She sees you when you’re sleeping…

She knows when you’re awake,
She knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Just in case the kids had forgotten that Tinkles, Baby Elf and Santa are ever watchful, they each woke this morning to find an elf beside them!

Baby Elf lying on a pillow – the hat was near by so we guess she got too hot and threw it off!

Tinkles was sitting in the corner of the bed …

* Lyrics are of course from Santa Claus is coming to town, originally by John Coots and Haven Gillespie and published in 1934. Interestingly, it was first played on a radio show by Eddie Cantor but he added additional verses encouraging people to be kind to each other!

 

This Christmas – towards zero

Walking along the river in the city yesterday, the kids and I came across a pop up activity titled This Christmas.

Run by the TAC as part of their towards zero campaigns, the pop up had rainbow ribbons to attach to rings.

The idea is that you select up to three ribbons with messages that resonate with you. Each message is a positive action that can help us all be safer n the roads, such as “I will not rush to Christmas lunch so I arrive safely”, “I will thank the designated driver” and “I will stay calm behind the wheel”.

The stall was well attended while we were there, which is great, and hopefully it helps a few people think and thus make our roads safer this Christmas. My kids loved it – between the colourful ribbons, finding the different messages, and checking out the colouring  in pictures of Melbourne, there was a lot to see in a small space.

 

 

 

Tinkles toasting marshmallows

Resting against the Lego advent calendars, we found Tinkles and the Tooth Elf toasting marshmallows over a Christmas candle this morning.

Christmas and Tooth Elves toasting marshmallow on a Christmas candle

Baby Elf was sitting in Tinkles’ lap, presumably waiting for her taste, while Hermoine and Harry look quite interested in what’s happening!

Christmas and Tooth Elves toasting marshmallow on a Christmas candle

Building an igloo for Baby Elf

“I found Tinkles because there was a marshmallow on the floor”

That proclamation form my daughter this morning was surprising to say the least!

SO it turns out that there was a marshmallow on the floor in front of the freezer which lead her to open the freezer and find Tinkles – I suspect Tinkles had left the marshmallow there as  ‘bread crumb’ to help herself be found.

Inside the freezer, Tinkles had been busy building an igloo from marshmallows around Baby Elf!

Christmas elf making a marshmallow igloo in the freezer

Personally, I’d be a bit cold sitting in the freezer, but both elves seemed happy enough – guess they’re used to the cold from the North Pole! And this time, Tinkles wasn’t trusting a cold climate activity anywhere outside an icy environment!

Christmas elf making a marshmallow igloo in the freezer

Children’s Christmas doors

Decorating a door adds to Christmas cheer and laughs!

I love this idea currently underway at my children’s school. Each class is decorating the outside door of their class, making the entire school look festive and happy whilst also expressing the personalities of the students themselves.

I don’t know the details, but apparently the school is doing it as a competition between classes (and resulting in some kids taking it a bit too seriously rather than in the spirit of Christmas). And then it turns out that they aren’t allowed to stick anything on the glass doors in the new classrooms so some classes decorated a large board instead!

It could be done without the competitive elements – imagine every house in your street decorating their door, or each bedroom in your house, or each office at your work, and so on! I think if I run a Christmas door activity though, I will make a home made rule like our school has so everyone has to get creative rather than buy the fanciest decoration available, and that everyone ‘inside that door’ has to contribute so it is a team effort.

While I didn’t manage to get photos of very room, I wanted to share those doors I did capture…

Foundation and Year 1 doors…

I love this ‘door’ – it is a lot of fun and I bet the kids love being elves!

More subtle than other doors, this one includes a bit of maths with all those hexagons!

Year 4 doors…

A Christmas tree in production…

Completed Christmas tree hanging on glass (so lots of reflections…)

Santa door decoration made by year 4 students

Years 5 and 6 doors …

The older students created a scene rather than each student sticking to a class image. I do think this scene is cute though!

 

Want a hit of cricket?

Cricket may well be a summer sport, but Tinkles apparently knows and enjoys the game – maybe they just play indoors at the North Pole! And let’s face it, Christmas in Australia does include cricket between backyard and beach matches and the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, so why shouldn’t our Christmas elves join in?!

Christmas elf batting at cricket

Tinkles and Tooth Elf are batting, and the babies are bowling and wicket keeping! Good to see them all playing active games today.

Both my younger children are in cricket teams this summer so they were quite pleased to find Tinkles, Tooth Elf and some others having a hit in front of the windows in the family room.

Christmas elf batting at cricket

Tinkles looks happy to bat, and I love the concentration from the Christmas-dressed baby as she wicket keeps!

 

Invitation to make gingerbread

Even without a crystal ball, I think I can see some cooking in my future today!

It was easy to find Tinkles this morning as she was in the middle of the kitchen bench, on a chopping board and a request to make some gingerbread people. She’d even managed to get out some Santa and person biscuit cutters for us!

Tinkles colouring in Santa!

Tinkles is artistic! Or at least she is careful and colours between the lines nicely 🙂

Christmas elf colouring in a Love Santa picture

Tinkles was discovered this morning colouring in a Love Santa colouring sheets! She has done some beautiful shading so far, with just part of the S in Santa to go before finishing off Santa’s face.

Probably just as well Baby Elf is in her high chair rather than in reach of those pens…

I wonder if Tinkles was colouring in to relax and be mindful or if she was a bit tired and just happy to sit quietly after her trip with Australia Post yesterday.

 

Love Santa offers Christmas activities and crafts to download for free

 

Whose bum? at Christmas ~ Christmas book review

Whose bum? at Christmas Cover of whose bum at Christmas

by Heath McKenzie
Illustrated by Ada Grey
Lake Press, Melbourne, 2019

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 14 page board book with lift the flaps

Doing some Christmas shopping recently and I came across this cheeky little book which we’re giving to our young nephew. It was first published this August so it is quite a new Christmas book.

The story

It’s a board book so not much of a story other than trying to predict who owns the bum sticking out from the flap.

My review

My nine year old read this to her brother and I last night, and we all laughed!

Sure the kids found it a little easy to guess whose bum it was on most pages, other than the names (I mean it is a bit hard to know which reindeer is which from their bum and they expected the snowman was actually Frosty).

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing an elf

I like that each bum is sticking out from something different, be it a fridge, a gift or a Christmas pudding! And the kids just kept giggling at the bums, of course!

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing a reindeer

The pages are thick and sturdy so can cope with little fingers turning and opening the flaps, but the flaps themselves are obviously not as thick as a full board book so make a judgement on the child’s ability to treat books gently, or not!

 

Would I recommend it? It’s a bit cheeky, but that’s what makes it fun! SO yes I recommend it for little people, but perhaps put it away for visitors without a sense of humour!

A different way to arrive!

This morning, the kids looked unsuccessfully for Tinkles but finally found a note near Baby Elf in her cradle beside the Christmas tree…

Baby elf in cradle beside a Christmas tree with a note from Tinkles

The note told the children that if all went well, Tinkles may be somewhere unusual this morning as she was trying a different mode of travel today.

Tinkles' note "I'm heading off to teh North Pole now. I'm trying a different way to get back in the morning (I hope it works!) so I may be somewhere unexpected when you get up..."

The note from Tinkles was “I’m heading off to the North Pole now. I’m trying a different way to get back in the morning (I hope it works!) so I may be somewhere unexpected when you get up…”

Puzzled, the kids ate their breakfast and wondered where Tinkles could possibly be.  They realised Tinkles didn’t come via the chimney or Christmas tree, and suddenly thought more mundane and raced each other the the letterbox!

CHristmas elf hanging out of a letterbox

Poor Tinkles appeared to have got stuck in the flap of the letterbox, or maybe she didn’t like the idea of falling down into the letterbox?

 

Elves in a sleigh!

I’m not sure if the elves travelled back to the North Pole last night in a sleigh pulled by a boomer, but it is certainly where we found Tinkles and Baby Elf this morning!

Christmas elf and baby elf is Santa;s sleigh pulled by a boomer

The boomer usually sits on our mantlepiece but we hadn’t seen the sleigh before today! I think the sleigh can stay with the boomer up there now though…

 

If an elf visits your house, where did you find him or her this morning?

