It’s nearly Thanksgiving here in the states and I’ve been starting to feel a bit festive. I’ve even had the Christmas music blasting out on more than one occasion!
I’m starting to get excited about sharing the build up to Christmas with Little M – especially now that he is nearly 3 and understands what is going on a little bit more. I thought this would be a good time to do some fun activities together and start some of our own family traditions.
I tend to have lots of ideas for things like this, but then need a plan to actually put them into action! So I thought I’d share the activities I’ve thought of to get in the mood for Christmas with Little M and then I will blog about each one as we do them.
None of these are specifically toddler activities, but are fun to do on your own, or with kids to get in the mood for Christmas. Some of them might become yearly traditions. I do find having a toddler is an excuse to do fun Christmas things that I might not have done before – how about you?
Anyway, here we go…
Visit the Life Size Gingerbread House in San Francisco
Yes, you just read that correctly! The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco always goes to town with Christmas decorations and this year they are building another life size gingerbread house! The 2-story house will be made from an entirely edible exterior of gingerbread, decorated with royal icing and sweeties. Inside the house is a railway track and other holiday characters and decorations.
We visited the gingerbread house last year and it was amazing! I can’t wait to go back this year now Little M is a little older, I just know he’s going to love it! We are going to make a morning of it and take a ride on the cable car to the hotel.
The house is located in the lobby of the hotel and is free for anyone to go and see (from Nov 28 – Jan 1) along with the huge Christmas tree. If you fancied a real treat though, you could also enjoy a Gingerbread Holiday Tea – yum!
Make a (Small!) Gingerbread House
Okay, a bit of a gingerbread theme going on here… After we have visited the life size gingerbread house, I thought it would be fun for Little M and I to make a small sized gingerbread house of our own. It’s a fun activity to do together one afternoon, plus will be a nice yummy treat to nibble on over the festive period. I just need to decide whether to go full-on homemade, or make one from a kit.
Pick a Christmas Tree
The last couple of years we have just had a fake Christmas tree, but it’s starting to get a bit tatty and so it seems a good time to get a real tree instead. We always had a real tree when I was a child and I think there’s nothing quite like the smell and look of a real tree.
Little M had a whale of a time at the pumpkin patch this year – looking at the pumpkins and displays and playing amongst the hay bales. So we are going to go back to the same place for our tree too! We will then decorate the tree together.
Make a Christmas Cake
I write this with some trepidation, as I have never made a Christmas cake before! But my mum made one every year when we were children (still does actually!) and it is absolutely my favourite cake ever, as well as one of my favourite Christmas treats. As a child I used to help mum make the marzipan decorations to go on the top of the cake and remember painting them carefully with (very bright!) food colouring.
I know some people may say I should have already made the cake and be ‘feeding’ it brandy by now! But there’s still plenty of time and I think I will get huge satisfaction from making my own cake. Writing it down like this gives me the incentive to actually do it! (I will probably make it and have Little M help me with the decorations!) I hope this will become our family tradition too.
Make Marzipan Fruits
Another one from my childhood – making marzipan fruits was a fun activity we often did at the same time as decorating the Christmas cake. Mum would give us little pieces of marzipan to shape into different fruits, which we would then paint with food colouring and decorate. Little M loves to shape and mould play-doh, so I think this would be right up his street. The fruits might end up looking slightly dubious, but I think he’ll have fun!
That’s the 5 fun activities I have planned to get in the mood for Christmas with Little M. I hope some of them will become family traditions. I’m hoping to do other things too of course and have ordered him a little Christmas book and advent calendar. But these are my 5 bigger things to do together to get in the mood for Christmas and are (hopefully!) fairly achievable. I will blog about each as we do them. I hope they give you some ideas too!
What about you? What are you going to do to get in the mood for Christmas? Are you going to start any new traditions?
Disclosure: Main image by Kate Zaidova courtesy of Unsplash.