Category Archives: Christmas

Nine Great Budget Ideas for Christmas Stocking Fillers

For me, Christmas is more about the little touches and small details. I love buying thoughtful little gifts for friends and family. My favourite part of present buying is putting a Christmas stocking together for boys. I fill them with little things I know they will enjoy and use over the year.

Our Christmas stockings tend to be a mixture of fun stuff and practical stuff. I’m not beyond padding out a stocking with a new toothbrush (because Santa really  cares about dental hygiene) and some new toiletries, but my Christmas stockings always have lots of fun stuff, chocolate and the obligatory satsuma in them.

Obviously shops like B&M are the perfect place to shop for Christmas stocking fillers, with everything or almost everything you need in one shop, it’s an easy win to cross off your list at this incredibly busy time of the year. I went to my local B&M store and picked up some great stocking fillers for my son. I tend to try to buy packs of things which can be broken down and individually wrapped to bulk out the stocking.

Nine Great Budget Ideas for Christmas Stocking Fillers

Here’s what’s in his Christmas stocking this year –

Chocolate Coins – it’s the law to have a bag of chocolate coins in your stocking. We’ve gone for these colourful emoji coins (£1). They make a bit of a change (pun intended) from your standard gold or silver coins.

Marvel Avengers Assemble Collectible Capsules – these little figures come in a surprise egg (not really an egg, more of a capsule). Kids love the surprise egg thing, so I know this will be very popular. I’ve seen them in other shops for £3.99, but these are a bargain £1.99 and I’m wishing I’d picked up a couple more now.

Hot Wheels Cars – toy cars are a regular feature in our Christmas stockings, they’re small, easy to wrap and popular. They’re also a pocket friendly £1.49 each, so I got two new ones for his collection.

Mini Block Tech Figures – These are Lego style mini figures, but they’re much cheaper than Lego. These figures come in a “blind bag” and there are three in the bag. At £1 per pack, these three mini figures come with their own accessories and they’re much cheaper than the brand leader!

Marvel Avengers Bath & Shower Gel – this pack of four shower gels (£3.99) is ripe for breaking up and wrapping individually. Each bottle is shaped and styled like one of your favourite Avengers heroes – Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Iron Man. I know these might even encourage him to spend a bit more time in the bathroom (maybe).

Marvel Comics Stationery Set – you can never have too much stationery and this five piece stationery set featuring his favourite Marvel characters will be a winner. The ruler, pen and pencil are all covered in comic book versions of Spider-Man; Iron Man; Thor; the Incredible Hulk and Captain America. At just £1.29 this set contains everything he will need to write a superhero story of his own!

Voice Changer – this is a silly little stocking filler. Speak into the microphone and it will change your voice so you sound like a boy, a girl or a robot. I know he will love this (and the dog will hate it, probably). At £2.99 this is a bit of silliness you need in a Christmas stocking.

Swizzels Mini Candy Canes – this giant box of mini candy canes (£1.99 for 240g) will be put to good use. I’ll slip a few into presents for other people, use a handful in some festive bakes and tip the rest into his stocking. The box contains four iconic Swizzels flavours – Drumstick lolly flavour; blue Refreshers; pink Refreshers and of course Parma Violet (I’ll be keeping those just for me).

Socks –  Christmas tradition dictates that every stocking must contain a pair of Christmas socks to be worn that day. I need to pop back to B&M and see what they’ve got in store.

That’s my Christmas stocking shopping almost finished and it’s only cost me £18.72, a bit of a bargain yes? All I need to do now is wrap everything up and throw a satsuma in the night before. I’m feeling uncommonly organised and that’s a great feeling!

What are you stuffing your Christmas stockings with this year?

I am a B&M stores ambassador and I was given a voucher to cover the cost of my stocking fillers in return for this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Our nearest National Trust property is Dunham Massey. We are regular visitors to Dunham, we love the long (but flat and well-paved) walks they have. The gardens are lovely whatever time of year you visit and the house is full of upstairs-downstairs history. On 1st December we went along to the launch of ‘Christmas at Dunham Massey’ a magical, after-dark, illuminated trail which was jam-packed with Christmas magic.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

This year, for the first time ever, Dunham Massey has transformed into a winter wonderland. It’s taken six months of planning and hard work (and probably millions of light-bulbs) to create a wonderful Christmas experience for families to enjoy.

