Cool Info for Parents in Lausanne, Switzerland

Friday November 21st, 2014

Where to Buy Christmas Trees – in Lausanne and around

christmas-tree-market

LIVING TREES IN POTS

Ecosapin

For those who prefer not to chop a living tree, Ecosapin is here for you. The concept is simple, you get the tree delivered right to your door before the holiday and taken away after. The trees are kept alive in pots and they will be re-planted, and be re-used for the year after. Very convenient, but it’s pricey.

For example the cheapest and smallest, 100/130cm-tall Spruce (epicéa) cost chf89. The price include delivery but not pick up. For pick-up you will have to pay an extra chf19. Or, you can keep the tree and plant it in your garden.

 

CUT LIVING TREES

Note that when you buy a cut living tree and dispose it properly after you finish with it, they will be 100% composted and won’t be thrown into a landfill or incinerator. Disposing it properly means that you have to bring the tree outside your house or building on the day specified by your commune (consult your garbage calendar or your commune website) or bring it to your local déchetterie. Please remove all decorations, as they most likely can’t decompose. Last year we had a small tree and managed to cut all the branches and used them as mulch in the garden. The remaining was thrown into our compost bin.

Action 1000 Sapins

Action 1000 Sapins is organized by Lions Club Lavaux, this year’s profit from Christmas tree sales will go to Cœur Battant, an association that helps families whose children have cardiomyopathy.

You can pre-order the Nordmann tree until 5 December 2014 online, by fax (021 213 00 01), or post (Lions Club Lavaux, CP 358, 1009 Pully).  The trees come in 3 different sizes between 120-200cm and cost between chf70-90. Pick up on Sunday, 13 December 2014 at Collège du Grand-Pont in Lutry or Collège Bossonnens.

Chapin.ch (sapin-de-noel.ch)

Chapin.ch is an extension of the farm products delivery company La Belle Bleue. Cost of a tree starts from CHF39 and delivery CHF15-20. They also offer a Christmas tree bag (CHF8.50) from where CHF2 will be donated to Handicap International.

IKEA

IKEA Aubonne will sell their Christmas trees (Nordmann) on 5-6 December 2014. Cost CHF24.95/tree and if you are a member of IKEA Family, you’ll get a CHF15 gift voucher.

Garden centers

I believe all hardware stores that have garden centers – Coop Brico+Loisir, Migros Do+It, Obi, Jumbo Hornbach, Landi, among others – have Christmas trees. Hornbach and Landi usually have the least expensive ones, starting from around CHF20 for a 100/130cm tree.

Local tree farms or markets

  • la Ferme Aebi, avenue Victor-Ruffy 66, 1012 Lausanne (info)
  • Famille Mugnier, 1266 Duillier (info)
  • Sapins de Noël Jaquier Frères, 1521 Curtilles (info)
  • Your commune (municipal) may also have a Christmas tree sale program. You most likely have to reserve in advance.

 

ARTIFICIAL TREES

For those of you who prefer an artificial tree, you can get it in many places inside the city, including Globus, Manor, and many hardware stores like Coop Brico+Loisir and Migros Do-It. If you prefer buying it online, try Tchibo.

However, if I may ask, could you try to find a second hand one first – perhaps through anibis? I know there are always many artificial trees in good condition, waiting to be re-homed.

 

Happy tree shopping and decorating!

 

*Christmas trees image found here, used under Commons.

Thursday November 20th, 2014

Visiting Santa Claus at His House in Rochers-de-Naye

After years of hearing wonderful comments about the Santa Claus’ Home in Rochers-de-Naye above Montreux, last year we finally went up there* and met Santa Claus.

Our train ride unfortunately turned out to be stressful. I was too cheap to buy ticket for my 5-yo so that she had to sit on my lap. The train was very narrow and packed by Santa visitors, leaving very little room to move, especially with a child on my lap. Then things turned very bad as my daughter had to go to the toilet (although she had gone sometime before boarding) and there was none on the train. She ended up crying silently for 30 minutes – it broke my heart :( So to those of you bringing recently potty trained kid on board, don’t forget to go to potty before boarding and limit their drink (if I remember correctly the train ride from Montreux took around 50min).

Thankfully the torture came to an end and soon we were happy again. The day we picked was gorgeous with a glowing sun, a completely blue sky and tons of snow on the ground.

rocherdenaye1

Stepping inside the hotel resort, I was under the impression that the place needed more and much better decorations. These 2 spots below were the most decorated I could find:

grotteperenoel

grotteperenoel2

In other places the decorations were minimal and dated, if any. Knowing that they had offered this trip for 10 years, I felt that they needed professional help to redesign all the decorations. I’m really hoping this year’s is already better. If you go, do let me know!

