Tis the Season

christmas shoppingAs I pack the car with bottled water, snacks, comfy shoes and big environmental bags it would appear that I am planning for a natural disaster of some sort.  To your disappointment it’s nothing so extreme but it is something almost as adrenaline filled. Yes you guessed it, I am planning for a girls Christmas shopping weekend!

There are a group of us that go shopping every year and attempt to conquer our entire Christmas list in one weekend.  We plan every detail….from which route to take, a listing of each store we want to hit and even how long we can spend in each store.  We plan out where we will stop for lunch (we need to make sure we have fuel in us to keep the shopping marathon going for the two days) and we plan where and when we will stop for dinner.  Dinner is mostly to re-group over a glass of wine to make sure we didn’t miss anything and if we did, to add it to the agenda for the next day.

We even go as far as booking into a hotel for the night near the shopping mall so that we can shop until we literally “drop”. I attend this shopping extravaganza with girlfriends who all have children the same age as mine.  This is helpful because then we can bounce gift ideas off one another and ensure that we are getting our kids the latest and greatest toys.  We spend the most time in toy and kids apparel stores.  We all have 6 year old boys that are obsessed with trucks, cars, airplanes and figurines.  We ensure that we bring all of the holiday store coupons with to ensure we are getting the best bang for our buck!!!!

DC Friend BatcaveFor the most part I usually get the majority of my Christmas shopping done that weekend.  For any last minute gifts I get those online as I am sick of the malls by then.  Going to websites like http://www.mattel.ca/ is a good as they have their toys categorized by age group which makes shopping very convenient.   They have everything from Barbie to the latest Imaginext toys (which my son and his friends LOVE).  The DC Super Friends™ Batcave is an absolute favorite in the 4-8 year category!!!!

For next year all you parents out there that are wondering when and how to start your Christmas shopping, my advice to you is pack your car with all of the essential survival tools and a well planned out Christmas list.  Then hit the open road for a shopping extravaganza.  It will take a weekend to get everything done but then you can rest and enjoy the rest of the holidays with family and friends knowing that you have conquered the list that was haunting you.

Well, I’m off to start wrapping……

“Disclosure: I am part of the Mattel Holiday Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”


Share The Joy This Season

imagesEvery year as I begin my Christmas shopping for my children I reflect on how lucky they are to have as much as they do. For me it’s important to remember  that there many people in the world with very little, including a number of local families that struggle during the holiday season.

I believe that it’s very important for my kids to understand how lucky they are and to “share their joy” with others.  That’s why I always volunteer at my children’s elementary school for the Stocking Program.  It’s a great program where each grade at the school joins together to fill a huge stocking, or cardboard box that is decorated like a stocking, with presents for a family in need.  The presents can be anything from winter clothes to toys to grocery store gift cards that can be used for meals over the holidays.  As a school we always fill about 8 or 9 stockings.  As a family we always give generously to at least one family.

I make sure that my children are very much a part of the giving process. We talk about the ages of the kids that we are buying for and what they might like and need.   Then my children and I carve out a day to go shopping for relevant and fun items for each family member.  We always help to decorate the stocking (box) and we actually deliver the stocking right to the school that the family belongs to.

The whole process is designed to be as valuable to the volunteers as it is to helping out a local family that may not have the means as others do in providing a wonderful Christmas for their family.  For my kids it’s a great way to understand the meaning of giving back to the community and the true spirit of the holidays.

397719_518717761494344_51720000_aSimilar to my local efforts, and as a KINDER Mom, I like to share with you another great holiday kindness program that KINDER® has on right now.  For the second year in a row, KINDER® has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network with the “A Joy To Share” program.  The “A Joy to Share” program is one of the ways KINDER® is helping bring joy to families this holiday season.  As families come together this holiday, it is a wonderful opportunity to teach our little ones (and loved ones) about what it means to help others.  This isn’t just a donation – but a call to action for Canadian moms and children to create a greeting card as a means to share some holiday joy to  children and their families at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals this holiday season.

Starting Friday November 22nd, for each greeting card that is created, KINDER® will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Have fun creating your greeting card and remember to Share The Joy this holiday season!

Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Total Control

School pictures, Fall and Christmas….all times of the year where as parents you are out shopping for new clothes for your kiddies. What I love about the age of my kids right now is that I can still choose what they wear. I can choose to dress them funky or casual or make them dress up for a special occasion.  I choose everything from the big bow headbands to the sparkly shoes. I am sure that the arguments and negotiations will come soon on that front but for now….I have TOTAL POWER over their wardrobe (insert wicked witch laugh).

Self PortriatThe reason why I might come across as a control hungry psycho mother is because I never had any control over what I wore as a child (see side picture). As you can see my Mom (hi mom) had total control over my wardrobe and THIS is what she chose for me to wear for picture day when I was in Kindergarten. Nope, that’s NOT my brother….that’s me….as a five year old little GIRL!  Apparently my mom had total control over my hair cuts as well….sigh!

Well, parents, you are in luck. Right now at Sears they are offering a promotion during their Baby Days which is 20% off everything baby…..so perfect time to shop and earn KIDSBUCKS!) From October 11th to the 31st earn $10 in Sears KidsBucks for every $40 spent on Toy’s, Children’s Furniture, Kids’ & Infants’ Apparel and Juvenile Products.  Earn a maximum of $50 in KidsBucks per single transaction.   You can redeem the Kidsbucks coupon from November 1 – 12, 2013….so, just in time to buy Christmas outfits. The great thing about this offer is it’s available in stores and ONLINE! I don’t know about you but I love to shop late at night once the kids are in bed, dressed in my jammies and slippers in front of the computer instead of braving the crowds in the stores.

Sears Kids Bucks

Portrait Studio Bonus!

With any purchase of $50 or more on kids’ fashions between October 25th and November 7th you’ll receive a FREE photo shoot courtesy of Sears Portrait Studio + 10 FREE personalized photo greeting cards ($29.89 value, redeemable October 25th to December 13th).

So, after you stop giggling at the picture that I shared take some time to check out the Sears website and pick out some beautiful clothes for your little ones…..while they still let you!


Really want one of those portrait studio coupons? Sears are giving away the same portrait studio coupon to one of our lucky readers! For a chance to win a FREE photo shoot courtesy of Sears Portrait Studio + 10 FREE personalized photo greeting cards ($29.89 value) simply pop to the Sears website and leave a comment below telling us what you would spend your Kidsbucks on.

Once you’ve completed this mandatory first entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway closes October 20th.
  • Winner will be chosen at random.
  • Open to all Canadian residents over the age of 18 (excluding Quebec).
  • You will find a similar giveaway being run by other #SearsBabysRoom bloggers. You may enter across as many blogs as you want, however you can only win on one.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears The Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

It’s a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

It’s the holiday season and there are so many fun activities to do with the kids, baking, crafts, trimming the Christmas tree, you name it.  I almost wish that the kids got out of school a little bit earlier so that we could fit everything in (well, maybe just a day or two earlier…let’s not get crazy here :-).


As a family we definitely have our favorite activities that cannot be missed.  One tradition that we started many years ago is to visit the Bright Nights Stanley Park Christmas Train (for all of you Vancouverites reading this).  During the holiday season, Stanley Park sparkles with two million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early this time of year.  It’s so much fun for all ages.  The park decorates a large portion of Stanley Park with lights and Christmas displays then you and your family can hop on a train to tour through the winter wonderland.  Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years.  For more information visit http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

gingerbread houseAnother tradition in our family is to have the kids build a giant gingerbread house with the grandparents.  It’s hours of fun deciding where all the candy should be placed and how to make the sides stick together with the icing that my 5 year old keeps sneaking spoon fulls of.  It’s a great tradition that will live on throughout the years and the kids proudly display the finished product on our dining room table for all of our holiday guests to see!

On Christmas Eve grandma and the kids put together a food concoction of oatmeal and sparkles for Santa’s reindeer and spread it out on the lawn so that the reindeer don’t get lost.  Then they proceed to bake some very special cookies for Santa to have with his eggnog as a little treat after he’s delivered the presents .

