Welcome to the Love Santa Blog

We share lots of Christmas related ideas, recipes and crafts in the Love Santa blog. You are welcome to comment or submit your own Christmas stories, too.

Bluey stars in the 2023 Myer Christmas windows

Christmas 2023 is coming, and Melbourne is excited to see Bluey the heeler in the Myer Christmas windows!

The windows show Bluey and the heelers in a series of Christmas scenes such as opening presents under a pretty tree, sitting around a family table for Christmas lunch and playing some beach cricket (exactly how I sent my childhood Christmas Days!) Plus I recognised some scenes from Bluey verandah Santa and Bluey – Christmas Swim.

Have you seen this year’s Bluey windows? How do you think they compare to previous Myer windows like Allice in Wonderland, little dog Christmas Wish, and Uno’s garden?

Visiting the Myer windows is a lot of fun and as always, the windows include a lot of details. I loved the colourful bonbon crowns, the pav, someone doing handstands, and even a cheesy grin for photos!

I am so glad that I went to see the Myer windows a week ago and mid-week, though! The queue today (a Sunday) as I went past went along the Burke St mall and up Swanston St – it nearly reached Little Burke St!! Always popular, I think Bluey has added to the interest this year!

2023 Myer Melbourne windows sh

Hooray it’s Christmas

Bluey and family open Christmas presents in front of the Christmas tree.

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas opening presents with her family

Christmas cooking

The kitchen becomes a hive of activity as final preparations are underway for Christmas lunch. Hopefully, the first aid is only needed for play!

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas as the family cooks lunch

I seriously think that Professor Inkling has dropped in from the Octopod for a visit! Does that Octopus toy make you think of the Octonauts, too?

Family lunch

A feature of any Aussie Christmas Day is sitting around a table, kids at one end, adults the other, and having a the table groaning under the food. And paper crowns are obligatory once bonbons are ripped apart!

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas as the family eats lunch together

Christmas swim

As the young heelers take a swim, I love the presence (and  mention in the voice over) of the Creepy Crawly trying to tangle around legs!

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas as the family has a swim and sit by the pool

Beach cricket

While Dad bowls to Bluey, other heelers are building sandcastles, relaxing on a chair or practicing handstands! Time on the beach is a great way to let lunch settle and just be together.

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas playing beach cricket

Merry Christmas

At the end of a busy day, Bluey and her family relax outside and look at Christmas lights. Merry Christmas Bluey and everyone!

2023 Myer Melbourne windows showing Bluey at Christmas as the family relax on Christmas night



Bluey stars in the 2023 Myer Christmas windows

A jigsaw advent calendar

I was very excited when I came across this idea – build a jigsaw day by day as an interactive advent calendar!

I love that a jigsaw advent is constructive, reusable and provides some mindfulness time each day. And, of course, I’d expect it to be a Christmas themed image!

Box of a jigsaw advent calendar - 1008 pieces jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw advent calendar details

I cannot list the designer or manufacturer details because I can’t find them! There is nothing on the box or reference poster, nor on the original ad I purchased from – it’s very strange! So I can just say that I got this from Temu – ordering and delivery all worked well, see below for what I thought of the jigsaw advent calendar itself!

Final puzzle is 70 x 50cm and consists of 1,008 pieces.Twenty-four numbered red boxes in a box. Box one is on top, opened to show jigsaw pieces inside

The pieces are tight interlocking so you can pick up the completed puzzle without it falling apart – so says the promotional material anyway!

My jigsaw advent review

Inside the box is a set of 24 little boxes, numbered one to twenty-four. There is also a large fold out page – on one side is the image of the jigsaw and the other has numbers.

I assumed the numbers correlated to the days so you can figure out which section of the picture you need to complete each day. That is, I assumed each box would be a section of the puzzle to be done each day, then the sections will make the whole image.

jigsaw advent calendar reference sheet - image on one side and number on the other

However, I was very disappointed to discover that each little box includes a random collection of puzzle pieces. In day one, there were pieces from about 12 sections of the puzzle! So not only could I not complete one part of the puzzle as expected, I found many of the pieces from the same section were unconnected so very little could be joined. I opened day two hoping I was wrong, but it left me almost as frustrated. When I pack this away, I will be packing all the ‘one’ pieces into day one’s little box and so forth so next year I can create a small puzzle each day!