We first went up the hotel to “Santa Claus bedroom”. Which turned out to be a single-bed hotel room filled with colourful lights and plush toys. Not my taste (I didn’t even bother to take photo), but perhaps some kids find it cute. Mine were not impressed either. While we were there we realised that some kids stamped cards – I believe it was part of the treasure hunt game that was advertised on the website, but we didn’t do it.

We then went to “La Grotte du Pere Noël”. The long tunnel was very dark and illuminated every few meters by arcs full of blue LED lights. These lights were beautiful.

tunnel-perenoel

At the end of the tunnel we went straight into the queue to… Santa Claus himself!

The queue wasn’t too long for us, I think we made it in around 20 minutes. My very shy children didn’t want to be too close to Santa, so this was the best shot I could get:

perenoel2

If your children are not that shy, they will totally have great time with Santa, like these ones:

perenoel-montreux

I must say that this Santa Claus at Rochers-de-Naye was the most beautiful we met last year (we had FIVE Meet-Santa events last year). I loved how his beard looked so soft and glowing and his suit was beautiful. His chair was a bit kitsch though.

Each kid received a certificate directly from Santa. There was a photographer who took photos of all visitors that they could print and sell directly on the spot. I forgot how much it cost as I didn’t buy one. In the same room were also the face painters, and a small souvenir shop.

I’m not sure if there was another place that they called Santa’s House, as the room where we met Santa didn’t give any impression of a house. I would imagine a setting like this, but instead he was sitting on that kitsch chair on a stage with a big wall behind him. The Santa was great but the “packaging” was not.

All in all, we still enjoyed the whole experience. I was probably the only one not impressed by the experience, especially the decor, but I may have set the expectations too high. My kids were not raised to believe in Santa Claus and this was the first they saw that year, so that they were not yet into it. They did better with the fifth Santa they met last year :)

I  would still recommend this trip to anyone believe or used to believe in Santa Claus. Just set your expectations correctly ;) Buy tickets even for under 6s if you could afford it. And come prepared – snow suits for the kids are really necessary, as well as hats, mittens, boots – practically everything that will keep them warm when outdoor (playing or waiting for the train). If you decide to go there, I strongly suggested that you reserve and get the tickets ASAP. These tickets are very limited and sell quickly.

Have fun and don’t forget to let me know it goes for you! And if you had been there, please share your experience by leaving a comment. I know that many loved this visit very much so that it would be good for the readers to hear a different opinion.


*To go there we took special GoldenPass train from Montreux to Rochers de Naye. This year’s prices had gone up  to CHF39/adult, CHF19/6y-under 16y. FYI there are tickets at special price on Thursdays. Check this website for more information.

There is also a possibility to go to Christmas Village at Caux on the way down from Rochers-de-Naye to Montreux (more info). We didn’t do this as we found that the trains coming from the top were mostly too full to pick up all the visitors at Caux so that the waiting time can be very long. Fyi we went on a Saturday.

If you like to spend more time with Santa Claus, you can also book an overnight in a yurt (as in the photo   on top of the post) or the hotel, and your children will receive presents from Santa (that you prepared) personally. This can only be booked per telephone. More info here.

Wednesday November 19th, 2014

School Holiday Art Classes by Naomi Middelmann – 2015

The talented Lausanne artist, Naomi Middelmann, will be offering intensive art sessions for children that will be held in her Lausanne studio next year. I have blogged a few times about her – regular classes here, as well as our experience in her class here.

Given in a real artist’s studio, the courses provide a stimulating and friendly environment where children (5-12y) can explore various techniques (painting collages, drawing to sculpting, etc.) and explore different materials. Classes can be given in French and/or English.

Here are the dates for 2015 school holidays:

  • 23-27 February
  • 5-9 April
  • 6-11 July
  • 14-16 July
  • 10-14 August
  • 12-16 October
  • 19-23 October

The four morning sessions cost chf 225.- and the five morning sessions cost chf 265.-

The schedule is 9:00 to 12pm (You may bring the children in as early as 8:45am if necessary).

As usual the techniques used will be varied.

For registration and any further questions, please contact Naomi directly.

 

Naomi Middelmann
Victor Ruffy 11, 1012 Lausanne
078 758 6192
nmiddelmann (at) gmail.com

Wednesday November 19th, 2014

Salon des Métiers et de la Formation, 24-30 Nov 2014

Important post for the parents of and older kids!

Salon des Métiers et de la Formation (Careers and Training Exhibition) will be held next week at Beaulieu in Lausanne. This is the event where professionals from many fields gather and interact with the children and parents about the many kinds of jobs they can go for in the future. Entry is free and according to the downloadable info for parents:

Come along with your child and take the opportunity to find out about professions for today and for tomorrow, the requirements, the training programs and career options. We suggest you make a family visit on Wednesday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday. This will avoid the visiting times for school groups and you can talk to the professionals more comfortably.