The walk from the visitors centre to the courtyard gives you a little taste of what’s to come, but as soon as you walk into the courtyard you know you’re in for a real treat. The courtyard is filled with Christmas market style sheds selling hog roast, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and those big sausages you only really see at Christmas markets. There’s also a colourful vintage carousel to enjoy.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

We picked up some snacks and some cups of hot mulled wine and headed off towards the lights, pausing to watch an Elf and Father Christmas welcome us to Christmas at Dunham Massey. Then on to the winter wonderland of the garden.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

The trail is a one mile sparkling path through the gardens. It winds through the historic woodland and has surprises around almost every corner. From a giant (and I mean giant) reindeer, to huge baubles lit in flickering flames in the scented fire garden; not to mention twinkling tunnels, stunning reflections of light on the water and the wonder of Pealight Heaven (named for the 100,000 pealights it’s made from.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

There are lights, there’s beautiful music and there are mulled wine stands at very regular intervals (try the mulled cider, it kept me warm on a cold night). Stop by Pealight Heaven and buy a marshmallow to toast over the fire – an absolute must!

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

It’s such a beautiful, magical way to spend an evening with your family. It’s well thought out and incredibly well stewarded. There are helpful, smiley faces around every corner. Even though the paths are flat and well-made, you can never be too careful walking in the darkness. It felt reassuring to know there were helpful people around if you got stuck.

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

It’s an after-dark event, so if you do go, make sure you’re well wrapped up against the cold and you’re wearing good, sensible footwear. You might also want to slip a torch into your pocket just in case. We took a torch but didn’t use it, everywhere was so well lit.

Christmas as Dunham Massey is utterly gorgeous. Our highlights were the giant reindeer, the huge lawn absolutely covered in lights and the scented fire garden. The small Christmas market was excellent too and the food and drink were really good quality. I hope they run this again next year. I can see a visit to Christmas at Dunham Massey turning into a festive tradition!

Days Out: Christmas at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Christmas at Dunham Massey runs until 30th December 2017, 4.45pm – 10pm with 9 timeslots each night. You will need to pre-book tickets on the website here.

We were invited guests of Christmas at Dunham Massey. All images and opinions are our own.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

One of our family traditions is a Christmas Eve box. We pack up a box full of lovely things for Christmas Eve, new pyjamas, some nice treats to nibble on and a Christmassy book to read together at bedtime. This year we’ve chosen The Christmas Snowflake from Wonderbly, a wonderful personalised Christmas story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The Christmas Snowflake tells the tale of a lonely snowflake who is looking for a place to call home this Christmas – but only you and your family can help! Like with other personalised books from Wonderbly, The Christmas Snowflake is beautifully illustrated and full of wonderfully festive images.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

This heartwarming story includes personalisation for up to 9 family members, friends or loved ones and as the final page is turned, you’ll find a charming pull-out-and-keep ornament – something that you can hang on your Christmas tree!

The Christmas Snowflake is written in a lovely rhythmic style, which reads well. The personalisation within the book is very smoothly done and children will enjoy spotting familiar names throughout the story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The book comes in a hardback format and contains 34 colourfully illustrated pages. The style of the illustrations is almost vintage, and of course it’s wonderfully festive. The pull out snowflake on the last page is inspired and a lovely surprise at the end of the story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The Christmas Snowflake is a wonderful keepsake book which you can bring out and read year after year. I can’t wait to read this special story with my son, personalised stories are such a treat.

Personalising your book with Wonderbly is really easy, just visit their website, choose your story and add the names of up to 9 of your child’s favourite people. You can also add a personalised dedication to be printed on the first page.

The Christmas Snowflake costs £19.99 and makes a wonderful gift for any child or family this Christmas; or you could put it in your Christmas Eve box like me.

We were sent The Christmas Snowflake from Wonderbly for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Elf the Musical – a sack-load of family fun at The Lowry

Each Christmas, regular as clockwork we dig out our Elf DVD, snuggle up on the sofa and really get in the mood for Christmas. It is my favourite Christmas film by far and one we all love to watch together as a family. But would the Elf the Musical version live up to our expectations?