The picture on the paper and the puzzle pieces I’ve looked at so far show a low quality image, which is also disappointing. But maybe it will end up better than I think once the entire puzzle is put together…

As I progress through the puzzle, I will update this post but so far it isn’t too promising. For next year, I am thinking of using the 24 little boxes to divide up another puzzle to get the jigsaw advent experience!



Christmas in Auckland

Have you spent a Christmas in Auckland?

I haven’t, but our friend Jen is currently over there on a holiday and sent us back some photos and stories to give us a taste of an Auckland city Christmas!

Christmas in Auckland city

A Christmas tree in front of the 328m tall Sky Tower in Auckland - the tree is green with gold ribbons and looks small beside the tower!

Auckland’s 328m Sky Tower makes the Christmas tree look small despite being quite tall itself!

A large red with green sots Christmas bauble with a backdrop of Auckland's city buildings

Not only is this Christmas ornament huge, it is also squishy!
The surrounding, smaller baubles are rigid.

A tall golden nutcracker standing beside palm trees as art of Christmas in Auckland

I love thus nutcracker! His face seems hay and smiling, and his colouring is stylish.

A view of the Christmas display in Auckland - colourful stars, Christmas trees and presents atop a white structure that people can walk through

Walk or sit under colourful, cheerful Christmas shapes!

With tall city buildings n the background, man views colourful pillars on which green and yellow Christmas tree and star shapes sit

Another colourful addition of Christmas icons in the main city area – stars and Christmas trees atop pillars!

What about Santa?

If you had been to Auckland prior to 2020, you may have noticed Santa in Queen St. He was pretty hard to miss as he was 18 metres tall and weighted 5 tonne!

The huge Santa, with a winking eye and curling finger, welcomed Kiwi shoppers to the city for about 60 Years (minus a few years in the Manukau Shopping Centre during the 1990s). However, he was retired at the end of Christmas 2019.  The fibreglass Santa and two reindeer was purchased for Wanaka’s National Transport and Toy Museum – at the princely sum of $1! But the cost and effort to transport him 1500km to the south of the South Island must have been huge.

So far, only Santa’s face has been fully restored – you can see him outside the fire station at the museum. The rest of Santa will hopefully be on view again in the future.

Have you ever seen Auckland’s huge Santa? If so, did you think he was creepy?

Christmas in Auckland

What type of Love Santa letter should I get?

Collage of four photos showing children of different ages opening a Love Santa letterThis is a common question – which Love Santa letter should I order for the special children in my life? Are all Love Santa letters personalised?

Love Santa letter types

There are twelve different Love Santa letters each year, grouped into five letter types you can chose between. So, each child gets a letter to suit them – and that’s before the letters are edited and personalised.

All Love Santa letters include a laugh, positive messages and references to leaving Santa a snack and Christmas traditions (like elves, reindeer, boomers, and the North Pole). However, as different age groups have different perspectives so we write letter types accordingly.

Letter typeWho it will delight
BabyAimed at new babies (ie under one year) and it has comments like ‘Merry first Christmas”
ChildThis letter suits most children, even if they may suit another letter type!
TweenAimed at 9-12 year olds, with comments about being a bit older and still enjoying Christmas
TeenAimed at 13-18 year olds with slightly older content
AdultAimed at those aged 18 or older, with references about it being a busy season

These are just guidelines, of course. For example, an nineteen year old with Downs Syndrome may be happy with a teen or tween letter and a mature 12 year could relate to a teen letter.

Note that each letter type has at least one alternative so that siblings will get different letters for the truly personalised delight. And Love Santa letters are written every year so they are different every time.

Every letter type is personalised with the same sort of data, although baby letters often include less (for example, a newborn doesn’t have a favourite colour!)

So, why not delight some special children now?




What type of Love Santa letter  should I get?

Bluey’s Christmas Swim – Christmas book review

Bluey – Christmas Swim

front cover of Bluey - Christmas swim, showing Bluey and the other heelers in and around a backyard pool

based on the ABC kids TV show
Penguin Random House, Australia, 2021

Age group: preschool
Format: 32 page hardback

I must say that I really enjoyed Bluey’s Verandah Santa book so it didn’t take much convincing for me to try this Bluey Christmas book!

The story

It’s Christmas Day and the heelers want a swim to cool off. Bluey has a new toy, Bartlebee, to introduce to everyone.

My review of Bluey – Christmas swim

It’s an Aussie Christmas Day, and kids will love sharing those familiar activities and traditions with Bluey and her family.

I found the Christmas Day celebrations were relatable, with Aussie traditions like a roast pork (and discussions about the crackling!), having a swim, avoiding the creepy crawly in the pool, and having wrapping paper everywhere as presents are opened.

It is an okay read in general, but much more enjoyable if you know the Bluey characters to better understand their behaviours and gifts – and why an aunt and uncle were overseas for Christmas (I suspect a honeymoon!)

The pictures are true to the characters in the TV series, so the book will be an extension of the shows kids love. Inner page of BLuey - Christmas swim showing BLuey getting and opening a present from Mum and Dad

Obviously this is cartoon where dogs have many human traits and actions. However, the anthropomorphism goes a bit far for my taste (Bartlebee is treated as a real character) – I think adults will cringe but young kids will appreciate the family accepting Bluey’s reality.

The book has a nice theme of welcoming, for instance Bluey’s new aunt is welcome as is Bluey’s toy, and the entire family accepts the child’s beliefs of Bartlebee as a living friend.

According to the back cover, there is also a Bluey – Hooray it’s Christmas book if you want more Christmas cheer for Bluey fans!

Would I recommend Bluey – Christmas swim? To be frank, it wasn’t as good as Verandah Christmas, but it was nice and will make any Bluey fan happy. So, definitely worth it for young Aussies!

Inner page of Bluey - Christmas swim, showing the young heelers around a Christmas table and yelling Merry Christmas everyone!

Bluey\'s Christmas Swim - Christmas book review

A sunburnt Christmas (movie review)

I really enjoyed this Australian Christmas movie  – A Sunburnt Christmas.

Technical details of this Christmas movie:

91 minutes
rated M
Stan, Australia


A man's face as he stares at the moon in the movie Sunburnt Christmas

Daryl looking up at the moon

An escaping criminal, Daryl (Daniel Henshall), ends up on a remote farm which is suffering through a long drought. The farm and family are managed by 15 year old Hazel (Tatiana Goode) as Mum is too grief stricken to do anything.

We first meet the family as the younger sister, Daisy (Lena Nankivel), fires a rifle into the air. She figures that clouds have water so shooting clouds will result in rain. It is cute and works well in the story, although such a younger child being unsupervised with a gun concerned me. When Daryl crashes in to their barn wearing a Santa suit, Daisy thinks she shot Santa out of the sky.

Gradually, the entire family knows Daryl. Daisy and her brother Tom (Eadan McGuinness) believe he is Santa – they never question his black beard!

Review of a Sunburnt Christmas

Of course, there are emotional and financial issues to be resolved (and as it’s a Christmas movie, it’s pretty easy for you to guess if things are resolved!) and a bad guy to evade. However, it has an Australian character and lots of laughs.

There is some swearing (although Santa tries to stop himself in front of the kids), violence and sadness in the movie so it’s not suitable for kids. I wouldn’t really show it to kids under 13. Hazel tells Daryl her Dad suicided – later we see he was shot.

It is clear to adults that Daryl is not actually Santa, but Daisy and Tom remain convinced. Kids may therefore believe this is Santa, or understand the plot enough to know he is not Santa. The plot has Daryl provide the presents so little kids may question why Santa didn’t come if Daryl is not Santa.

For adults, though, it is a fun, Australian Christmas movie well worth watching. Even my husband who is not so into Christmas movies enjoyed this one!

Daniel Henshall and his young co-cast members do a great job in this movie, showing a range of emotions and reactions to the situation and memories evoked in the movie.

