I hope you have had a lovely holiday week. It has been busy here, (and thus, quiet on the blog). The days leading up to Christmas were quite full, but now we have settled into some nice, peaceful days. St. Stephen’s Day (Dec 26) is also a holiday here in Ireland. The weather was particularly bad, which actually made for a great day for playing with new toys, reading, and generally enjoying the family time. I gathered some bits and bobs, as the Irish would say, from around the internet. Happy Reading!
This Guinness commercial has been around for awhile. Although it rarely snows here in Dublin (too close to the ocean), it’s fun to dream of the white stuff.
And finally, Tiny Prints has put together a great New Year’s Eve Party Game Planner. It has great ideas on how to fill the hours leading up to the ball drop. With this, all that is left is to send the invites!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas! The picture above is from one of our favorite pubs, The Hole in the Wall. They go all out with their Christmas decorations.
How are you, friends? It is finally Christmas Break here at our house. I think I have been counting the days since at least 2 weeks ago – mainly because I hate the school run. How I long for a house across from the school, like I had growing up! My kids are definitely ready for a few weeks of low-key down time. They wasted no time getting engrossed in legos this afternoon. Have you finished your Christmas shopping? I finished last week, but I think my husband still has almost ALL his shopping left. (His excuse: “I have nearly all of next week!”)
A few links for your enjoyment – between caroling, gift wrapping, and holiday parties, of course!
This post on Babyccino about kids and electronics. I found it to be such a lovely, non-judgmental post. I have been meaning to write about my thoughts on the same subject, but cannot imagine that I could say the same words with such grace.
Wow! It’s almost a week until Christmas! How did that happen? The days have literally evaporated into thin air… Every year, I have all of these grand ideas on how we are going to celebrate Advent, what activities we’ll do, things we’ll make, etc etc etc. And then reality catches up with me, and it’s Dec 17th. So, a brief look back at what we did, or didn’t do, for Advent this year.
Things we did, or – let’s be honest here – attempted during Advent:
Jesse Tree Ornaments: I picked up this set of color-your-own Jesse Tree ornaments awhile back. At the time, I thought, “Oh, the kids will LOVE this! They love coloring!” The idea is to color an ornament for each day of advent and hang it up on the tree. It was a total bust. I think we did 5 or 6, and the rest got pulled out of the advent calendar by Patrick, and strewn across the house. No one seemed sad to see this activity die. Maybe when the kids are older, perhaps?
Advent Wreath: This is actually a tradition that we have kept going! The kids love fire, basically, and the fact that we have fire ON THE TABLE makes everything so much more fun. Of course, now we have obligatory arguments every evening about which child will get to blow out the candles after dinner.
Miniature Nativity ornaments: I picked up this cute set of nativity ornaments at a kitchen shop called Stock, here in Dublin. Again, the idea with this is to hang one ornament up for each day of advent. The only problem is that I keep our Advent calendar within the kids’ reach. Patrick has loved taking the ornaments out of the calendar, rearranging them, giving them rides on his trucks, etc. Not one has made it to the tree so far, but they have made an appearance at the Lego nativity.
Keeping Baby Jesus in the Advent Calendar until Christmas: We have been successful at this idea…kinda. Baby Jesus eventually makes his way back to the Advent calendar every night, but the kids are always pulling him out again. In addition to the Nativity ornaments, we have a larger Holy Family Nativity set from Fontanini. I would love to add to this set, but finding them here is hard. They are unbreakable and indestructible, so I really don’t mind that the kids play with them. They are supposed to keep Baby Jesus in the Advent Calendar until Dec 25, when they can place him in the manger. Of course, in our house, Mary and Joseph are moved around from day to day. In fairness, Isaac and Liesl like to pretend that Mary and Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem. Patrick just enjoys hiding them on the radiator.
Advent-themed bedtime reading. We have been reading the 24 Christmas Stories for Little Ones. This is our second year to read this book, and the kids really enjoyed it. I like that it is one book (less stuff to keep up with) and has stories that appeal to a wide age group.
Things we don’t do during Advent:
Elf on the Shelf. I’m terrible at things where I have to sneak around after the kids go to bed. I barely remember the tooth fairy! I am not particularly creative, so coming up with creative things for Elfie or Twinkle to do would just add more stress. It is a cute idea, and I know tons of families that really enjoy it, but Elf on the Shelf would be a total disaster at our house.
Unwrap a Christmas Book each day. Again – sounds fun, but I can just see myself running around looking for wrapping paper at 7:00 am, or just putting the book in a garbage sack with a bow on it.
Family activity Advent calendar. I have seen a couple of ideas for this, and they look fun. I actually think it would be great to do something one of these January or February, which are particularly dark, cold months here. It would be nice to break up the monotony.
Irish Christmas Fun:
Since we are staying in Dublin for Christmas this year, we have also added some Irish Christmas activities.
We have been to see Santa and the reindeer at Powerscourt Estate. Avoca, an Anthropologie-like store here in Ireland has a great Santa, plus a small petting zoo where you can see reindeer and other animals.
This weekend, the kids are in a Nativity Play for a nursing home, which should promise to be filled with chaotic hilarity. We may also venture down to see the Gingerbread House at the Four Seasons, the Christmas Market at St. Stephen’s Green, or the celebrations at Phoenix Park, depending on our interests.
So, there it is. Advent at our house. It’s not Pinterest-worthy, but it is loads of fun.