It’s that time of year when we all start thinking of winter activities. I’ve already done nearly all my Christmas shopping and it’s wrapped and waiting in our attic! I love to be prepared and get the winter Christmas expenses out of the way as early as possible so we can enjoy a stress-free December without money worries. Winter is always a more expensive time of year with Christmas and higher energy bills. We always try to save money on energy in winter where possible, but bills are still more than double the summer months! So it's always a relief if I get Christmas shopping completed as early as possible. We can then relax in December and take part in some activities and festive meals out knowing everything else is already paid for.
I’ve been looking into Santa trips for the kids and want to try and book a local boat trip with Santa. Every year I try and take them to see Santa in a different place! Last year was on a steam train, the year before in Prezzo (he came and sat with us at our table!) and the year before was in a gypsy caravan at a local bird park! Talk about variety!
I do get very excited about winter and Christmas as I look forward to the children being excited leading up to the big day and on the day itself. Wrapping up warm and cosy and eating delicious food in front of our log burner is also so fun. Plus Ben gets a few days off work and for me I have around a week with no work or very minimal work, so it’s the only time of the year I truly get to switch off and relax!
Every year there are some winter activities that I want to do and still haven’t got round to doing! Here are the winter type sports I really need to do:
I have never ever been skiing! We have a dry ski-slope in Gloucester and there are real indoor snow centres just under 2 hours away from us. I’ve always been a little fearful of trying to ski as I fear I’ll just be rolling down the hill and not be able to get the hang of it! I also can’t just go and try it out at any of these centres as you need to be able to ski before using the slopes. So I’ll need an adult lesson, or pack of lessons, to get me started. I don’t know if I’ll have time to schedule this in this year, but it is definitely on my bucket list! Who knows, I could be an expert at skiing and I just don’t know!
Girls ski jackets from Simply Hike
Soon the kids will even be old enough to try skiing, so I may even learn with them! I’ve just been looking online and it is possible to book family ski lessons so this is definitely a fun activity for the future once Reuben is a year or so older. Many centres also offer ‘learn to ski in a day’ type courses and they provide food too (this is a great Christmas present idea, hint hint). All you need to do is turn up in some warm and waterproof clothes such as girls ski jackets, waterproof trousers and a war hat. Then they’ll provide the equipment and then you’re on your way!
Something that looks super fun at the ski-slopes, and doesn’t require any ski knowledge at all, is tubing - whizzing down the slope in a massive inflatable ring or ‘doughnut’! They can be linked together so you can go down together as a couple or a family, or with your friends! It looks so fun and I’m actually considering this for mine and Ben’s next kid-free date!
I love ice-skating! Ben and I went ice-skating this year on one of our dates and it was so much fun, though the place we chose was like a youth club and we were the oldest there! But, for the past few years both Gloucester and Cheltenham have had outdoor ice rinks and we have totally missed them. It’s not often we go to town and we usually have our children with us, so with Reuben only being three now he was always too young for us to partake in things like this. I’ve no idea if the ice rinks will be back this year, but I really hope they are and we can plan a visit. Bella, now six, might even fancy a go!
Those are the three activities I really want to try this year or next. Hoping I can tick off tubing and outdoor ice-skating this year. I’ve just text Ben to ask if he wants to go tubing when my mum has the kids next which is October.
With childcare and some planning these activities should be pretty easy for us to arrange, aside from the ski lessons they are not too expensive. However, I also have some dreamy winter bucket list ideas which do cost and arm and a leg, but hopefully one day we will make these happen:
Visit Santa in Lapland
Now, I’m not one for the cold at all, in fact I absolutely detest it, but one day I would love to take the kids and visit Santa in Lapland! There are 3 or 4 night breaks available with the magic of Christmas at the heart of many tour operators. There are real reindeer rides to go and meet Santa, husky sledding, toboggan fun, igloos to visit and more.
See the Northern lights
I would absolutely love to see the Northern Lights and this can be tied into a magical Santa Lapland trip in Finland or it can be arranged separately with one of the best places apparently in northern Norway to see the spectacle. They look so magical – colourful whimsical beams and wisps of light across the night sky. Some scientists predict they’ll fade over the next ten years, so we’d better plan this one soon so we don’t miss out.
Not too big a bucket list for winter and I may be able to tick two off this year!