Now that Halloween is over, and the children (and teachers) are back at school, I feel that I am allowed to think about Christmas. Maybe. Just a little bit…
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Christmas, so much so that I insisted we got married as close to the big day as we possibly could, without inconveniencing our guests too much! I get very very excited when all of the Christmas displays start going up in shops (sometimes a little early, perhaps, but nevermind). And my main hobby becomes frantically gathering as many shop catalogues as I can get my hands on, just to look at the pretty Christmassy pages!
One of my favourite places to go at this time of year (and admire all of the Christmasness) is Ruxley Manor Garden Centre, just a 10-minute drive from Chislehurst if the traffic is good. Ruxley has everything you could possibly need to keep you and the children entertained for a good few hours: a lovely café, a farm shop, a toy shop, a pet shop, free soft play, and some gardening stuff (apparently). In most of the school holidays they even run a series of activities/events for children, their Ruxley Rascals programme (I have attended one of these before and wasn’t impressed so I haven’t been back since, but I am determined to try again next year)! It is also renowned for putting on a good Christmas show: from its beautiful and creative Christmas displays, to its grotto (not that I have ever been – the ticket buying mayhem in August has just never appealed for some reason!), to the ice rink, and all the rest!
In the run up to Christmas we usually take a number of trips out to Ruxley, to soak up the atmosphere and see the reindeer (they have their own reindeer – they live on a nearby farm most of the year, but come and spend a little time at Ruxley when Father Christmas is in residence. How cool is that?). A and E may even be old enough to don some ice skates this year and go for a
skate fall on the ice rink. We went to Ruxley today to admire their decorations and displays properly (for the second time since it opened a couple of weeks ago).
This year the main displays seem to have an “around the world theme” of sorts, with each area showing how a different country decorates for/celebrates Christmas. In my opinion they are the best displays that I have ever seen at Ruxley; they are just lovely, and have provided me with endless inspiration (as well as serious house and decorations envy).
While I was wandering around today (on my own I might add; my mum supervising the delight that is soft play), I made a wishlist of all of the things I would buy if I had an endless supply of money and a large enough house to display it all in. If anyone is looking for some extra inspiration for my Christmas presents, then look no further (husband, take note); there are items for every budget! Here are my top finds:
I have no idea what this is or what it is for, and at £59.99 it is insanely expensive, but it really caught my eye. I love it. And I think E would love it too. If we had a mantelpiece I would proudly display it, and I think it would be particularly perfect filled with chocolates!
Card Holder (£6.99)
We receive so many Christmas cards! I am so grateful for every one, but I am running out of ways to display them. As I mentioned above, we do not have a mantelpiece in our living room; nor, indeed, any windowsills. And, thanks to children, we no longer have a coffee table – just a cabinet full of toys, a play kitchen and a kid’s toolbench in its place (honestly, you wouldn’t actually know that two grown-ups lived in this house). Last year we hung string from every nook and cranny we could find and then hung the cards off it. But I do love card holders; they make use of the often overlooked space that is the door. We have one already but it is quite fiddly, and you spend most of the Christmas period picking them up and trying to put them back. I think we have to admit that it is time to get a new one, and this one is just lovely! And the holders themselves seem much more sturdy (and upright) than those on our current one.
Father Christmas Plate (£5.99)
We do have a Christmassy plate; I bought it at a craft fair in my first year at university (so it is rather old), and for the last couple of years it has been our Father Christmas plate for Christmas Eve. However, it may find itself relegated to the kitchen this year, because I want this one; it has legs, and you can even get a small matching bowl for reindeer food. Enough said.
Tree Decoration (£2.49)
There are so so many perfect tree decorations at Ruxley, and they are all organised so beautifully, according to the colours and themes in the displays. There is just so much choice that I don’t think I could single out any one in particular, but I always like to see the new Gisela Graham decorations; these days, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a few new Gisela Graham decorations on the tree (what did we actually do before she came on the scene)? I love the bright red colour of this one, and we don’t have many that are actually shaped like a Christmas tree!
Snomes (prices start at £3.99, for a small one, and vary according to size)
Well, these are just the most adorable things that I have ever seen, and I very much want to adopt
one them all! Who doesn’t need a house full of snomes?*
Toilet Roll (£2.99 per roll)
I’ll just leave this here…
(They also do packs of tissues in a large range of designs if you would rather treat your nose)!
So there we have it, my Christmas decoration wishlist 2016! Do you have a favourite style of decoration? What are your best finds so far this year?
*I literally couldn’t resist and so bought a couple of snomes there and then! They are very happy in their new home: