Into the Swing of Festivities

Our columnist wasn’t 100 per cent sure Luther fully entered into the spirit of Christmas last year – he was only 11 months at the time… This year the omens are better

Column by Lara Protheroe

And so finally we approach Luther’s first proper Christmas. Well, he had one in utero, but he managed to do little other than inconvenience me as I repeatedly bent down to retrieve an assortment of roasted goodies from the oven (at eight months pregnant I only catered for twelve that year – I’m not mad you know!). Then he had another aged eleven months, and charming though his fascination may have been with the tinsel and twinkly lights, I can hardly pretend that he really entered into the true spirit of the festivities.

He’ll nearly be two this time round, and I’ve made sure that he’s seen the Christmas episodes of Ben and Holly enough times to have really got to grips with the whole thing (a handful of theological niceties aside). That said, as Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom (for those of you who haven’t been avidly following the show) is exclusively populated by elves and fairies, Father Christmas appears as a giant that might well inspire fear in one so young…. then again it’s not like he’s going to actually see him!

Luther really did delight in the Christmas tree last year though, and would stare at it with awe and love, so I am looking forward to getting it decorated nice and early this time round.  Bah humbug to superstition – our little home will be filled with festive lights before November is out!

Luther’s wooden frame bed from Sweet Home From Wood is ideal for festive decoration, so I started to look at yuletide embellishments.  They appear to be, in the main, red and green, so with the deep blue of his bedroom wall I feared it might all end up looking a bit primary school, so went back to the drawing board. I toyed with the idea of making some felt decorations but then reflected on the fact that I am currently struggling with professional deadlines let alone personal ones, am not infrequently found cobbling together scratch meals from the most unlikely of ingredients and on some days don’t even get to wash. Hand-stitched felt decorations, for the first time in years I might add (seriously!), may have to be parked this year.

I had a browse on Etsy and found some super patterns by Larissa Holland aka mmmcrafts. Her 12 Days of Christmas series starting (but of course) with a partridge and a pear are exquisite. So far there are patterns for sale up to number 9 in the song…the drummer boy. I saw long nights ahead of me trying to create them.

Fortunately I discovered BrookeyBelle  who makes up the mmmcraft patterns. My heart sang! The colours are unusual, the designs are divine and the execution is perfect. So, all the way from Brisbane came a beautiful box of immaculate felt birds and the figures from the Christmas song. Luther’s bed will look fantastic, and not a reindeer in sight. BrookeyBelle also sells beautiful Christmas stockings in her Etsy store and if I hadn’t already made Luther’s last year I’d be tempted by one of those as well.

You may remember my mentioning that I’ve been customising an Ikea toy kitchen since the summer. It is finally complete! I’ve sprayed the fixtures gold, painted it with Little Greene Paint Company Loft White child-friendly emulsion and added chalkboard paint to one of the cupboard doors at the front. I’ve made the back of it all chalkboard for drawing on.

This Modern Life  sent a tiny wooden toaster and banner to decorate the kitchen. The toaster, with its black and white polka dots, is a chic addition; and I’ll also add a Meri Meri felt banner spelling out Merry Christmas on the big day.

I decided to treat us to matching Christmas jumpers and when I say us I mean Luther, me and daddy – aka The Papa Gorilla. The kawaii designs from Flute & Whistle are right up my street and we’ll all be sporting smiling snowflakes throughout December.

Luther’s main gift is his kitchen and assorted wooden food stuffs but I couldn’t resist some stocking gifts as well. The felt hand puppets from Land of Nod are beautifully made and I chose a knight, a charming unicorn and a dragon (a nod to Luther’s Welsh ancestry). The husband will doubtless spend many a happy hour making the dragon read bedtime stories in a rich Welsh lilt.

Books were a big feature and focus throughout my childhood and I’m determined that the same will be true for Luther regardless of any digital distractions that he also has to contend with. Wordery has pretty much all bases covered with a selection of over nine million titles. I’ve chosen three of Xavier Deneux’s beautiful TouchThinkLearn books: Farm, Baby Animals and Vehicles, all of which topics are pretty high on Luther’s list of priorities right now.  They are not only great to look at but sturdy too, with wonderful thick pages with textures to them. He’ll also be getting a wipe-clean Christmas book to keep him occupied whilst mummy busies herself in the kitchen (with the competing demands of an oven full of festive fodder and the yuletide siren call of a bottle of cherry brandy). Wordery is offering a 10 per cent discount on any second book purchased from my pick of ‘Christmas Books for a Toddler.’

To finish off the stocking, Bobby Rabbit has some lovely new cars in their shop and I am smitten with the retro wooden police cruiser. It’s the perfect shape to stuff the toe of his stocking and will be a guaranteed hit with Luther – as I said, vehicles are a big obsession for him right now and he will love little more than to push this stunning toy around our home, all the while pandering to mummy’s aesthetic sensibilities (respite from seemingly ubiquitous plastic crap) and cultural whimsy (Americana being more than welcome in moderate doses).

The Christmas pudding is already made and sitting in our fridge to think about itself for the next few weeks. I feel well prepared overall and am trying to work out when is too early to put the Christmas tree up. Ok, strike that, I don’t know why I’m being coy – the tree is up and lit already and I am trying to work out when would be reasonable to crack out the tinsel, innumerable pendant decorations and hand-crafted angel topper.  I have already been warned that for every day our tree is up and decorated prior to the start of December, Santa will throttle an elf; but superstition is for the unlucky – right?

I am taking a month off from the column for December and will be leaving you in the large and hairy hands of The Papa Gorilla. He’ll be talking bilingual babies, books, bikes, and beards. Merry early Christmas to all! riddle_stop 2

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