Before Christmas

We were supposed to have our first Pre-Christmas party tomorrow on Saturday! I was thinking “yay, wow, oh no, already…?!!!”… and then my child got fever.

21.12 Holidays-peppaekakshus

Making ginger bread houses may be a Christmas must that I haven’t done for a few years…

I am not very optimistic about rescheduling as the weekends before Christmas tends to be fully booked with all the “Little Christmases” (pikkujoulut/ lilla jul) celebrated before the actual Christmas Eve. (If you are not familiar with it, you can read here for my experience on Christmas in Finland compared to Sydney, London and New Zealand. In short, here Christmas is celebrated with family but “pikkujoulut” are celebrated with friends, clubs, associations, work mates, you name it). But Christmas IS creeping into my mind because it is already almost time to send off parcels to southern hemisphere. So here is a small overview of ideas for the time before Christmas, crafts and events.

Christmas cards:

  • Great reason to do crafts with children, but considering their age and the amounts that should be done AND for it to be fun for everybody, including my nerves, the idea(s) need to be simple. My children suggested painting magic cards, which we did. It was pretty cool that my 4 yo also got excited about drawing Christmas trees and candles and some far more inventive “Christmas-y” figures with white crayon, which the 3 yo excitedly painted visible and glued on not so traditional backgrounds. But at least our cards will be noticed and we had fun (and no, no published pictures before they have arrived!).
  • This is what we did last year for cards. I like to send cards with a little “present”, and in addition to the small reflectors seen in those pics we sent salt dough Christmas tree decorations with some cards.wpid-20131206_220018.jpg
  • This year my daughter suggested we’d make some fridge magnets with Hama pearls to send along. Not a bad idea (to make everyone else we know also drown in the items that come out from our Hama pearl factory). To have some variation we realised that it is also quite simple to make eg Christmas present or tree (3x triangle on top of each other) shaped Hama pearl decorations and use them as present labels. Some we also just glued on paper to make cards.

Christmas Calender

  • Here is the sustainable but fun version of it, which we modified a bit last year.
  • This year I was thinking, that I’d make a “feel and guess what it is” task for every day putting rise, buttons, safety pin, cotton, sand etc. in the little boxes to create a little moment of excitement (but not using up too much time and energy… yeah, I’m solo parenting most part of December with big deadlines at work) every morning before our children have the commercial calenders they’ve already been given. We’ll see if they like the idea!

Decorations

To Experience

  • Christmas lights and window displays, especially in Porvoo in December
  • Stockmann window display is THE thing children in Helsinki has been brought to see every year at least since my mother was a child in the 50’s. This is what they had last year there.
  • There’ll be  Christmas paths around again: Uutela (by Vuosaari) on Dec 7th, Hertonäs gård (Herttoniemi Manor) on Dec 7th, and Seurasaari Dec 14th. Sorry, the links are only in Finnish/ Swedish but here is my post about Uutela last year.
  • Lucia on Dec 13th.
  • Start the Christmas by remembering the loved ones on graveyards. And it is beautiful!
wpid-20131208_143514.jpg

Uutela Christmas path 2013

13.12 Lucia (3)

Lucia bringing light one year

 

 

 

 

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34 comments

  1. Wow! How do you fit all of that in Vilma?!? LOL, it all looks so exciting and I know your kids love it and learn so much – and I hope that the fever is gone by now!

    1. I probably won’t :D! And I don’t really stress over it either; not everyone gets a card from us every year, depends on how many we end up making and then I try to alternate the recipients a bit. And others can get a card for valentine’s (here it is the day of friendship) or Easter instead… But i was looking at what we’ve done before and what could be fun this year, just to have options for when there is time and energy. What do you want do before Christmas to get in the mood?

      1. I’ve started buying us new pajamas every year and making him sit down and watch a Christmas movie or two with me 🙂 And we put our tree up in the very beginning of December so that we can enjoy it all year long.
        But, when Mr T was younger, we would make gingerbread houses and such, but alas, those times are in the past!

        1. What a fun Christmas tradition, to buy new pajamas! We’d *need* that one too…

          Thinking back, it is funny how the Christmas “things” have changed with our age.

  2. Impressive, Vilma!

  3. Oh my! I love Christmas! And I have never made a gingerbread house 😦 I can buy one here to make, but it costs $50. What do you think? Is it worth it?

