fun for any age! Novel if you like novelty, virtuous if you don’t want your rubbish stuck in a hapless turtle’s orifices #stopsucking
  • Lamazuna Oriculi: an ear wax scooper? Yes and yes!
  • Goki finger puppets: look at that impudent wolf in Grandma’s bonnet!
  • Wobbly Tower: travel sized stacking fun for all the family
  • Little Bug Bingo: Orchard Toys sell the best games and puzzles! What little person doesn’t love bugs?
  • Crayon Rocks! These come in a little bag as all great treasures must, and help develop a proper pincer grip to build writing skills
  • Veggie brush: it’s useful and it looks good, so it’s a great present for any age in my book
  • Lanka Kade tractor: again, my little girl has this and it’s one of her most reached for toys 10/10 would buy several more
  • Little Violet’s hand sanitiser: a cool gift for anybody currently looking after children or animals, or who just likes to keep their hands camera-ready
  • Foldable shopper! You gotta have a foldable shopper! Why not get a nice looking one? This will make your money back in 5ps saved in no time
  • Goki frog catching game: A bright, fun, active present. Children will thank you! Parents will admire you!
  • Knitting 4 Nancy: French knitting! What a blast from the past! Apparently you can make the knit into pretty flowers and things which I certainly never got round to as a callow youth
  • Cupcake Trinket Box: a sweet home for special things

Gift picks for £10ish

gift picks £10

Gift picks for £25ish

gift picks £25

  • Goki Nature train: It’s chunky, it’s choo-ey, it’s super playable with
  • Bajo Mendelsons: iconic little stacky people to keep hands and minds busy
  • Doctor’s suitcase: listen to your heart and gift this winner
  • Figure 8 railway: a perfect introduction to the joys of miniature railways
  • Monbento lunch box: what a cool gift, for an adult or a young person rocking their own packup
  • Play n Pack Jungle: Love this! A backpack full of fun including a mini roll of Playpa!
  • Playhouse animal hospital: you could collect a whole high street of these little play scenes
  • Educo bees: Bees! Colour sort the little cuties and/or display them looking fine
  • Hape checkout: beep! Beep! Beep! Is that cash or card? Little folk love running the register
  • Sensopath balance: build your core with these bonkers wooden stationary balance flip flops.
  • Mermaid doll: isn’t her colouring perfect for a mystical sea lady?
  • Fishing game: if you know somebody without a fishing game, for goodness’ sake get them a fishing game
  • Palos: scrumptious Grapat sticks with so many uses. I intend to use them for clutching in my hands and laughing “AT LAST!”, but they could also be trees, people, ice creams, counters…
  • Terra carving set: I think this is my top pick. What youngster would not want a blade and a whittling blank?
  • Nanoemo: these look like such an engaging way to connect together different emotions
  • Patisserie set: for the classiest tiny tea parties

Gift picks for £50ish

gift picks £50

  • Pirate ship: what a beauty, for hours of fun on the seven seas
  • Grimms cars: fabulously shaped and coloured, tactile little autos
  • Rollerby Klingeling: what a lovely first ball track with just enough going on to keep little folk hooked
  • Fagus tractor: a big beautiful wooden tractor. What is not to love?
  • Perpetual calendar: lovely visual way to mark time for the whole family
  • Geometrics house: a modern doll’s house which can be endlessly reconfigured
  • Grimms mobile home: a beautiful place for little figures to inhabit, plus it doubles as a travel toy since it packs away neatly
  • Tegu: a magnetic blocks set with enough pieces to spark hours of building and experimenting
  • Quadrilla roundabout: have you seen the marbles go on the whirly roundy bit? This thing is mesmerising
  • Grimms rainbow: I’ve got a serious crush on the pastel 12 piece at the moment
  • Luggy: such a super stylish way for little folk to carry their treasures
  • Teniques: gorgeous calming stacking loveliness
  • Holdie House: is it okay to use this as a handbag in your thirties?
  • Construction trucks: brum brum! These have the edge on wooden toys for hitting the garden or bath, and still good for the planet
  • Bird tree: a beautiful home for your beautiful wooden birds
  • Castle: a reconfigurable days-of-yore setpiece in gorgeous Gluckskafer colours

