My daughters and I recently attended Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular. This is an annual event run in the week’s prior to Christmas at Willows Activity Farm. If you’ve never heard of the farm see my review here.

This is my review on the Christmas event, based on my own personal experience.

Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular Review

What is it?

The Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular is a full day out of festive fun for all the family.

It runs from November 22-December 24 2017. They are open from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm), on some days they will be open from 9am ( 9, 10, 16, 17, 21-24 Dec).

Whats included?

This is the list of all the activities based on the 2017 event:

  • Meet Santa and receive a golden key – after which children can choose one of the hundreds of gifts. Piled from floor to ceiling to take home in the Toy Shop.
  • Create-a-Cuddle workshop – children can make their own reindeer cuddly toy to take home along with a naming certificate and special gift box.
  • Attend Elf Academy – learn some of the basics on becoming one of Santa’s elves. Including how to tiptoe like an Elf and the important letters of the Elf-a-bet.
  • Watch a 3D film – pop your glasses on and take off on a 3D adventure with Santa in a 3D film.
  • Watch a Christmas show – including Christmas Storytime, our Elf Sing-a-Long and special Nativity performances featuring farmyard animals.
  • Write a letter to Santa – pop it in our post box to receive a free reply delivered to your home.
  • Iceskate – Glide around the synthetic ice rink with ice skates available to fit all sizes.
  • Tristan the Runaway Tractor – take a ride around the festive wood.
  • Animals – Meet Mischka, Santa’s reindeer and all the other Farmyard animals.

There is also an Elf Passport to complete, a chance to take part in Snowball Shootout,  Festive Funfair Rides, Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground™ and soft play.

How much is it?

Prices vary across the event, getting more expensive the closer you get to Christmas. Check specific days for prices, but they come in around £35 for children and £20 for adults. Under 2s are free as long as they’re not joining in meeting Santa and the cuddle workshop.

Best Bits

We really loved this event, and thought it was truly magical. It made for a really wonderful day for the whole family.

We enjoyed all of the activities but our two favourites were:

  • Meeting Santa – I have never been to a more beautiful and festive Santa’s grotto before. Our santa was excellent and professional. My daughter was a little scared of him, but he was so patient and kind to her it really made her day. The children getting to choose their own gifts was a nice touch as the gifts then felt extra special.
  • Create-a-cuddle workshop – My daughter was over the moon to get her hands on her own reindeer, choosing the reindeer’s heart was a great touch.

The thing that really shone out for me across the day was how professional and friendly the staff were at Willows Activity Farm. Everyone you come in contact with is pleasant, helpful and happy, which made our day that touch more special.

What could be better?

The ice skating was great fun for my toddler, but as an adult I found it almost impossible to stand up on. I have been ice skating on real ice many times and I found this synthetic floor to be far more slippery. In the end I went on with just my socks on so I could at least push round my daughter without falling over.

Overview

As you can see from my review, we really loved this event at the farm. At first I was a little bit put off by the price, but after attending I now think it was actually good value. You can access to all the activities, the children get to take home a gift from Santa, a stuffed reindeer and reindeer food and you also get a letter back from Santa.

The Santa’s grotto was so magical I want to go back again next year, it will absolutely be my go to for a Santa visit come 2018.

We have just experienced snow across the U.K. for the first time in two years. Seeing the snow through my daughters eyes has been magical and it inspired me to write this poem Snowy Days.

We spent our snow day both inside and outside in the garden.

Inside we started making piñata’s for the girls January birthdays and snuggling on the sofa watching Trolls Christmas. If you’re looking for inspiration on other things to watch this Christmas see my post on the best family Christmas films on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV.

In the garden we made a snowman and had a snow ball fight. My toddler was in her element just stomping around in her Wellington boots.

I hope you enjoy my poem, Snowy Days.

Snowy DaysSnowy Days

December approaches,
So it’s the end of the year.
Christmas time is upon us,
And the New Year draws near.

The temperature drops,
The cold winds blow,
Everyone is freezing,
And there’s a chance of some snow.

It’s the season of layers,
Children wrapped up warm,
Waiting in anticipation,
For that elusive snowstorm.

When the snow arrives,
Get the children outside.
But remember sensible shoes,
So they don’t slip or slide.

Build a snowman,
Have a snow fight,
Play in the snow,
From morning to night.

Then come home to heating,
Making sure their fed,
With a hot meal in tummy’s,
Time to snuggle up in a bed.

Winter is full of traditions,
The season of magic.
Time spent with love ones,
And a visit from St. Nick.

Before we know it,
We will be sliding into Spring,
So get out enjoy the season,
And don’t forget your stocking!

If you did like my poem and fancy reading more, here are some others I wrote recently;

Daddy’s home
Christmas crap
End of a breastfeeding journey

 

Mummascribbles

 

Teachers have one of the hardest jobs in the world and deserve a treat at this time of year. However Christmas time can be very expensive for the family, with presents to buy, places to visit and food to be bought. If you have the time handmade gifts can not only save you money but also be loved by the recipient. Making your own gifts for teachers is also a great way to get the little ones involved.

To get inspiration on gifts for your teachers there are some lovely ideas on Pinterest. Some of the nicest and easiest homemade teacher Christmas gift ideas are listed below. Tweaking and personalising the gifts yourself will ensure that the gift you give is unique.