The great thing about creating holiday traditions is that traditions are cherished by the young and the old.  They are something to look forward to as the holidays near.  They generate a sense of closeness within the family that can sometimes be missed through all of the holiday hustle and bustle.

disney junior ecardsThis year Disney Junior has some fun activities for you during the holiday season.  My favorite is the Disney Junior Holiday eCard.  It’s a great way to share the holiday magic with your little one by choosing from new holiday designs and special characters to put in your eCard.  For a guaranteed moment of fun and creativity, check it out here: http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/holiday-e-card

There is also the premiere of Disney’s The Santa Buddies on Saturday December 15th at 11am ET.  Who doesn’t love puppies at Christmas time?  As B-Dawg would say, “That’s tight”!  Check here for the full listing of Holiday Shows that your little one will love  http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/holiday-schedule/

As each year goes by and another Christmas passes I look for new and exciting traditions to start with the family (have to keep things exciting).  I would LOVE to know what your Christmas traditions are with your family.

Leave a comment below and share your Holiday tradition with us!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Holiday Pictures and a Giveaway!

It’s that time of the year again when you fight the mall crowds and spend more money than you intended or have for that matter. It’s also that time of the year when you dress your children up in super cute Christmas outfits and take tons of pictures to share with your family and friends.

I like to have our family photos taken early so that I have time to make them into Christmas cards. So, this year I decided to take the kids to Sears Portrait Studio for a fast and efficient photo sitting and for professional pictures.

I haven’t been to the Sears Portrait Studio in years so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our appointment was for 3:30pm which is right after school so my kids were fairly tired and grumpy from the outset. Let’s just say  we were batting zero right from the get-go. However, when we arrived at the studio the manager was waiting for our arrival and ready to get started right away. She had all of the Christmas backdrops ready and after one look at my children’s outfits she suggested the perfect one. She  was very efficient but at the same time took the time to connect with my 5 year old and my 8 year old. She knew how to make them laugh (yes, there were a couple references to bodily functions) and how to get them to sit and be still for a couple of the more serious shots. I wanted to pry her for her secrets on how to get my kids to be so settled but then thought better of it considering I am the blogger of a blog providing parenting advice.  But,……I would still like to know 😉

The photo shoot went well and we even had time for a costume change. I got my Christmas pics and non Christmas pics done in the same sitting. And imagine that, the photo shoot came to an end “right” as my kids started to get unruly!!! I didn’t have to break out the stale Halloween candy that I had hidden at the bottom of my purse for bribes or anything like that….the whole process was a breeze.

What really impressed me was they had this whole toy area for kids to play while I reviewed the pictures. They even had the latest video’s playing on TV to distract my kids and give me a little extra viewing time. The Manager went through each picture with me and gave wonderful suggestions on the pictures that worked and the ones that….ahem…. didn’t work.

I didn’t feel any pressure to buy a super deluxe package that probably cost more than my car…..  The manager provided me with some reasonably priced options that I really liked and will be using as Christmas gifts for the Grandparents and Aunties. The one in particular that I chose was a collage of all the best pictures along with a cute saying in the middle. It’s something that the Grandparents won’t just put up at Christmas time but all year round as well.

My pictures will be ready for pick up on December 4th so I will share them with you all then (I can’t not share the picture of my 5 year old in a pinstriped suit). For those of you thinking about getting your Family Christmas pictures done I would highly recommend the Sears Portrait Studio nearest you if you need a fast, efficient and good quality experience for your kids! Having said that, for all your Canadians out there wanting your Holiday portraits done…..

Enter to WIN your very own FREE Sears Canada Portrait Studio Session and

10 FREE Christmas Cards 


ONE FREE Sears Canada Portrait Studio Session for your Family or a Friend

Leave a comment below for your entry 

Extra entries:

Be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes Nov 24th, 2012
  • You may see this giveaway running on several blogs. You may enter on multiple blogs but you may only win once.