 

Careers and Training Exhibition, Lausanne
24-30 November 2014
Tuesday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
Entrance free
www.metiersformation.ch

*Image courtesy of MCH Group SA

Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Festival Lausanne Lumières, 21 Nov – 31 Dec 2014

lausanne-lumieres

These time each year, when the nights are longer, I could never wait for the start of the Festival Lausanne Lumières.

For this year, there will be artistic illuminations from 10 different artists (from CH, France, Germany and Finland) that will be placed all around Lausanne center, including la place de la Gare, la Palud and rue de St. Laurent. The official website also said that they collaborated with 500 students from Lausanne schools (age 8-15y) – how sweet is that!

And now for the best part… On Friday 21 Nov there will be “Nuit du Festival”, an evening to inaugurate the festival with guided tours that welcome families. It’s free but I’m afraid only in French. Children will receive lanterns and balloons. These tours start from Terasse Jean-Monnet (at the base of the Bél-Air Tower). Departure at 18:30 – 19:00 – 19:30, meeting from 18:00 when hot wine(!) and tea will be provided for free.

Check the official website for more info and cool photos from last year’s event.

I remember my favorite one from the previous years (2012?), the giant desk lamps in Flon. Did you see them, too? If I only I could steal one and put it in our garden…

desklamp-flon12

And another photo of last year’s installations, les Méduses, under the Grand Pont (although they were not yet illuminated when I took the photo)…

meduses13

the “garden” in front of the train station…

lausanne-lumieres-2013-gare

and I think these lights in Flon look even better with St. Nicolas walking under them :)

lausanne-lumieres-stnicolas

Yay! Lausanne is going to be so much merrier with all those beautiful lights!

Monday November 17th, 2014

Les Fêtes de Noël Lausanne, 21 Nov – 24 Dec 2014

fete-noel

Les Fêtes de Noël (Christmas Markets etc.) in Lausanne will already start on Friday! Isn’t it exciting? I love going around Christmas markets — while enjoying hot food and drinks, the atmosphere, decoration and beautiful lights. Strangely, the official website still didn’t have any info except the late-night shopping dates. For now I just assume that the markets will be at the three usual places: at St. François, Pl. Pépinet, and Le Flon. I will update this post once I get more info.

For those of you who enjoy Christmas shopping at the last minute, the end-of-the-year “late-night” shopping (Nocturnes) in Lausanne City Center is scheduled on Dec 17, 19, and 23, which means that many shops will be opened until 10pm, instead of the regular 6 or 7pm.

Don’t forget that there will also be a lot of events as every year. Last year we had St. Nicolas going around the city center and Santa Claus/Father Christmas in the city. For those eager to meet Santa, stay tuned, a post about Santa will be up soon!

*Image courtesy of http://noel-lausanne.ch/

Saturday November 15th, 2014

Where to Send Letters to Santa Claus / Father Christmas

A re-post from previous years, as I think I have many new readers who don’t know this yet.

4151707061_7b63f6cd30_b

Santa Claus actually got help from Swiss Post! So, just address it to “Santa Claus, North Pole” or “Father Christmas, North Pole” (or “Père Noël, Pôle Nord” if your kids write better in French) and mail it. Don’t forget to put your address there, of course. Last year more than 17,000 letters to Santa from kids in Switzerland got their replies (and I heard they came with small presents!)

Don’t believe me? Read it yourself here!

*Photo courtesy of timlewisnm, used under Creative Commons

Tuesday November 11th, 2014

The Christmas 2014 Stamps Coming Soon!

We are getting closer to the holiday season and I’m getting excited!

As the last 5 years, this year we will again be sending our end-of-year holiday cards to close family and friends. Then of course I have to get the stamps, and I’m happy to report here that the Christmas 2014 stamps are already available to pre-order from the PhilaShop of the Swiss Post.

This year’s stamps look a bit traditional but very festive. And they were designed by a “local” artist. As quoted from the Swiss Post website:

This year’s Christmas stamp series unleashes a true blaze of colour. Graphic artist Dominique Rossier from Puidoux, above Vevey, designed the stamp in which the joy of the holidays sparkles like the reflection of candles on Christmas tree ornaments.

My favourites are the 100 and 190, obviously due to the Santa Claus and all those cookies. Which may means all our cards will be sent by A-Post instead of B-Post :)

xmasstamps2014

And just because I looooved them so much, I’m happy to let you know that the Christmas stamps from 2013 are also still available. These animals are just too adorable!

xmasstamps2013

So, if you also like to send the old-fashioned, snail mail, holiday greetings, don’t forget to order these stamps online. There is no shipping fee for online ordering. Note that the stamps are valid only from 13 Nov 2014.

