Page 1



Issue 88 November/December 2018

HOM E Families Oxfordshire 1

Hair Removal

Do you hate the dark hair on your body? Imagine no more shaving or waxing… There is a solution for the permanent reduction for unwanted hair Fully trained and personable therapist specialising in IPL and laser hair removal.

Fat Reduction

For safe and e�ective FAT / CELLULITE reduction Also Skin tightening for the face and body. No SURGERY No DOWNTIME LIPOFIRM PRO our new treatment using Radio Frequency and Dynamic Muscle Action.



* and mention Fam18

one voucher per person offer expires Feb 2019

An independent day and boarding school for girls aged 3-18 (and boys aged 3-11)

A Woodlan d




De coratin g

Fe stive

Re freshmen


C arolg Sin gin

Santa hats supplie d

Barnardo’s Big Toddle 2018 Rye Bear Nursery and our Reception Class invite parents and toddlers (aged 2-3) to a sponsored Christmas Barnardo’s Walk in Rye’s beautiful grounds on Monday 3 December at 2.00 pm Donations in aid of Barnardo’s To book your place, please contact Fern Williams

01865 762802 Pullen’s Lane, Oxford OX3 0BY Sat Nav postcode for parking, Franklin Road entrance OX3 7SA.

For more information on both treatments visit Based in central Oxford T 01865 930 339 E

Contents & Competitions

Dear Reader,

‘Tis the season to be merry, or so they say! For busy parents already juggling work, school, and a household, the thought of probably the biggest event of the year on the children’s calendar only weeks away can be overwhelming, especially when trying to squeeze in school plays, Christmas fairs, carol services, Christmas social events and Christmas shopping. So remember to take time for yourself and use some of our useful tips on page 4 to ensure good mental health this Christmas - we deserve a break at Christmas too! WISE WORDS: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

What’s in this issue? 4. News and Views


DON’T MISS A COPY! Receive Families Oxfordshire by post for just £9.30 for 6 issues (1 year) or £18 for 12 issues (2 years). Call or email for a subscription form.

Families Oxfordshire is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Oxfordshire are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Oxfordshire. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but Families Oxfordshire its distributors, the franchise company, Families Print Ltd, and LCMB Ltd cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof.

7. Pregnancy & Baby News 8. What’s on 11. Where to find Father Christmas 13. How to feel closer to your children 15. Christmas Gift Guide 22,000 copies of Families Oxfordshire


available through schools, nurseries,


Dick Whittington’s heading to town to seek his fortune – he’s heard the streets are paved with gold. But when he gets there, it’s hard to see the gold beneath the grime and King Rat is out to get him! For your chance to delight in the adventure, look out for the corresponding post on the Families Oxfordshire Magazine Facebook page.

hospitals, clubs and classes, selected shops

and restaurants. If you would like copies for your establishment please let us know. EDITOR: Lisa Exell 01945 861336 PUBLISHING ASSISTANT: Becky Lawrence SOCIAL MEDIA & SALES: DESIGN: Caroline Thompson-Heap

Families Oxfordshire 3

News & views

ODD SOCKS DAY FOR ANTI-BULLYING WEEK Anti-Bullying Week runs 12 to 16 November and the theme this year is choosing respect over bullying. The aim of the week is to support schools to help children understand: • The definition of respect • That bullying is a behavioural choice • That we can respectfully disagree with each other - we don’t have to be best friends or always agree with each other but we do have to show each other respect • That we all need to choose to respect each other, both face to face and online Students are being encouraged to wear odd socks to school on Monday 12 November to show their support and raise money for a good cause. To get involved, visit

How Parents Can Stay on Top of their Mental Health

​ arenting is without a doubt the hardest job in the world! Juggling work, family, finances P and trying to crowbar a social life and relationship in there can be almost too much at times. Keeping an eye on your mental health is incredibly important and key in ensuring you’re able to cope with your day-to-day responsibilities. So what should you do? 1. Keep things in perspective and prioritise - it can feel overwhelming when we are juggling so much, but taking a pause and putting the different aspects your life in order of priority can help in taking the pressure off. When push comes to shove, kids and family are #1, everything else can wait. 2. Take time out - take some time each day/week to just ‘be’ by yourself, when the noise around and demands on you are deliberately put to one side, you can let your mind just rest and recover a little. 3. Don’t people please - catch yourself being a ‘yes’ person to all and sundry. Put you and your family first and don’t run yourself ragged pleasing other’s requests before fulfilling your own needs. 4. Create family time - put aside some time to spend as a family. Ditch the phones and any distractions and plan time for just you and the kids. It’ll do you all wonders, alleviate any parent guilt, and boost the happy hormones. 5. Talk it out - if you’re finding things too much, don’t bottle the feelings and thoughts up, talk to your partner, a mate, a boss, and tell them what’s going on for you. It can be the best way to get any stress out. Credit: Anna Williamson, Talk Radio host and author of bestselling book and podcast, Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide To Conquering Anxiety


Stuck for what to get the kids or relatives for Christmas? The Cotswold Wildlife Park has a range of gift ideas that are a little bit different; how about buying an animal encounter or an annual membership - why not adopt a baby animal? There are lots of species of animal that you could potentially adopt and in so doing, help towards the park’s conservation and breeding programmes as well as receive one free entry ticket. Prices are from £25-£50, depending on the animal. Make an unusual gift for someone who has everything! Order by 18 December for Xmas Delivery. For more information visit or phone 01993 823006.


Children who start Reception in September 2020 will be the first group to take the new Reception test, a baseline measure to track pupils’ progress during primary school. It is proposed that it will take place during the first 6 weeks of the autumn term. Guidelines recently released by the government say the new reception baseline assessment will be short (about 20 minutes), interactive and practical. It will cover language and communication, early mathematics and social and behavioural skills. However, the proposed test has been criticised in a report written by an expert panel and published by the British Education Research Association. The report’s authors say that the assessment is highly likely to produce unreliable and invalid results, as it fails to recognise that young children develop at different paces and doesn’t adjust for key factors, such as differences in ages and family background. Add to this the fact that teachers and practitioners are likely to become increasingly pressured to ‘teach to the test’; it is difficult to see how baseline results will have any real value. More info at

4 Families Oxfordshire

News & views

SUGAR INTAKE IN CHILDREN – more than just a weight issue Sugar intake, particularly in children, is a hot topic in the media. However government data suggests that children are still far exceeding the maximum recommended sugar consumption every day. Government recommendations are that sugar should account for no more than 5% of daily calories. When put into more practical terms this means 19g for age 4-6 and 28g for age 7-10 (28g is the equivalent of 7.5 teaspoons). According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) in 2016 the average was 13.4% for those aged between four and 10 and 15.2% among 11- to 18-year-olds. Sugar can be hidden in many foods particularly processed and ultra-processed foods and therefore keeping track of sugar intake can be difficult. There is concern about increasing rates of obesity in children. However, sugar intake does not just have an effect on weight, it also impacts cognitive health, immunity and energy levels, all of which are important for growth and development as well as long term health and wellbeing. Many children within a healthy weight range are still consuming too much sugar.

General rules to reduce sugar and stabilise blood glucose levels • Ensure children eat 3-4 portions of vegetables and 1-2 portions of fruit per day. • Include healthy fats and protein with each meal • Use wholegrain carbohydrates • Have 3 meals and 2 small snacks to stop over consumption and excess hunger

spinach and cucumber can be added. • Try lower sugar bars such as Bounce balls or 9 bars • Swap white pasta for wholegrain or buckwheat pasta and white rice for brown rice • Stay hydrated • Swap soft drinks and squashes for water with fresh fruit in such as strawberries, kiwi, lemon or watermelon; use sparkling water as a treat • Swap breakfast cereals for whole oats, add cinnamon or nuts and seeds or berries • Swap white or milk chocolate for dark 70% chocolate • Avoid processed foods and ready meals • Use a multi vitamin and mineral to help bridge the nutrition gap • Consider supporting the microbiome with a live bacteria supplement and/or fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut (if tolerated).

Key Takeaways • Sugar intake for children in the UK is higher than the government recommendations • Sugar can negatively affect the gut microflora, which has implications on immune and

Useful sugar swaps/snacks and meal ideas: • Include cucumber, carrot or pepper crudités with hummus as a snack • Grate carrot, courgette and onion to add to soups, stews, curries or Bolognese to increase vegetable intake • Offer fruit with nuts/seeds or nut butters as a snack • Homemade smoothies made with coconut milk as a base (avoid fruit juice), with fresh fruit and seeds. Small amounts of avocado work well and vegetables such as

