Christmas activities

Tinkles finished the Lego Christmas train!

Tuesday morning, we discovered that Tinkles had brought a Lego Christmas train and yesterday morning Tinkles had partially made the train set.

During the afternoon and evening yesterday, Tinkles did some more Lego train building…

and actually finished the train itself…

Overnight, she covered the full Lego set and went off to play pin the nose on the snowman with the tooth elf!

However, during the day as the kids were at school she has gone back to Lego building apparently as this is what we just found:

Tinkles with her completed Lego Christmas train set!

The Lego Christmas train set, 40262

For those who are interested in Lego sets, here is a quick summary of this Christmas train set…

When complete, the set consists of a locomotive engine and two train carriages, three mini figures (a driver, a passenger and a stall holder), a Christmas tree, a street lamp with wreath, a picnic table and two food/drink stalls. It’s actually quite a lot for a compact set. There were 169 pieces in total.

It is small so easily fits in with other sets, either Christmas sets, general village sets, or even to make a town from pieces in previous Lego advent calendars. Apparently it is easy enough that an elf without fingers can create it 🙂 I like that there are distinct components so you can split the build up if need be, like to enable siblings to work on it together or for a child not yet able to focus on a bigger build.

 

 

Inviting an elf to stay in an elf house!

Tomorrow is the first of December, which, amongst other things, means that a lot of elves will be popping up around the world.

I know my children are hopeful Tinkles will be back to stay with us, and are already wondering where they will find her in the morning.

Inviting Alfo the Elf

In honour of all those children hoping and waiting for the elves to arrive, I wanted to share a story I came across during the week.

Steph and family had Alfo the Elf stay with them last Christmas, so Steph’s son very politely wrote him a letter earlier this month to invite Alfo to come and stay again this year. That in itself is lovely and I applaud Steph and her son for writing to Alfo!

Alfo the Elf in front of his caravan

Alfo the Elf – he could be Tinkles’s twin as they look so alike!

But Alfo is also very polite and he replied in his own letter. Alfo said he would love to come back and stay with the family, and asked if they could build him a house so he has somewhere safe to stay.

I just love this idea, and love the elf house that Steph’s son* came up with:

elf house and Christmas tree

I’m sure Alfo will be very impressed with his new house! Merry Christmas to Alfo, Steph and family 🙂

 

* With a little help from Mummy…

Advent calendars are more than chocolates & Lego!

Are advent calendars just for the kids in your house or are you expanding into adult advent calendars, too?

24 gifts in a grid, each numbered to form an advent calendar

Of course, Lego Harry Potter, Star Wars and City advent calendars and some of the other ones marketed at kids are perfectly fine for teens and adults, but not all adults will appreciate them!

Like for kids, you can obviously make your own advent calendar to suit any age or personality, but here are some ideas if you are thinking of purchasing advent calendars for your teens or adults.

Lego ornaments on a flat Christmas tree!

Lego ornaments form an advent calendar hanging on a tinsel tree adding Christmas cheer to the kitchen!

Pretty ideas…

  1. building a set of ornaments is a lovely Christmas advent calendar, I think. We reviewed a paper based one last year, and there are 2019 paper versions as well, or you can try the Unique Style calendar with wooden ornaments.
  2. enjoy some culture with an art calendar – this Normal Rockwell Pop-up advent calendar shows a different artwork each day while the National Gallery advent calendar shows something from their art collection each day.
  3. mix art and beauty! The Morris & Co Blue Forrest Peacock Print advent calendar includes beautiful Morris & Co prints and some lovely scented hand creams, bath salts and the like – a treat for eyes, noses and skin!
  4. why not try a  reusable advent calendar that is a decorative feature in itself – like a Christmas housetrain or tree. Or go all out for a Kurt Adler musical Santa’s workshop calendar – this is beautiful!
  5. music lovers may enjoy a musical advent calendar
  6. an advent calendar created with crystals adds some sparkle to the December days and builds a lovely piece of jewellery as well. Or build a Pandora braclet or a charm bracelet
  7. If you like ‘nice’ stickers, you may like to consider the Edwardian Lady or Ivory cats advent calendars
  8. make your home smell lovely with a Heart & Home fragrance calendar to find a different scented tealight candle each day.

Practical ideas…

Cath Kidston Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar Gift with Bath and Body Items, 1.11 kg

  1. beauty products – I came across this great blog reviewing the best beauty advent calendars in Australia if you’re wondering which one to get, or you can try the Cath Kidston bath and body advent calendar (pictured)
  2. tools – for someone liking DIY but without a lot of tools, this could be a useful calendar
  3. car goods – these include things like car wash, a chamois, wax, windscreen cleaner and air fresheners
  4. or car lovers may love a Porsche Advent calendar where they get to make a Porsche car and diorama over December!
  5. hardware bits – as distinct from tools (which let’s face it are not particularly cheap and many people this appeals to would already have most of what they need), this can be a calendar containing sets of screws, nails, bolts, washers, etc

Yummy ideas… wooden box with numbered chocolates

  1. chocolates – rather than the cheap supermarket ones, look for some quality chocolate versions, yum!
  2. alcohol – there are a range of these, from different types of beer each day, to different gins or wines, or a sample set of many spirits
  3. there is even a vegan friendly advent calendar which includes protein balls and other vegan products
  4. other foods – I’ve seen popcorn, cheese, nuts and ‘bar snacks’ suggested as fillings for advent calendars to go alongside movie or social occasions!
  5. enjoy a cup of tea? Why not try a tea advent calendar then!

