Christmas today

More spoons of happiness!

I love Spoonville and have been happy to see more of them popping up as I go on walks around my area and from others sharing their local Spoonville images with us.

Hmmm, maybe I should create a Christmas Spoonville!

Anyway, I couldn’t resist sharing some updates of the Spoonvilles I previously posted about as they have grown somewhat in the last few weeks…

Park Spoonville

We had some major works done to the sewers in our area lately, which included trucks needing to access our local park. I thought it was very sweet that the workers moved Spoonville to another part of the park, did their work and then returned Spoonville to its original location. It was a bit more compact afterwards – just as well spoons don’t need to socially isolate!

Photos of Spoonville in a Melbourne park in 2020

Kinder Spoonville

Collection of spoons decorated as people, standing up in a kinder garden bed

Pot Spoonville

This is a new one to share, rather than an update!

Spoons decorated as people standing in a bucket on the nature strip

 

I was also going to add in an update on the laminated people Spoonville, but when I walked past this morning it was gone. Maybe the bad weather we had over the weekend destroyed it or the family took them in to protect from the weather.

How is your local Spoonville going? Can you see it growing over time?

Christmas 2020 – what will it be like?

As Victoria remains in lock down and everyone is finding their own way to manage with everything that is 2020, many thoughts are heading towards December and Christmas.

Perhaps even more than usual, Christmas 2020 is both a sign of the end of the year (something more are looking forward than usual this year!) and the start of summer, and a sign of happiness, celebration and Christmas spirit.

Large koala in Santa outfit cuddling young girl

Christmas 2020 may be somewhat isolated…

But what will Christmas 2020 be like?

Here are some changes we will probably have to accept…

  • wearing masks is likely to be recommended or required while shopping and at Christmas functions. And I dare say many a public Santa will be wearing a mask – maybe it will be a beautiful red mask with white fur straps!
  • The Santas we see in shopping centres and the like are likely to be a bit younger than we are used to – this is already being seen in the recruitment process as we protect our older citizens from the Corona virus. This may mean smaller tummies and fewer real, long beards
  • Santa photos will be different. Children may need to be near Santa rather than on his lap – maybe kids sit in a sleigh and Santa stands behind them or Santa can peek around a Christmas tree or Santa sack to where the kids are sitting.
    Some places may just not have Santa at all this year. Maybe they’ll just have props or a large Santa cut out, and more people will need to be creative with a relative dressed in a red suit or utilising virtual tools. Or maybe perspex screens, like in many shops now, could be utilised

    Santa and a girl on surf boards in a wave tunnel

    Maybe standing on surf boards is a way to have Santa physically distanced from children this year!

  • Santa photos and visits may be bookings only to enable more control of numbers and contact tracing
  • Smaller gatherings are likely – it just remains to be seen how small will be mandated. Events like the Melbourne Zoo Christmas party, Mornington Train Santa trips, Christmas pageants and parades, popular Christmas light spots, the Gingerbread Village and even Christmas markets may be banned, while work and family celebrations may be restricted. Myer has already cancelled their Melbourne windows for this year.
  • Less travelling so interstate family is less likely to visit
  • Carols by Candlelight may also be limited this year which would be very sad. The big events, like the Melbourne Carols on Christmas Eve, could still be run and televised without an audience or a small audience socially distanced.
  • Santa won’t hand out gifts to keep distance and avoid contact – maybe children can take a gift from a sleigh or a table

    Santa and elf talking to a child in a shopping centre

    Seeing Santa walk around shopping centres, talking to children and families, is something we may not see in 2020

  • Christmas shopping may be spread out more – it is likely retailers will start promotions and sales earlier this year to reduce crowds in physical stores and manage the logistics of online orders. And for us as consumers, shopping away from crowds is a wise move, too, so get those Christmas lists started!
  • We may have more access to Christmas celebrations away from home as more events are likely to be broadcast instead of pulling crowds  – for example, the Adelaide Pageant will be in the Adelaide arena at twilight and broadcast this year so the rest of Australia may be able to enjoy it this year (let’s find the positives where we can!)
  • Christmas mass and church services may have to be virtual or severely limited in terms of how many people can attend and what they can do (eg no shaking hands or communal hymn books)

 

Santa handing a gift to a boy through a window

Santa will still give gifts for Christmas 2020!