TALKING TO YOUNG CHILDREN ABOUT WAR THIS REMEMBRANCE DAY Remembrance Day this year will be on Sunday 11 November and will be especially significant as it will mark 100 years since the original agreement to end fighting during the First World War in 1918, also known as Armistice Day. Accordingly, there will be a great deal of media coverage given to this significant commemoration and your child may be prompted to ask questions. Discussing war with children can be quite difficult. Recognising this, CBeebies has produced a short animation, simply titled ‘Poppies’ to help convey the notion of remembrance in a way that resonates with a young audience. Really beautiful to watch and a great way

to introduce any discussion of Remembrance Day, the two minute film follows a bunny who starts off playing in a meadow, which then becomes a WW1 battlefield. The film can be viewed on the CBeebies website at

cognitive function, inflammation and weight gain • High sugar intake can exacerbate the stress response and lead to increased levels of cortisol which contribute to anxiety, poor sleep and low mood • A diet high in processed foods can often be high in calories but low in micronutrients which can lead to a ‘Nutrition Gap’ or ‘Hidden Hunger’ and exacerbate overeating or further cravings • Breakfast cereals, soft drinks (including fruit juice), cereal bars and fruit yoghurts are all high in sugar • To help keep blood sugar balanced, ensure meals include vegetables, healthy fats, protein and small amounts of wholegrain carbohydrates.

Beat Head Lice and Nits with the Bug Buster Kit

If your children have had head lice before, then you may have been put off using expensive neuro-toxic pesticides on their heads. Bug Busting is a head louse detection and eradication method that works by combining specially designed bevel-edged combs with your own family shampoo and conditioner. The Bug Busting method detects and clears lice completely without special treatments, removes lice systematically, breaking the lifecycle in four sessions spaced over two weeks and eliminates unsightly eggshells comfortably. The Bug Buster Kit is NHS approved and safe for babies, children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with allergies. It costs £6.40 plus P&P but is reusable – only one kit is required per family. To order a kit or for further information and advice, visit Community Hygiene Concern (CHC) at or call 01908 561928.

Families Oxfordshire 5





Tuesday 11 December 9.30am-11.00am

Ask ab our tran out s proces fer s to Abingd on School


- pupils’ achievement, both inside and outside the classroom. ISI Inspection

An ‘Exceptional’ education from £3,000 per term Pre-prep Stay & Play 3 December 2018

Singing around the Christmas tree Stories by the log fire Make Christmas decorations in our craft workshop There may be a special visitor as well! All ol cho Pre-s dren chil me welco

Where learning happens everywhere A Co-Educational Prep School from 2-11 years

For more details visit

Baby News

Can Babies Sense Stress?

TOP TIPS: GOING BACK TO WORK WHILE BREASTFEEDING 1. Plan for your return to work well in advance if possible. You will need a private, suitable place to express while at work and somewhere to store your milk. Discuss these things with your employer. Under health and safety and employment law, they need to make reasonable allowances for breastfeeding and help enable you to return to work.

2. Consider your options for childcare. A workplace nursery may enable you to visit your baby for feeds. If work is close to home then could a caregiver bring baby to you for one or more feeds? If you are to be away from home all day then you may want to express enough milk for your baby to have until you return. 3. Establish an expressing routine a few weeks before going back to work. Get to know your pump, get used to expressing and how to store and reheat your milk. It can take a little time to become more efficient at pumping milk. It involves your hormones and being in the right frame of mind too! Your baby may also need time to accept a bottle if he has not had one before. 4. Starting to express in advance means that you can build up a stock of milk in the freezer, which will give you more flexibility, and less worry that there won’t be enough milk for your baby when you can’t be there. Breastmilk can be stored for 3 months in a home freezer. 5. Many mothers continue to breastfeed their babies first thing in the morning, in the evening, at night and at the weekend. Expressing at your usual feed times while you are at work means your baby will be able to have that milk the next day. Having a small stock in the freezer will help make up any shortfall. 6. Being relaxed is key to successful expressing. It may take a few tries to relax enough at work – try some triggers such as a picture of

your baby, an item of baby’s clothing, breathing/relaxation techniques or something like a favourite magazine or music. Today’s technologies mean that it’s possible to stay in touch with your baby even when you’re not there. 7. Expressing around the time your baby usually feeds is important to keep comfortable, avoid engorgement and to help maintain a good milk supply. Each breastfeed or pumping session stimulates the production of prolactin-the milk making hormone. 8. If you feel your milk supply is slowing down after your return to work, use any days off, and weekends to feed your baby more frequently. This can help give your supply a boost for the days ahead. 9. Using a double breast pump halves the time spent expressing. Double pumping can also produce richer milk for your baby. If you have a double pump, leaving this at work can make things easier too. 10. Returning to the workplace after having a baby will be very demanding until you are settled into a new routine. Be sure to take

