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Starting from scratch for Christmas..

(34 Posts)
MadameBabawic Tue 07-Jul-15 14:24:55

I divorced my xh in january and have moved from a large-ish house to a 2 bed flat in March.. whilst looking for somewhere to live my criteria that had to be met was have a bath and enough room for a christmas tree in the living room!
So i've bought a flat, started over and a new life for me and 2 DDs who are 6 & 8 1/2.

I have no christmas decorations at all, no christmas dishes, nothing for christmas, i want to cry at the thought of having to start from zero, all over again. This was my choice and i'm not complaining but i think i underestimated how difficult it would be.

Especially as things are tighter now financially, i would like to start planning, but also as i have always loved christmas. Christmas 2014 was non existent and quite hard for us all and i would love to finish off this life changing year for us with a lovely christmas :-) (no pressure there!)

Does anyone have any recommendations where i could start ordering naice decorations/thingys and homeware? I'm hoping we can have it in our new home with my mum and perhaps my boyfriend but havent actually talked about where we shall be, yet.

I have made a good start on stockings - picking things up gradually and i know DD wants a kindle but am trying to rack my brains for other ideas.

PLease please share any ideas you have for an new shiny, optimistic christmas!
Thinking i left the christmas boxes in my old house with my xh is making me very sad.

FeelingSmurfy Tue 07-Jul-15 14:37:03

Halfcost website has some good bits and pieces, they have a Christmas section but not sure what that's like. They do a £1 section which would be great for stocking fillers

Usually a voucher floating around too, I will try to find one if you like?

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Tue 07-Jul-15 14:47:20

Why don't you get your DD's to help make some tree decorations - that way they would have memories attached to them too.

They could do Hama bead decorations, paper mâché and paint, basic felt sewn ones.

If you're feeling creative yourself I did a tutorial for some simple to sew felt nativity bunting here but it also has a link to some other home made Christmas decorations and Pinterest is also your friend on this kind of thing.

Maybe think of this as a chance to build Christmas decorations filled with happy memories?

MadameBabawic Tue 07-Jul-15 15:05:45

Thanks for those ideas, yes i had only got as far as christmas bunting and paper chains as the room layout really lends itself to hanging things up, which is good!
Those nativity figures are just lovely!! (probably a little out of my depth though, but have saved the link to research more thoroughly).

Should have added that i'm not in the UK so delivery has to be europe, but thank you for the code offer FeelingSmurfy :-)

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Tue 07-Jul-15 15:13:43

You could do a simple running sticj on them - I've got little tutorials for all stitching on there too. It's mostly careful cutting! You could even glue the pieces on, or make them out of card and hang them.

I'll continue thinking of easy to make ideas. I had a tutorial on there for simple scandi style red felt hearts too.

BiddyPop Tue 07-Jul-15 16:05:14

Have a look at places like Etsy, ebay, Amazon and even Freecycle or local equivalent - you may find a fair few bargains at this time of year.

Could you ask your XH about the boxes in the loft, and even getting some of the contents? (I get that it wasn't amicable - but it he really likely to be interested in those ones?). Forgive me if that's a totally stupid suggestion.

Have a look as well at the Christmas Bargains thread here - there are some great ideas there.

Would there be school fairs or craft fairs where you are coming up to Christmas?

And getting the DCs on board with a new start, and making a new Christmas, including new family traditions, would be a great thing to do. Maybe explore with them, in the quiet time over summer, what they would like to see happen at Christmas and how you can all make that happen together.

MadameBabawic Tue 07-Jul-15 16:23:00

Great thoughts there Biddy, i havent had time to browse the bargain threads yet, need to have a think first about who might like what!

My mum also mentioned that i should ask for some of the stuff back but i'm not even sure i'd want it, old memories and all that coming back to haunt us !

ChippyMinton Tue 07-Jul-15 16:37:42

For the tree, you could buy some cheap baubles - the supermarkets have lovely colour-coordinated sets - as fillers, and then each choose one special ornament for this year. Do the same each year and you will build up a lovely collection. When your DC leave home they can take their decorations for their own tree smile

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Tue 07-Jul-15 16:39:24

Also for the last few years hasn't there been a mumsnet sale of hand crafted items for charity at some point? Some people were prepared to post abroad if I recall

50ShadesofXmas Wed 08-Jul-15 16:08:25

I think poundland is your friend. Some really quite nice decorations,lots of things your girls can make and also Christmas plates, tableware etc.