Gift picks for £100ish

gift picks £100

  • Quadrilla: mega ballrun fun for hours of whizzing marbles
  • Country play kitchen: is it okay to be jealous of children for having a nicer kitchen than me?
  • Tegu: what can’t you make with this many Tegu pieces?
  • DIY dream house: how gorgeous is this? It has little empty frames which you can put your own artwork in!
  • Annual Ring: how much gravitas is this beaut rocking? What a great present to enjoy all year
  • Balance board: wibble wobble fun for all the family
  • 1001 Nights: we’ve had this for a while, and I only fall more deeply in love with it as time goes on
  • Fairy Tale cottage: what a perfect mystical home for any figurines to play out stories in
  • Everearth Ark: a majestic vessel complete with lovely animals
  • Mosaic peacock: beautiful colours and I love a multi purpose puzzle block situation
  • Lanka Kade farm: farm animals and a home to keep them. And a tractor! Perfection
  • Market stall: isn’t this a beauty? What a magnificent place to practise the fundamentals of commerce
  • Sumblox: blow them away with the awesome power of tangible mathematics
  • Pirates Island: what a cool set piece! I can see pirates swashbuckling, I can see dinosaurs roaring, I can see heroic rescues…
  • Spectra: why not get them a balance board, swing, market stall, hammock all in one?
  • Garbage tipper truck: the little bins slot on the back and you can tip them up! My refuse collection aficionado would be blown away by this

What did I overlook?? I had such long long lists, it was hard narrowing down to just these. What are your winning presents this year?

 

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Advent Calendar Ideas

An advent calendar is my opening gambit to BLOW my baby’s MIND this Christmas. I’m thinking of going all in on the ceremony and lighting a candle every morning, reading some kind of Winter themed poem or talking about something I’m grateful for that day, and then opening the advent box for the day. But enough about my nonplussed nearly two year old…

What’s going in our advent calendars?

Many of us might be planning to give wood, and some go as far as making story sacks for the run-up to Christmas…

Here are some of my ideas for themed advent calendars; basically a plan to consolidate efforts into just a few purchases which can be split across the calendar. I love the idea of the theme coming together over a period of days, and the suspense about what the next piece will add.

Marbles (and a ball run for Christmas?), Sumblox corresponding to date, Grimms rainbow forest, Goki tree slices, Goki stone puzzle, Grapat Tomtens (or Mandala pieces), Threading game and buttons/bobbins/beads, Bigjigs trackside accessories (and a train set for Christmas?), Magic Wood dollhouse furniture, Janod mini stories, Bigjigs dinosaur templates, Tegu, Little wooden ladybirds, Dinosaur magnetic jigsaw, Grapat Winter, Lanka Kade puzzles

Or the calendar could be built around a theme (tree decorations, wooden animals, decorative figures for a seasonal display, beauty treats, books or poems), or just a mix of different items.

Grimms bearded dwarves, Lanka Kade animals, Maileg tree ornament, Gluckskafer duck, Haba rollicking rollers, Grimms decorative figure, Holztiger robin, Organic Essence lip balm, Lanka Kade fire engine, Ambrosius mistletoe girl, Pick n Mix candle, Eric and Albert’s Crafts reindeer, Grimms branch, Gerda Muller – Seasons collection, Lanka Kade spinosaurus, Ostheimer shepherd kneeling

I’m leaning towards an activity advent calendar, which might include a mix of seasonal trips, festive activities, and acts of kindness. Some of these could be…

Choose and decorate tree, Make Christmas Cards, Enact Christmas/seasonal stories, Nature forage/collect pine cones, St Nicholas’ Day on 6th December (find a gift hidden in shoe), Choose new present or old toys for charity of choice, Bake gingerbread, Make festive play dough, Visit a Christmas market, Make nature gift – insect hotel/bird food, Make hot chocolate sticks for gifts, Winter crafts, Make Christmas crackers, All add a memory to keepsake box – add/review annually, Christmas bath by candlelight, Go carol singing

Maileg tree ornament, Wee Can Too finger paint for cards and wrapping paper, Lanka Kade nativity, Respiin medium basket for displaying nature finds, Ambrosius Saint Nicholas, Janod doctor’s suitcase for charity donation, Janod pastry set for baking, Okonorm soft modelling clay to make festive sensory dough, Olli Ella Luggy to take to the market, Haba assembly kit – insect hotel, Love Cocoa dark chocolate for making hot chocolate sticks as gifts, Re-cycle Me Winter, Friendly travel soaps for Christmas cracker fillers, Bajo pony keepsake box for adding memories from the year, Tinti bath ball,    Qwetch insulated flask

I love hearing about people’s Christmas plans! Do you have any great advent ideas cooking? Please let me know!

