This time of year, we’d normally have lots of festive days out planned. This year though, the calendar is looking very empty without the usual Christmas events. We did have one day out booked in though – the Christmas weekend event at Chiltern Open Air Museum.
Chiltern Open Air Museum is one of our favourite places for a day out anyway, but has become even more so this year. There’s plenty of space for the children to run around and explore, and it feels like a safe space. The Christmas weekend was fully booked and although there were lots of other families around, it didn’t feel too busy or crowded.
Sophie and I both enjoyed looking around the craft stalls. These were spread out across various locations and we managed to pick up a couple of Christmas presents. Sophie was particularly taken by the knitted and crocheted Christmas decorations on my friend’s stall. It was the perfect place for her to buy Christmas presents for her friends.
I found a special Christmas present on one of the stalls which will be Jessica’s present to Daddy. The last time we were at the museum for their Christmas event was three years ago, when Jessica was with us. The memories of that day came back so strongly on this visit. There are memories of Jessica wherever we go at the museum. Some visits are more bittersweet than others though and this was one of them.
It was a very different visit this year though, with the buildings closed to visitors and none of the usual Christmas craft activities taking place. Although we couldn’t go in the buildings, we still enjoyed looking through the windows to see the festive scenes and seeing people in costume around the museum.
We saw Father Christmas a few times as we wandered around, travelling on his tinsel-decorated buggy and stopping for socially-distanced photos. Sophie is starting to reach the age now though where doubts about Father Christmas are beginning to creep in. She wants to believe still and keep hold of the magic but she’s no longer quite as sure about it all as she once was. I’m hoping that we can keep the magic alive for another year yet.
My favourite moment of the day was stopping to share a flask of hot chocolate with Sophie on the village green, listening to the beautiful carol singing, while Thomas napped in the buggy. It’s little moments like this that are full of magic.
The best thing about days like this though is just being outdoors and watching the children have fun. Listening to their delight at finding a muddy puddle to stamp in or giggling over the goats climbing on the wooden structures in their field. Simple things that can bring so much joy.
Some simple things that bring joy are a little unexpected though. Thomas is into PAW Patrol at the moment. During our day out, he spotted a packet of PAW Patrol plasters in my backpack, which he happily held on to for the rest of the afternoon, not wanting to put it down for a moment – not even while posing with Sophie for a festive photo!
It was lovely to get outside for a while, and to enjoy a little festive fun. The festive season is certainly going to be a very different one this year. I’m glad we have at least been able to enjoy one festive day out though.
Visiting Chiltern Open Air Museum – what you need to know:
Chiltern Open Air Museum
Chalfont St Giles
The museum is open between March and October. For more information, please visit the museum website here.