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Christmas Activities London 2017 - First christmas with child (adopted)

(25 Posts)
foreverma Thu 05-Oct-17 14:46:13

Hello

My partner and I are in the process of adopting a 3 year old. It will be our first child and we are absolutely over the moon. Its been a long process. Anyway, if all goes to plan (cross fingers), she will be with us in early December. We live in London and we want to use christmas as a really good opportunity to start the bonding process, by incorporating all the magic that christmas holds for children. I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions in terms of Meeting Santa outings - are there any you know of that look to be really special (not just santa in the shopping centre ;)? Christmas Carol Singing that are enjoyable for kids. Maybe a nativity play? Anything that does not involve huge crowds and lends itself towards the 3 of us being able to bond in realtive calmness. I know Im probably not explaining myself well here but hopefully you get the point!

BLUESEAPARADISE Thu 05-Oct-17 15:08:11

How about driving around listening to Christmas music and looking for Christmas lights?smile

Making decorations for the Christmas tree..

Making ginger bread men..

Roast marshmallows

Go Tobogganing or sledging ( some places have special areas for this in all weathers!)

Make paper chains

Home made hot chocolate

Christmas Eve box

And maybe a book advent Calendar? That way the child will get a new book every night and can be a fantastic bonding moment just before bed!

Sorry not exactly what you asked but couldn't run without giving you a few ideas!

foreverma Thu 05-Oct-17 15:22:30

Wow thank you!! Its exactly what Im after. I love all your ideas thankyou!!!

dinkystinky Thu 05-Oct-17 15:29:48

Go see the snowman at the Peacock theatre if you want to see a xmassy show

Christmassy walks are the best at that age - depending on where you are situated Christmas at Kew, wander round Hampstead Heath or Highgate Woods followed by hot chocolate and gingerbread is great

Make a whole afternoon of decorating the xmas tree and putting decorations up together

Petitcanard Thu 05-Oct-17 15:56:01

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Please make sure you include some quiet time in your festive plans. In my experience, your little one will be going through big changes and may be overwhelmed by lots of 'big' activities. It's important to find a balance for all of you and there's something magical about just enjoying each other's company in simple ways (a winter walk, a Christmas movie, getting cosy on the sofa). Try not to get too wrapped up in making it perfect, it will be perfect because you will be together as a family, not because you've squeezed in as much as you can. Enjoy! smile

noramum Thu 05-Oct-17 15:59:33

St Martin in the Fields does a lovely family carol service, not sure if you get any tickets though, it is very popular. Similar ones are at Caldogan Hall.

I would look for a local-ish Santa, join local fb groups or check in libraries for free family magazines. National Trust places have grottos, less commercial and normally good for a walk and play in the woods (more SE London/into Kent though).

A book advent calendar is great, also think about baking simple cookies with boiled sweet as stained glass. You could do saltdough Christmas ornaments.

foreverma Thu 05-Oct-17 16:11:14

Wow you guys have made some great suggestions. And I agree. Low Key, in the midst of all this change is very important. This is my first post ever on mumsnet and Im really so happy I did. smile Please keep 'em coming.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Thu 05-Oct-17 16:13:34

Lapland UK its pricey but perhaps worth considering for such a special first christmas?

Its near Ascot - has diff prices for diff days and times. its a three hour ish...immersive theatrical experience, you go through a "portal" into a world of white ad snow...led by elfs and santas helpers, you go to mrs Christmas house and make gingerbread have a story, there are huskies, sleding, ice skating ( with sides on them so you dont fall over if you cant skate) then meeting with the big man...

Ricekrispie22 Thu 05-Oct-17 17:51:55

How exciting! Congratulations.
Several of the Wyevale garden centres do a tea or breakfast experience with Father Christmas. We went to the one at Lower Morden which was brilliant.
www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/cms/events/

The Ecology Centre at Sutton has a magical Winter Wonderland Trail.

Last year, Vauxhall City Farm put on some magical festive events. Petting reindeer is obligatory!

Every year there's a nativity scene in Trafalgar Square and a mahoosive Christmas tree!

I'm already getting quite excited for this... www.chessington.com/christmas/

Crusoe Thu 05-Oct-17 22:36:23

As a fellow adopter I really really recommend keeping things as low key as possible. Your child is facing the most incredible change just keep things as quiet and simple as you can.
I completely understand your excitement and desire to make your first Christmas extra special but you have many many more to come as a family now.
Give yourselves time to adjust especially for your child you don't want to overwhelm them with too much too soon.
Congratulations by the way!

KC225 Thu 05-Oct-17 23:18:09

The advice of low key has been noted but just to add that the attention span of a three year old is quite limited and some of the wonderful suggestions may be overwhelming for a three year old. My twins were still napping at three. All these things will still be available when your little one is four, five and six.

Perhaps do one activity a day, either morning or afternoon. Nothing worse than a tired tantrum wiping out all good gone before. Good luck OP

Allington Thu 05-Oct-17 23:42:54

Tbh I would focus on low key, keeping a routine, lots of stuff at home or near to home. Christmas next year can be 'bigger' once everyone is settled and you know what LO can cope with and enjoy.

Allington Thu 05-Oct-17 23:45:07

It is always good to 'think younger' until you know your child - chances are they will emotionally react like a younger child, so activities most 3 year olds will enjoy could be too much for your LO

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Fri 06-Oct-17 07:53:18

Surely the people op is adopting through will give her all the information on looking after the child? She asked for Christmas outing tips!

foreverma Fri 06-Oct-17 09:40:40

Thanks everyone. Yep we are fully prepared for keeping it low key and have been to many many adoption prep courses smile. My intention here was just to get a feel for whats out there, but I do fully appreciate the feedback and opinions from everyone. Its all very supportive and kind. I love the idea of decorating the tree at home, and listening to christmas carols on the radio. Also a nice little walk to the local park sounds great. And making gingerbread men, advent calendar .. all wonderful.