 

And if you’re making your own, don’t forget that adults need to hear positive messages, too.

So what type of advent calendar would you like to experience this December? Are you going to get one for yourself, or just dream fondly of it?

* As always, some links in this post are affiliate links which means we may get a small payment for promoting it without you paying anything extra!

Last day of advent calendars!

Yes, it is Christmas Eve, Santa is almost here and our Christmas count downs are just about done!

Ornament calendar

Given it is Christmas Eve, finding Santa behind the flap is perfect! This is one of my favourite ornaments from this set – it just works really well with the two pieces giving the impression of Santa’s rotund body and cheeriness!

The cute image underneath of Santa racing down a hill on a sled is fun, too.

Press out decoration Santa on the Christmas tree

 

Lego City

Like the press-out calendar, the Lego City calendar left Santa until Christmas Eve! It was not unexpected (Santa was also on day 24 in 2015, 2016 and 2017) but still fun to find and build Santa carrying his sack!

This is what Santa looked like before we put him together.

Santa and his sack, with the Christmas tree and presents behind.

 

Lego Friends

Unlike the other two advent calendars, Lego Friends did not finish with Santa or even a Christmas tree. Instead we made a lovely little train pulling a trailer carrying a letter (to Santa perhaps?)

Lego Friends train

Christmas book

Of course, we had to save The night before Christmas to read tonight in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Hopefully it will help put everyone to sleep nice and early…

Day 23, or Little Christmas Eve, is here!

Happy Little Christmas Eve, as they call it in Norway.

Ornament calendar

The hidden image tonight was cute – Merrit peering at a smiling bauble in a tree! We then made a red and orange bauble to hang on our tree.

finding a Christmas bauble decoration in the calendar

Lego City

The Lego City calendar produced a yellow helicopter which my son enjoyed putting together.

yellow Lego helicopter

Lego Friends

Tonight’s most exciting discovery, however, was the Christmas Tree in the Friends calendar.

Lego Christmas tree ornament

Christmas book

Our Christmas book is That’s good, that’s bad which the kids always enjoy, even if it is not my favourite Christmas story.

Day 22 – Christmas is close now…

Only two more flaps to open after tonight – we’re getting very close to Santa’s arrival now! Have you planned your snack to leave out for Santa yet?

Ornament calendar

We pressed out and created a shooting star for day 22. The picture underneath is cute, with two kids looking out a window at a shooting star – but I love that the neighbouring picture (from day 17) has Merrit and a reindeer also looking at the shooting star!

Shooting star ornament

Lego City

We made a little robot in the Lego City advent calendar tonight. The wind up key didn’t attach on the back as the instructions indicated though so my husband stuck it on the robot’s head instead!

small Lego robot on red background

Interestingly, there is a robot in the Christmas Collectables, too! I still don’t see the connection to Christmas, other than someone wanting one as a gift (but on that basis, EVERYTHING could be included!)

Lego Friends

Strangely, tonight’s Lego ornament is a microscope… well maybe not so strange if that is one of the decorations representing a Heartlake friend I guess (and I am more than happy if one of the Lego girls is into science as that is a great role model for kids).

Lego microscope ornament

Christmas book

And now we are going to settle down with our next Christmas book – Where’s Santa? I hope you enjoy your Christmas reading tonight, too!

Creating some collectables

While we don’t go shopping anywhere just to get their gimmicks, we have managed to gather a few of the Woolworths Christmas collectables this year. Have you collected them, too?

I decided to keep them aside so we could put them together as a Christmas activity, which we did this afternoon.  It was a simple activity but we all enjoyed doing it together.

 

I have no idea if we have all the different pieces but it is a good collection, and here are some of my thoughts about them.

  • they are made of cardboard – not plastic – so that is a HUGE win (we wouldn’t have collected any at all had they been plastic)
  • they are sturdy so will last – I think they will even be okay to use again next Christmas!
  • the layers of board can separate a bit too easily meaning pushing some bits through the slot was hard (particularly the key going into the robot – my daughter couldn’t get it in)
  • the collectables are more challenging to put together and sturdier than the ornaments in our press out advent calendar
  • some pieces don’t stand very well – for instance, the Christmas tree has two parts but as only one rests on the ground the final tree is wobbly

We don’t have the Christmas tree stand – Woolworths decided to only give it to some members (those who buy the ‘correct things’ during the year according to their response when I questioned this) and sell it to others, and I choose not to pay for it. So the kids can just arrange them on the mantle piece or their window sills I think.