BrieAndChilli Wed 08-Jul-15 16:15:04

Make a ginger bread house
Popcorn garlands
Use candy canes to decorate
Pine cones and sprigs of holly are just a woodland walk away

IAmSashaFierce Wed 08-Jul-15 17:55:46

As previously suggested, I'd buy a big multipack of plain baubles, in a colour you like or something like gold and silver because it goes with everything. Each year take away some of the plain ones and add some pretty ones.

I also take my DC to a specific christmas shop each year and they each choose a decoration.

Use pinterest for inspiration as to what you want and find ways to recreate it. I personally make some of my own decorations and find that many of the items have the prices jacked up about October. Everything is cheap now.

What about getting 3 personalised stockings or at least 3 that match for your new family set up. We've had the same stockings for about 10 years now and just seeing them all come out the loft makes me feel christmassy.

Buying things which aren't specifically christmassy is another way to be more cost effective. Most of our christmas crockery and decorations aren't specifically christmassy but they're all metallic so fit together as our festive theme. It makes it easier for you to shop throughout the year if you're looking for red/gold/green stuff rather than things printed with reindeer or whatever.

MTWTFSS Sat 11-Jul-15 13:19:03

"2 DDs who are 6 & 8 1/2"

Have a Frozen themed Christmas!!!

homeaway Sat 11-Jul-15 13:24:57

Many moons ago i made salt pastry decorations with the kids, they painted them.The kids are now adults and they still like to see them at xmas.

scandichick Sat 11-Jul-15 13:29:36

You need the Christmas bargain thread, in this very topic! Dotcomgiftshop has a sale on ending this Sunday, loads of lovely stuff there.

chanie44 Sat 11-Jul-15 19:46:17

When me and OH first moved in together, we bought cheapish decorations and have gradually replaced them. We do like a mish mash tree!!!

I would recommend getting a couple of nice bits and some cheaper stuff which can be replaced.

You could start some new Xmas traditions eg stockings, Xmas eve hampers, elf on the shelf to add to the excitement.

Poundshops (or your equivalent) have some hidden gems. Ikea is also reasonable if you have one near where you love.

Artandco Sat 11-Jul-15 19:50:24

Do a natural Christmas. Get kids to collect pinecones and holly. Can add around sideboards, on trees, on fireplace

DansonslaCapucine Sat 11-Jul-15 19:53:54

I was coming on to say Poundland and Dotcomgiftshop but I see I have been beaten to it.

Yy to the Christmas bargain thread.

There's loads of Christmas crockery on one of the sites linked to - ecook something.

Good luck, there's nothing like planning Christmas to cheer the spirit.smile

Rainicorn Sat 11-Jul-15 19:58:47

For things like a Santa plate and bowls for sweets and nuts, Matalan always have a good variety for reasonable prices, and often they are half price (like most places) nearer to Christmas.

Where do you live? If it's the NE I have a prelit 7ft Christmas tree you can have. I bought it last year and it's lovely but too big for me.

MehsMum Sat 11-Jul-15 20:14:50

The 'Mumsnet wreath' is a doodle to make: there was a video on here last Christmas. Take a long length of ivy, make it into a circle, tie in place. Wind other strands of ivy around and around until its thick enough, and then doll it up with a couple of baubles and robin/santa decoration.

Spraying pinecones etc with gold paint makes pretty decs and is quite fun to do.

All sorts of places - Homebase, IKEA - do cheap fairy lights.

I always reckon that the key to good stockings is starting early: I pick up bits for the DC all through the year, including nicer versions than I'd normally buy of things they need anyway, like socks. We'd have rebellion if the stockings didn't include socks, pritt stick, tissues etc.

Most of all, have fun!

imip Sat 11-Jul-15 21:56:40

I completely endorse getting the dcs to make decorations. Salt dough is great, heaps of tutorials on YouTube. And only having a small tree on a small table means you need less decorations. You could string popcorn to put on the tree also.

A lot of fairy lights would not be that expensive and look great.