Disclosure: I am part of the SearsThe Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Keeping ‘The Secret’: Surviving Christmas Stress

Being a parent at Christmas is way more stressful than I’d ever imagined. The thing is, I’m struggling with the whole Santa scam. Before the little ones came along I assumed the most difficult part of it was not getting caught putting the presents out on Christmas Eve when you’ve had a bit too much Christmas cheer. Oh no: it’s way more involved than that. The responsibility of having to keep ‘The Secret’ is weighing on me – imagine the guilt if you slipped up and let the presents out of the bag that Santa was er well …. NOT!

The tangled web of deceit around Santa, woven in the weeks leading up to the big day (and starting far too soon for my liking – Christmas should be under wraps until Dec 1st as far as I’m concerned) is complex and hard to keep up with. Santa’s legend is riddled with holes. I’ve had to think quickly to side step the following potential Santa exposés:

  1. We encourage the kids to make a Christmas wish list and send it to Santa. With TV ads, store catalogs and the internet to drool over and draw inspiration from the lists are usually L-O-N-G. We then explain at least 3 times per day that they can’t expect everything on their list; Mommy and Daddy don’t have THAT much money. “But they are from Santa, not Mommy and Daddy” retort the kids. “Mommy and daddy still have to pay Santa for the presents” is the only answer I can come up with – and so another magic sparkle is extinguished.
  2. Things from their wish list get bought by nanny and granddad, their siblings, their auntie. How does this work? A. Santa tells them what you want and lets them buy some gifts as he can’t carry too much in his sleigh.
  3. Despite the efforts of the family members to lighten Santa’s load, how can he possibly carry all those gifts for all the children in the world on a sleigh? A. “It’s magic”. Lame answer, but it suffices.
  4. We have no chimney, so how will Santa get in? We purchased a special “Santa Key” which allows Santa access to apartments and modern houses without fireplaces. Personally I think this is a safer route of entry for a rotund, elderly gentleman to take and therefore a modern update to the tale I’m happy to adopt.
  5. Lego City Police Station, the #1 gift on Pickle’s wish list was sold out everywhere. I broke into a sweat. How do we explain this? With Santa’s magical powers, surely he can deliver in such circumstances. I started weaving another deceitful tale that dentist wannabe, reluctant elf Hermey was allocated to make this particular toy and therefore stocks in Santa’s workshop are low. (Meanwhile we contacted a relative in the States to get us one and mail it over at great expense.)
  6. Why are the presents delivered by Santa wrapped in the same paper as those under our tree? A. He obviously goes to the same shops and has the same (good) taste in wrapping paper as Mommy.
  7. In the brilliant Frozen Planet series, episode 6 ‘The Last Frontier’ about people living and working at the North Pole failed to mention Father Christmas and the Elves. I had no answer for the kids to this omission, but suggest to the BBC that it would make a superb Frozen Planet Christmas special.

But why am I having to dodge all these pitfalls and fabricate answers to all these questions? I don’t remember asking such questions when I was a kid – I just accepted the magic. I think perhaps the ubiquitous nature of Santa these days is to blame for us having to dodge and weave our way through the festive season. When he was a mysterious, rarely – if ever – seen, character it was easy to believe in his powers. He was magical and that’s all we needed to know. Now, go to any mall and he’s there; go to any large department store (even in the same mall) and he’s there; go to any school fayre or Christmas party at mommy or daddy’s work and he’s there. His beard is in various states of bushiness and shades of gray to white. After seeing Santa at the Christmas fayre Pickle remarked that he must have been one of Santa’s back-ups as he didn’t seem like the real deal. Good idea kid – I quickly noted that one down to use on Bowser when the time comes.

Santa, you need a beard trim

*Please excuse the cheat of a semi-recycled post from 2009. I’ve had a poorly Bowser on my hands for a week now and tending to his nose wiping, apple juice demands and cuddle and Calpol administration has kept me too busy to draft a fresh post.

New Mom Survival Tips for the Holiday Season

As a new mom you are probably looking forward to the upcoming holiday season.  It’s your first chance to watch your baby experience Christmas and all the joyous occasions that take place during the month of December.

HOWEVER, at the same time you also might be feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about the looming to-do list in front of you and how you are going to accomplish being “super mom” throughout the holidays while at the same time buying gifts, wrapping gifts, entertaining guests, etc.

