We finally took the decs down today (well actually the 5th January…it’s just taken me ages to finish this post!!) after the most amazing Christmas together. It seemed to last forever, although not surprising as we’ve had the house tinselled and lit in every nook and cranny since the last week in November! To be fair though we aren’t entirely to blame, you see our ‘Elf on the shelf’ Sprout, who arrived in to our family last year, well and truly took over this year, much to the delight of our very excited little boy, who at the perfect age of 4 is a total believer (as, of course are we!) in all the magic and dreams that come true during ‘the most wonderful time of the year!’ The festivities were started with a surprise visit to LaplandUK. Obviously Sprout had to arrive early for this, and so it was only fitting that he should sprinkle the house with Christmas to really get us all in the mood. Well, Finley’s face in the morning was an absolute picture. He doesn’t miss a thing, and so even through sleepy eyes on his early morning trip to the toilet, he was able to spot the little elf door that had popped up outside his bedroom door, meaning only one thing…Sprout had arrived! Queue then, lots of excitement and running around the house to find him, to then see him sat on the top of the Christmas tree, the perfect place for him (because in all honesty we’d lost the angel topper….god only knows where, so really it all worked out for the best until we could find a new one!)Sprout was holding a hand written scroll, which of course Char decided had to be written in rhyme (seriously these bloody rhyming notes that Sprout would insist on leaving would have us up till way past our bedtime, and many a time would end in a domestic, just so they could be perfected!!) explaining why he’d arrived early, and on the table was a very special wax sealed (by the big man, initialled ‘FC’ himself) letter, personalised to Finley inviting him to LaplandUK to become a trainee elf, as he’d been so good throughout the year that he had definitely made it onto the ‘Nice List’. Sprout had also been kind enough to leave us all Christmas jumpers to wear for the day, so we were sorted. We had our breakfast, got ready and set off on our magical adventure. We couldn’t be more excited! Well what can we say, LaplandUK is truly the place where dreams come true. It’s honestly the most magical place I’ve visited at Christmas time, and to see it through the eyes of a child was pure joy. It’s what it’s all about. The whole experience was worth every penny (or pound, ‘cos let’s be honest it wasn’t cheap, but we honestly can not fault the place) and at a mere fraction of the cost of the real Lapland, we highly recommend this place, just priceless.It’s a fully immersive theatrical experience, and throughout the 3.5 hours we met several comical elves, Finley helped make stuffed toys in Santa’s workshop, decorated delicious gingerbread men and had a story read by Mother Christmas, walked through the snowy forest where we had our own time to explore the elven village with free ice-skating in the most beautiful Christmassy setting, we drank hot chocolate, bought keepsakes in the elf emporium using ‘elf jingles’, met huskies and reindeer, took pictures next to the famous sleigh, and finally met the main man himself, where Finley got a very personal chat with Father Christmas and received a gorgeous gift which will forever be treasured. We also received a free family photo which sits pride of place in our lounge.Anyway I think I’ve probably raved enough about this place for now. I’ll finish by saying you will definitely not regret it if you book…and I strongly suggest booking really early!.From that moment on the surprises just kept coming. Sprout issued us all with wooden calendars on the 1st December, you know the ones with the little drawers that you put little chocs and trinkets in. Well every now and again there’d be a one word clue for Finley, i.e sink, bath, book…..and these would lead him to ‘treasure’ in the form of mini Lego figures (he’s Lego mad, and a 16 pack of his fav superheroes on eBay was super cheap!) so this started the mornings off perfectly.He also swapped the bed covers in the house (ours included) to Christmas elf bedding! I must admit I secretly loved having elf bed covers, it was our first ever festive duvet and it meant that every room in the house felt Christmassy!Sprout got up to so much mischief every night too! One day we woke up and he was laying in flour on the kitchen work top making ‘snow angels’, another time Finley’s superheroes had cellotaped him to the wall, and we even come down one morning to him hanging from the ceiling, dressed up as Harry Potter, wand and all!!Finley absolutely adores Sprout and couldn’t wait to see what he’d got up to every morning, it was so lovely….really it was…even at 7am on a Sunday when all you want to do is lay in!!
One of the best surprises Sprout brought was a ‘Finding Nemo’ fish tank with a letter attached (yes, in rhyme!) instructing Finley to visit the pet shop to get some fish for his tank! Well he was beside himself, he couldn’t wait to go and choose his very own pets…which are doing well by the way, and have been named ‘Flash’ and ‘Hawkeye’.Christmas Eve came and I spent the day prepping veg, potatoes and stuffing for the big day…my first time cooking! And we went to the Christingle, a fav tradition of ours, at the local church and I must say it really gets us in the mood.
And then, finally it was the big day, the one we’d spent months preparing for, weeks buying and wrapping presents for, and final days threatening no presents in exchange for bad behaviour for! But I can honestly say it was all completely worth it. Worth the petty arguments, the anxiety, the time and money. Worth it all! We really did have the best Christmas. The presents went down perfectly, and with not an ounce of ungratefulness. The food was scrummy even if I do say so myself…and no one seemed to mind that it was served nearly 2 hours late! (Ok I’ll admit it, I did kind of feel the pressure with the Christmas dinner!) our surprise table presents for everyone were a real scream, we were in absolute hysterics and Chars present to me (an inflatable willy costume!) got the biggest laugh of them all! And just being around family, eating, drinking and getting merry together gave us all a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It couldn’t have gone better…I was just sad when it was all over.But then Sprout gave us one final surprise so he could say goodbye in style (He usually leaves on Christmas Eve when Santa comes to deliver the presents, but he had one more thing left to do.) The day after Boxing Day we were presented with another (rhyming) letter and tickets for the ‘Christmasaurus’ show in London, where we would also be staying over so we could visit the sites while we were there. Well, Finley was beyond excited for this, although it was bitter sweet (in-fact he was in tears when we were reading out the letter!) as the realisation hit him that Sprout would definitely be leaving soon. Nevertheless we had a fabulous time away, the show was outstanding and Finley took riding on the tube, and travelling around London completely in his stride, and he loved every minute.When the time came to actually say goodbye to Sprout, I’m not ashamed to admit that we all shed a little tear. It was very emotional (I know you’re thinking ‘how can you get attached to an elf on the shelf for goodness sake?!’) I know, I know! It seems silly but it can happen, and did happen. That cheeky little Sprout brought so much happiness to our little boy this Christmas (obviously with a bit of help from us 😉) and he was going to be heartbroken when he was gone, but we have some amazing memories that will truly last a lifetime.
And as for Sprout…..he’s promised to visit throughout the year (the ‘elf on the shelf’ birthday tradition book was reduced in the Entertainer, and I just couldn’t resist!) and I think he’s busy lapping up the fame from his Music Video (that we helped him produce) which has already had over 73k views!! I know, we were shocked too! He’s also got the year to work out how he’s going to top it all next Christmas…we can’t wait! Taylor Swift eat your heart out!
“Every step you take away from last Christmas brings you one step closer to the next.” ~ Tom Fletcher (Christmasaurus)
2 Birds 1 Love