friends

Day three in our countdown

It may be Monday, but the excitement of opening another flap in an advent calendar is strong!

Ornament calendar

We pressed out a Christmas tree ornament tonight, to see Santa and the elves decorating their Christmas tree!


Christmas tree ornament hanging in a Christmas tree

Lego City

A little red racing car popped out of the advent calendar today, explaining the racing track on the scene layout!

Lego racing car

Lego Friends

Today we found a set of golden bells in the advent calendar – and made a discovery. Everything in this year’s Friends advent calendar is an ornament to hang on a tree or around a room – it looks like there will be no characters, no Santa and no theme.

In past years, the advent calendar has produced characters and props that fill in a scene and that the children enjoy playing with. True, this year’s box didn’t have a scene which was a bit of a clue that we missed, but we truly did not expect 24 ornaments. Even the first couple of days, with the larger than expected scale of the heart and guitar didn’t make us expect something different, but today it clicked. The box says ‘Build your happy holidays’and ’24 gifts’ so we assumed it would be like previous year calendars. Looking online, the official description does state ‘build a new decoration for your house or Christmas tree’ so that is up front but we didn’t get ours online. It also confirms there will be no Lego people included but there are ‘decorations to represent each of the 5 friends from Heartlake City’.

Ornaments are nice and we will find a way to make this special for my daughter, but I am very disappointed with the Friends advent calendar changing like this. It doesn’t help that we couldn’t quite complete the bells – the holly leaves can’t attach to the top of the bells without a connector piece (which luckily we have enough Lego in the house we could rectify it but we shouldn’t have needed to.)

Lego Christmas bells

I do like the bottom of the bells though as the dangling donger does add a realism to the bells. And it does hang nicely:

Lego Christmas bells hanging on a Christmas tree

Christmas book

The magic little Christmas tree is the next book we will read in our book countdown to Christmas – it is a cute little book and goes nicely with our Christmas tree ornament obviously!

Christmas in July!

Over the weekend, I went to a beautiful Christmas in July celebration.

dining table set in a Turquoise Christmas theme

 

Yes there is a bit of hype about this and it became something of a trend, but it really does make some sense!

CHriChristmas tree beside a roaring fire

It was cold outside all day so heading indoors for a full roast meal with open fires going felt welcoming, cosy and special – just like the Christmas we imagine. And we probably ate more and better enjoyed the roast meats, onion tart, roast potatoes, roast carrots, vegetable salad and Christmas puddings in the cold than we do in the heat of summer!

collage of Christmas food photos

We all got into the spirit of Christmas – we had the full Christmas tree and table decorations, popped bonbons, kids wore tinsel (and ran around making noise!), Christmas jewellery was worn, we played Christmas music in the background, and shared some lovely time and a delicious meal with people we care about. And various foods were Christmas themed – star shaped dragon fruit, a Christmas wreath cheese plate and Christmas tree meringues were amongst the banquet.

It was also more relaxed than Christmas in December as no one had rushed around worrying about gifts, it was a one off event (ie no one had to deal with more Christmas events the next day) and it was one group of friends (no family squabbles interfered with our celebrations and no guilt as choosing one family over the other either).

As someone who spends Christmas Day with family, I loved having a formal Christmas celebration with a group of friends and I think that is what will inspire me to host Christmas in July next year!

Lego advent calendars for days 17 to 19

Our advent calendar themes continue as we move ever closer to Christmas Day.

Lego Friends

day 17

My daughter was very happy to find a stand for the proud cat, including a ramp and scratching post ‘just like a real scratching post thinggy’.

Lego cat on a scratching post stand

day 18

On day eighteen, we found what I call a lamp post, although lamp posts don’t usually have bows on them so I’m not entirely sure what it actually is meant to be! Any suggestions for me?

Lego Friends lamp post

day 19

There were sounds of excitement as my daughter discovered another trailer for the snow mobile to pull along so Stephanie can take her menagerie with her! In lining them up, I also realised that the ‘smaller cat’ was actually a cute little mouse which makes more sense than one small and one tall, proud cat!

Lego snowmobile and trailer

Lego City

day 17

Over in Lego City, we discovered a helicopter on Saturday furthering the collection of vehicles for my son.

Lego helicopter from two angles

day 18

When asked what he found yesterday, my son told me it was ‘the lady who controls the helicopter’. She is in a work suit and holds a walkie talkie – maybe she controls all the vehicles.