The backs of a man and a woman as they look at the full moon and a windmill covered in Christmas lights

Daryl and Fiona watch the windmill-Christmas tree

Do I recommend A Sunburnt Christmas? I found this to be a highly entertaining, funny Christmas movie that is very Australian – I thoroughly recommend this movie!

A Melbourne Christmas in 1956!

A Melbourne Christmas in 1956!

How amazing is this?

Melbourne in 1956

Trams. Olympic Games. TV launched. Burke St (not yet a mall). Milk bottle deliveries. Myer Christmas windows.

I recently spotted this video of Melbourne in 1956. I hadn’t seen this before and really enjoyed watching it. It showcases the era and a Melbourne Christmas.

1956 is before my time, but stories from my parents and grandparents made this video somewhat familiar. It is really interesting to watch, spotting things that are the same to my experiences and the things that are so different. Some things I noticed were

  • trams! We have have more modern versions now, but trams have long been part of Melbournian life
  • wide streets in neat grids with crowds of people – the clothing, shops and cars have changed, but it is unmistakably Melbourne. And compared to so many European cities which have (often much narrower) streets going in all directions, this is very home-like.
  • a paddle steamer along the Yarra is something I have never seen!
  • red letterboxes with curved tops along the street, just waiting for some letters to Santa – the actual boxes have changed but the overall look is the same

    Two hotos of red letterboxes in Melbourne - one from 1956 and one from 2023

    Melbourne letterboxes – similar but different over 67 years!

  • newspaper boys and police directing traffic (except in special circumstances) are long gone

About a third of the way through the video, there is a giant man standing on top of Coles’ awning. This is totally new to me so I had to find out a bit more about him. It turns out to be John Batman looking out across Melbourne in the 1830s. Behind the figure were some mechanised pictures, one showing Melbourne in 1830 (ie open land) and the other showing Melbourne’s 1956 skyline. This was art of the decorations for the Olympic games, and I can’t find how long it was there for.

Large figure of a man in bush clothes of the 1830s standing on a roof above a sign saying Coles Burke St

Note this is a screenshot from the video – you can see it better in the Museums Victoria Collection.

A Melbourne Christmas in 1956

Watching the video, I realised it was filmed in the lead up to Christmas. I’m guessing it was in mid to late November as it looks like a warm Spring day rather than summer. It may have been filmed over many days/weeks though, so I could be completely wrong!

What astounded me was the HUGE Santa at the corner of Burke and Swanston Streets.

Santa was standing on the roof at the front of Foy’s, looking west along Burke St and south along Swanston St. I was completely unaware that Melbourne ever had a huge Santa like that. To be fair, I also don’t recall the name Foy’s either!

An incredibly huge Santa standing a corner roof above a Melbourne tram

Melbourne’s huge Santa in all his glory above a tram in 1956

Note the above images are either taken out of the video to show specific elements of the video, or are taken by Love Santa.

A Melbourne Christmas in 1956!

Six degrees of Santa~ Christmas movie review

Six degrees of Santa Title screen of movie Six Degrees of Santa showing a woman in a Santa hat

Movie length: 89 minutes
Directed by Michael Kennedy
Premiered: 2022

The plot

A single mum helps in her family business and runs a Christmas gift program called Six Degrees of Santa. But should she keep Six degrees anonymous or not? And how will she keep the family business going?

My Christmas movie review

For starters, Six Degrees of Santa (the program) is a gift program where someone prepares a gift and gives it anonymously to a stranger or peripheral acquaintance (like your postie, the man you see on the train every day, the lollipop lady). That person enjoys the present for a day or two then also passes it on. This continues until the sixth person who gets to keep the present. Ideally, the present has special meaning to the original Santa, like a Christmas movie you love watching or  favourite game or puzzle.

Movie scene from six degrees of Santas showing woman walking up to her Christmas decorated paper shop

Harper arrives at her shop

So the movie starts with Harper (Kathryn Davis) explaining this program on a video for her website. Then she and her daughter pack their six degree boxes.

Six degrees of Santa (the movie) is a romance, and the ending is not exactly a surprise! But how they get there is less obvious.

