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Visiting Tivoli in Copenhagen


Tivoli is my favorite Christmas place in the world. They pull out all the stops every year to turn the park into a winter wonderland. They even spray the place with snow every day. They make it look new every year, so we couldn't even recognize it from last year. The children go on all the rides, and we adults shop from all the lovely stores and drink mulled wine. They also have great restaurants - but remember to book a table. Another tip is to go on a workday as it get very busy on the weekends. Here are some pictures from our trip this year.











Our Santa has been busy....

The naughty Santa has been doing his pranks again. Making the milk blue and changing our candles with carrots. The kids also woke up with red noses one morning.






Saint Lucy's Day


Saint Lucy's day is celebrated in Scandinavia on the 13th of  December. Acording to legend Lucia died as a marthyr in Syracuse, Sicily around AD 310. 

Norwegian schools and kindergartens have a procession of children dressed in white and with crowns of candles on their head, singing the Lucia song. This tradition stems from Lucia bringing  "food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs" using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. 

Saint Lucy's day predates the Christian tradition though, because it used to be the longest night of the year due to the Julian Calendar that was in use at that time. The pre-Christian holiday of Yule, or jól, was the most important holiday in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.  The Yule season was a time for feasting, drinking, gift-giving, and gatherings, but also the season of awareness and fear of the forces of the dark.


-         Wikipedia


Making bath bombs

We have had a go at making bath bombs. It was actullly really easy, and the kids loved making them. I used this recipe. Just make sure you add the wet ingredients really slowly. I used a spray flask. 



Printable giftwrapping


I have started printing out gift wrapping paper for the smaller gifts on A3 paper. I found this pretty gorgeous printable paper at BABASouk. The prints are available here.

Cosy Christmas


When December arrives I usually have gifts under control. I have done the major house clean, so it is only the finishing touches that remains, and spending time with the family and doing fun activities together. I got this cosy Zoella mug when I was in Britain. It suits my Christmas theme perfect. Gold and green. I also love Tanya Burrs new Christmas book. There is so much inspiration in that book. I could just read it over and over again!

Gift ideas for grandparents

I always make the grandparents a wall calendar with pictures of the kids throughout the year. It seems to be appreciated and wished for each year.


Decorating the House

My little girl has gotten her own tree this Christmas. She decorated it herself, and shows anyone that enters the house.


Off to Denmark!

Today we are off to Denmark to spend four days in the most Christmassy place I know. A trip to tivoli in Copenhagen has become a Christmas tradition for us. I will post pictures later on - but there are millions of Christmas lights, mulled wine, rides for the kids and lots of  small Christmas shops. I love it! Will tell you about it when we are back.


My favorite nibbles at Christmas



Have you ever tried some blue cheese with honey and walnuts on ginger bread cookies? If not - you are in for a treat. That is if you like blue cheese which is not everyone's cup of tea I have gathered. The salty taste from the cheese is so wonderful with the spiciness of the cookies. And the sweetness from the honey makes it all so yummy. Have a go. It works great as an appetizer.

DIY gifts


Cosy DIY gift projects are essential for me when it gets darker outside and the weather is not so nice. I think giving away homemade presents is so nice, and I also love receiving gifts that someone has spent time on. You still have time to make some small homemade gifts like a hat or a pair of socks. And it makes the person receiving it know that you care.

Christmas money saving tips

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Bah humbug! Who wants to be thinking about money for Christmas? But there are plenty of ways to make minimise your Christmas spending without loosing your festive cheer and making the holiday seem cheap.

Spend wisely

  • When you do spend money for Christmas. Make sure you spend it with a credit card that gives you something back. I use airline credit card that gives me air miles.