Below are some tips and tricks on how to make  your life easier (and more enjoyable) over the holidays:

1)      Make some homemade gifts.  Grandma and Grandpa are itching to babysit for you so make up a book of coupons that give them “one free day of babysitting…for them”, “one walk in the park with your baby”, “one good night story with your baby”….trust me, they will love it and you never have to leave the house.

2)      Go shopping…..ONLINE!  You will never have the leave the comfort of your yoga pants and you will have all of your Christmas gifts delivered right to your door.  One item I found exceptionally unique is a necklace I recently bought from PMCartisan. Imagine a fingerprint impression of your child in fine silver. The artist will mail you a kit to take the impression that will be used to make your custom one of a kind HeartPrint Pendant in Fine Silver. Then you mail it back to her and whola you have a wonderful, unique necklace gift for grandma or auntie. (see picture below)

Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pmcartisan

Website: www.PMCartisan.com

3)      Buy a bunch of gift bags tissue and ribbon….forget the wrapping for your friends and family, go straight to the bags!

4)      For those of you traveling this holiday season, buy yourself a Puj Tub.  This soft infant tub hangs and stores flat (easy to carry around) and can easily fit in any sink.  That way if you are staying with family you don’t have to worry about optimizing the bathroom all the time to give your baby his nightly bath.  You can use the kitchen sink if you want.

5)      Go HANDS-FREE!  By using a baby carrier like the Petunia Pickle Bottom Heavenly ERGObaby Carrier you stay close to your little one during the busy holiday activities.  This hands free carrier allows you to tackle the tasks ahead while maintaining a close bond with baby.  It also allows for stroller free holiday shopping.

There are a number of great holiday items out there that will assist with making your life easier.  From helping to fully cover you when your breastfeeding in public (like in a busy mall) by using the BeBe au Lait “hooter hider” to keeping your baby warm and dry when out and about using the aden + anais Sleep Sack.   I have listed a number of local retailers (for Vancouver) that you can find the “survival tools” that will help you maintain your sanity over the holidays and to help you enjoy your first Christmas with your new baby.

Some Lower Mainland retailers where many of the “survival items” can be found include:

Crocodile baby (Vancouver & South Surrey locations

Jack & Lola (North Vancouver)

Baby’s World (Coquitlam)

E-Children (Richmond)

TJ’s (Surrey & Victoria)

Barla Banana Boutique (online only www.barlabanana.com) opening November 28, 2011!!

And if you want to see some of these items in more detail, here’s Erica giving her holiday survival tips to Lynne Colliar on Global BC Morning News, Nov 26th.

The Age of Not Believing

“It won’t be long….” remarked hubs after witnessing Pickle’s assessment of the haul left by Santa on Christmas morning. “Some of these aren’t from Santa” she concluded after a swift scan of the presents in her Santa sack. Why? Because she recognised some of the wrapping was the same as the family presents under the tree. I’d broken one of my own rules: use different wrap for the Santa gifts – something I learned last year after blogging about how hard I found it to keep up with the Santa scam. It couldn’t be helped – hubs was struck down by man-flu* on Christmas Eve leaving it up to me to dash to Sainsbury’s at the last minute in search of ‘Santa Wrap’ and batteries. I was trebbly mad: mad that I hadn’t taken charge of this important Christmas task earlier in the week instead of leaving it to a man the last minute; madder that I now had to brave the frenzied Christmas Eve crowds in the grocery store; even madder because Sainsbury’s were all out of wrap. Darn. We were stuck with using the rolls of wrap we had.

And so in a split second, Pickle became a little more suspicious of the Santa story.

Santa, you need a beard trim

It’s a shame because we’d strengthened her belief in Santa just the day before when we went to visit him at the local garden centre. This was no ordinary mall Santa – this was a class act. We all came away thinking maybe…could it be…was he, perhaps…the real deal? He was warm and friendly, spent a long time chatting to the kids while making copious notes in his dog-eared note book about their wishes. I loved it most that he pushed home to the kids how hard their parents worked to look after them all year and how they worked extra hard at this time of year helping Santa out. He asked them to remember to give their mummies and daddies a BIG hug, not just on Christmas Day, but every day. And he was sensibly groomed – not a walking beard like the Santa we saw at hub’s company’s kids’ Christmas party.

