Santa Memories

How old is too old for Santa?

When does Santa stop visiting people in your family? Do you think that’s a good age?

Santa likes to fit in with each family, and wouldn’t upset anyone by coming when they feel they are too grown up for him to visit anymore, so he generally stops visiting children when they reach a certain age.

I am curious as to how families know it is time and if you have any traditions associated with that new stage, so let us know…

Your favourite Santa gift

What is the best and/or most memorable gift Santa ever left for you?

WHat is in the gifts held by Santa?

Did your favourite gift from Santa come in a box like these presents?

Do you remember why that thing was so special and stands out from everything else? It isn’t always the biggest or flashiest thing that stays in our memories – and now is the time to acknowledge how Santa got it right for you!

* Image courtesy of Kozzi

The Simple Pleasures

As a Foster Carer, Christmas has never been the same two years running. Luckily that’s just the way I like it! We have many lovely, touching memories of course but last Christamas really showed us that money spent and beatiful wrapping can be meaningless. Let me explain:

Christmas 2007 I had 3 children living with me, one of whom was a 5 year old with developmental delays, who had no memories nor understanding of Christmas. Her birth family life had been one of poverty and trauma, and she had no expectations as she had no reason to believe the magic of Christmas existed!

I had saved, bought and wrapped 6 gifts each for the 3 children and piled them beneath the decorated tree on Christmas Eve. The children had left cookies and lemonade out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and I sprinkled fake, plastic snow across the carpet from the front door (no chimney!) to the tree before going to bed.

Christmas morning at 5:30 my other 2 children were up, waking me and keen to unwrap, having carefully counted and inspected their labelled gifts. Keen to begin they roused the little girl and told her to run and see what Santa had brought. She came slowly out of her room, yawning and not in any hurry as she had no anticipation of goodies. Then she stopped and began to laugh and jump up and down with happiness. “Mama, Mama” she yelled “Oh look it, look it!”.  Had she seen her mountain of gifts at last? No, her delight was in the $2.50 packet of plastic snow that Santa had left behind.

That little girl sat and threw ‘snow’ over herself for almost an hour laughing and calling to us to see the miracle that had taken place. Yes, she did come later and opened her gifts, but she was drawn back to play in the ‘snow’ throughout the rest of the day.

Meaningful letters

Writing letters to Santa is one of the main entertainments for children at Christmas. With over 120,000 letters sent to Santa last year through the Australian post it’s now time to start thinking what to write in this years letter to Santa.

Sometimes kids write amazing things in their Santa letters. Instead of asking for a toy or a play thing they sometimes ask for things from Santa that are more heart felt and meaningful. And sometimes they write something very funny and amusing.

Do you remember anything you asked Santa for in a letter? What about anything amusing or special your children asked Santa for?

Has anybody in your family ever kept copies of Santa letters as a memento?

Santa’s names

Have you ever thought about how many names Santa has? There’s not just Santa, Santa Claus or Mr Claus – there is quite a range and sometimes children get confused when Santa is called something else in a book or story.

Here are some of the most ocmmon names for the jolly man who loves chidlren and makes their Christmases special…

Santa Claus – or Santa for short – or Santo Clos (in Mexico)

St Nicholas – or St Nick for short (also spelt Nikolas)

Father Christmas or Pere Noel (in French) or Pare Noel (in Spanish) or Noel Baba (in Turkish)

Sinterklaas (Dutch variation of Saint Nicholas and believed to be the origins of Santa Claus))

Kris Kringle

Odin ( a Germanic God also associated with Christmas)

Tomte or Nisse (Nordic folklore names)

Neclaus

Grandfather Christmas

Grandfather Frost or Father Frost

Papai Noel (in Brazil) translates as Father Noah

Are there any others you know of?

My baby’s first real Christmas

My little girl was nearly two for the first Christmas she really appreciated. I was a single dad and really wanted her to enjoy the day.

She woke up at her usual time (about 8 or 8.30 I think) and I went in to see her. She was happily standing in her cot waiting for me when I walked in with a borrowed video camera filming her.

I put the camera down to open her cot and slide the armchair to be next to the cot – Santa had left her stocking on the chair rather than in her cot (i guess he was as safety conscious as me!)

She babbled away to me like any other day while I filmed her and tried to direct her attention to the chair. It seemed to take forever before she finally realised there was something interesting on the chair…

She looked up as if to see if she was allowed to touch the mysterious things that had appeared over night. I smiled and she was into it!

We then went through her stocking together and had a lovely morning with her stocking until her Grandparents arrived with more presents.

5 cent biscuits (aka shortbread)

When she was very young, my daughter decided we were making “5 cent biscuits” for Santa. I have no idea where she got the name from or what it meant to her, but the name has stuck and we leave out 5 cent biscuits for Santa every year.