However, for anyone concerned about Santa being able to visit on Christmas Eve, rest assured that he is still expected to visit children globally. Santa has delivered gifts during previous pandemics (and more localised health problems) and there have been no cases in the North Pole. Remember, he comes in quietly and wearing gloves so maintains social distancing in every house so I have no doubt Santa will bring joy to children’s  faces this Christmas.

Having said that, maybe he will deliver fewer gifts as sourcing materials and gifts in 2020 will be harder. And perhaps Santa will want to continue the more basic

the little reindeer who lost  his  presents~ Christmas book review

the little reindeer who lost  his  presents Front cover of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

by Jedda Robbard
Little Hare Books, Richmond (Melbourne), Sept 2017

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 12 page board book with lift the flaps

I don’t recall how I came across this book, but it is sitting amongst my other Christmas books, and is very cute!

The story

Little reindeer is helping Santa – until he lost some of the presents that is!

My review

This book starts with the little reindeer receiving a note from Santa, asking him to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve:

Inside page of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

I like how the book shows how proud little reindeer is at being asked to help – this is certainly something that helps young children identify their feelings of pride when they get to help someone they admire. Then, little reindeer shows off a little in his excitement with sad consequences – also something young children can relate to, I’d say!

Little reindeer’s friends help him out, happily including Koala and Kangaroo joeys, which is a nice positive feel and moral for the story.

Inside page of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

It is a lift the flap book, making it less suitable for very young readers to handle themselves but lots of fun for many ages to enjoy. And Roddard’s illustrations of the animals and piles of presents are gorgeous.

Would I recommend it? Yes, this is a lovely Christmas book for younger readers – and one that can be read all year really. It has a happy story with nice messages, fun flaps to look behind, and beautiful drawings, so what’s not to love?

A spoonful of happiness!

Walking through our local park recently, I spotted a new addition – Spoonville.

I have no idea who put this into our park, but am very grateful to them – I know that it turned my day around and gave me a huge smile when I first discovered it. And I have seen so many other people stop, smile and admire the growing Spoonville village.

Like the teddy bears and rainbows we shared earlier in the year, Spoonville is a very simple idea that many people can participate with to build community and create smiles in the challenging times that 2020 and COVID-19 have brought us. Adding a face and decorations to a spoon is all it takes to participate – and I love that the town sign states “All spoons welcome”.

And our local Spoonville does keep on  growing…

Have you seen anything like Spoonville?

Just today, I noticed that a local kinder also has some spoons in their front garden and  my daughter’s school sent out a notice that they have added a Spoonville village in their garden, too.

Set of colourful spoon people in a kinder garden bed

Kinder Spoonville

There is actually a website celebrating Spoony villages and Spoon people around the world! It is lovely to see a group of ‘people’ who can happily be close together without worrying about social distancing or spreading a virus!

If you start a Spoonville of your own, or participate in an existing one, let us know in the comments and maybe share a photo or two!

Santa’s Christmas charm – Christmas book review

Santa’s Christmas charm

text &  by Diane O’Hanesian
illustrations by Lee Krutop
Ice Water Press, Australia, 01 October 2012

Age group: 3 to 8 years old

Format: 24 page hardcover picture book

This is another op shop purchase I made leading up to last Christmas.

The story

Santa has lost his lucky charm and it’s Christmas Eve – how will he make all those deliveries without it?

My review

This is a cute little story about Santa leaving for this big Christmas Eve trip. Elf is trying to get Santa to hurry but Santa is distracted by wondering where he left his good luck charm that he carries every Christmas Eve.

I like that Santa is positive about each alternative thing he finds (for example making friends with a mouse instead of being disappointed it isn’t his charm!) And I think it not only makes Santa approachable by his forgetfulness but will also be something younger can relate to, having lost precious things of their own while a parent is trying to get out the door in a hurry!

The flaps on the pages are quite subtle and obviously work well with the story as children get to discover what Santa finds each time. They are just paper flaps though, so some care may be required for the littlest of readers.

A charm actually comes with the book although it was missing from our copy (hopefully the previous owner thoroughly enjoyed the charm, and may has it still as a Christmas tree decoration.)

Krutop’s illustrations match the story perfectly and include some nice details – I love Santa’s woollen coat and the expressions on Elf’s face!

Would I recommend it? This is a happy little book with flaps for interactivity and lovely illustrations. Children will love the idea of a charm so yes, I’d say it is a nice Christmas book to have.

 

Rainbows make the world smile

We’ve had teddy bears and friends in windows and on lawns, and now we are finding rainbows popping up to cheer us all on during these unusual times.

Where have you seen rainbows in your area?

