Tagged Christmas

Malevolent Goblin on the Shelf: An Alternative Guide for Those Scared of the Elf

23-elf-shelf-w1200-h630December is here again. The count down to Christmas. The magic, the wonder, the anticipation, the cold sweats, the paranoia, the mind-numbing terror… Yes, IT’S BACK. The sweet Christmas tradition/horror story apparition that is the Elf on the Shelf.

Whilst the brave out there happily place the nefarious imp in cute toilet fishing poses, and share ever more ambitious fun activities for the malevolent goblin to engage in, I am presenting an alternative list of Elf on the Shelf suggestions. So, here it is: my line up of daily Elf on the Shelf activities for those among us who are outright terrified of the evil, creepy little critter.

*Keep this list well hidden. We meet in secret, under cover of darkness. Do not use real names. HE’S WATCHING US. And I think he possesses powers of mind control: keep your mind blank. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT HIM.*

 
 
Day 1

Position Elf in a cute pose with Elsa. Tell Elsa if Elf makes any sudden moves, freeze him.

 
Day 2

Put Elf in a drawer. If the drawer starts calling your name in the night, do not open it.

 
Day 3

Hide knives.

 
Day 4

Put Elf and Barbie in a toy car at the ‘drive in’ (i.e. in front of the TV). Give Barbie some mace.

 
Day 5

Send Elf to see a forensic psychiatrist (Donald Pleasence from Halloween, preferably) – he may be redeemable.

 
Day 6

Put Elf in a strait jacket after forensic psychiatrist says he’s dead behind the eyes.

 
Day 7

Position Elf anywhere in the house. Move house.

 
Day 8

Pose Elf as though he is having a bath. Fill bath with holy water.

 
Day 9

Find a corner to sit in. Rock backwards and forwards, muttering, ‘Please don’t hurt me. Oh god, please don’t hurt me!’

 
Day 10

Put Elf outside. Change locks.

 
Day 11

Set up CCTV, just in case.

 
Day 12

Obtain a sample of DNA from Elf. Familial testing might prove a link to Chucky.

 
Day 13

Serve Elf with a restraining order.

 
Day 14

Write to Father Christmas about Elf. Threaten a diplomatic incident with the North Pole if he doesn’t stop sending spies.

 
Day 15

Take up witchcraft. Position Elf in chalk circle on the floor to bind the evil spirit.

 
Day 16

Call the Ghostbusters. Worth a try.

 
Day 17

Find Elf grinning maniacally with his head stuck through an axe hole in a door. Call an exorcist when you realise that you did not put him there.

 
Day 18

Sleep with the light on. Do this every night, in fact.

 
Day 19

Give Elf a haircut. So that you can look for the Mark of the Beast on his scalp.

 
Day 20

Obtain a Batman on the Shelf to watch the Elf on the Shelf.

 
Day 21

Ask Father Christmas for a panic room.

 
Day 22

Put a stake through Elf’s heart.

 
Day 23

Decapitate Elf.

 
Day 24

Burn Elf and bury ashes in multiple different locations.

 
 
Finally, delete all social media accounts before Girl from the Ring on the Shelf becomes a Christmas trend.

The Nativity for Toddlers

christmas-1010749_1280As Christmas is approaching, and it is not the easiest of stories to explain to toddlers, I hereby present my specially adapted Nativity Story for Toddlers.

 
 
The Nativity Story, Adapted for Toddlers

 
A long, long time ago…
(No, not last week. Longer ago than last week. A very, very long time ago. How long? 2000 years. No, that’s quite a lot earlier than yesterday. Yes, earlier than last Tuesday. Earlier than last Monday, too. Never mind.)

A long, long time ago – around last Monday – there was a woman called Mary. Mary was engaged to a man called Joseph…
(It means she was going to marry Joseph. Yes, that is nice. She was probably going to wear a pretty dress, yes.)

Mary and Joseph lived in a town called Nazareth…
(No, that isn’t where Grandma lives. It’s a long way from here. No, further away than Tesco.)

Anyway, they lived in Nazareth – down the road from Grandma – and one day Mary was visited by an angel called Gabriel. The angel Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid, she had been chosen by God, and would become pregnant…
(It means she was going to have a baby. How would she get the baby? Well, that is an excellent question. The Holy Spirit was going to put the baby inside her tummy. Who is the Holy Spirit? Next question! The Holy Spirit is kind of a part of God. It was God’s baby.)