Lego helicopter and Lady controller

day 19

We must be getting closer to the 25th, as we have started getting the Christmas items with a Christmas tree! Compared to previous years, I was a little surprised it is just a plain tree without decorations.

Lego City Christmas tree

Lego Advent calendar roundup

So we are about to end the year so this seems like a good time to wrap up the Lego advent calendar review we run across all of December.

Overall, we had fun with both advent calendars and know that we now have more quality Lego in the house (rather than cheap chocolate in tummies or other tokens to deal with).

2015 Lego advent calendars in full

Calendar content

I wrote about the content of the calendars each day, and quite a variety of items were received. You can see images of each day’s calendar in the following reviews:

Lego Santa beside two Christmas treesMy five year old says her favourite items were Santa’s head (city) and “from Friends, the rabbit and Christmas tree the same much”.

Her seven year old brother’s favourites were Santa and the catapult.

I may be biased but I also loved Santa, especially on his chair beside a Christmas tree.

Overall thoughts

“Great! I liked them because we have to open them up and build for each. And I love chocolate. I like the Christmas tree because it’s like our Christmas tree. I love the Lego calendar because you can mix things up and put them in a different order, “says my five year old. Note she was given a chocolate advent calendar so was also doing that each day, thus the chocolate comment!

My son’s summary was “It’s awesome!!! It was cool to have it as a theme and I like City more than Friends (but I’m not really sure why!)”

So going back to the original questions, I think there is value in these calendars – buying them on special certainly helps as they are not cheap (especially if buying more than one). But given there is real Lego to keep forever, the kids are practising counting and number skills, it is fun, each day involved fine motor skills, and we had a family activity, I think it was worth the money.

I admit I had previously thought of buying Lego in other ways and making my own Lego advent calendar to get greater financial value. That would mean a lot of time and effort on my part, and would not have 24 little self-contained sets so any money saved in the upfront cost would not be worthwhile.

Repeat advent calendars?

The real test of how good the calendars were is whether or not we’d do it again next year…

Personally, I think we will do them again next year (unless the kids completely lose interest in Lego between now and then which is extremely unlikely!)

Mr seven replied with “I would like another one next year, but would be even happier if it was a ninjago calendar!”

Miss five answered “I want to do it again, too, but I’d like it to be a Frozen baby theme calendar.”

What do you think – would you have a Lego advent calendar next year based on our reviews or your experience of them?

And importantly, if we use advent calendars in 2016, would you enjoy another set of daily reviews? Or maybe just weekly updates…

Lego Advent calendar

Lego City advent calendar 2015

The 2015 Lego City Advent calendar

An advent calendar can be a fun way to count the days to Christmas – and it helps children understand it’s not yet Christmas!

There are many options for the countdown – commercial chocolate-centric calendars, home made calendars and even positive message calendars. And so far, we’ve used those sorts of calendars.

But this year, we’re trying out the Lego Advent calendars.

What is a Lego advent calendar?

Like any other advent calendar, it includes 24 days to show the days to Christmas. It has little boxes, like a chocolate calendar, with the plan of opening one each day and inside each box is some Lego.

Obviously, a Lego advent calendar is more expensive than the common ones – way more expensive! But you get Lego to keep rather than (usually) cheap chocolate that lasts for seconds.

Is a Lego calendar worth it?

This is the big questions – is it worth paying so much for an advent calendar? Is it an expensive way to buy Lego?

I’ve never been quite sure but with two children who love Lego (dare I say one is obsessed with Lego!) I thought we’d check it out this year and this review is to share our experiences with you.

So far, we haven’t opened any of the little boxes (it’s not 1 December yet after all!) so I’m still not sure how much Lego is in each box – I suspect it will vary a little anyway.

It is nicely presented so that the box stands up and forms a scene that the Lego surprises become part of.

Lego Friends advent calendar scene and count down boxes

Lego Friends advent calendar scene and count down boxes

We actually have two calendars – one for Lego City* and one for Lego Friends so each child has their own. And I will give a short review of each day’s surprises during December, with a final review at the end to answer this question of value.

 

* I found the Lego City calendar was harder to find – the Friends and Star Wars versions have been in more catalogues and shops than the City version which surprised me.

i love christmas.

hi i am emily.
i love Christmas because i get to see my family and friends. also i get to do lots of cooking and partying and eating and talking and laughing.

go Christmas!!!!

talk soon…

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