Based on the 2003 hit film starring Will Ferrell; Elf is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Elf the Musical - a sack-load of family fun at The Lowry

Elf The Musical stars TV and West End star Ben Forster as Buddy and former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon as Jovie. Joe McGann stars as Walter and Jessica Martin as Emily Hobbs, not forgetting Louis Emerick as Santa. There are a trio of local boys playing the role of Michael too.

Ben Forster as Buddy fills the stage with energy, managing to channel some of the personality of Buddy the Elf from the film, whilst putting his own spin on the character. Atomic Kitten star Liz McClarnon as Jovie is in excellent voice throughout, with a spot on accent and flawless performance.

From the start the stage is busy with the ensemble, first as a group of little-legged toy making elves, then crowds of New York shoppers, to the staff of Walter Hobbs office. They’re all fantastic and help to bring warmth, rhythm and humour to the production. Deb played by Lori Haley Fox especially stands out, putting in a performance full of humour.

Elf the Musical - a sack-load of family fun at The Lowry

The set is lavish, beautifully festive and almost constantly changing in this fast paced production. The musical set pieces are well done, though I was expecting the musical to end with the crowd singing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town like it does in the film, which is a bit of a shame. However, it does end with a happy ever after; a snowstorm and Santa’s sleigh floating off across the streets of Salford.

We loved it, my 7 year old was transfixed throughout and has talked of virtually nothing else since. It’s like the film, but quite different in many ways. Some aspects of the film I missed; but the singing, dancing and the warmth of the performances made up for everything. It’s a firm thumbs up from us, we loved it and would happily go again and again.

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to see Elf The Musical at The Lowry! Get your tickets now, it’s bound to be incredibly popular!

Elf The Musical is on at The Lowry from Friday 24 November 2017 until Sunday 14 January 2018. For more information and tickets visit The Lowry website.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park

If the grey weather is getting you down and you’re feeling a little bit bah-humbug about the onset of the festive period; then I can heartily recommend a visit to Tatton Park in Cheshire. Over the weekend we braved the rain and struck out in search of some serious festive fun. Which we found a short drive from our home in South Manchester.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Tatton Park have pulled out all the stops and thoroughly decked the halls of their beautiful mansion as well as laying on a whole raft of lovely family festive activities this Christmas. When we visited over the weekend we filled a busy afternoon with Christmassy fun and could have stayed for more if it wasn’t closing!

When we arrived we headed straight for the warmth of the mansion. It’s a stunning building on any day of the week, but it’s been beautifully decorated with fresh foliage and greenery, with a series of grand state rooms and servants’ quarters decorated with a 12 Days of Christmas theme. It’s lavishly done, with turtle doves, gold rings, ladies dancing, maids a milking and so on.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

We entered a room filled with the most beautiful Christmas tree and a choir took their place on the staircase and serenaded us with Christmas carols. It was so lovely. We made our way to the servants’ quarters and discovered a very helpful butler in The Still Room who offered us freshly baked flapjack and some history of the house. There was also seasonal crafts for the children to try as well as a wish tree you could write your Christmas wishes on.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Once we’d finished our tour of the mansion, we wandered into the Christmas craft fair which was on and we managed to pick up a few presents while we were there. We stopped for a quick coffee in The Stableyard cafe and then we wandered down to the farm.

We love the farm at Tatton Park. Whatever time of year you visit there is always something interesting going on in the farmyard. But we weren’t really there to check out the livestock, we were there to meet Father Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

A visit to Father Christmas at the Farm is something of a tradition for us. We’ve visited Tatton Park a few times before and each year it’s slightly different. This year we were greeted by a brass band heartily playing Christmas carols, which was lovely. We said hello to the donkeys and had a look at the nativity scene. We then wandered past the small fairground attractions and headed straight to say hello to the reindeer, sit in the sleigh and have a look at the two heavy horses in the stable.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

Up the cobbled lane to have a quick look around the Elves Workshop and on to the grotto. It was a cold rainy day, and there was no queue at all, something of a marvellous bonus. We were greeted by a very friendly French plate-spinning elf who entertained us while we had our faces painted.