Cheap mistletoe on the door with a red ribbon rather than a wreath? I buy a few decorations after Christmas each year and put them away. Good ones, like the white company etc. I'm building up nice decorations over time. Tree in corner, less decorations on show. You could tie cimammon sticks together, put cloves in satsumas (smells lovely!).

flowers for your new start. I think building lots of traditions is be best way to go. Christmas movie, hot chocolate before bed etc etc.

cookiefiend Sat 11-Jul-15 22:37:09

Also remember (as cheesy as it sounds) that Christmas is not just about the stuff, but traditions and things that make it. Evry year at Christmas my mum would buy skooshy cream (you know- the whipped stuff in a can) and have posh hot chocolate for a few nights in the run up. I loved making decorations with her.

So try and find a few traditions you can share. Last year lidl (I think they are in loads of Europe) had advent Calander strings of bunting that you could fill with your own treats. I am already collecting activities and things and going to fill it so we have Christmas actuvitues to do together.

Ooh and baking for Christmas- that was fun too. You could start planning a whole month of fun for December. Some people do this elf on the shelf thing, which looks fun if you Google it.

shakemysilliesout Sun 12-Jul-15 07:48:25

Does your country do car boots well? I find them a great source for Xmas decs.

Paint pine cones with glitter- looks fab.

Have a wonderful Christmas and make loads of new memories

BiddyPop Mon 13-Jul-15 09:16:35

I have a list, which I sensibly called the "kiddie occupation ideas list" in my work pc, that I put together from a couple of threads on (Magicmum) a few years back. Some are great for smallies only, while others are better for older DCs, and some are timeless classics for all. If you are doing an advent calendar, or just want ideas for things to do, this might help. It's a bit random due to being C+P'ed from various posters there at the time:

Write a letter to Santa
Colour in some Christmas pictures (free printables)
Design a Christmas Card
Make some Christmas Cookies
Make and decorate some salt dough decorations.
Making a decoration for the tree together which we can add to our special Christmas Eve box,
Watching Christmas Dvds
Making mince pies and cookies for all the family who help us throughout the year
Making and decorating a gingerbread house
Visiting Santa at a department store
Making a gift for DS - also going to get DS to make DD a handmade gift
Listening to Christmas Cds
Make our 4 cats some toys by sewing material together and adding catnip if I can find somewhere who stocks it in tubes or similar?
make cards,
do potato print wrapping paper,
write to FC (the little ones rip out pics from an old argos catalogue stick them on a bit of paper then write their name),
go out and look at all the christmas lights then home for hot chocolate,
we have a charity day - sort out all their toys and take the extras to the charity shop,
we bake biscuits to take to the local fire station to say thanks for working to keep us safe over christmas while we are busy having fun,
we take each child out on their own to choose a new decoration for the tree - that is their decoration and goes in their own box after christmas so when they leave home they'll have a box of memories to take with them!
we decorate the tree out the front with strings of dried fruit and popcorn for the birds,
we do christmas camping where we all sleep in sleeping bags in the lounge and watch christmas movies, play games and eat mince pies,
we visit our neighbours with homemade biscuits and the kids sing carols,
on christmas eve the kids each decorate a pillowcase to leave out for FC

stick cloves in oranges
make xmas decorations
cook some fudge/coconut ice for rellys
decorate xmas biscuits
put xmas decs up
choose xmas tree
write a letter
make a Christmas present for dad
go out and collect holly and fir
Make some reindeer food (porridge oats and glitter in a little jar).
put on Christmas Carols/Music and have a dance
bake mince pies
fill a shoebox for a xmas shoebox appeal
learn about how another country celebrate xmas (depends how old your dc are)
visit santa
drink hot chocolate and watch a film (polar express)
fly kites
make wreath or spray

Do a Christmas kindness each - just aim to do something for someone else that is just kind. Like buy the person behind you in the queue their coffee or help someone to carry their shopping or something else similar.

Make non-alcoholic mulled wine, lots of recipes online.

