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Fun and activity filled Christmas countdown

Christmas might feel a little different this year but there is still plenty to look forward to and get excited about.

We have put together a countdown to help you and your little ones get into the Christmas spirit.

1st. Make your own advent calendar.
We have put together some fun ideas so you and your little ones can make your own homemade calendar’s this year. Have fun with printables, loo rolls, sweets, poems, activities, envelopes and lego!

You will find some great inspiration here; Activity Village  and Pinch of Perfect.

If you fancy doing something different why not put together a book advent calendar – have a look at the tips from the Ladybirds Adventures

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2nd. Keeping the magic alive!
It’s that time of year for children to start writing their letters to Father Christmas and the Royal Mail are sending replies at no charge*.

As every good little boy and girl knows, if they would like to receive a Christmas present they must write a letter to Father Christmas to get their name on the list and ensure the elves have plenty of time to make their requested (toys).
It is really important that children include their full name and address in their letter so he can write back to them.*

Father Christmas is a very busy man so he needs the lists as soon as possible. The very latest date they can be sent (to receive a reply from Royal Mail) is Friday 11th December.

Wish lists should be sent to the following address:
Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,
Reindeerland,
XM4 5HQ
* Royal Mail says it can’t guarantee a reply, so while this is a nice freebie, it’s not a definite.

More details can be found here

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3rd. Watch a Christmas film
Few things beat curling up on the sofa with your little one watching their eyes sparkle with the excitement a Christmas film can bring.

We are big fans of Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street and the Muppets Christmas Carol – let us know your favorite film.

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4th. Put your Christmas tree up

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5th. Make some decorations
Open up the glue, glitter and paint, find the pipe cleaners, beads, sticks, sequins, felt and loo rolls (empty!) and see what ornaments your little ones can make.

At Activity Village you can find a huge amount of craft ideas, printables, activity sheets and more to keep creative fingers busy.

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6th. Write your Christmas card list
Who are you going to send a card too and will it be homemade or shop brought??

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7th. Find some pine cones
Wrap up warm and pull on your wellies and go for a walk looking for pine cones – these not only make your house smell lovely but they can be easily decorated to make lovely ornaments – click her for some inspiration.

If you have a baby in the house these make a great sensory item.

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8th.  Start making your cards
We would like to encourage you and your family to get crafty this Christmas, roll up your sleeves, get the glitter out and have some fun.

These are some of our favorites…….
Fingerprint Christmas Tree Card –  Get all the kids to join in on this one! From Mer Mag
DIY Christmas Cards Potato Printing – Who knew potato’s could make such cute art for your Christmas cards? From MollyMoo
Hand & Footprint Reindeer Cards –  From  Kate’s Creative Space

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9th. Visit Father Christmas
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like taking your little ones to visit Father Christmas in his twinkling grotto. Sadly there might not be as many Christmas experiences and Santa’s Grotto on locally but there are some running.

Green Dragon Eco Farm

Chinnor Steam Railway

Oxford Castle

Odds Farm

Centre MK – Peter Rabbit theme

Dobbies of Aylesbury

Supper with Santa at Haddenham Garden Centre

Yarnton Garden Centre

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10th. Paper Chain fun

What you will need
Recycled paper, magazines, coloured paper
Glue or sticky tape
Scissors

What to do

Cut your chosen paper into strips, you don’t want them to be too thin or short, so aim for around 2cm by 20cm.

Take one strip of paper and curl around so the two length ends meet. Glue one end to the other and hold for several seconds until dry. You could use sticky tape to connect the ends if you prefer.

Feed your next strip through the middle of your first chain link. Curl the ends of the second strip together until they meet and then glue as before.

Repeat until you’ve reached the length of chain that you want.

All you need to do now is find somewhere to hang your finished festive paper chain.

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11th. Have a fun Christmassy day out!

Christmas events are a lot different this year but there are still some wonderful days out to enjoy,  we have put together a list of beautiful light trails and places to visit below (also see the suggestions on day 9).

Blenheim Palace

Waddesdon Manor

Silverstone LAP land

Oxford Light Trail

Haddenham Light Trail

Fairytale Farm

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12th. Read your favorite Christmas book.
Share with us what yours is?? Is it, A Christmas Carol, The Jolly Christmas Postman, Polar Express, The Grinch stole Christmas or one of these….