Babies may not be able to convey complex emotions, but they can still feel what their mothers are feeling, at least when it comes to stress. In a recent study, 69 mothers and their babies aged 12 to 14 months had cardiovascular sensors attached to them to record heart rate. The mothers were divided into groups to perform tasks ranging from “no-stress” to “high stress.” Their babies were not with them whilst they carried out these tasks and they were reunited ten minutes later. Researchers then examined changes in heart function. Within minutes of being reunited, Infants of mothers in the “high-stress” condition experienced matching changes in heart rate. This stress contagion effect grew stronger as time passed. “Your infant may not be able to tell you that you seem stressed or ask you what is wrong, but our work shows that, as soon as she is in your arms, she is picking up on the bodily responses accompanying your emotional state and immediately begins to feel in her own body your own negative emotion,” said study researcher Sara Waters of New York University. More info,

Cuddlebunny Christmas gift This Christmas give your little one the gift of becoming a dinosaur… or a panda… or even a cute little bunny. Cuddleroar, Cuddlepanda and Cuddlebunny are

ultimate no-plastic presents



LOV ies ES

which they will have fun with every day for years. Unlike

the latest trendy toy which will be lying at the bottom of the toybox in about a month’s time!

£29.99 for age 1-3 and £34.99 for age 3-6. Available from

Monkey Music Oxford E: T: 01235 519806

care of yourself by eating regular meals, staying well hydrated and getting as much rest as possible. By Vicki Scott, Midwife

Families Oxfordshire 7

W hat’s Onto places Things to do, be had go and fun to ages in for kids of all

Ox fords h ire

Winnie and Wilbur, A Christmas Adventure WHERE: Oxford Playhouse

WHEN:15-16, 21-23 December

Join Winnie, everyone’s favorite accident-prone, adventure-loving witch, as she tries to give Wilbur, her long-suffering cat, a Christmas to remember.

Prices from £9

ABC Story

WHERE: The Story Museum

WHEN: November & December:

10.30-11.30 Explore a different story each week. Each session includes a welcome, a story, a stay-and-play time and an activity – messy play, movement or creative play. Ages 0-3. £5 per child

Wolvercote Craft Fair WHERE: Wolvercote Primary

School, 9 First Turn, Oxford OX2 8AQ WHEN: Saturday 10th November 11am - 4pm. 35+ stalls of handmade crafts & vintage, including jewellery, fashion, handmade kids clothes, ceramics, art & Christmas decorations. Plus live music, refreshments, kids activities & raffle. £1 entry. T: 01865 558301

WHERE: Burford

WHERE: Oxford

WHEN: November & December:

10.00 – 17.00 Open every day (except Christmas Day). Watch the Penguins being fed and explore large tree-house adventure playground. Discover the Tropical House with free-roaming sloths, bats and birds. Adult £16; Child £10.50; under 2s FREE

Maker Club JuniorsRecord Timing WHERE: Oxford Centre for

Innovation WHEN: 17 November We know their robot buggies are fast, but just how fast? Inspired by cutting edge automobile research and technology, explore what makes a car move and how to measure its speed. 9-12yrs. £8 events01865 810000

Jack Frost at Oxford Christmas Light Festival Fre


WHERE: Market

Square, Gloucester Green WHEN: 16 November Watch as the joy of Christmas spills out into the street through a vibrant mix of dance and colourful characters. With Jack Frost and his icy tricks hiding just around the corner! FREE e! Fre

Oxford Christmas Light Festival

WHERE: Various locations Oxford WHEN: 16 – 18 November

‘Undiscovered Oxford’ showcases some lesser known aspects of the city. Festive events, musicians, dancers and choirs appearing around the city centre; unique craft workshops and informative talks, stalls offering hand-made gifts and delicious food. FREE


WHERE: The North Wall

Arts Centre WHEN: 1 December – 5 January Can Peter Pan lead the Lost Boys to victory, or will Hook win Neverland? £13.50 - £32.00

8 Families Oxfordshire

Dick Whittington & His Cat


Eyes and Other Things

WHERE: Museum of the History

of Science WHEN: 17 November: 13.0016.00 Dissect eyeballs and carry out curious visual experiments to help you understand sight. Drop-in. 9+ FREE

Playhouse WHEN: 23 November – 6 January Dick Whittington’s heading to town to seek his fortune – he’s heard the streets are paved with gold. But when he gets there, it’s hard to see the gold beneath the grime and King Rat is out to get him! And that’s just the start of his adventures. From £10 01865 305305

Real Ice-skating at Frosts Garden Centre

WHERE: Frilford, Nr Abingdon

WHEN: 17 November – 6 January

Experience the thrill of skating outdoors on a real ice rink; sessions last 45 minutes and price includes skate hire. Parent/toddler skate on select Wednesdays. From £6.50

Woodstock Christmas Market

WHERE: Holt Hotel in Steeple


WHEN: 18 November:

10.00 – 17.00 A variety of stalls in a new, spacious venue. Lots of activities and grotto. FREE


Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Palace

WHERE: Blenheim Palace,

Woodstock WHEN: 23 November – 6 January: 10.00-20.00 Explore the State Rooms, seasonally decorated and lavishly themed into the magical fairy tale fantasy world of Cinderella… Adult £27; Child £15.50; Under 5s FREE

Super Science Saturday: Micro Worlds Fre


WHERE: Museum of Natural


WHEN: 24 November:

12.00-16.00 Meet scientists at this big science bonanza and discover a whole new world under the microscope. Drop-in. 8+ FREE

Chastleton at Christmas WHERE: Nr Moreton-in-Marsh WHEN: 24 November –

9 December Sat & Sun

Join on three weekends as the house is magically transformed for a Victorian Christmas FREE with entry 01608 674355 www.nationaltrust.

Families What’s on Fre


Didcot Christmas Street Fair

WHERE: Broadway and Orchard


Nativity The Musical

WHEN: 6 December – 5 January

& 19.00 Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School, they’re attempting to mount a musical version!


WHERE: Oxford Playhouse

16.00 – 21.00 All the fun of the fair with side shows, rides, parades, food stalls and family entertainment.

All alone at the South Pole, Alby stumbles across Santa’s list of presents left behind in the snow. Hey realises that Christmas isn’t going to happen unless the list is reunited with its owner.

WHEN: 29 November:


WHERE: New Theatre, Oxford

WHEN: 11-15 December: 14.00

From £16.65

From £10 01865 305305


Printing a Winter Keepsake

WHERE: Weston Library

WHEN: 1 December: 12.00-15.00

Enjoy printing on the hand-press. All ages. Check website for further details. www.bodleian.

Christmas Fair

Oxford Christmas Market WHERE: Broad Street

WHEN: 7 – 22 December

With market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air.

WHERE: Oxford Botanic Garden

Discover a wonderland of handpicked gifts, artisan food and family entertainment.

WHEN: 4– 27 December

Christmas carol-oke, the world’s biggest game of charades, present-opening, wish-granting, turtle doves in the middle of their family argument and a truly heartwarming story. £14; £10.50 Con 01865 812 150

The Pied Piper

WHERE: Cornerstone Arts

Centre, Didcot WHEN: 8-30 December This Christmas a mysterious traveller from another time and place finds a town in trouble. But will the town accept this magical stranger? £15, Conc £13.50, Family Ticket £50 01235 515144

The house will be littered with beautiful candlelight, casting a new light on the mansion. Mulled wine and warm homemade mince pies.

greys-court0344 249 1895

11.30 Environmental Education Centre. Outdoor nature play, games, stories and craft for preschoolers. Booking essential. £7 per child

A Christmas Carol

WHERE: The Manor, Weston on

Artists and Makers Fair

WHEN: 24 November & 1

WHERE: Greys Court, Nr Henley-on-Thames

Booking essential. £12

WHERE: Sutton Courtenay WHEN: 13 December: 9.30 –

Botanic Garden WHEN: 8 December: 11.00-13.00 Collect natural treasures from the Garden and turn them into beautiful decorations to take home. Drop-in.

WHERE: Thame Town Hall


Nature Tots, Didcot

WHERE: Oxford

e! Fre

Free for children with paying adult

WHERE: Pegasus Theatre, Oxford

Christmas Family Craft

Free with entrance

WHEN: 1 & 2 December

Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/ Party


December: 10.00-16.00 See a range of work from artists and makers. Buy a present for your friends, family or yourself. FREE

the Green WHEN: 19, 21 & 22 December Very Christmassy, heart-warming one-person show accompanied by afternoon tea or three course dinner, plus choice to spend the night! Utterly atmospheric for 7+. With afternoon tea £45; with 3-course dinner £65 01865 766266 Fre


Christmas Trail

WHERE: Ashmolean Museum WHEN: 22 December -6 January Pick up a seasonal trail from the Welcome desk during opening hours to discover more about art this Christmas. FREE


WHERE: Broad Street, Oxford WHEN: 9 December

Raise money for Helen & Douglas House. Join 2,000 Santas on this 3.5k run for a good claus to help local terminally ill children. Wheelchair & buggy friendly. Includes suit and mince pie. Adults £20; Children £12; under 5s free

Sign-up 01865 799150.