Thanks Guys! And merry christmas 2017!

Allington Fri 06-Oct-17 10:30:26

Bornfree it's not quite that simple. Yes, she should have lots of info, including advice on funnelling, the importance of maintaining routines for the first few months, how to promote bonding. Though some agencies are better than others.

But nothing prepares you for the reality of adopting. It's gruelling for parent and child, to a degree that you just can't explain. Which is why experienced adopters are being supportive and helping her manage expectations and get the best possible start to this amazing, wonderful, and very strange experience.

Crusoe Fri 06-Oct-17 11:18:20

I totally agree with Allington. No amount of prep courses, reading or discussions with social workers prepare you for welcoming a traumatised child into your home. It's wonderful but is equally probably the most challenging thing you will experience too.
Good luck OP.

firawla Fri 06-Oct-17 11:24:48

Congratulations!! That is so lovely. This might be too much for this year, but maybe for next year - I thought the Santa experience at legoland was really lovely as they get you to walk through this maze of trees all decorated with lights and the santa gives out Lego gifts (might give duplo for the younger ones, he matches it to the age)

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 06-Oct-17 11:48:51

Fellow adopter here and without wanting to dampen your excitement I would really recommend keeping things very low key.

Quite often social workers won't place children at Christmas time as it can be too overwhelming for the child.

If your DC is being placed early December you really want to be staying close to home as much as possible. Christmas baking and making homemade decorations is a lovely thing to do as it will really help with the bonding process. A stroll around your local area looking at Christmas lights would be nice.

Next Christmas is the one when you can go all out making it as special as possible.

Whatever you do don't make the mistake I did and invite family over for your first Christmas Day. ( I'm sure you won't!)

Our DS was placed in September so I assumed all would be fine by Xmas. We had a houseful of family making a massive fuss of DS and I spent the day running around after them rather than enjoying my first Christmas with my new son. He was overwhelmed and I went to bed exhausted and in tears that night.

Congratulations and good luck 💐

B1rdonawire Fri 06-Oct-17 12:13:40

Congratulations on your news! This could be an opportunity to start some special gentle family traditions within your home with your new child (like lots of BlueSea's ideas). But don't worry if it turns out to be way too soon - it will be so, so early in placement and your child may be showing you they are deep in grief/shock. They may not be sleeping. You are almost certain to be exhausted. It's highly likely they'll also regress a lot after they are placed with you, so if you try and think of the kind of Christmas activities you'd be able to manage with a child aged 12-18 months, that might give you a better idea of what would be manageable.

You do also have the risk that the sounds/images/smells/routines of Christmas might be triggering for your child, and they won't be able to verbalise or explain that (take a look at the Adoption board on here if you want more on families who've found that to be the case). Every child is, of course, different. It was years before mine could cope with Santa but eventually one that worked OK was a train ride with close family, where a Santa wandered up the train near the end, and handed out a present to each child. No sitting on Santa, and no having to talk to him!

So go very gently on yourself, enjoy lots of cuddles and take family pics wearing santa hats grin and try not to add any extra pressure on yourself by thinking it has to be a perfect Christmas. It will be one you'll always remember, and it will have very precious moments in it, no matter what you do.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 06-Oct-17 12:48:34

You said this is your first post so here is the link to The Mumsnet Adoption Board

As a fellow adopter, I echo the comments that low key is probably the way to go.

Also, you may want to consider what you say about Father Christmas.

With ADD1 age 8 we put stockings downstairs as the idea of strange person coming into her room was not on. She came to us with a 'belief' in Father Christmas (and lots of convoluted reasons why he had never visited her in birth family).

With ADD2 age 3 we tried not to talk about a magical Father Christmas. But unfortunately other people did so over her first years she grew a belief in him. She is a teenager now and is still put out that what she believed in isn't true.

Also as you won't know her very well, then sometimes the scattergun approach of various small presents is a good way to go. If necessary spread them out over a few days so as not to overwhelm.

drspouse Fri 06-Oct-17 14:50:19

Right we have two adopted children and PLEASE do not do this as others have said.
Our children came when younger but are very easily overwhelmed.
We had a small selection of activities to do on free afternoons including rolling out ready made gingerbread dough, walking around looking at local lights after dark (no crowds - just people's houses), cutting and sticking, going for a walk to see cows/ducks/the park (earlier in the day obviously).
They have both seen Father Christmas at nursery. Neither coped well with the Christingle service though as we go to church regularly the normal Christmas Day morning service was OK.
We don't put up decorations till nearly Christmas so our home is reasonably quiet in December.
It can be really really too much just coping with lights/shops/nursery/normal stuff at this time of year for adopted DCs. Please don't add anything extra!

jopickles Fri 06-Oct-17 14:53:15

panto at the palladium was amazing last year and has a lot of the same cast this year also the winter wonderland in Hyde park is lovely

drspouse Fri 06-Oct-17 15:12:04

I would not take a 3yo.to the panto, adopted or not.

SpiritedLondon Fri 06-Oct-17 15:37:11

Well we go into town and buy a special decoration for the tree. Last time it was from Liberty which was incredibly hectic. In your case you could mark the occasion by making a tree ornament together - you could cut and stick sparkly paper and jewells on a bauble or do a hand print in paint etc. ( fairy for the top?). My mum still pulls out the battered fairy that my brother made at nursery when he was 3 - I'm sure no shop bought one could better it.

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