Simplify Your Christmas Blogging Carnival

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I’m looking forward to Christmas for many reasons – a break from work, the chance to spend time with family, catching up with old friends. And I’m hoping someone will buy me an extra cosy quilt I’ve had my eye on for a few months.

But often the most special moments at Christmas come from the traditions that families accumulate over the years – the things we do, year in, year out – making paper chains, trimming the tree on Christmas Eve, baking cookies. Not flashy, or expensive, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

The Oxfam Simplify Your Christmas carnival invites bloggers to share their own special ways of celebrating the festive season – and we hope you’ll be inspired by their recipes, craft activities and family traditions.

If you’re inspired to spend a little less this Christmas, please consider splashing out on a gift from the Oxfam Unwrapped collection. These are ethical gifts that allow you to buy a donation on behalf of a loved one that will be used to purchase something that could make the world of difference to someone far away this Christmas. Gifts start at just £5, and make a great way to introduce children to the idea of giving.

So, are you ready to Simplify Your Christmas?


Craft Activities

Why not start with Nurture Store’s alternative advent calendar, filled with 24 festive activities?  You could also try your hand at Mad House’s home-made advent calendar, that can be burned at the dining table to help kids count down to Christmas.

It’s a wonderful time of year to get out and about in the great outdoors, and the perfect way to enjoy the garden with your children is this Christmas tree for birds, over at Carrots and Kids. If you prefer your Christmas trees indoors, then Michelle at Mummy from the Heart has written this fantastic post about her favourite Christmas Tree festivals over the years, and the themes her children have helped her create.

If you want to try your hand at some crafting over the Christmas holidays, then Cass at Frugal Family has a fab selection of activities for little ones, including a handprint Christmas tree that’s sure to become a treasured family decoration.

Second Time Mum has a great tutorial on Christmas cards to make with your kids – cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying from a big store! Or set the kids to work making these adorable felt Christmas decorations, from Cooking, Cakes and Children.

If you fancy cutting back on your Christmas card list altogether, then check out Mediocre Mum’s tips.


Cooking Activities

If baking is more your bag, then why not start with these scrumptious-looking Christmas Florentines from Homemade Mummy, which would make a lovely gift for a relative or teacher. I’ve got my eye on these Christmas chocolate shapes on A Mother’s Ramblings, though.

I’ve got a veritable baking MASTERCLASS (cough) for those cooks who fall strictly into the ‘enthusiastic amateur’ category – vanilla Christmas cookies.

If you’re a more advanced cook than me, though, why not try your hand at making your own Christmas cake this year? Frugalicious has a great recipe, and there’s even a prayer to go with it.


Present Buying and Wrapping

One of the best parts of Christmas for me is choosing and wrapping presents – I like to do it late on Christmas Eve, with a drink of something festive in hand. So thank goodness for Mumzine, who have provided us with a great tutorial on creating home-made wrapping paper plus a recipe for raspberry vodka! If you like the idea of home-made wrapping paper, Cherished by Me has some amazing inspiration and designs, too.

When it comes to presents, you can Simplify Your Christmas by not rushing to spend a fortune in the shops, says The Coffee Lady. If you do go shopping, while Bibbity Bob has some great tips on reducing stress by shopping online.  Need to do Christmas on a tight budget this year? Check out the fab range of money-saving tips on Notes to Self Plus Two.

Over at Live Otherwise, Jax has some great advice on buying recycled and second-hand gifts for loved ones, while I’ll be stealing this idea from Two Become Four – a family Secret Santa! Over at Mummy’s Shoes, Carly has some top tips on free family games and activities, too.

And how many presents do kids need? Lindy at Squidgyboo has some views on why it's good to buy three presents, while Emma at Mellow Mummy has some great inspiration on retro gifts for kids.


Capture the Christmas Spirit!

When all the decorations are made, and presents bought, what really makes Christmas special for bloggers is appreciating the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Becky at Baby Budgeting has a lovely way to teach children about the spirit of giving, while Heather from Note from Lapland provides a beautiful insight into the sorts of gifts traditionally bought in the Arctic Circle.

Mari’s World is teaching her kids about the nativity story, while Time for Mum has some inspired ideas for making Christmas Eve special no matter how old your children are. And no matter how hectic things get, Mummy's Musings urges us to remember not to sweat the small stuff.

So once you’ve eaten the turkey and opened the gifts, what’s left? Gingerbread Mum has some inspiration for fun ways to recycle all that unwanted Christmas waste, from cards to wrapping.  


Want to Simplify Your Christmas?

It's not too late to get involved in Simplify Your Christmas! 

If you'd like to help promote Oxfam Unwrapped this Christmas please download a badge using the code below, and display it on your own blog.

And it's not too late to share how your traditions, activities and recipes as part of the Simplify Your Christmas carnival. Just leave a link to your post in the comments below. 

Last but not least  — Merry Christmas!

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