This is the last of my posts for my Christmas Preparation Plan 2010.
I was going to be talking about menu plans this week, but inspired by a lovely email from a reader Cath, I decided to post about celebrating Christmas in Melbourne. Each year I take the kids into the city to visit Santa, see the Myer Windows and just generally enjoy the festiveness that is Christmas in the City as you can see in the video below! (If you can’t see the video click through here to see it.)
When taking kids into the city at Christmas time I have found ways to make it work best for us:
- Go in the morning. Every one is fresher and with toddlers needing afternoon naps, we have a longer time before he hits melt down.
- Catch the train. My kids love catching the train and it becomes an integral part of our day. It is also helpful if we are planning on seeing a few different things over various locations in the city. We can just head to the nearest train station and go home and don’t have to worry about back tracking our way to the car.
- Get organised the night before. It can often take much longer than I imagine to get us all ready. I like to take our own food and drink, so for a trip to the city it is just like packing the school lunches the night before. Having this sorted the night before means we are much more likely to leave the house calmly and early.
- Determine your priorities. We like to see the Myer Windows, visit Santa and see the nativity wall. If we have time we also like to go to Fed Square too and see their decorations. Depending on how close to Christmas we have ventured into the city, the queues can be quite long. Santa generally wins out as our priority number one, so we head there first. If we do this and then the little ones start to get over the visit to the city, we can just come home and leave the rest.
- Set expectations low. Our kids as youngsters have not been to keen on the jolly man in the red suit. I am in most of the photos with the kids and Santa. There has generally been a little one who is not keen on going any where near Santa without mum. This year I was pleasantly surprised as the toddler was happy to sit with his siblings with Santa. That said it is still incredibly difficult to get a “perfect photo” of 5 kids. Someone will always be looking away. I don’t aim for perfection on these photos – they just need to capture the moment.
- Expect to queue. Even going to see Santa in the city in the first week of December this year we still had to queue for close to an hour. To be honest this was slightly painful. It was made bearable though by the fact that I had snacks and water for the kids. It could have gotten ugly otherwise I think!
- Stroller and backpack. This is not the time for me to leave the stroller at home. All the queuing and walking to places means that stroller is essential. As is a good big back pack. I change to it from my usual bag, so I can fit more stuff in, but also be able to carry it in a way that my back doesn’t hurt.
- Remember the spirit of Christmas. Even with the best planning, kids throw you surprises. I may have just lined up for 20 minutes to see the Myer Windows and one of them says “I’ve had enough now!”. If they have all had enough then it is time to go. Our visit to the city to celebrate Christmas is meant to be fun. I need to be prepared to pull out, change and modify to make sure it stays that way. It can be tempted to think, we have come all this way and force the issue – happiness is the key though, so following the lead of my kids works best.