I have seen rainbows in chalk on the footpath, on paper stuck to windows and fences, flags hanging in windows and over verandas, colourful paper chains, and even rainbow dream catchers in windows.

Collage of rainbows in windows

Footpath artwork can raise the spirits of everyone walking past! And I love the colouring of the services pit cover, too.

 

Sharing some teddy happiness

We are in the  midst of a global pandemic which brings with it sadness, worry, new rules and tensions. It is a tough time.

However, there are lots of positive signs, too. People are connecting around the world as we all watch and experience the Corona virus. By staying apart, we are staying together is the new slogan – social distancing and reducing gatherings is a way we can protect each other and especially the most vulnerable in our communities. Our frontline responders are standing up and doing what must be done, and people are finding ways to show our gratitude.

And teddy bears are helping put smiles on our faces!

In case you haven’t caught up on this movement, many people are placing a teddy bear or similar toy in a window or other visible spot so that local children can see them. This means that a daily walk can be fun and positive as youngsters (and those young at heart of course!) can search for teddies and see how many they can find. It’s very simple and very effective.

One on my neighbours has been putting her teddies in different themed settings each day and some families are walking past daily to see what she has come up with!

Have you been spotting teddy bears and friends in your local area? Have you put any soft friends on display?

Collage of teddy bears in windows and trees

Aussie Christmas Scrabble!

Tinkles was playing scrabble this morning!

So yesterday, my son’s Christmas present from Sunday was put to use by Tinkles  and Ginger, and today my daughter’s present was in use – cheeky elves must think the presents were for them!

Aussie Scrabble is just like normal scrabble in that you have seven tiles to place as words on the board, but there are some extra cards to add an Aussie flavour – that’s as specific as I can explain as we haven’t yet played a game of it., and Tinkles hasn’t told me any additional details or rules!

Christmas elf and Lego dragon playing Aussie Scrabble

Tinkles plating Aussie Scrabble with the Lego Dragon she rode last year!

A closer look at the board, showed us some words appropriate for Christmas elves and for today, being Christmas Eve! If you can’t read them, they have made ‘Lovesanta’, ‘Tinkles’, ‘reindeer’, ‘elf’ and ‘Christmas’.

Lego Dragon and Christmas elf made Christmas words on the scrabble board

As long as Dragon knows how to spell Ginger, he can get a decent score on his next go in the game!

Elf snack time!

After a busy weekend and the fruit last Thursday, Tinkles must have felt she was allowed something a bit sweeter today… Or maybe she just needed to replace some energy after her big trip yesterday and car racing this morning!

Tinkles and Baby Elf having some morning tea

 

I like how Tinkles had spread out a Christmassy picnic rug (otherwise known as some Christmas fabric I had in the cupboard!) and used a high chair for Ginger the Baby Elf! Ginger had a big strawberry but Tinkles had a rather large slice of cake with her lemonade!

Christmas elves racing!

Amongst other things, Tinkles and Ginger watched everyone open presents yesterday which included my son opening a pair of remote control cars.

The kids had a lovely time racing the cars when we got home last night, and that must have appeared fun as we woke this morning to find three elves sitting on cars about to start a race!

three elves seated on remote control cars

At closer inspection, it turned out that Ginger was not alone on her car – Harry, Hermione and Ron (from the Harry Potter Lego advent calendar) were propped on the windscreen as well!

Ginger the baby Christmas elf sitting on a remote control car

There has already been lots of laughter at the elves racing around the house – I hope Tinkles and Ginger hold on tight!

Travelling elves!

Today, we are going to a family Christmas function – and we’re taking Tinkles and Ginger with us!

After checking the pantry and elves for where we last saw our Christmas elves, the kids ran around trying to find where they had moved to, and see what they may be up to!

Tinkles and Ginger in a container so they can be carried on an outing with us!

 

Tinkles' note says "I stuffed myself and baby in here so you can take me to see what happens at Mim's house this year!"

Tinkles’ note says “I stuffed myself and baby in here so you can take me to see what happens at Mim’s house this year!”

elves in a container with a pouring section of the lid open

Luckily Tinkles chose a container with a lid so the elves can breathe whilst in there all day!

 

Tinkles & Ginger hiding apart

It was Ginger, the newly named Baby Elf, that we spotted first today, sitting on top of some elves hanging on a window!

Tinkles took a little longer to find, but we found her cheeky face sticking out of a box of tacos! I hope she didn’t eat all the taco shells as I think that may be our dinner tonight now she’s put the idea into my head!

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