We were then led down to the grotto to see Father Christmas himself. Ben had a good chat with him about how good he has been this year and what he would like for Christmas. Father Christmas gave him a little present to open on Christmas Day; presumably to save him carrying it on the big night.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

I wanted to show the boys the pigs. We were incredibly lucky to arrive just as Sienna, a Saddleworth sow was giving birth to her piglets. We hung around and watched in awe as the pig gave birth to piglet number 4. It was something incredibly special to watch and a fantastic little biology lesson for the boys.

The Twelve Days of Christmas at Tatton Park 2017

By the time we left the farm darkness was creeping in; so we hot-footed it to the car to head home. Tired, cold but absolutely bursting with festive spirit. It was a fabulous way to start this year’s festivities!

Tickets to Father Christmas at the Farm are £7.00 for adults and £6.50 for children (including a gift). Mansion ticket prices are £10 for adults and £6 for children. Parking is £6 per car.

To find out more information about the full range Christmas events at Tatton Park, including carol concerts and other family acitivites, visit their website

We were invited guests of Tatton Park and we were given complimentary tickets in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Christmas is the time for spreading a little bit of magic and cheer. What better way to do that than by doing something each day during Advent. In the olden days, when I was a little girl (in the 80’s), my advent calendar was a cards with windows which you’d open and there would be a picture behind it. It was all very lovely, but times have changed and kids and grown-ups expect more.

I’ve picked out five quite interesting advent calendar ideas for you, which if you’re quick, you can get cracking with before 1st December!

Traditional Chocolate Advent Calendar

There’s something simple and cheery about traditional chocolate advent calendars, they’re great for children and adults too. They come in a pretty huge range of different themes and characters; but this colourful Teletubbies Advent Calendar is a winner. Behind every window in this kids’ advent calendar there’s a delicious milk chocolate treat to help you count down the days until Christmas.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The Teletubbies Advent Calendar can be found in a wide range of retailers, but I’ve spotted it in B&M for just 89p – a bargain!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown

Little Treats Bakery have recently launched a fun, festive countdown activity in the form of freshly baked festive treats. Known as Elf & Seek, you get a box of 24 individually wrapped and decorated gingerbread elves to hide around the house each day of December.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Elf & Seek is an interactive, exciting and tasty way to keep the magic of Christmas alive. Simply hide one of the little elves around your home each day of December and the kids have to hunt it down as they countdown to Christmas. It’s the perfect advent calendar if you’re a bit tired of the same old kind of calendars each year.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Take a selfie of your biscuit elf, uncovered from its hiding place; share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ElfieSelfie – the winner will win an extra special, tasty treat; a hamper of biscuits tailored to a theme of their choice!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown is available to order from Amazon for £10.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Playmobil 1.2.3 Advent Calendar

For little ones (18 months+) this Christmas they can enjoy an outdoor Christmas with Santa and his forest friends. The 1.2.3 Advent Calendar “Christmas in the Forest” contains twenty-four surprise items for each day of Advent. With a bright and colorful design and large, rounded pieces, this Playmobil 1.2.3 set is ideal for toddlers.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

This adorable advent calendar includes Santa, elf, angel, reindeer, sleigh, gifts, dog, bunnies, fox, forest animals, and other accessories to help complete this woodland Christmas scene.

Costing just £21.99 the Playmobil 1.2.3 advent calendar is the perfect way for little ones to count down to Christmas!

LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Star Wars fans young and old will love this year’s LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. Open a door of this advent calendar each day in the run up to Christmas to discover a LEGO Star Wars themed minifigure, starship, vehicle or other collectible. There’s even a foldout playmat featuring images from Jakku, Starkiller Base and deep space for epic Star Wars encounters.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar is recommended for ages 6 years+ and is brilliant (we had one last year)!

Reverse Advent

The old saying goes – it’s better to give than to receive. At Christmas I find this to be especially true. Last Christmas we put together a reverse advent calendar for our local foodbank. I would very much encourage you to think about doing the same.

No only did it make us feel warm and fuzzy; it fed a family or two for a few days. It also taught my son a few lessons about empathy, caring for others and made us all think a little less about what we wanted and more about what other people needed just to get by. Never bad things to be reminded of.

You can read my blog post about our reverse advent calendar and read about what you need to put one together too.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent Calendar

What kind of advent calendars will you be choosing this year?