Local entrepreneur and internet guru, Jason Sparks (Steve Lund), runs a number of enterprises, including one Harper used to work for. Currently, is focus is the Sparkle tree – a ready decorated Christmas tree you can order online. Harper doesn’t like the Sparkle tree as it is too commercialised and interferes with the tradition of choosing a tree from a farm. While I understand her sentiment, I think the Sparkle trees are pretty and no more commercial than artificial trees from any department store.

Jason ends up being the recipient of Harper’s Santa gift, and is so touched by the gift that he wants to meet the Secret Santa. Not wanting to tell him, but wanting to make a business deal with Jason, Harper gets a friend to pretend to e the relevant Secret Santa.

COllae of photos from the movie six degrees of Santa - mother nd daughter at Christmas tree; Santa and woman; man in front of a sparkle tree; secret Santa gift box

From there, we move through confusions, developing friendships, Christmas cooking, respectful and caring friendships between Harper and her ex, a wrapping competition, and social media marketing. We also hear of such happy stories where the six degrees of Santa reaches many parts of the world. And Harper struggles between keeping Six Degrees pure and simple, and sharing it more widely.

The credits do refer to some incorrect names! Look out for Harper and Dani – or their alternative names, Steph and Shani!

Would I recommend watching Six Degrees of Santa? It’s a sweet little movie that involves a book about an elf, the magic of Christmas, Christmas trees, Santa in a wrapping presents competition, and a lovely mother, daughter and granddaughter family. So, yes it is worth watching as a feel good movie.

Six degrees of Santa~ Christmas movie review

A Baxter family Christmas – Christmas book review

A Baxter family Christmas An image of a book cover of A Baxter Family Christmas, showing a house covered in snow - labelled as Love Santa Christmas book review

by Karen Kinsgbury
Simon & Schuster, London, 2017

Age group: late teens – adult
Format: 256 page softcover

The different twist of this Christmas book caught my attention – I thought it would be interesting and perhaps thought provoking to see how the Baxter family copes with family patriarch John inviting a woman who received his daughter’s heart to the family Christmas Eve gathering.

The story

A close knit family are preparing for a huge family Christmas, but are confronted with a guest who brings old memories and pains to light. Add in a girl racked with guilt over her sister’s accident, and there is a drama of family and personal relationships to be explored.

My review of A Baxter family Christmas

Interestingly, this is actually the 24th book about the Baxter family! The book starts with a few pages filling you on the background of various family members, including lists of children and their ages (I found this list very handy a number of times!) This is done so you can read this book as it is without having touched any of the previous books. It helps to have that information in mind before reading the book as the author didn’t have to distract with explanations within the story. If, however, you have read some Baxter stories before and don’t like spoilers, I strongly suggest you continue reading the books in order before reading this book as I suspect there are some shockers.

I liked that the introduction to the book gives a very clear summary of the main characters- I referred back to it a few times for relationships and ages! The Baxter family is quite a clan, with John, his children and then their children all having a part in the story. I found myself drawn into their family as I read this book. And I wanted to know more about the heart donor – the sister/mother/daughter killed in a car accident some time before this book is set.

There were a couple of details that seemed unrealistic and detracted form the story – for instance, an hour long drive seemed to happen in about 20 minutes during a snow storm!Decorated Christmas tree beside a Santa chair, ready for a family Christmas photo and celebration!

Kingsbury is obviously a Christian and enjoys her faith. Her main characters show their religious beliefs through frequent mentions of prayers, God’s plan, miracles, loving Jesus, and wanting others to experience the love and peace they find in their faith. I am not used to such open religion references in novels, especially with talk of wanting a sign of faith fro
m God during a first date! I know some people will appreciate that feature of this book, while others will roll their eyes and lose interest. I will just say that their faith is clearly there but doesn’t feel preachy to me as the reader so don’t give up on the book just for this factor.

Would I recommend A Baxter family Christmas? Not a simple answer for this one… If you dislike religious books and prefer adventurous books, then this is not a book for you! However, if you like a warm story about people who care (for each other and the world) enjoying Christmas, then yes I do recommend this book. It is nicely written, has a satisfying ending and leaves you feeling good.