Just in case Santa needs a reminder...

So what age do kids become non-believers these days? Pickle is only six (admittedly six going on sixteen) so I thought we had a fair few years of Santa magic ahead of us. I was five years older than my brother (still am, strangely enough) so presumably I had a lot of years of hamming up the Christmas Eve routine to keep the magic alive for him, but I honestly can’t remember. Of course, all kids go through that limbo stage where they don’t truly believe any more, but are too scared to admit it ‘just in case’ they are greeted by a load of nothing on Christmas morning. I love the excitement of Christmas Eve: the prepping of Santa’s mince pie and milk and rudolph’s carrot; the strategic positioning of the Santa sacks, magic Santa key and Santa sign; the sparkling eyes and uncontainable excited giggles as they snuggle down to get to sleep before he arrives. I’m hoping it’s going to be a few more years before Pickle reaches the age of not believing.

*To be fair to hubs, his man-flu did develop into something more serious (although not entirely sure what) and although he soldiered through the Christmas Day, he spent Boxing Day and Monday confined to his bed coughing and manufacturing mucus and missing out on the family fun. Awww.

My First Christmas

Over the Christmas period I had a bizarre conversation with my parents where I learned that my first Christmas was spent in a pub. I was sleeping upstairs in my carry-cot to be precise rather than in the smoke-filled bar (so that’s alright then?!)

The Anchor - where I spent my first (and second) Christmas

No, it’s not as bad as it sounds – my parents aren’t trailer-trash who’d dump their baby anywhere at the first sniff of booze. It was 1960s England and my dad worked at a pub part time. He had two jobs, not to keep us in a luxurious lifestyle, but simply to make ends meet. These were the pre-computer-generation days when your average man didn’t earn a lot. At the time his wages from British Gas didn’t cover the mortgage, bills and modest living expenses. Anyway, as a result of working in the pub the landlord and customers were my dad’s good friends so that’s where my family spent Christmas night. Having a new baby didn’t deter my parents and I was taken along.

My second Christmas was apparently also spent in the same pub. Once again I was left upstairs in my carry-cot to sleep, but by this time I was mobile and I was later discovered wandering around by a lady coming upstairs to use the toilet. That’s how I ended up behind the bar playing with mixer bottles and collecting glasses – hmmm, suitable pastime for an 18 month old?

I listened incredulously to this story as my parents retold it. It sounds implausible – a baby left alone upstairs in a noisy pub while her parents partied downstairs?! Where was the baby monitor? Where was the pack ‘n’ play? Where was the stair gate? But they were relaxed, they were having fun and despite the minimal risks – sure I could have fallen down the stairs – having a baby didn’t fetter them.

This story came up after we had been discussing whether we could go to stay at my parents’ house since my 23 month old would have no proper bed to sleep in. Would he settle in a borrowed travel cot I worried? Shortly before realizing that I needed to take a chill-pill and stop worrying so much. The fact is things were so much more relaxed (ahem) 40 years ago. No one was worried about safety equipment; we didn’t have car seats, cribs and high chairs that had to comply with safety standards (and parents didn’t have to keep abreast of the recalls for those that didn’t). Parents didn’t spend evenings listening to the sound of their babies breathing on a baby monitor. Moms weren’t bombarded with commercials suggesting that if we don’t continually walk around our house coating every surface with a fine spray of Lysol the entire family will be struck down with the dreaded lurgy.

It may not have been such a ‘safe’ environment, but it was a relatively stress-free one and in my mind that makes it a healthier one.

The British Mummy Bloggers Carnival

Welcome to the British Mummy Bloggers festive carnival! The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms is honoured to be hosting and we hope our North American audience will enjoy a small turkey-and-all-the-trimmings (hold the Brussels thanks) taste of some of the great British mummy blogs out there.