Where do (or would) you display these collectables in your house? Would you add them to your stored Christmas items for next ear as well?

Santa with his sleigh, gingerbread man beside a gingerbread house

Countdown – day 21!

Well that’s it for the school year – the last schools have now had their final days (yes, state schools in some states have had classes right up to today!) and summer holidays are officially here! I think that makes tonight’s advent calendar opening even more exciting for those kids, including mine!

 

Ornament calendar

So, to finish the school year, my kids discovered a candle decoration and a picture of a candle with hot chocolate and an orange (maybe the orange is for us summer Christmas people and the drink for our northern neighbours?)

press out candle decoration

Lego City

Time is ticking away and Christmas is edging closer, so a themed clock tower is a well timed find in the City advent calendar tonight!

Lego tower clock

 

Lego Friends

Day twenty-one and Christmas presents have arrived! Cute little gifts with a holder on the side for a string to hang them on the tree, my daughter is very happy with today’s find!

to Lego presents with stars on top

Christmas book

Tonight’s book to share is the toys’ night before Christmas which is such a beautiful book and somewhat appropriate as we are getting so close to Christmas Eve!

Advent count down reaches day twenty!

Wow, we’ve made it to day twenty now.

What has happened on the 20th December? Well, in 1699 Peter the Great changed New Year from 1 September to 1 January, Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin was first published in 1812, It’s a wonderful Life (a classic movie played every Christmas) premiered in 1946, and Rosa Parks sat in a ‘white seat’ on a bus in 1956.

Ornament calendar

Our ornament calendar today produced a sack for Santa – the image clearly shows it is full as the elves are struggling to move it!

Santa's sack pressed out ornament hanging on a tree hear a sleigh

Lego City

My son likes this mini digging machine, but I’m not sure it will fit in with his mining Lego very well as it is so small!

Lego digging machine

Lego Friends

Tonight’s Lego ornament is pretty – a white snowflake with blue ‘waterdrops’ on the end to give it colour and interest – and fits in with the white Christmas model.

Lego snowflake ornament

Christmas book

And tonight’s Christmas book is Santa is coming to Australia! – and he is coming soon! It is a cute book and my kids love spotting places they can recognise – maybe we can get a map out tonight and they can trace Santa’s journey across Australia, too.

It’s Wednesday and it’s day 19 in our countdown

Wednesday, middle of the working week and heading for our last weekend before Christmas…

What Christmas cooking have you done this year? Maybe some edible gifts, a gingerbread creation, vanilla wreaths or perhaps some Turron.

Ornament calendar

Merrit holding a baby’s rattle – a very relevant ornament theme once you have read the accompanying story – and having her hand licked by a reindeer in the hidden image.

AN elf holding a baby rattle ornament

Lego City

The Lego City advent calendar’s flap revealed a lot of pieces tonight – my son formed them into two remote cars and two remote controllers, with a lo of spare pieces left over. I wonder how many kids will get a remote control car from Santa this year?

two Lego remote controls and matching cars

Lego Friends

We now have a gingerbread man ornament hanging up, thanks to the Friends calendar. He is quite cute and but I don’t think he’d be as much fun to eat as our gingerbread sleigh or gingerbread house!

Lego gingerbread man ornament

 

Christmas book

Tonight, my son is going to read us Wake up Bear! which I am truly looking forward to as I remember it being a special story we enjoyed last time we read it.

We’re onto day 18 in advent calendars

One week to go to Christmas! School, work, advent calendars and preparations are still going strong though, so let’s find out what our calendars provided for day eighteen…

Ornament calendar

Perhaps not a typical ornament, Santa’s hat is certainly a well known symbol of Christmas and good cheer!

collage of Santa's hat ornament pictures

Lego City

As there is a picture of this on the box, my son has been looking for this monster truck to come out of the calendar since day one!

Lego monster truck

Lego Friends

Following on from all the cupcakes on Sunday (day sixteen), the Friends ornament is a cake stand.

Lego cake stall

Christmas book

Tonight’s Christmas book is going to be Santa’s Husband which is such a great book for making us question perceptions and accepting alternatives. If you haven’t read it with your family yet, I suggest you read my review (so you know what to expect) and then read the book with as many children as you can!

8 days to Christmas – day seventeen is here!

Just 8 days to go until Christmas – are you excited or worried about the size of your ‘things to do before Christmas’  list?

Ornament calendar

While this ornament looks fancy and is bigger than most other ones, it was still just two simple pieces interconnected to make our reindeer.

Images of the press out reindeer ornament

Lego City

I love the little chef with his tray of biscuits that my son found behind flap 17! He is inspiring me to go bake something, too…

Lego chef with a tray of biscuits

Lego Friends

Today’s ornament from the Friends advent calendar is colourful and cute – but is it a boot on wheels or an unusually shaped vehicle?

Lego boot on wheels

Christmas book

Tonight’s Christmas book is The naughtiest reindeer in the zoo which will be a nice story to read while those biscuits are cooking I think!

Share your Christmas story
Instagram