The angel Gabriel told Mary she would become pregnant – AND NOT TO ASK ANY MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THIS WOULD HAPPEN – and have a baby boy, who she should call Jesus…
(Why was he called Jesus? Because God said so. No, you can’t argue with God.)

The baby Jesus would be God’s son.

Mary told Joseph about the baby. Joseph was worried and wondered if he should still marry Mary… (Why? Well, that’s grown up stuff, really. Let’s not worry about it.)

An angel visited Joseph too, and told him not be worried about marrying Mary. The angel told Joseph that Mary’s baby would be the son of God and would be the Saviour of mankind…
(It means Jesus would save people. No, not from a dragon. What from? Well, that’s a bit complicated. From themselves, really. Well, that means…never mind.)

The Baby Jesus would save mankind – possibly from dragons. Joseph listened to the angel, and married Mary…
(Yes, I’m sure she did wear a pretty dress. No, I don’t have a picture. It’s not really the main point of the story.)

The Roman Emperor Augustus…
(The Romans were in charge of a lot of the world last Monday when this happened, and Augustus was their king.)

The Roman Emperor Augustus ordered everyone to travel to the place where they were born for the census…
(The census was a list of all the people. Augustus wanted a list of all the people so he could make sure that they all paid him money. Yes, it does sound like a good idea. No, you can’t conduct a census. No, I’m not giving you money.)

Mary and Joseph had to travel a long way from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, because Joseph was born in Bethlehem…
(Yes, Bethlehem is a long way from Grandma’s house, that’s right.)

Mary and Joseph had to travel very slowly because Mary was going to have her baby very soon, and she had a big tummy. When they arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find anywhere to stay. Everywhere was very busy because of all the people returning for the census…
(No, they couldn’t stay with Grandma. Grandma lives in Nazareth. No, Grandma doesn’t live in Nazareth, what am I talking about? Grandma lives in the Home Counties, nowhere near Nazareth or Bethlehem. She’s also not THAT old.)

The only place Mary and Joseph could find to stay was in the stable of one of the inns, so they made beds for themselves in the straw with all the animals…
(Yes, there was probably a cow. And a pig, yes. And sheep. There might have been a dog. Probably not any penguins, no. Well, penguins don’t live near Bethlehem. No reindeer, either. Yes, this is a Christmas story, but it’s not about Father Christmas. There are no reindeer. No, Father Christmas isn’t going to be in the story. Shall we finish it anyway, as we’ve got this far? I have no idea what the pig was called. It isn’t part of the story. Stanley. The pig was called Stanley. Can we carry on?)

So Mary and Joseph stayed with the animals, and the baby Jesus was born in the stable. The baby Jesus slept in the manger, where the animals ate their hay, because there was no crib…
(No, the animals didn’t eat the baby. I expect they ate their hay somewhere else while the baby Jesus was asleep.)

The Angels visited some shepherds, who were looking after their sheep near Bethlehem, and told them that God’s son had been born and could be found in a manger in the town. So the shepherds went to visit the Baby Jesus…
(Yes, a bit like when you went to visit your baby cousin. No, the shepherds didn’t take the baby Jesus a Sophie giraffe. Yes, you did take Sophie giraffe to your baby cousin. Well, the shepherds didn’t know they were going to be visiting a baby. And there was no Mothercare in Bethlehem.)

The shepherds were very pleased that the baby Jesus had come to save them – possibly from the dragons. They went back to their sheep…
(No, I don’t know the names of the sheep. No, there were too many to name. Fine. Gertrude, Bert, Phyllis, Frank, Cuthbert and Ethel.)

A new star appeared in the sky when Jesus was born. Some wise men saw the star and guessed what it meant…
(How? Because they were wise.)

Anyway, the Wise Men guessed that the star meant a new king had been born, and they began to follow the star to where the baby Jesus lay in his manger. The Wise Men traveled a long way and, on their journey, they stopped in Judea in a city called Jerusalem…
(No, you didn’t go to Jerusalem on Saturday. Yes, I’m sure. That was the soft play. No, it wasn’t the soft play in Jerusalem.)