Email Santa (!)
Make paperchains
"See if you can go for a whole day without asking how many days it is till we put the Christmas tree up"
make card for Nanna
make card for Daddy
Make some crackers?
Learn a new christmas song
Learn a christmas joke
Go for a walk with a torch

Go to Carol service
wrap presents
decorate christmas tree
buy present for local children's xmas appeal
watch christmassy film
make fudge
go shopping for christmas food
make christmas decorations

Decorate Xmas cake.
Tidy bedroom
learn the words to a Christmas song or poem and recite to Dad when he gets home
Make mum a cup of tea
Make a bookmark

send a Christmas card to someone who has not found any room at the inn (e.g. via The Revd. Sarah Parkinson, The Chaplain, Campsfield House, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxon OX5 1RE tel: 01865 233637 but you will of course know of loads more possibilities)

make paper snowflakes (one of the few crafty things I know how to do!)
Make gingerbread house. (GLTC do a good kit)
Collect pinecones, leaves and twigs to paint and turn into a centrepiece.
Go shopping for a tree decoration each.
Ice skating
Track Santa (for Christmas Eve)
Read a Christmas book (How the Grinch stole Christmas)
Go door to door and sing Carols

Smithagain does your church have a toy service to donate new/as new toys to families who can't afford xmas presents? Your local council probably do something like this, find out if they do and have a 'choose one of your toys to make another child's christmas' day.

bake stained glass biscuits to decorate the tree with
put baby jesus in the nativity scene if you have a nativity scene
make mince pies for santa
have a fashion show and pick the outfits that everyone should wear on christmas day
Make salt dough decorations
here is a tip though-only put stuff in the night before. This way you can chance plans at the last minute. So if it snows...you can put in, "build a snowman". If you are shattered, you can put in "snuggle up in a duvet and watch the Snowman".
Make a Christmas crown to wear
Decorate a tree outside with nuts an d fat and toast for the birds, plus a star on top

What did the three wise men bring?
What do you think the Wise men would bring today?
Name three things you need to make christmas pudding?
Sing jingle bells backwards?
Name three things that glitter?
Imitate a turkey?
Do 5 star jumps
Think of 3 words that rhyme with "Yule"?
Think up the next line of this poem:
At Christmas time the thing I like the best
Name 3 plants or trees associated with Christmas?
Name 3 animals or birds associated with Christmas?
Name 4 reindeer?
Sing a Christmas Song
Name 5 carols?
4 3-letter words from Christmas?
4 3-letter words from stocking?
Name a carol with someone's name in the title?
Name a song with Santa in the title?
What was given on the 9th day of christmas?
In the 12 days of Christmas - how many birds altogether were given?
Name two animals in the traditional nativity scene?
Make a snowflake out of paper?
Tell the story of the first christmas in less than a minute?
Name 5 christmas foods?
Make something to hang on the christmas tree?
Think of 3 names for father Christmas?

Reindeer food is basically a mix of porridge oats and glitter, the idea is that the reindeer will see it twinkling from the sky and come down and stand nicely for Santa to do his thing whilst filling their tums! A lot of people spread it outside, I find a bowl is easier as the DC can see just how much the reindeer have eaten in the morning.

Write list of things needed for Christmas crafts
Buy things for Christmas Crafts
Make glittery tree decorations using cookie cutters as templates to draw round on card. Cover in glue, add glitter and thread on a red ribbon to hang.
what about putting things on like if weather is fine go to park and feed ducks (how old are your DCS?), if its raining/cold, have carpet picnic?

making some place cards/ a decoration with names for Christmas lunch guests?

and i suppose you could just have a day when you do something you know dcs love and you rarely get to do. for us that would be going to see daddy for lunch in town or spend the day playing dress up with her bf

Go and buy cat/dog/rabbit etc. a small gift (in order to help out the big man, of course)
Paint your own mug for Grandma/Grandad/Great Auntie Thingy
Choose Christmas charity
Visit ducks in the park to wish them a very Happy Christmas and give them some bread
Make secret den in order to discuss secret Christmassy stuff and wrap presents
Plan Christmas show for Daddy/Grandma/Grandad etc.
watch a christmas book under the duvet
Read a christmassy book
do some Christmassy puzzles (will find some online to print off I'm sure)
Write cards to school friends
write & post a letter to the big man
Sing carols or Christmas songs while you do the washing up (or some other chore)

Have a Christmas-sy bath. Use "Christmas scented" bubble bath/bath oil/essential oils or Lush bath bombs. Think orange, tangerine, cinnamon...

Get some of the pre-glued strips to lick and stick paper chains (don't think it is advanced enough to count as a craft)

Actually some little housework-type things for children might not be a bad idea. Polishing something, for example

DansonslaCapucine Mon 13-Jul-15 15:35:53

Excellent list Biddypop. smile

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