Families Oxfordshire 9

Independent Toy Shops


Dentons Toys, Nursery & Cycles

Hoyles Games

Teddy Bears of Witney

The Nursery Shop

Wally’s Toy Shop

1-4 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 8RJ 01865 241244

71 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BA 01865 203244

22 Stern Street, Abingdon OX14 3JP 01235 520476

Bicester Toys &Nursery

1 High Street, Witney OX28 6HW 01993 704979

99 High Street, Witney OX28 6HY 01993 706616

97 High Street, Thame OX9 3EH 01844 261947 wallystoyshopthame

66-68 Sheep Street, Bicester OX26 6JW 01869 323946

Toys-UK Didcot

162-164 Broadway, Didcot OX11 8RJ 01235 759450

Bagatelle Toys 63 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA 01491 576559

Champion & Co. Ltd 7 St. Mary’s Street, OX10 0EY 01491 836271 10 Families Oxfordshire

We have made every effort to ensure our listings are accurate. However, we cannot be held responsible for any unintentional errors.

Families Fun Santa’s Grotto at Frosts Garden Centre

Santa Steam Specials

Christmas Fairytale

WHEN: 17 November - 24 December


WHEN: 1 – 23 December

Chipping Norton WHEN: 1 - 24 December At weekends, children can meet Santa in his indoor fairytale grotto and receive a present, join in with Christmas activities, enjoy all the usual Fairytale Farm attractions and see the enchanting Christmas lights. Cookie decorating and mince pie for adult. £5.70 plus

WHERE: Frilford, Nr Abingdon

Enter Santa’s magical wonderland; sing and dance, decorate a gingerbread biscuit if you choose, then play along with Santa’s bashful elves. Lots of surprises along the way! Booking recommended. Plus, Santa Paws for dogs on 27 November! Child £14.99; Adult £4.99 (Dog £9.99)

Santa’s Grotto and Reindeer

WHERE: Notcutts Nursery, Nuneham

Courtenay WHEN: 18 November – 23 December Enjoy a truly special Christmas experience this year at Santa’s Grotto, where a magical Winter Wonderland awaits! As well as meeting Santa, your child will receive a Christmas gift, personally given by Santa. Opportunities for breakfast or tea with Santa too. Booking online recommended. From £12.50 per child

Day out with Thomas to Visit Father Christmas WHERE: Didcot Railway Centre WHEN: 1 – 23 December

At weekends travel with Thomas and his friends to visit Father Christmas in his grotto. Child ticket includes gift. Lots of fun and entertainment. Pre-book. £16

Santa’s Grotto at Thame Christmas Lights Switch on WHEN: 30 November: 15.30

Santa will be in his grotto at this magical family event. Other attractions to include human-sized snow globe, reindeer and gift market. Lantern parade with Thame’s primary schools and Merry-go-round and hook-asanta.

WHERE: Chinnor & Princes Risborough

At weekends and special dates at various times, the Chinnor to Thame Junction train will carry Santa and his Elves to visit every family on board! Presents for all fare-paying children and young people aged 0-15yrs. Everyone can also enjoy a spiced hot berry cordial and a delicious mince pie. Pre-book. Adult £12; Child £10

Santa’s Grotto at Banbury Christmas Lights Switch On WHEN: 25 November:

13.00 – 19.00 Visit Father Christmas in his grotto as you wander around the Christmas market. With live music, dance, choir and pantomime performances. Plus festive food and drink. Christmas fairground along Bridge Street. Dontation

WHERE: Fairytale Farm,


Father Christmas at Cogges Christmas Market WHERE: Witney

WHEN: 8 & 9 December

The Christmas market in the Wheat barn and Barley Barn will have over 60 stalls with crafters and makers offering hand-made gifts, festive decor, and local produce. Father Christmas will be in his grotto to receive guests and give out gifts. Pre-book.


Father Christmas Please me ntion Families Oxfordsh when boo ire king

Santa’s Grotto and Vintage Bus Ride

WHERE: Oxford Bus Museum, Hanborough WHEN: 9 & 16 December:

11.30, 12.30& 14.00 Visit Father Christmas in his Vintage Bus Grotto plus free vintage bus rides. Each child receives a present from Santa during their visit. Pre-book.

Santa Specials

WHERE: Cholsey & Wallingford Railway WHEN: 8 - 23 December Weekends

Travel in heritage railway coaches and visit Santa in his grotto on the train, with a present for all children and a mince pie and hot fruit drink for all adults. Return journey. Adult £10; Child £7; under 2 £5

Families Oxfordshire 11


Forget researching the latest games for your child’s next birthday or Christmas party. Despite the fact that we live in a digital age, the simple truth is that children crave the classics. Here are a few party games that are still enormously popular. The Chocolate Game

The children sit in a circle and take turns to throw a dice. If they get a six they put on a hat, scarf and gloves then attempt to eat a wrapped bar of chocolate with a knife and fork. Meanwhile the other children keep on throwing the dice. When the next person throws a six, they get their turn.