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13th. Walk and hot choccie
Wrap up and go for a wintery walk, find some pine cones, holly and have a look at your neighbours house decorations. When you get back home cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate and maybe some marshmallows.

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14th. Gingerbread house

An activity everyone can join in with. If you are feeling confident you could make your own, find a recipe here, or cheat and buy the kit with the pieces ready made from Waitrose,  John Lewis and Tesco

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15th. Sing along!
Have a silly singalong and dance about around the house to your favorite Christmas tunes.

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16th. Snow fun
If we are lucky enough to have some snow get your coat and wellies on and head outside for some snowy fun, build a snowman or igloo, go sledging, make snow angels.

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17th. Roast marshmallows in the fireplace.

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18th. Make some peppermint creams


Ingredients

  • 225g royal icing
  • boiled water
  • peppermint essence (a few drops)
  • 100g dark chocolate (optional), melted

Method

  1. Put the royal icing mix into a large bowl
  2. Add 1tbsp water to start with and mix well
  3. Add more water 1 or 2 tsps at a time, until you have a very stiff mixture which holds its own shape
  4. Add a few drops of the essence and mix well… you can also add a few drops of green food colouring (optional)
  5. If the mixture is sticky add some more royal icing mix or icing sugar
  6. Knead the mixture in to a firm paste
  7. Either roll out until about 1cm thick on a surface dusted with sieved icing sugar and cut into shapes with a small cookie cutter or form into small balls using your hands and flatten
  8. Place the peppermint creams onto greaseproof paper and allow to dry for a few hours
  9. If you want to make your peppermint creams extra special, melt some dark chocolate and dip half of each sweet into the melted chocolate
  10. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off and place the sweets onto greaseproof paper – allow to set for another hour or so
  11. Put into sweets in to a gift bag or box and
  12. Alternatives:
  13. Lemon or orange creams – make as above but use lemon/orange juice instead of water, and add a little grated zest instead of the essence
  14. Coffee creams – make up some strong black coffee, using 2 tsp coffee granules in 4 tbsp boiling water, use this instead of the water and essence

*Recipe taken from Netmums Website

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19th. Track Santa
Log on and find Father Christmas with this clever tracker tool: www.noradsanta.org – what has he been up too? where is he going?

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20th. Make a table decoration

You will need:

  • A piece of oasis
  • Candles
  • Offcuts from trimming your Christmas tree
  • Holly, eucalyptus and mistletoe sprigs
  • Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, pieces of orange, ribbon
  • Sellotape
  • Cocktail sticks

 Instructions:

  1. Soak the oasis water until bubbles stop appearing.
  2. Stand the oasis in a small bowl or tray.
  3. Secure 3 cocktails to the bottom of each candle and push them in to the oasis so the candles stand upright.
  4. Snip the fir into 10cm sections. Starting with the outside edge, push the fir sprigs into the oasis at a slight angle, making sure you maintain the same angle all the way around. When you’re done, check that the oasis is totally covered.
  5. Repeat on top of the oasis, positioning the fir pieces around the candles.
  6. When the oasis is covered with fir, decorate it evenly with sprigs of holly and mistletoe. Then add the pine cones and anything else you can find, so they’re nestled in among the leaves

Have a look at some ideas we have put together.

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21st. Make biscuits

Christmas biscuits make perfect presents and they can also be made into Christmas tree decorations. Christmas biscuits recipe – BBC Food

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22nd. Make some reindeer food

Ingredients*
1/2 cup porridge oats
1/2 cup bird seed

Method
Mix oats and seed in a small bowl or bag until combined.

On Christmas Eve, sprinkle Magic reindeer food outside.

*Glitter and coloured sprinkles may look pretty but they can be harmful to birds and wildlife that may have a nibble, so please don’t use them.

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23rd. Christmas lights
Take an evening drive to look at all the Christmas lights

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24th. Christmas Eve
Cosy up on the sofa and watch The Snowman then its time to leave out some reindeer food, a mince pie and snuggle up in bed and listen out for sleigh bells.

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25th. We wish you all a very happy Christmas

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26th. Boxing day
You cant beat a family walk or bike ride.

Lemonjelly Childcare Solutions