Make a gift budget

  • Write down everything you buy for each person and how much it costs.
  • Buy your gifts early - when things come on sale. In the autumn things often costs less than right before Christmas. Toys for example are much cheaper in the autumn sale.
  • Anybody needs books for Christmas? I join no obligation book clubs to get free gifts when joining. Just be sure you can handle cancelling all the monthly books.
  • Consider giving your time or skills as gift vouchers instead of bought gifts. Who wouldn't enjoy having a baby sitter, or someone teaching them a skill, a personal shopper or help to fix the computer. Play to your strengths.

Plan your meals

  • Make a meal plan for christmas and buy only what you need so things don't go out of date. 
  • To spread the costs of groceries, start buying the non periables early, when you do your weekly grocery shop.

Create this Christmas

  • Make gifts for the people you love. I promise you they will appreciate it even more than bought gifts, because it shows them you have been spending time and effort on them. Get your kids involved, and they will feel so great when people open their gifts. It's not only about the receiving but also the giving.
  • There are lots of free printable wrapping paper and gift tags on Pinterest. 

Baking syndicate

Who has time to make lots of different types of cakes for Christmas? Well not me. So maybe you and your friends could form a baking syndicate? Each one bakes one or two kinds of baked goods, and then you share it between you so you get a wider selection? It also saves money - cause you don't have to buy so many different ingredients.

Secret Santa

Are you buying lots of gifts for a group of people? Secret Santa is a great way to save money and time finding the perfect gift for everyone. There are different ways of doing this, but I have used to put everybody's name in a hat (or there are online generators that do it for you), and then each one draws one name, and that is the person they are buying a gift for. So instead of buying a gift for a random person you can find something you think the person would like. It could be a homemade gift or a bought gift, but set a maximum amount to spend.

Advent calendars
I have said it several times in this blog, but I will repeat it once more. Why not do an activity calendar with the kids instead of buying them an expensive ready made calendar, or buying lots of presents. They will get tired of presents by the time they get to christmas if they get presents each day. I think it is much nicer to spend time together as a family. We do things we normally do before christmas anyway

Make this beautiful hat in all sizes (crochet)



I found this beautiful free hat recipe on Pinterest. You can make it in all sizes. The pattern is here.  I like these recipes that are quick and easy to make, and that does not take a lot of yarn to make. Great for getting rid of some leftover yarn. It makes a great Christmas present.



Time to send your Christmas cards


It is the December 1. and it is time to write and send your cards.  This years Christmas cards were delivered to me in the post. This picture was taken when we got our tree last year. So now it is time to start writing! I try to add a personal message to each one, and the children have to write a few to - or draw on them.

Adventus - the Naughty Santa..

This year I started a new advent tradition. On the 1st of December a door appears on the wall - with a letter in the mailbox. It is from the naughty Santa called Adventus. He is asking the children if it is ok if he can stay with us in December. The children are so exited to get up every morning to see what Adventus has done over night.  I think this tradition is called Elf on the Shelf and has been around for a long time in other countries. But it is still quite new in Norway.

These are some ideas of pranks he can do:

- Put blue food coloring in the milk
- Switch the candles with carrots
- Wrap the kids shoes in Christmas paper
- Paint the kids noses red with lipstick when they sleep
- Prepare breakfast picnic on the floor
- Have a party with the other dolls and teddys
- Make a lego castle
- Make snow angels in the flour and ask the kids if they want to bake
- Decorate the tree with the kids underwear
- Bathe in a casserole and leave bubbles and shampoo in the kitchen
- Put toilet paper everywhere in the kids room
- Invite the kids to a movie night - spill popcorn on the table
- Put oranges in the kids shoes
- Make a toilet paper santa


Homemade Christmas Crackers



This year I decided to make my own Christmas Crackers. It was really easy. I downloaded a template  (Download the template here.) - and added decorations to it. The snaps you can get on Ebay. I put  names on them as I will also use them as place cards. The benefit of making your own crackers is that you can choose gifts that fits each person. Remember to add a snap, a joke, and some silly hats to make it complete.





The big clear out!