Sleeping Lions

Children lie down on the floor as still and as quietly as possible pretending to be ‘sleeping lions’. A judge roams the room and any child that moves is ‘out’ and the winner is the last child ‘asleep’.

Kim’s Game

Lay a tray with a mix of objects from toy figures to random items like sticky tape or a spoon. Cover the tray with a tea towel. Allow the children a minute to look at the tray before covering it back up when they write down everything they can remember from the tray. The one who remembers the most items is the winner.

Doughnut Challenge

Hang ring doughnuts on strings. Children must attempt to eat as much of the doughnut as they can without it falling off the string – the challenge is that no hands are allowed!

Pass the Parcel

You can’t have a party without pass the parcel! Almost despite age, children still love to sit in a circle, pass that parcel around and rip off the paper when it’s their turn! A small chocolate treat for everyone is enough to get them excited plus the anticipation of a bigger “present” for the winner. Party etiquette demands that the final present is won by a guest, so try to make sure the winner isn’t your child!

12 Families Oxfordshire

Families Feature


By Wendy Mogel, PhD

You might think it is a sign of progress that parents in the UK now spend more time with their children than they did 50 years ago, but, in fact, they actually feel an uneasy lack of closeness to them. And the children are more anxious. And everyone is feeling lonelier. So why? It’s always been the case that parents sometimes view their children through a distorted lens. The barrister cross-examines his son who claims his teacher doesn’t want parents correcting homework before it’s handed in; the therapist father thinks the classroom bully is causing his daughter’s tantrums; the full time parent confuses her child’s achievements with her own worth. But today’s fierce devotion to every detail of a child’s life is an obstacle to intimacy and shared fun. Think back to your early years. Are you sure your dad knew the name of your class teacher right off the top of his head? It’s likely your mum didn’t track your moment to moment academic and social ranking like a day trader. And this is the paradox. Distance between parent world and child world allows each to get perspective, to really see each other. So how to avoid this growing divide? Try treating your child like a stranger! Conduct an experiment. Think of your son as a nephew from the other side of the country who is staying with your family for a few days. Imagining this new persona for your son creates curiosity, decorum and healthy interest. Here is this new person! How curious I am about his ideas and interests! Soon he will be gone from here! Through his eyes, I can see the world of 2018 from a fresh and fascinating perspective. Find out what makes him tick while you have the chance. Be the listener with your children: “Tell me more. Ah, I see. Have you been in a situation like this before? How did you handle it? What are you considering this time? What is the outcome you’re aiming for?” Adults know that all their kids get low on emotional fuel after a long day at school. Home is a soft landing. When a child is cross or crabby a kindly listener can be a balm.

What else can you do to feel closer to your children?

It’s a fact that everyone laughs more when watching a comedy in a theatre, in the company of strangers, than they do while watching alone. Take your children to a play or performance. Talk about it afterwards. Why do you think the characters acted the way they did? What parts were the funniest? Did any of it make you tear up? Go places and talk about where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. It can be as simple as a picnic in a park. There is so much conversation fodder: strangers to observe, ducklings, dogs, kites, small children raising around. Welcome in the strange characters in bedtime stories. Share imaginative leaps into their world by talking in an unhurried way about what you or your child might do at the chocolate factory or in the forest at night. When your formerly chatty son becomes more self-conscious and less forthcoming, consider him the newest member of your basketball team or domestic maintenance crew. See if it’s easier for him to talk while shooting hoops or washing the dog. Don’t mistake your daughter’s verbal sophistication with maturity, when she’s tired it’s normal for her to melt down like a toddler. If she dumps endless social drama in your lap, don’t make her problems your own. Picture her as the garrulous female you’ve been seated next to at a social tea. “Is that so? How frustrated you must feel.” Do actually engage with strangers. Take up a hobby or community project. Become a bit of a stranger to yourself and your family. Then tell your child about who you met, what you did and how you felt. It can build a friendly bridge between you. The German poet Rainer Rilke wrote: Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow. If they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.

Distance between parent world and child world allows each to get perspective, to really see each other.