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Meet Your New Christmas Holiday Tradition!

holiday tradition Jolabokaflod

Traditions

Everyone has their family traditions during the Christmas holiday season. Any of these sound familiar, past or present? Not all mine.

  • Getting a tree together and decorating it?
  • Baking mince pies?
  • A Christmas day walk after or before the main Christmas feast?
  • Watching Top of the Pops countdown? Snigger. How retro.
  • Watching the Queen’s speech?
  • Morning church service?
  • A must-see annual viewing of a special film?
  • Present giving before the Christmas feast?
  • Present giving after the Christmas feast?
  • Present giving on Christmas eve?
  • Snack left for Santa and Rudolph?
  • Christmas stocking?
  • A little nap after the feast?

The list can be endless. Sometimes you don’t even realise a tradition is hidden away amongst the festivities.

And as we get older and have our own families we become nostalgic and pass these traditions on (or even get rid of them because we hated it as a child) and gain another few along the way. Any of these ring true? Not all mine.

  • New Pyjamas and socks (because we haven’t got enough already)?
  • Xmas eve box full of treats?
  • Charity donation or visiting someone who might be lonely this holiday?
  • Secret Santa?
  • Celebration/seasonal display?

And then there are those extra-extra special traditions that you just can’t replicate and are close to your heart.

Eating my grandpa’s turkey sandwiches late on Christmas day when you start to get hungry again after the feast (because it happens). Squeezed in between the layers of bread are roasties, stuffing, vegetables, dripping and all. A death-wish right there, but so amazing and indulgent. A last nod to Christmas day. I still find it hard to imitate those wicked flavours.

Just when you think you can’t have any more amazingness over the Christmas holidays, someone waves that hygge* wand over you and you discover a new tradition!

What sorcery is this you speak of?

The concept is simple. Picture this.

It’s Christmas Eve. You have been gifted a new book from your family (smell those crisp pages). Donning your Christmas pyjamas and socks, you wrap yourself in a blanket. The fire is lit, candles out and the tree lights are twinkling. With a mug of hot cocoa you spend the rest of the evening reading.

“Oh, for a nook and a storybook. With tales both new and old. For a jolly good book whereon to look. Is better to me than gold.” Old English Song.

Christmas Eve is the main gift giving day in Iceland. After the exchange of presents have finished they lose themselves in a book. Everyone grabs a cup of hot chocolate (eh hem, or an alcoholic beverage) and cozies up to spend the rest of the evening reading. And this is exactly how Icelandic people celebrate each year. The most book buying people in the world enjoy a bit of Hygge* time with their new book and family. In the words of Pop Larkin from The Darling Buds of May – Perfic.

This tradition started around 1944 (World War 2) when paper was one of the few things not rationed in Iceland and there was low tax on paper imports. Today, while the rest of the world celebrate World Book day in Spring (Next year – Tuesday 23rd April 2019), Icelanders have their equivalent between October and November and start purchasing books for Christmas Eve. A book boom of the year. This tradition is known as Jolabokaflod, which translates roughly to “Christmas book flood” in English.  A study conducted by Bifrost University in 2013 found that half the country’s population read at least eight books a year.

In a world slave to technology, I cannot think of a better way to spend the evening. My dad always had a tradition of reading his new gifted book on Christmas day, while everyone was busy tidying in the kitchen or sat in front of the box. He always looked so happy and content. Lost to the world. So, why not bring it forward a day? There’s nothing worth watching on the TV these days on the night before is there? Snigger typical British television.

If this sounds like an ideal way to spend Christmas Eve with your family, here’s a little bit of Yes Bebe inspiration for you all.

Drink up

Something to keep your hot cocoa warm or your ‘naughty-but-nice’ cold? Try U Konserve insulated coffee cups and tumblers with helpful drinking lids. They come in a variety of colours. Why not assign a colour for each family member?

https://yesbebe.co.uk/393-u-konserve/

 

Happy reading

Yes Bebe stock a carefully considered range of books. For example, themed books on Dinosaurs, Seasons, Sea life, Baby milestones, Inspiring women of history, First books, Classic picture books and interactive fairy tale books.

Many of these books can be used in conjunction with their toy section and you could create your own story sacks to accompany them.

Waldorf and Inspiring play books are also available for parents.

https://yesbebe.co.uk/160-books/

 

* Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. Look it up. It’s now become a widespread thing. Down with the kids so to speak.

 

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