Best homemade teacher Christmas gift ideas

Food Christmas gift ideas

Gingerbread

This is a great alternative to buying a big box of chocolates, if you little one has lots of teachers. You can get your child to decorate them at home for that added bit of personalisation.

Image: Shared by BBC.co.uk on Pinterest

Place one or two in clear plastic bags and tie with ribbons when handing over to your teachers.

Mini box of chocolate truffles

Truffles are so easy to make and a hit with any chocolate lover. Kids can help with the shaping of the truffles and adding any sprinkles.

Image: Shared by BBC.co.uk on Pinterest

For gifting them, place a handful in small boxes. These can be bought from craft shops or even supermarkets in the Christmas isles.

Make your own cookie jar

Fill a clean jam jar with the ingredients for your teacher to make cookies at home. Then decorate with festive ribbons and tags to make them look extra Christmassy.

Image: Shared by BBC.co.uk on Pinterest

Decoration Christmas gift ideas

Tree decoration

A personalised decoration for your teacher will be loved for years to come. You could use these decorate your own baubles from Aldi and make six personalised ones at home.

Image: Shared by Jacqueline Brodie on Pinterest

Jam jar candle holder

Take a clean empty jam jar and paint with glue and add lots and lots of glitter.

Image: Shared by Coco 29 on Pinterest

Keep images simple such as a tree canopy to ensure the pattern stays with the glitter. Present to your teacher with the candle inside.

These ideas have all been choosen as they are easy to make, children can get involved and they are actually useful or pretty items. Whatever you choose to make to say thankyou, teachers will appreciate the sentiment you put in by creating something personal for them.

 

Mum Muddling Through

We all seem to have access to one or more streaming platforms these days. With the amount of choice out there, it can be a nightmare working out what to watch with the children. There is nothing better though than sitting down with the family and watching a Christmas film.

Across Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV here are the best family friendly Christmas films available in the UK.

Family Christmas Films

Netflix

Arthur Christmas – Animated film about the son of Santa who goes out of his way to deliver a missing gift.

Nativity – A funny film about a teacher directing the school Nativity at St Bernadette’s.

Miracle on 34th Street – A classic favourite about a little girl learning to believe in Santa Clause.

Santa Claws – Cats have to take over from a sick Santa and rescue Christmas.

Love Actually (coming Dec 14th) – A film that brings together eight separate stories about love in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon Prime

Elf – A human orphan baby is raised by Santa’s elves. The film focuses on Elf as an adult searching for where he belongs in New York. One of the funniest Christmas movies.

Nativity 3 (Where’s My Donkey) – Third in the Nativity series, back again for a big adventure including flash mobs, elves and carols.

Now TV

Disney A Christmas Carol – Animated adaption of a Christmas classic by Charles Dickens’

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Misadventure of a character Jack Skellington, who discovers Christmastown.

The Grinch – Dr. Seuss’ hit story of the creature ‘The Grinch’.

The Polar Express – Animated story of a boy who doesn’t believe in Santa, until a train conductor takes him on a journey to the North Pole.

Frozen – Not strictly a Christmas film but contains lots of ice so perfect for this time of year.

If you are looking for something to watch without the kids, see my post of top Netlfix shows for mums.

*Films were available on the above platforms at time of publishing.

Rhyming with Wine

 

We love Christmas traditions in our house and this is the first year we are doing Elf on a Shelf. As Christmas is approaching we have been discussing what should we do with our Elf called Mr Ben. I’m only looking at easy Elf on a Shelf ideas this year as we have young children and we start our new tradition. Perhaps in subsequent years we’ll become more adventurous!

Easy Elf on the Shelf ideas

Easy quick ideas for each day of advent.

Dec 1st – Elf brings advent calendars for the family

Dec 2nd – Elf hides in the branches of your newly decorated Christmas tree

Dec 3rd – Elf waits by the letter box for Christmas cards

Dec 4th – Elf takes a nap inside a tissue box

Dec 5th – Elf has a party with some of the kids toys

Dec 6th – Elf sits inside kids shoes left out side their bedroom for St Nick to fill

Dec 7th – Elf helps himself to a snack by hiding in the fridge

Dec 8th – Elf wraps himself in Christmas lightsDec 9th – Elf joins in with the nativity scene

Dec 10th – Elf reads a book

Dec 11th – Elf covers himself in stickers

Dec 12th – Elf makes a snow angel using powdered sugar or flour on the table

Dec 13th – Elf takes a ride on one the kids toys

Dec 14th – Elf hides amongst the toothbrushes

Dec 15th – Elf draws faces on bananas/oranges in the fruit bowl

Dec 16th – Elf falls asleep with the remote after watching tv

Dec 17th – Elf does some drawing or colouring in

Dec 18th – Elf is hungry again so hides amongst cereal boxes

Dec 19th – Elf spells out the kids names with building blocks or scrabble tiles

Dec 20th – Elf delivers a letter from Santa

Dec 21st – Elf builds a snowman from marshmallows

Dec 22nd – Elf has made it outside and is peaking in through the window

Dec 23rd – Elf checks this chimney or magic key to ensure everything is in order

Dec 24th – Elf sits proudly on the newly filled Christmas Eve box

We’ll be sharing our photos across advent on Instagram, which you can find here.

Mummascribbles