It is time to do a little tidy up before we get to December. I get the kids to tidy up their toys - and decide what they are getting to big for so we can give something to someone else. I get rid of old clothes and things that don't fit me any more. I promise - the feeling you get afterwards makes it so worth it.

Best Value Advent Calendar!

When I was in England I think I discovered the best value advent calendar. When I spent 35 £ in Marks and Spencer I got this advent calendar for 35 £ - and it has products worth 250 £ in it. The brands in it are great too. I cannot wait to start opening it.


Concrete candle sticks



Here are some more projects the kids and I did in concrete. The candlesticks above were made out of Pringles boxes, and the one below was made from a plastic mold we bought in a hobby store. We finished them by applying glue and gold leaf to them.



Advent Calendar


The advent calendar is finally up. We are having an activity calendar, but I have wrapped something the kids will need for each activity some days. For example when we are writing a list for Santa, they are getting Christmas pens to write with, and when we are baking they are getting cookie cutters. I can't wait to get started! If you are doing an activity calendar, make sure to check the schedule of other things you will have to do during the days, or it will be too hectic. And make sure the activities aren't too demanding each day or you will be exhausted the first day.

Pictures from our hotel



I just had to post some pictures from our hotel in Scarborough, The Royal Hotel. It had the most beautiful decorations. The hotel was kind of old and had not had much maintenance the last few years though - but we liked it. It reminded us a little bit of Fawlty Towers, but a grander version. The first thing that met me when entering the hotel, was a receptionist with reindeer antlers by the way....and then I knew it was my kind of hotel. 







Back from a week in England

 

We are back again after visiting friends for 6 wonderful days in Scarborough, England! We have had lots of Christmas inspiration, gingerbread latte, beautiful sights, walks in the park, and of course some Christmas gift shopping.











Have a Green Christmas


After a long time with white and gold as my color palette for Christmas, I am ready for a color injection. This year my palette is green, gold and wood.

Gold cutlery - House Doctor, 
Plates - Fasan by Villeroy & Boch, 
Car decoration - House Doctor, 
Pillow - HM, 
Tree wooden decorations - Oi Soi Oi, 
Scented Candle - Skandinavisk, 
Christmas stocking - Zoella, 
Forrest candle - Winter Stories by Forest, 
Green baubles - Christmasstyle.co.uk, 
Cake tins - BLoomingville

How to plan the perfect Christmas party

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Are you going to be throwing a Christmas party this year? With some planning, this years party will be the event of the year! Here are some tips to get you started:

Choose a date

Let's face it. It is the time of year when people are the bizzyest. The earlier you book the party into peoples schedule, the less likely it is to crash with other plans.

How many?

Get a rough idea of how many people you have room for. It is no fun having invited too many people and then finding out you are lacking cutlery, plates, chairs and room at the table.

Make a guest list

There are many good tools for you to use when making a guest list and sending invites, for example Spond. It gives you control over who you want to invite, and who has accepted your invitation.

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash

Plan your menu

If you are making the food yourself, have a trial before the party, to make sure everything goes smoothly. Remember to ask about food allergies or other dietary requirements.

Getting everyone some Christmas spirit

A great way to set the mood the minute the guest steps through the mood is to serve them a festive drink. It is also important to make the welcome drink look festive too. You can for example serve them with a candy cane or a cinnamon stick to make it extra special.

Make some noise

It is easy to forget to put some music on when you are in the middle of making food and greeting guests, but it is vital. The music instantly sets the mood of the party and makes your guests relax. Make a playlist ahead of time. A party also require different music at different times. If you have a sit down dinner, it is better with some quiet ambient music, but later on you will maybe need some more up beat music.


Adding some sparkle

How about booking some entertainment? There are plenty to choose from such as magicians, cocktail flaring, caricaturists and comedians. Or how about some fireworks? Having a singalong to Christmas songs or having Santa come and deliver gifts is also an option. Do something your guests will remember and don't forget to take pictures. To make your guests feel special you could also put together some goodiebags.