In Jerusalem, people asked the Wise Men about the baby who would be the saviour and king of mankind. King Herod, who was the king of Judea (and a naughty man), overheard. He was angry because he believed the baby would take his place as king…
(Yes, exactly like when you are angry because your sister wants to be the doctor and you were the doctor.)

Herod called the Wise Men to visit him, and he told them that, when they found the baby Jesus, they should tell him where the baby was so that he could also visit the baby and take him gifts. But this was not really Herod’s plan. Really, Herod planned to kill the baby…
(No, that isn’t very nice, is it?)

The Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem, and they gave gifts to the Baby Jesus…
(No, not a Sophie giraffe.)

The Wise Men gave the baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh…
(No one knows what myrrh is. No, Frank isn’t Sophie giraffe’s brother. And it’s frankincense.)

The Wise Men were warned by Angels in a dream of Herod’s plan, so they did not return to Jerusalem to tell him where Jesus was. They traveled home a different way so that they would not see Herod… (They went the back way, past Asda, that’s right.)

Joseph was also warned by angels in a dream: he was told that Herod wanted to kill Jesus, and he should escape with Mary and the baby to Egypt…
(It doesn’t matter where Egypt is. Egypt is a different place, not near Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Grandma’s house. )

Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt, and stayed until Herod died. King Herod was very angry when he realised that the Wise Men had tricked him. He ordered all baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, in the hope that one of them would be the baby Jesus…
(Yes, a very mean man. No, I don’t think he used poison apples. Yes, he is a bit like the evil queen in Snow White, though. No, I’m sure he didn’t actually manage to kill any babies, don’t worry. Yes, the huntsmen probably let them go…no, that’s Snow White again.)

After Herod died, an angel came to Joseph in a dream once more, and told him that it was safe to return home. Mary, Joseph and Jesus returned to their old town of Nazareth…
(Yes, near Grandma.)

That Starry Mick: Ten Things The Toddler Said About Christmas

The Toddler had a few things to say on the subject of Christmas (and the subject of Mick). Here are her festive highlights.

1. The approach of Happy Christmas Day
Sitting in the bath a couple of days before Christmas, The Toddler knows exactly what is going on: ‘Only a couple more sleeps. Couple more sleeps until happy Christmas.’

2. That Starry Mick
The Toddler hears It Was on a Starry Night from Grandma. She requests a rendition of her new song from a confused Silly Mummy: ‘That Starry Mick! Sing That Starry Mick!’

3. Father Christmas’ gingers
The Toddler really latches onto the biscuits for Father Christmas aspect of Christmas. This may seem a very minor element of the whole experience to most, but biscuits are very important to The Toddler. Such that any mention of The Toddler seeing Father Christmas is met with: ‘And I give him gingers!’ (When The Toddler actually did see Father Christmas, she gave him a frown. He might have preferred the biscuits.)

4. Eyes on your own biscuits, please, Father Christmas
The Toddler is also quite concerned to ensure that Father Christmas is aware that he is only to eat his own biscuit allocation. A few days before Christmas, abruptly breaking off in the middle of playing, The Toddler announces: ‘Father Christmas can’t eat Daddy’s biscuit. Daddy’s not going to be happy.’

5. Excited, possibly
Silly Mummy reminds The Toddler of plans for Christmas Eve evening: ‘We’re going to go for a walk and look for Father Christmas’ sleigh, aren’t we?’
The Toddler believes the plan meets with her approval, but doesn’t wish to get carried away until she is sure: ‘Okay. I think I might be excited.’

6. The Snowman
Watching The Snowman, The Toddler narrates: ‘Now he’s sad and he melts. He can’t get up.’ However, it appears that her understanding of quite how sad it is that The Snowman can’t get up may have been tempered by frequent watchings, which may have convinced her he just gets up again another day: ‘The Snowman’s melted now. We’ll see him another time.’

7. Goodwill to all men
In the spirit of goodwill to all men, The Toddler masters the art of sharing. Taking a present addressed to both her and The Baby, she announces: ‘This is for me.’
Silly Mummy reminds her: ‘And The Baby.’
The Toddler considers and counters with: ‘And for me.’ The Toddler apparently will share, but is counting herself twice, so she gets double plays.