I had a bizarre conversation with my parents last weekend where I learnt that I spent my first two Christmases in a pub, the second year behind the bar messing with the mixer bottles no less. Hmmm, now that has to be the subject of my next post, but I didn’t have time to write it to be included here as I’ve been so busy reading all these fantastic posts and trying not to make a pig’s ear of compiling them. I mistakenly thought hosting the carnival would be an easy job; after all other people do the hard work by writing all the posts. Boy, did I get that wrong.

Christmas lover Victoria of It’s a Small Word After All deserves top billing as she recounts the things she loves about Christmas at home and what she’ll miss next year when she spends the festive season in New Zealand. She paints such a lovely picture of the festive season she almost makes me like Christmas too. Also trying to persuade me that Christmas Rocks! is Janine at 21stCenturyMummy’s Blog. Almost, ladies, but not quite, I’ll stick with my “Bah Humbug”. I nearly had one comrade – Geeky Mummy at The Hair Dog Chronicles was teetering on the brink when the Christmas spirit crept up on her.

Insomniac Mummy Ellie reminds us that Christmas doesn’t have to be all about the presents with her heartwarming post “Recession and the Rekindling the Magic of Christmas”.

Liz at Living With Kids is reminded of Christmases past when hunting out the Christmas decorations. Steffi at Mummy Do That! is also remembering as she bakes the German Christmas cookies of her childhood. Mmmm, can’t you almost smell them? Now this is a part of Christmas I do like.

Trish at Mum’s Gone To… has fun and games with Christmas afternoon fun and games.

Ellen’s Tired Mummy’s Blog is opening the door to an early unwelcome holiday visitor. It’s a visitor a lot of us might have over the festive season, made all the more unwelcome by the presence of our little darlings and their unsympathetic attitude to the hangover (groan).

Hot Cross Mum Hazel has written some new lyrics to one of our favourite Christmas songs, especially for us parents.

Karin is comparing US and UK Christmas traditions at Cafebebe. Mid-Atlantic English Michelle is thinking along similar lines and looking at varying Christmas traditions and wondering What Do You Put in Your Christmas Stockings?

Laura at Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? regrets her decision to get a certain no-go present for Christmas. I understand your pain – Lego City Police Station was our headache this Christmas. Thanks to Uncle Robert in the States for coming to our rescue and shipping one over.

My husband returned from B&Q with the ridiculously huge 7’6” tree. It won’t stop screaming ‘BIG’ at me. Vic at Glowstars only has a little tree, but a lot of love and memories go into decorating it.

At Angels and Urchins, Amanda is offering up some great tips for keeping the family Christmas on a harmonious footing.

We have some rookies to welcome to the BMB carnival. However judging by their posts I think they should keep submitting, don’t you? New mummy blogger ‘Give a Girl the Right Pair of Shoes’ Steph doesn’t want the headline ‘Santa. WARNING: Contains Adult Content’ to put you off reading her post. She’s simply saying there’s information in her tale not meant for little Santa believers’ eyes. And as I’m finding it stressful keeping a lid on the whole Santa scam, this led me to write my Survival Guide for Rookie Moms Christmas post on a similar subject. Then Wendy from The Life of Wendy is setting some beautiful Christmas scenes as she ponders what makes the perfect Christmas? And Holly at It’s a Mummy’s Life is winding down for the Christmas holidays.

Amy of And 1 More Means Four has a Christmas list with a difference. Presents a lot of moms would gladly receive, if only they could be wrapped.

The good news is that Sandy at Baby Baby is Finally Feeling Festive after weathering the storms of sickly kids – ‘tis the season and don’t I know it! As I type this (late Monday night of course) my head feels tight and my throat scratchy so I’m probably succumbing to whatever bug the rest of the family have been suffering with for the last few weeks. So while I can still talk I’ll throw in one last “Bah Humbug” – I’ll probably be the one trying to swallow her turkey with a throat full of razor blades.

Last, but by no means least, as a round up to the year Susanna A Modern Mother sums up what happened in the parent blogging scene in 2009. Susanna is hosting the first carnival of 2010 on Jan 5th. Please email entries to amodernmother (at) gmail (dot) com