Btw, I’m not sure if you could get these stamps at the regular post office counters (as they usually use the bar-coded ones). If you really have to buy them offline then your best bet would be the philately shop at the Post office next to Lausanne train station.

Please also take note of the shipping cut-off time, especially for those of you shipping cards and parcels abroad.

Finally, those of you who are new in Switzerland and expecting/shopping presents from abroad, may want to check this post about Swiss import taxes.

*Stamp image courtesy of the Swiss Post


This is one of many updated posts I have on the blog. For many annual events, to save time I re-use the same post by updating it with new information and dates. Therefore you may see comments from the previous years on this post

Monday November 10th, 2014

Round Up Thanksgiving Post – 2014

thanksgiving

Here’s some info regarding Thanksgiving food and events in Lausanne and around. Hope they’ll be useful for those of you celebrating.

TURKEYS

Turkeys can be pre-ordered, usually with 1-week notice but earlier is better, at:

  • The bigger Coop* (Sibylle ordered hers at the one in Crissier). Please be aware that there were occasions when Coop (although I’m not sure which one) messed up the orders.
  • Migros*
  • Manor Food*
  • Aligro*
  • Globus*
  • Most local butchers (Emilie had ordered hers from Boucherie du Simplon and Boucherie du Maupas)

*I assume that you should order directly at the butcher area

Frozen turkeys have been spotted at Migros Crissier last years. According to the source, 6kg was the biggest

What I learned from the tips is that to make sure you order the size of a turkey that fits your oven. Apparently the turkeys available are sometimes too big to fit. Note that you can also order HALF turkey. FYI, smaller turkeys have been found at Globus.

CANNED PUMPKIN etc

  • Canned pumpkin in Globus Lausanne (Thanks Holly and Emilie)
  • Fresh cranberries were said to be available at most chain supermarkets (imported from Maine)
  • Canned pumpkin, canned cranberry jelly and bread stuffing on:

LUNCH AND DINNER EVENTS

  • Thanksgiving Lunch and Dinner at Au P’tit Bonheur in Chambésy (near Geneva). Thursday 27 November (I’m sure you have to reserve your table in advance). See the menu on their site. I have heard that this place was child friendly.

 

Anything else to add? Please comment or email me at info (AT) lausannemom.com

 


This is one of many updated posts I have on the blog. For many annual events, I re-use the same post by updating it with new information and dates. Therefore you may see comments from the previous years on this blog.

Thursday November 6th, 2014

This & That Week #45 – Nov 2014

Earlier this week I finished another big sorting and cleaning of our stuffs before they were picked up by a local second-hand shop. It feels soooo great to finally rid the bulky baby items such as high chair and potties, as well as bobby-car and many princess knick-knacks! This mama can breath now!

Now that we passed Halloween, we’re on fast track to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will update many of last year’s posts in the next weeks so stay tuned!

LM-thisthat

In the meanwhile, there are fantastic things coming up. Read on!

  • Le Petit Prince at Opéra Lausanne!
  • Mickey and Mini Mouse are currently on tour in Switzerland. And they will be at the Prilly Centre TOMORROW – Friday 7 Nov 2014 from 13.00–19.30. They will take photos with your kids (and you too if you wish) and sign autographs.
  • Wish to re-watch Frozen (yes, for the 4,638th time) but in the cinema AND sing along to all the songs at the top of your lungs? “La Reine des Neiges : Version Karaoke” will play at Cinétoile Malley on Sunday 9 Nov at 10:30am and 1pm. The movie and songs will be in French. I think I only know “Let it go” and “Love is an open door” in their French version, but as in any karaoke, the lyrics should be there on the screen!
  • Migros Family Village in Morges, 22-23 & 29 Nov 2014.
  • It’s Chocolate Week in the area! Hurry, you still have a few days to get the special offers.
  • Design competion for kids on IKEA. They are looking for new designs for soft toys and welcome all sorts of imaginations. Last day to submit: 30 Nov 2014.
  • For big kids (8-20y) with huge visions: Bugnplay - a media and robot competition. Registration deadline 31 Jan 2015
  • And those of you with older kids may want to put this annual exhibition on your agenda: Salon des Métier et de la Formation Lausanne, 25-30 Nov 2014 at Beaulieu
  • I just learned about this shop: FreeForm Supermarket. They supply organics products as well as ones for people with allergies and intolerance to certain ingredients.
  • Love this: No Empty Chairs for Christmas. Register before 28 Nov 2014.

Finally, I’d like to ask you if your business or someone you know would be interested to do a Christmas  giveaway on this blog. I believe I can accommodate 2 giveaways between the last week of Nov and the first 2 weeks of Dec, preferably for goods/foods with a minimal value of CHF80. Just PM me, leave a comment on this post so that I get back to you or via Facebook.

Biz !

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