    1. Depends on your time and nerves 😉 easy to do from scratch but pretty time consuming. Zoe would love to do the baking and decorating part with you!

      1. Hmmm… I may have to try it out. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Love the tips – those salt dough Christmas decorations are a great idea. The run up to Christmas in Helsinki sounds magical especially the Christmas paths, what a wonderful family activity.

    1. Yeah, the family paths have been great fun. Hoping to go to Seurasaari this year!
      You are good at finding great events and experiences though, so is there something happening before Christmas you like to take part in?

      1. We’ve been away a couple of times before Christmas – once to Finnish Lapland – that would be my absolute favourite thing to do!! Now with school holidays though, not so easy. We plan to visit the Christmas markets, go ice skating and go to the theatre a couple of times this year, no big plans but hope it will be fun!

        1. It sounds like fun!

          You made it to Lapland? Cool! Ever since we’ve been together we’ve been meaning to spend a Christmas there for my husband to see the northern lights too but there has always been something else going on, or then we’ve been too late to book any descent cabin and flights. One day! Should be easier to schedule in a few days in the north than 3 months in Italy 😉

  5. Well I hope your child is better, and ps: can I have a new play boat like the blue one, need some more fun running rapids! 🙂

    1. Lol, the blue one may not be quite safe in the water anymore after all the riding down the rock!

  6. Thanks for these! I’ve been thinking about getting started on Christmas too. You’re right about having to get organised early when things need posting – that gets me every year.

    1. You are welcome 🙂 And since northern hemisphere is still waiting for their presents, you are also welcome to share your tips again when you get started!

      This year I was looking for something else in a shop in October, and happen to see something my mother-in-law would love. So I bought it and when in the mood, happen to find a few other pressies as well. How wonderful to do Christmas shopping in a relaxing atmosphere! Usually I’ve been out and about in the last moment (for the southern hemisphere)…

      1. Yes, it’s good when you just see something and can stash it away. It doesn’t happen very often to me!

        I think part of the problem is that people have plenty these days to start with (compare to say a generation ago) and it’s just genuinely hard to find something you know they’ll like that they haven’t got already or probably won’t buy for themselves before Christmas – that’s in the right price range. Especially if you’re buying for people (e.g. relatives) you rarely see.

        1. …and especially when you have a feeling that those relatives you rarely see also have developed a new taste in say home decor, music, reading etc.
          But then every now and then when you find the perfect present, it is just fantastic!

          1. It is good. I wish it happened more often!

  7. Love this. I am just getting over halloween, thanks for the reminder and the pointers for Christmas. I feel like is playing on fast forward at the moment!!

    1. I’m sure you do with 4 young ones 🙂 But hey, Christmas is also a great excuse to do fun things together!

      1. Absolutely! Once I get in the swing of things the mood will hit me more. I think its time to take down the Christmas box of books and DVDs, that ought to get me in the Christmas mood. 🙂 activityvillage.co.uk is my go-to website when I need activities without the hassle. They have a great selection of Christmas activities; http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/christmas (I have no affiliation with this website! I just like it. 🙂 )

        1. Thanks for sharing the website. Good ones!

  8. You reminded me and make me hype up for Christmas! I have been so busy lately I haven’t plan anything for the kids! Let me steal some of your ideas here and get me in planning this weekend for activities leading up to Christmas 🙂 Thanks for that!

    1. Nothing like Christmas planning, please, feel free to steal ideas and share the ones you develop too 🙂

  9. Oh man… it’s been ages since I had a Lebkuchenhaus…!

    1. Maybe this year…? You know it ends with ‘Kuchen’ in German (and Swedish and Finnish…), so it should really be a part of your menu! 🙂

      1. I am going to spend Christmas in Germany this year, and there will certainly be Plätzchen, but no Lebkuchenhaus 😦

        1. Maybe you should just travel a bit further north and there’ll be some even tastier (need to temot you somehow) ones to get? 😉

  10. You’ve almost made me excited about Christmas 😉

    1. And you’ll be able to go to one of the German Christmas markets soon! I’m thinking Feuerzangenbowle, yammyyy!!!!

      1. I have no idea what that is 😉

        1. You’ll love it, mulled wine made on flames (well, that’s how I’d describe it. Germans may have a more specified description)

          1. It’s probably around 18 words stuck together 😉

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