The festive celebrations were doubly exciting this year as it was Arthur’s First Christmas, but you can’t hold onto these moments and before I seem to have blinked, the holidays have flown by and we’re a whole week into January 2024!
We did manage to pack in plenty of Christmassy activities though, as well as catching up with family and friends which was lovely. Quite a few of our favourite adventures involved spending time outdoors at Christmas, which is always a welcome break from the chaos and indulgence of too many mince pies!
Here are some ideas for next year to add to your bookmarks…
Visit a Christmas Light Trail
We went to Christmas at Wrest Park this year, after visiting Waddesdon Manor on previous occasions. Both are fantastic family days out and I’d highly recommend booking tickets. The light trail at Wrest Park was brand new for this year, and was packed with colour, lights and interactive opportunities. We especially liked the statues that sang the ’12 Days of Christmas’, each one illuminating separately as they went through the verses! It took about an hour for us to walk around, although there were plenty of places to stop along the way, including a marshmallow toasting firepit area. The queues were really long when we visited so we gave this a miss, but we did grab some festive food and hot chocolates from the fairground and refreshment area on the way in. You can only access this before and after the trail, so I would recommend taking snacks if you think you (or little ones) will get hungry along the route!
The path was buggy friendly in most places, with some uneven areas that were a bit wet and muddy. We took Arthur out of the pushchair a few times as he wanted to see the lights better, and got a bit fidgety sitting still for so long. It was definitely an amazing sensory experience for him though and a lovely way to spend time outdoors at Christmas as a family.
Head out on a traditional Boxing Day adventure
A traditional Boxing Day walk is something that a lot of people seem to do, a great way to get out of the house and get some fresh air after Christmas Day – whether that’s because you want to escape the family, or want to drag them all with you!
This year James and I were lucky enough to be able to treat ourselves to a Thule Urban Glide 2 running buggy as a joint Christmas present, so we took the opportunity to test it out on an off-road adventure on Boxing Day (walking not running). We went to the Millennium Country Park in Marston Moretaine, which is a favourite local spot, and headed around Stewartby Lake which is about a 4km loop on reasonably flat terrain – although a little wet and muddy. Perfect for putting the new wheels through their paces though!
I’m looking forward to getting out for a run with the Urban Glide soon, and hope that it will enable me to be a bit more consistent with my running rather than having to wait until James is home and I can squeeze in something around Arthur’s nap/feed times. It’s an incredibly smooth and surprisingly lightweight feeling buggy, so I’m also hoping that running won’t feel too challenging with it as I’m not the fittest right now! I’ll try and share my feedback once I’ve had a proper chance to test it out but Charlie (The Runner Beans) also did a review of the same model recently which you can read here.
Walk/drive round your local area to see the Christmas lights
I always love it when the cold, dark winter nights are transformed with all of the colourful, flashing, Christmas lights, and houses in the neighbourhood compete to see who has the most outrageous decorations – from inflatable snowmen to waving Santas! It really seems to bring a cheerfulness to the otherwise grey days, and we always try and put our lights up as near to the 1st of December, so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.
This year as well as walking around our estate and introducing Arthur to the joys of Christmas lights, I am also still plodding away with the Couch to 5k programme, so managed to squeeze in some runs to see the lights on several evenings as well. It makes a 30minute session way more fun if you tick off how many different types of reindeer you can see!
I’ve been enjoying some new kit from Lighthouse Clothing as we headed outdoors at Christmas, which have been the perfect layering pieces for colder, winter days. The Ashby fleece that I got is a gorgeous festive berry colour, and has a really clever PU membrane that makes it both waterproof and windproof. It kept me nice and cosy while we were walking around the Christmas light trail at Wrest Park, and our Boxing Day walk. I wore the Laurel gilet over the top, which also has a waterproof outer as well as a sustainable synthetic down fill. I really like the design of this, especially the fact that it’s slightly longer so you don’t get a cold gap between jacket and trousers, and that the pockets have zips so keep things secure. It’s a generous fit too, so I could wear it over the fleece and not feel too constricted. Winter is all about wearing layers to stay warm so it’s great to have a few more items to add to my wardrobe, especially when I’m struggling a little with things not fitting the way they used to pre-baby!
What were some of your favourite Christmas outdoor adventures?
NB: I was gifted the Lighthouse Clothing items but as always all opinions are my own.