This ain’t a Mickey Mouse tale…

This year, no matter how much I try, I just can’t get in to the Christmas Spirit.

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It’s like it’s not even December.

It’s cold outside, and our heating is on.  I have a beautiful new pair of winter boots that hubby has bought for me (early birthday present).  I’ve been wearing my lovely, grey, winter coat and scarf.  Homemade, paper decorations are sprawled across our house – paper snowflakes, stars and chains.  There are several Christmas cards on our window-ledge, and we’ve got a beautiful, wooden winter scene on display, that my dad made…

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However, we didn’t have the tree up.

It’s become a tradition, in our house, that our tree and decorations go up on 1 December; but it wasn’t possible, as there was just too much to do in the house.  There was still cleaning to be done, mainly due to a couple of mishaps in the boys room a few weeks ago (long story).

A couple of days came and went, and Gning was questioning why we haven’t got our tree up.  So on 4 December, hubby got the step-ladder out, and up in to the attic he went.

He passed the attic door to me, and then I heard him say, “looks like we’ve got mice…  There’s droppings everywhere”.

He passed the large, red bag, containing the tree down to me…  “Be careful,” he said to me, “looks like they’ve eaten this…”  Hubby then handed me a couple of our Christmas stockings, which also had decorations in them, but it looks like the mice had got to them too.

Everything was either chewed, or had droppings on.  The tree bag was slightly damp, and had fresh droppings on it.  It made me worried to open it in the house, so we carefully carried everything out to the driveway, where we keep our wheelie-bins.

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Not actually our tree, but this is what we had to do 😦

Very little was salvageable.  Thankfully, I managed to save a few of my special decorations that I had been collecting over the years.  They needed a bloody good wash, but were still able to be used.  So this left us with a handful of baubles, and a single set of fairy lights.

So it was decided.  We had no choice but to buy a new tree and decorations, and we found them in our local Asda (otherwise known as Wal-mart).

As soon as we got home, we unpacked everything and started to decorate.  Gning and Donut helped the hubby with the new baubles, and they had a great time in doing so.

Granted, our new 5ft tree wasn’t the 7ft tree we were used to, but it is still lovely all the same.  I love it!  It’s super cute, and fits in to the corner nicely.

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We’ve still got a few things that we need to buy, but at least we have our tree up!

As for the mice, well, I’m afraid there’s not going to be any good news for them.

Normally I’m tolerant of mice.  I like them.  They’re so small, and they need to live freely, but I have a different rule when they’re in the house.  And they are.  They’re living comfortably, up in my attic, and I don’t want to take the chance of them coming down, actually in to the house.  I’m currently pricing up traps…  Not the old ones, that snap and kill (I couldn’t cope with that), but one of the box things…

Sorry Mickey, Minnie, Mighty and Jerry – you’re about to be evicted.

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Sleigh bells ring; can you hear them?

No?  Me either.

It’s 2nd December, and no matter how hard I am trying, I just cannot get in to the festive mood.

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated; tinsel dons the picture frames, and lines the Welsh dresser; our fireplace is decorated with tinsel, advent calendars and stockings…

Then there are empty boxes scattering the floor; bits of “broken” tinsel lay uninterrupted where they landed…  Three wrapped Christmas presents are in the middle of the floor; amongst the yet-to-be-disposed-of boxes; because I just can’t be bothered putting them under the tree.

It could be down to hormones.  I’m still overly tired.  Even when I do the simplest thing, I’m convinced that I need to go to bed to ‘sleep it off’.  I know I can’t do that though because I have an amazing three year old little man, who is always on the go.  I have enough energy to play with him; in small bursts; but no energy to make the front room look “liveable” again.

In fact, other than the pregnancy thing, I’m fairly sure that I was in this situation last year too.  I just couldn’t get the Christmas spirit then either.

And I refuse to turn in to my “Scrooge McDuck” husband (only joking, ha ha)…  I really want the Christmas bug, but I just can’t find it to get bitten by it!

Anyone else feeling the same?  Is it too early in December to start worrying that I am turning in to the Grinch?

