Shopping: Christmas with Carole Middleton


    Plan the ultimate get-together this festive season with these fun family ideas

    Whether it’s christmas day with the kids or a boxing day soirée with friends and their little ones, hosting guests over the festive period is both busy and exciting. Christmas is a magical time for children and nothing beats seeing their faces light up as they tear into their stockings and enjoy all the wintry food and games.

    If you’re planning a party, and you’re set to have a house full, finger food is the easiest way to serve festive fare to a large group. Look for canapé recipes you can prepare ahead of time, and set the tables with themed plates, napkins and cutlery so everyone can serve themselves.

    Set up a separate drinks table in another area – stock it with plenty of choices for both adults and children, as well as cocktail napkins and appropriate glassware or paper cups for your younger guests.

    Keep your table decorations low and simple to save space and avoid being knocked over by excitable children! A few decorative Christmas plants, fishbowl vases filled with colourful baubles or metallic tealight holders adorned with flower heads are all good centrepiece options. Don’t forget festive accents that the kids will love, including Christmas crackers finished with name labels, glittery party hats and cardboard photo props.

    For a fun activity, set up a Christmas cookie or cupcake decorating area. Buy or make some plain gingerbread or cupcakes and let the children have fun icing their treats to eat or take home.

    Last but not least, get in the spirit by wearing your favourite festive jumper. Whether you choose a classic Fair Isle design or a sweet Christmas motif, there’s lots of inspiration to be had this season.


    1. This adorable wooden advent calendar is designed to be a family heirloom as well as a decoration. Add your own treats behind each door. £18, 2. For easy ceiling decorations, make your own paper chains or buy these printed ones to make with the kids. £3.99, 3. Wool-blend sweater, £52.50, 4. Meri Meri cupcake kit, £9.99, 5. Meri Meri paper napkins (pack of 16), £4.99, 6. Plastic plate, £7.50, 7. Wild & Soft fabric reindeer head decoration, £49.95, 8. Cotton-blend top, £2.50, 9. Card glasses (pack of six), £3.99, 10. Mini party hats (pack of eight), £6.99, 11. Meri Meri Christmas crackers (pack of fix), £12.99,


    Letter writing

    Nothing beats the joy of a hand-written letter landing on the doormat. Encourage your child to write their own thank-you notes with these five tips from the team at Polar Post (

    • Make a list (yes, another one!) It’s easy to get carried away when you’re tearing into presents, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten who has bought what. Try to keep a list, it will make writing the thank-you notes so much easier.

    • Get comfortable. Settle down together with your paper and pens, pop a festive film on to set the scene and have some snacks to hand – don’t worry, a few flakes of chocolate on your letters is nothing to fret about!

    • Stock up on nice stationery. Pretty paper lends a feeling of occasion to letter writing. Your little ones will appreciate it more, and so will their recipients.

    • Honesty is the best policy. If your child is writing to their great-auntie Enid to thank her for the awfully scratchy sweater she knitted, it’s probably best not to write, “thank you for the amazing jumper, I love it!” This is only going to encourage auntie Enid to knit them another. Encourage them to write something else such as, “thank you for all the hard work you put into knitting my jumper. How did you know mauve is my favourite colour?”

    • Encourage them to ask for help. Even the best writers get writer’s block from time to time, so let them know they can come to you for a bit of inspiration. If you find you really don’t have the words, try drawing a picture of them playing with their new toy.