Everyone else (and us the rest of the year!) call them shortbread so I thought I’d share our recipe with you – it’s pretty simple and my kids have helped make them from an early age. Santa has started putting fun cutters in their stockings, too, so I guess he likes them making biscuits for him on Christmas Eve!

5 cent biscuits (shortbread) recipe

You need:

250g butter (or margarine)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/3 cup of castor sugar

2 cups plain flour

4 Tablespoons rice flour

You do:

Pre-heat oven to 180 Celsius

Grease an oven tray

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla (that means beat them together until they are pale yellow and fluffy)

add flour and mix

knead the dough well on a lightly floured bench/board

shape shortbread*

Prick shortbread surface with a fork

bake at 160 Celsius (yep, lower than the pre-heat temp) for 15 – 20 minutes

remove from oven when starting to colour

cool

sprinkle with icing sugar, dip in chocolate or leave plain.

* you can roll out the dough and make 4 saucer-sized circles, cut into 8 pieces per circle OR you can let the kids use shaped cutters to make fun 5 cent biscuits. Individual biscuits cook a little faster than the circles.

Santa is preparing for his trip…

It is getting close now – one week to Christmas Eve and Santa’s arrival Down Under to help create some more Christmas memories.

As Santa is flying across Australia, our Air Control Towers will be keeping planes and other air traffic out of Santa’s way so there are no nasty surprises for anyone.

Apparently, Santa has a new sleigh with added safety features – you can see pictures ot Santa and diagrams of his sleigh (click on the labels below the diagram for a full explanation) on the Air Services website’s Santa pages.

Due to this being the most popular flight in Australia, Air Services will continue tracking Santa’s progress everyday until Christmas.

Santa’s Reindeers’ names

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house no one could remember the names of Santa’s reindeer:)

Santa's reindeer

Santa’s reindeer lining up for Santa to name…

The 9 main reindeer names

For anyone else trying to remember Santa’s reindeer names to tell the kids or win Trivial Pursuit here they are:

  • Prancer
  • Dancer
  • Donner
  • Blitzen
  • Dasher
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • and, of course, Rudolph
The names of Santa's reindeer

Many other reindeer…

But I also heard that it would take more than 214,000 reindeer to pull a sleigh of 333,333 tons (based on one soft toy per child I think it was) Now there is no way I’m going to list out 214,000 reindeer names, even if I had a hope of knowing them all!

Of course, whoever did those calculations didn’t factor in the magic of Santa or the white boomers so the 9 names above are enough for me!

I’m looking forward to my children reading Santa letters soon! They loved last year’s, and even my husband liked them (and he’s not keen on Santa at all)!

Writing to Santa

child's hands writing a letter to Santa

Children work hard at their Santa letters – and it’s a memory worth keeping

We’re a bit behind this year so my kids have just written their letters to Santa. This was something I did every year as a kid and now my kids do it.

It personalises the whole thing and is fun and exciting – I can even justify it as writing practice seeing as the older kids have written letters at school or for homework this year!

Creating memories

I take a copy of their letters – photocopy or scan it – as their messages and spelling can be so creative I don’t want to lose them when we mail the letters to Santa. Their letters go into their scrapbooking albums (when I says their, I mean mine about them!) opposite the letters they receive from Santa to reinforce their memories later on.

I wish my mum had kept copies of the my old letters – I think it would be quite amusing to read them and they will make an interesting piece of history.

** The Love Santa letter template may help your children write to Santa, or read our tips on good letters.

A Christmas Dream

Yesterday on a long drive, both my kids fell asleep in the car. After about an hour, my nearly 6 year old woke with a start telling me he’d just had a lovely big sleep and had a wonderful dream.

He dreamt there were lots of Santas in the world, making sure all the kids had “the most” presents.

I thought that was lovely, and spot on.

White boomers

Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun…

(from Six White Boomers by R Harris & J Brown)

So what is a white boomer? It is a large, male Kangaroo that has white fur. When they move fast across the dry sands of Australia, they make a booming noise so they earned the name boomers. Most boomers are not white by the way 🙂

In Australia, Christmas Eve can be hot – and it certainly isn’t cold and snowy. Santa’s poor reindeer would find it very hard to pull a sleigh across the Australian skies so he gives them a rest while six large boomers pull the sleigh instead. The boomers can’t fly normally, but with Santa’s magic, anything is possible.

Rolf Harris made this story famous in the 1960s by releasing his version of six white boomers. You can see the lyrics on the all down under website* (it would be a copyright infringement if we copied the words here!) and find out the boomers’ names here.

If you are creative, you may like the instructions on painting some white boomers of your own. Or grab our boomer colouring in page before ordering a Love Santa letter.

Boomers pulling Santa's sleigh

* We used to link to the song composer’s personal site for the lyrics, but it has disappeared now.

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