Christmas Recipe: Non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine

I love mulled wine at Christmas. From around mid-November I start getting excited for the day I can officially treat myself to a warming glass of spiced mulled wine. It’s a treat I do want to share with my family, but with it being quite boozy it’s not that suitable for 7 year old boys. My solution is to make Vimto Mulled Wine instead, something which also speaks loudly to my proud Mancunian patriotism.

Mulled wine, or Glühwein, Glögg if you’re feeling continental is usually made from red wine infused with spices and served hot. Red wine is warmed and then steeped in a combination of spices usually including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and coriander. In Europe, mulled wine has been drunk for centuries during the cold winter months and is a lovely warming festive drink.

Christmas Recipe: Non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine

This non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine is such a delicious treat. If you use one of those mulled wine sachets you can buy, this is a really simple and lovely recipe. It’s really quick to make and it’s a lovely non-alcoholic festive treat for all the family.

Non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine

Ingredients
Vimto cordial, sugar-free is fine
1 sachet of Steenbergs Organic Mulled Wine Spices
Water
Sugar (optional)

Method
Boil a kettle of water and pour enough boiling water for however many cups of mulled Vimto you’ll need into a jug. Add a sachet of Steenbergs Organic Mulled Wine Spices and leave to steep for 5 – 10 minutes or so.

Remove the sachet and add Vimto cordial to taste, stir to make sure it’s all combined. Taste and add sugar if you think it needs it (depending on how sweet your sweet tooth is).

Pour into nice heat-proof glasses and serve. If you’re feeling fancy you could float a slice of orange on the top, or serve it with a cinnamon stick.

Christmas Recipe: Non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine

There you have it, lovely warming spiced mulled wine that’s suitable for all the family.

PS. You don’t have to use Steenbergs; but it’s what I had in the cupboard and they’re my go-to brand of mulled wine spices.

Christmas Recipe: Non-alcoholic Vimto Mulled Wine

Crafts: How to make Button Christmas Decorations

If you’re looking for a simple but quite beautiful Christmas craft, then by Jove I think I’ve got it! These lovely button Christmas decorations are really simple to do and look great hanging on a tree.

I belong to a craft group and we are always on the lookout for interesting things to make and do on our craft evenings. We spotted a picture of some button Christmas decorations and thought we would give them a try. All we needed were a huge box of buttons, some craft wire and a bit of patience to experiment.

Crafts: How to make Button Christmas Decorations

How to make a button Christmas Tree

You will need – 
A selection of buttons, mostly green in different shapes and sizes
Fine jewellery or craft wire

Method –
Sort a selection of buttons to make your tree. You’ll need something to be the tree trunk at the bottom, I used two wooden buttons. You will also need green buttons in decreasing sizes and in a variety of shades of green.

I found it best to find the right buttons and lay them out in order before threading them onto the fine wire.

Take a length of fine jewellery or craft wire, approximately 8 inches in length. Double up the wire and thread one end through one hole on your base button and the other end through the opposite hole. Do the same with all the buttons in your Christmas tree stack until your Christmas tree is complete.

Top your tree with a brightly coloured button, or a star-shaped button if you have one. If you’re happy with your tree, tie a knot on the last button and another knot in the ends of the jewellery or craft wire to create a hanging loop.

Crafts: How to make Button Christmas Decorations

How to make a button Bauble

You will need – 
A selection of buttons, in various colours, shapes and sizes
Fine jewellery or craft wire

Method –
Sort a selection of buttons to make your bauble. You’ll need to play about with your buttons a little to find a selection of matching buttons. You’ll need one fairly big central button, then some matching ones in various sizes and colours.

I found it best to find the right buttons and lay them out in order before threading them onto the fine wire.

Take a length of fine jewellery or craft wire, approximately 8 inches in length. Double up the wire and thread one end through one hole on your base button and the other end through the opposite hole. Do the same with all the buttons in your Christmas bauble stack until your bauble is complete.

If you’re happy with your bauble, tie a knot on the last button and another knot in the ends of the jewellery or craft wire to create a hanging loop. Easy.

These are a lovely, easy craft to make. One of my craft group friends also make a button Santa and a button snowman, but I’m all out of buttons ad I need to go and buy some more so I can make some more button Christmas decorations.

