A few weeks ago I uploaded a story to Instagram, saying we had already planned much of our December activities. Well the response was quite overwhelming!! So many people did not realise that actually, now is the best time to get booking your events!
If you have followed us for a while now then it won’t be a surprise to you how much we LOVE Christmas! Our planning and booking pretty much starts and ends in July. So in response to asking people what we had planned, we have decided to blog our own “Christmas in July!”
I’ll start by explaining what we have already booked and then I’ll update the Christmas section as the season grows closer.
Bicester Village Trip
We always kick off the Festive season by our annual trip to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. The lights and decorations are beautiful and if you’re lucky you can pick up a bargain before the hustle and bustle of December. A trip to Bicester is always best planned as you will need a full day and a wallet full of money! Plan this one ahead.
We also ALWAYS put our Christmas trees (yes, TREES) up at the end of November. Since it takes a full day to do, why wait until December?
We have one very big traditional tree in our living room, a Disney tree in Ita’s playroom, 2 mini gold and cream ones in our bedroom, and Ita’s pink themed tree in her bedroom. This year we will also be decorating Ita’s outside playhouse since we have an extra white tree!
You’ll start noticing decorations creeping into shops from around August but if you look online you’ll likely be able to pick them up at the reduced rate still! The prices usually hike up around September time in terms of online purchasing.
On top of decoration, I also wrap up about 10 of our favourite Christmas movies and pop them under the tree. Once or twice a week we do a festive movie night and will ask Ita to choose one of the wrapped DVDs. The reason this is under planning is because sometimes the best time to get Christmas stuff is at the most random times of the year. Having just checked Amazon, many of the typical favourites are only about £6!
Another thing we always do in November is have Ita’s Christmas photos taken. This is something we have done since her first Christmas and has become a little tradition of ours. Sessions are so limited and if you want to have cards made, as we usually do, then you need to secure your spot quickly! Photographers tend to start bookings around this time so do look around!
Typically we start December with a trip to Winter Wonderland but this year we will be heading to Disneyland Paris! We booked this back in December 2018. Booking ahead really does secure you the best deals.
However, that doesn’t mean we are forgoing Winter Wonderland altogether! That would be silly! We always go on a Sunday too as we find that parking around Hyde Park is easy to find and free on Sundays! Pencil a Sunday date into your calendar soon so you can plan around this.
Winter Wonderland remains free but is really rather expensive.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
Without a doubt one of our traditional highlights is the festive afternoon tea at The Ritz, London.
Booking for this opens at the end of June and dates and times get booked up by August! I’m not kidding! The Ritz is beautiful on any day but it has a special makeover come Christmas. You can even book Christmas carols to be sung. How amazing? If you want to book this but find it’s already full then I’d recommend also checking out The Dorchester or The Savoy.
Our first visit to Lapland UK was only last year but it was so magical that I spent the day in tears. The prices range depending on the dates available and whilst it is not “cheap” it is highly recommended!
The booking portal initially opened for Christmas 2019 back in January and has had a few separate sale periods since. It’s currently closed until Autumn. Sign up below for updates on the next sale period.
We tend to only allow Ita to see Santa once during December to encourage the magic and the Santa here looks brilliant. None of that god awful rubbish beard or those minging boot covers!
Last year we visited London Zoo to see the beautiful light decorations whilst the animals were sleeping. We only booked this because Kew was sold out by August!!
This year we have already booked Christmas at Kew. Many dates are already sold out so take a look at what is available. If it doesn’t fit then check out London Zoos version.
Festive Luna Cinema
What is Christmas without festive films?! Last year we headed to Kensington to watch Elf. We drank hot mulled wine whilst Ita sipped got chocolate and it was perfect.
Although we use the Luna company, there are various similar ones around the UK such as The Backyard Cinema. It’s relatively cheap but it’s such a cute experience.
Tickets have not gone on sale yet but as soon as the summer viewings are done, they will be!
See a Christmas show at the theatre
We tend to book one theatre trip during December. Last year we saw Stick Man and the year before we saw The Gruffalo’s Child. We haven’t actually booked a show yet for 2019 but I’m under no illusions that we will. They too have become part of our little traditions so fingers crossed we find one!
A visit from an Elf
Last year we booked a very special visitor to pop in and wish Ita a Merry Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find a company down South that do Elf visits. Many are northern based.
We booked via Next Steps Entertainment and chose the reindeer package. This consisted of;
20 minute visit from an Elf
Christmas bag filled with goodies
A present and card from Santa
A special toy elf
Seeing Ita’s face light up in disbelief was priceless especially because the suspense of Christmas had finally peaked. We will absolutely be doing this again this year!
Disney on Ice
We went to see Disney on Ice last Boxing Day and will again we seeing the show this year too. Tickets are still on sale currently.
Ita will be seeing Santa at Lapland UK and possible at Disneyland – we’re still undecided about that at the moment! So this year, as like last year, we won’t need to book a grotto.
However many grottos go on sale in August.
The best place in London to see Santa is of course at Harrods but Hamleys and Winter Wonderland look equally as authentic (I say that knowing full well it can’t be that authentic but you know why I mean!).
This is basically what we have booked so far however we are awaiting more information on a Polar Express style train ride based in Essex.
Hope this was useful!