A Baxter family Christmas - Christmas book review

The Ride, a Christmas Eve parable ~ Christmas movie review

Title for the movie The Ride, a Christmas Eve Parable, above a taxi collecting a man at a train station in the darkThe ride ~ a Christmas parable

Movie length: 30 minutes
Directed by Dallas Jenkins
Premiered: 2015

The plot

A bored taxi driver is given an extra run on Christmas Eve and becomes concerned about his passenger.

My Christmas movie review

There is a simplicity to this movie. The cast has literally five people, of which only two are central to the plot. Very little of the movie is outside of the taxi. It is refreshing to not switch scenes so frequently and to have no extravagant homes or effects.

The taxi driver (Kirk B.R. Woller) is totally disengaged with his first passenger (a very annoying man!) but then tries to make conversation with his next passenger (Brad Heller). This change was a bit of a jerk to my thinking, although obviously necessary to continue the plot.

Collage of photos from a movie - The Ride, a Christmas parable

While I don’t know Chicago so had no idea there was a river or bridge at the requested intersection, the taxi driver became suspicious of the passenger much quicker than I did – he could have given terse answers because he was tired, had a bad day, been an introvert, or just didn’t like nosy taxi drivers! However, once he did get suspicious that his passenger was intending suicide, the driver worked hard to prolong the trip and engage the man.

I could understand the clunky way the driver prolongs the drive. He was not generally a chatty or personable person so he found it challenging to engage this man in his taxi. Again, it would have been annoying and unbelievable if he had been able to do this smoothly. I think this is why the movie works – it is simple and real.

So why it is sub-titled a Christmas Eve parable? I took it as there would be a moral or maybe a story that somehow parallelled another, well known story (like the tortoise and the hare or the boy who cried wolf). It was a moral of helping others and the love of parents superseding mistakes, and I guess it could be a version of the prodigal son. Yet it didn’t feel like a parable to me – which is not a bad thing in a movie!

Is it a Christmas movie? Not really. It was set on Christmas Eve while the taxi driver’s wife and daughters were at a church service. A few things they drove past were covered in Christmas lights. Otherwise, it was not really about Christmas (but no less so than Die Hard!)

I came across this movie in the movie section of a streaming channel and took it at face value. There was clearly a Christian element to the driver’s actions but I didn’t feel it was a religious movie. However, I discovered it is from Christiaan Movies – it mentions church and grace, but otherwise leaves the action to tell the message without preaching religion.

Would I recommend watching this Christmas movie? As a cheerful Christmas story with Santa and tinsel, this certainly fails! But it is more thought provoking and gives a meaningful story that is enjoyable. So, yes I recommend this for adults.

The Ride, a Christmas Eve parable ~ Christmas movie review

Christmas eggs delight! ~ recipe

Today’s Christmas eggs recipe comes from Jane Payne of Christmas is my Business. It looks very Christmassy, is easy to make, healthy, and great for ‘bring a plate’ events. You could even leave some of these Christmas eggs out for Santa’s snack on Christmas Eve!

Jane’s Christmas devilled eggs

I love entertaining and playing the hostess. Any excuse for a morning tea, I say!
I like to make things easy for myself and cook/prepare/freeze ahead as much as possible.  Simple but delicious is my watchword.
Those who know me also know I LOVE Christmas…
So these are Christmas devilled eggs. So easy and your guests will absolutely love them.
Plus, even people who say they can’t cook can make these tasty morsels.

Wearing Christmas outfits to celebrate

Living In Australia, I know it can be hot and humid around our Christmas time.

For me, Christmas is a celebration. A time to come together with family and celebrate one of the most important moments on the calendar. So I like my Christmas outfits to reflect on that.

It’s only when you spend your first Christmas away from home or you no longer have a loved one around you to share the special day. That’s when you realise how differently each family does things.

Happy children in Christmas outfits, dressed as Santa's helper and a Christmas fairy

Such joy as these children celebrate Christmas

Wearing Christmas outfits

You rarely wear a Xmas outfit so why not embrace the one time of year when it’s ok to be that extra special without judgement!

I think that costumes are not just for the young, but the young at heart and making kids laugh each morning of December is a great way to start their day!

Love Santa - www.lovesanta.com.au


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