Families Oxfordshire 13


s a m t s i r h C things to do this


WHERE: Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford WHEN: Friday 7 December 2018

1. A CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH ON WHERE: Oxford Festival of lights

WHEN: Friday 16th – Sunday 18th

Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is a longstanding public event, free for the community to attend. The opening of the 2018 event will be on the evening of Friday 16 November 2018 and will comprise of a lantern parade involving approximately 400 children and young adults from 10-15 schools and community groups alongside local bands.  The parade will take approximately 60 minutes, starting at the covered market and ending at Gloucester Green. Throughout the weekend Broad Street, Bonn Square, Castle Quarter and Gloucester Green will be the festival’s main outdoor areas of activity. The weekend sees free festive events, musicians, dancers and choirs appearing around the city centre. Get a sneak peak of this year’s Christmas show at the Story Museum, WISH showing Friday 16th November 5:00pm, 5.30pm & 6:00pm For full details and events visit

Now in its 22nd year, this popular Celebrity Carol Concert has become Macmillan’s biggest single fund-raising event in Oxfordshire. Fondly referred to as the event that starts the Christmas Season, we recommend early booking. Join them for a memorable evening of uplifting, festive music. Welcoming back Oxford’s worldclass vocal ensemble the Blenheim Singers, conducted by Tom Hammond-Davies and, for the first time, Robert Quinney who will play the organ.  A guest chorister from New College and entertainment in the quad from the Magdalen College School Brass Ensemble complete the musical line-up. As usual, you will be treated to a star-studded cast of celebrity readers* including Sinéad Cusack, Shaun Evans, Will Gompertz and John Lloyd. A Celebration of Christmas is run entirely by volunteers to raise funds to support Macmillan services in Oxfordshire. To book visit




WHEN: Fri 23 Nov 2018 to Sun 6 Jan 2019


WHERE: Oxford Christmas market WHEN: 7th-22nd December

A sure way to enter into the spirit of Christmas is to visit a Christmas market,enjoy a glass of mulled wine as the fairy lights twinkle and the choirs sing Christmas carols. The city of dreaming spires will again be filled with festive joy as the Oxford Christmas Market returns to the heart of the city on beautiful and historic Broad Street. With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air a visit to the Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical Christmas experience. For more information visit


WHERE: Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas

Cracker Show/Party WHEN: Tuesday 4th December Thursday 27 December 2018 Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/ Party is a fun, fabulous cracker of a party of a show, and everyone’s invited! You are a member of a family you didn’t know you had as Alice & Bob welcome you to the most entertaining, gladdening, crazy Christmas reunion in Oxford, complete with opening reception, live show and after party disco knees-up. Everything that happens at a Christmas family party will happen at Pegasus: Christmas caroloke, the world’s biggest game of charades, present-opening, wish-granting, turtle doves in the middle of their family argument, a massive flash mob wrapping-paper war and on stage a truly heartwarming story filled with music, melancholy, laughter and love. To book visit /



It wouldn’t be Christmas, without the traditional family pantomime! Join The Oxford Playhouse Theatre for a pirate, pussycat and rat-packed panto party! Dick Whittington’s heading to town to seek his fortune – he’s heard the streets are paved with gold. But when he gets there, it’s hard to see the gold beneath the grime and King Rat is out to get him! And that’s just the start of his adventures. With his trusty cat in tow and pirate ships on the horizon, Dick’s going to need a little help from you if he’s going to win the day. Book now for this fabulous festive treat it’ll be a Whitting-tonne of fun!

14 Families Oxfordshire


Families Gift Guide 1.





‘Put the games console away this holiday season’







1. ROSEBUD COTTAGE - 3+ A light and sound front door for realistic play and soft-close hinges £120 from Early Learning Centre. 2. AQUA CRYSTALS - 6+ The only design kit which allows you to create three dimensional charms. Prices from £14.99 from Smyths, Very, Amazon and Entertainer 3. THE HAPE SPACE CITY - Development tools and sensory exploration through its glow in the dark loops and cosmic boosts. £89.99 from Argos


4. LAZER M.A.D - A laser blaster which is completely wireless for un-restricted and fastpaced laser battles. £59.99 From Smyths, Very, Amazon and Entertainer

8. TYBO - The mess-free tie-dye kit to create amazing designs at home £24.99 from Smyths, Very, Amazon and Entertainer

5. LEGO HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS SET Lego and Harry Potter in the same box, what’s not to love? £89.99 From Amazon

9. ANI-MATE MINI MOVIE MAKER KIT Age: 8+ Create quirky little movies with your own phone and this ingenious Mini Movie Maker Kit. £14.99

6. DINO FINGERLING - The dinos respond to motion and sound and are bound to be a massive hit. £16.99 from Argos 7. GRAVITRAX - Age: 8+ Boost STEM skills. Use your imagination to build superb tracks and set the Gravity Spheres rolling! £48.29

10. JETCAR - Do all kinds of cool tricks - follow a track, avoid obstacles and make the LED strips change colour. £49.99

Families Oxfordshire 15


Wednesday 14th November 2018 Tuesday 22nd January 2019 Book your place today at




Families Oxfordshire Nov Dec 2018  

Family magazine with Whats On information for children age 0-12.

Families Oxfordshire Nov Dec 2018  

Family magazine with Whats On information for children age 0-12.