Christmas on a Budget

Like a lot of other families this year, I will be struggling a lot this Christmas.  We’re almost at the middle of November, and I have gotten to the point where I am wondering if I will be able to get any Christmas presents at all…  And that includes for my 2 year old.  Although I am sure that I will be able to work something out, here are some hints and tips for you…

Spread the cost of Christmas

It may seem a little silly storing Christmas presents away in July, but paying a little bit every so often is easier on the bank balance than buying everything all at once and being left with the hefty bills over Winter.  If you’re super savvy, you could even start your Christmas shopping when the January sales start!

Homemade Decorations

Decorations are simple to make, and can save you a lot of money.  Not only can this be a good way to get your children involved in crafting, but you end up with treasured memories and festive keepsakes that you can use year after year.

Search for Vouchers Online

Some gifts can be particularly expensive, but by searching around online you may be able to find a code or voucher so that you can pick it up at a discounted price.  Before buying anything, always look to find it cheaper – it could be worth the search.

Check out Nearly New Boards

You can find ‘Nearly New Boards’ practically everywhere.  Check out ebay, amazon local marketplace, gumtree…

Make your own Christmas Cards

Making your own cards could be the perfect way for saving a bit of money, and it will get the kids involved in some quality crafting (and quiet) time.  Be as adventurous, or as simplistic, as you like.  Making your own cards means that you’re not limited to the designs that you find in the shops.

Ask Guests to chip in for Christmas Dinner

What?  Really?  Yes!  The costs of Christmas dinner can mount up quickly, so it may be a good idea to ask guests to help out a bit.  You could even allocate a different part of the meal to each guest if you’re having a large group of people over – so one person can be responsible for starters, one can bring around the pudding, one can bring the veg, and you sort out the turkey!  It is easy to be nervous about asking, but most people will be happy to chip in if it means the meal will be that ‘little more grand’ for everybody.  Oh…  And don’t forget to ask someone to bring the crackers!

Home-make whatever you can

On the subject of food, try to stay away from pre-packaged additions to your Christmas dinner.  Not only is it the healthier option, as you can be sure of everything that is going in to your meal, but it is actually a lot easier on your purse strings!  I’m sure you can manage rolling the pig up in the blanket, and there is NEVER a need for the taste of Smash when you can buy a whole bag of potatoes for less than a portion of pre-mashed spuds.

Don’t be afraid of Charity Shops

Christmas presents don’t have to cost a fortune; in fact, some of the best toys can come from car boot sales and charity shops.  Kids love opening presents so will be much more excited at opening ten £1 presents than one £10 gift.

Print off your own ‘Santa Stop Here’ sign

There are a variety of signs available these days for children to hang up outside their doors, telling Santa where he needs to stop.  Save money on a much desired sign by printing out your own one, allowing children to give it that personal touch by colouring it in themselves.

Make Gifts Yourself!

Get your creative juices flowing and save a bit of cash by making gifts yourself.  Whether it’s a bundle of sweet treats, a hamper you’ve collected goodies from your area or a special keepsake from your children, people always appreciate that you’ve put in a special effort to make their gift.  To give yourself ideas, why not research online?  I like to use ‘Pintrest’ for inspiration.

Stock up on PLAIN Wrapping Paper

It’s so easy to get carried away buying festive wrapping paper, only for it to go unused in the cupboard for a year, getting crumpled along the way, then to be ripped open and binned… What not buy paper with no occasion writing or image on it, so that it can be used any time of the year, and will never go to waste?  You could even decorate the paper yourself with drawings or stencils.

Plastic is Fantastic

No, it’s not a real tree, but a plastic tree can be used year after year, it can be as large (or as small) as you want, it doesn’t drop needles, and it saves you more money every year that you have it.  Not only that, but a plastic tree can look just as festive while bearing the brunt of over enthusiastic children just that little bit more than a real tree.

The True Meaning

Overall, too many people are too quick to judge what other people have for Christmas.  Whether it be food or gifts, they always forget the true meaning.  That, I suppose, is why I am not particularly worried about struggling this year.  I know that even without anything to give, my family are still going to have an amazing Christmas.