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

Crafts: How to make Button Christmas Decorations

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

Now it’s mid-November, I’m really starting to get stuck into some Christmas crafts. I made some beautiful button decorations at my craft club last week and over the weekend I had a root through my craft stash to see what we could make. I discovered a large and colourful lolly stick collection which were crying out to be turned into Christmas decorations.

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

You will need:
A selection of coloured lolly sticks
Bostik Glu Dots
Assorted embellishments – glitter, stars, sequins etc
Bostik White Glue
Scissors
Sticky tape
Ribbon

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

How to make your lolly stick Christmas decorations

To make a Christmas tree, select some green lolly sticks and another stick for the trunk of the tree. With a pair of scissors carefully cut your lolly sticks to different lengths (see the photo). Using Glu Dots, stick a star to the top of your trunk and then stick the green branches across the trunk. Using white glue decorate your tree with sequins, stars and other embellishments. Leave to dry.

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

Once dry, carefully attach a loop of ribbon to the back of the tree using sticky tape. Your lolly stick Christmas tree is now complete.

To make a Christmas star, select some colourful lolly sticks, I chose pink. Using Glu Dots, stick the lolly sticks across each other to make a start shape (see photo). Using white glue decorate your star with sequins, stars and other embellishments. Leave to dry.

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

Once dry, carefully attach a loop of ribbon to the back of the star using sticky tape. Your lolly stick Christmas star is now complete.

My son and I really enjoyed making and decorating our Christmas tree and star. It’s a lovely craft to do with kids and they can really use their imagination when it comes to decorating them. These lolly stick crafts are a simple but effective craft to do in the run up to Christmas.

I am a Bostik craft blogger and I was sent the materials to create this lolly stick craft from Craft Merrily. 
Check out my other craft tutorials here!

Crafts: How to make lolly stick Christmas decorations

Are you feeling lonely this Christmas?

It’s Christmas Eve. The presents are under the tree, the small boy is tucked up in bed waiting for Father Christmas and I’ve been crying on and off all day.

This time last year I was sat watching TV with my Dad, probably a Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special or something, I forget. I know we were sat watching telly with a brew in quiet companionship. My Dad lived alone and for some reason last year I hated the thought of him waking up in an empty house on Christmas morning, so I invited him to stay.

It was one of the best decisions I’d made in a long time. We had a lovely evening and topped it off a little glass of something at midnight to celebrate. After he was asleep we hung a little Christmas stocking on his door and went to bed. Christmas morning was wonderful. I think he’d forgotten how special and magical being in the house with a child on Christmas Day was. It was a day I will treasure forever. Six months later he was dead.

I hate the thought of someone being lonely or being alone when they want company and companionship. I’m northern so I always nod hello to strangers in the street. I’ll sometimes chat to people at the bus stop and I’m happy to make small talk with people in cafes, pubs or wherever. I try to judge it so I don’t come off as a weirdo. But I know that to some people, a little interaction and a chat at a bus stop might be the only conversation they might get that day.

I am lonely too. I miss my Dad so much because he was bloody good company, we’d talk and laugh, or exchange jokes. I’d show him funny things I’d found on Facebook (I’m still saving things to show him, forgetting that I’ll never be able to share a funny video with him again). Some days I hardly speak to a soul, bar the usual “put your shoes on…eat your tea…don’t pick your nose” parenting chatter.

I’ve bought a puppy for company, we’ve had her for ten days now and she’s part menace, part wonderful creature. She sits on my knee and nuzzles me when I cry. I hope she will help with my loneliness at any rate, and she is a comfort at least.

I was sat this afternoon, the house was quiet, the boys off doing things and I reflected on our Christmas so far. It struck me what a lonely time of year it is and how alone I am feeling right now. If I feel alone, then thousands of others must feel the same.

I’m not sure what the cure for that is, other than people extending the hand of friendship and being there. Recognising that someone might be lonely or alone when they might not want to be is probably the first step. It’s not all about parties and enthusiastic socialising. Just popping round for a brew, joining someone for a walk or just picking up the phone for a chat could make all the difference to someone.

Who do you know who might be feeling lonely this Christmas? It might not necessarily be the people you think might be lonesome either. Sending hugs to all those who need one. Merry Christmas xx

Are you feeling lonely this Christmas?