8. New Year
On New Year’s Eve, Silly Mummy is explaining New Year to The Toddler: ‘And tomorrow it will be the New Year…’
The Toddler interjects, she’s got this: ‘Then I’ll see The Snowman!’ Silly Mummy and The Toddler had just read The Snowman moments before. The Toddler likes to relate all new information to something she already knows about. Particularly if it is something she knows about from two minutes previously, regardless of relevance.

9. Silent Night
The Toddler is in the back of the car singing Silent Night:
‘All is calm
All is calm
All is calm
All is calm…’
Brilliantly, she breaks off to announce that she is singing Silent Night. Yes, ‘silent night’, The Toddler: those are more words of the song. Words you could sing that aren’t ‘all is calm’. No? Sticking with ‘all is calm’? I see.

10. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
The Toddler very nearly mastered the standard ‘merry Christmas and a happy New Year’ greeting. ‘Reading’ a gift tag, she declares, ‘It says happy new Christmas and a Christmas reindeer.’ Indeed.

‘Twas the (Real) Night Before Christmas

santa-31665_1280 Now, I should say that I love Christmas, and I like a bit of magic. But, just to be contrary, I have decided to de-magic* the classic poem The Night Before Christmas.

 
 
The (Real) Night Before Christmas

 
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
The children were shrieking, like they’d seen a mouse.
The stockings weren’t hung by the beds anymore;
The children thought they looked better thrown on the floor.

The children should have been nestled all snug in their beds.
Instead they were manic, as every parent dreads.
And Daddy and I, in utter despair,
Were trying to calm them (we hadn’t a prayer).

Out on the road there arose such a clatter,
The drunks passing by with their yells and loud chatter.
If they’d woken the children, finally sleeping,
They’d have received quite a browbeating.

The drunks finally passed on, into the night;
I noticed there wasn’t a snowfall in sight.
Though ‘magic’ oats by the children had been sprinkled liberally about,
There were no reindeer in view (but there was a fox with a glittery snout).

Now I had to enter the bedroom, stealthy and quick;
Filling up stockings, playing St Nick.
I crept into the room and the children sat up, asking, ‘Who’s there?’
As I ran from the room, I began to quietly swear,

‘Now bugger, now feck, now piss it and shit!
Oh bollocks, oh arses, oh crap and dammit!
To the bathroom to hide: oh what a close call!
Dash away, dash away, dash away all!’

So I was stuck in the bathroom, until all was clear;
While the children were up and now drawing near.
Rather suspicious, they called through the door;
While I pretended to be bathing, splashing and all.

How clever it would be if this were all a diversion,
Drawing the children away with this little excursion.
If the real St Nicholas had merrily climbed down the chimney,
And delivered his presents while the children were yelling at me.

Alas, it was not to be:
The presents had to be delivered by me.
So, until the children slept, there must I remain.
How long could this bathing pretense I maintain?

Perhaps Daddy could rescue me from this quagmire,
Leading the children to bed with stories so dire.
Of how they must go to sleep for St Nick to arrive;
For he could not be seen for the magic to thrive.

The children were back in their room, but not yet asleep.
I was free from the bathroom, downstairs I could creep;
Though it may yet be some time until I could return
To deliver the presents, and to my own bed adjourn.

(Perhaps I was not cut out to be St Nick: it’s true my beard is not white.
Indeed, with appropriate tweezing, it’s not even in sight.
And, whilst certainly not washboard flat, my belly
Has yet to shake when I laugh like a bowlful of jelly.)

The children remained wide awake in bed,
While an idea began to enter my head.
Telling the children St Nick could not visit while they observed,
I would take the stockings outside for the big man to fill undisturbed.

As the children listened for the sound of St Nick in the night sky so still,
Downstairs in the living room stockings and sacks I could fill.
Then I rang a bell for the children, sleigh bells just out of sight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

(*My appalling rhymes alone are capable of stripping most of the magic, it has to be said.)

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

child-1016955_1280This simple tutorial (*this is not a tutorial*) contains all the instructions you need to create beautiful (*ahem*) handmade Christmas (or any other occasion) 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 (or other occasion) 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-crib-figures-1060026_1280Christmas, 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.

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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?’

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(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

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(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.

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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.