Making Christmas green…

I am feeling inspired by Santa’s supermarket recycling trip, so I have been thinking of ways we can all be a bit greener this Christmas…

Have you made any changes to your Christmas so this year is more environmentally friendly? Have some of your relatives or guests resisted any changes towards a greener Christmas?

Giving more sustainable options…

  1. Choose the item with least packaging whenever possible
  2. Be more creative with wrapping gifts, like using
    1. using kids’ artwork
    2. reusing wrapping paper from last year – and if you tie gifts with ribbons instead of using sticky tape, reuse of paper is even easier!
    3. use gift bags as more people are likely to reuse them
    4. cloth bags that can then be reused as shopping or storage bags
    5. practical items, for example tea-towels, tablecloths, and even hankies can wrap around gifts. This works especially well when the wrapping can be part of the gift, like a tea towel around a kitchen item or a sarong around some beach items.
    6. boxes (remember even Santa collects old boxes!) without or with any decorations on them.
  3. Save Christmas cards you receive, cut off the back half where someone has written and use the front half as a card or gift tag
  4. Avoid gifts that people won’t appreciate or use as that is just a waste of resources and encourages a materialistic attitude. Much better to give something you know they want or something very practical, or even better, for someone ‘with everything’, why not think about giving an activity or even a charity gift (like Oxfam gifts to struggling farmers and girls unable to go to school)?
  5. When choosing wrapping paper and cards, look for more eco-friendly options like being made from recycled or sustainably grown paper and without foil and glitter. If you scrunch a piece of wrapping paper and it stay scrunched, that generally means it can be recycled – if it unfolds itself, it is likely to contain non-recyclable elements.
  6. Shop locally as much as possible to reduce the transport miles of your Christmas tree, decorations, gifts and so forth
  7. Give sustainable lifestyle gifts like reusable produce bags, beeswax wraps, keeper cups, metal clothes pegs, shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes – these may be things people will try if given one but be too nervous to buy one for themselves

Bags, fabric and tins are simple ways to reduce wrapping paper waste this Christmas

Decorating sustainably

  1. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it gets chopped up afterwards and used as mulch rather than thrown into a tip or landfill. {Note if you do have a real tree, make sure you add water to it everyday to reduce the risk of fire}
    Even better, there are a couple of places that rent out real Christmas trees! You hire the tree for December, care for it and then they collect it and replant it – how’s that for eco-friendly! I haven’t one of these near me but it is a lovely idea.
    At one time, I did have a Christmas tree in a pot that came inside each summer to be decorated, but it got too big! Another year part of a gum tree fell in our yar so we used the fallen branch as our Christmas tree – I loved the Aussie feel that year!
  2. Reuse your decorations each year – if you prefer a different theme or style each year, consider having two or three sets and rotating them or swapping sets with a couple of friends. If you really don’t want to use the decorations again or just have too many, make sure you give them to someone who will – try op shops, kinders, school, community houses, food kitchens and homeless shelters.
  3. Choose the ‘better’ decoration when selecting new ornaments – for example, select metal and glass ornaments over plastic ones, look for recycled materials, and choose ones that will last (both in terms of quality and style)
  4. If making some decorations yourself, try using existing materials instead of buying new – there are some amazing creations to be made out of old magazines and newspaper for instance, and paper chains made out of junk mail or old Christmas wrappings is pretty and cheap!
  5. Instead of plastic centrepieces and bits of glitter, why not use some real greenery? Some gum leaves add a muted colour and lovely smell, and you can add in some rosemary, lavender or citrus leaves so contrast, too. For variety, you can even use potted plants (herbs plants are a great choice for scent and size) amongst the leaves, or instead of a horizontal display. The bonus is that any herbs can be picked from the centrepiece to be used as seasonings, too!

Recycled materials can make beautiful decorations to add Christmas cheer without harming our planet

General Christmas actions to help the environment

  1. Take our own shopping bags when we go to the shops – and definitely refuse to accept any plastic bags from the shops
  2. Plan to use any left overs so there is less food waste. In my family, we have the roasts for lunch and then left over meat and salad for dinner which reduces waste but also takes a lot less work for everyone!
  3. Avoid disposable things like paper plates, paper serviettes and plastic cutlery – if everyone pitches in, washing up the dishes isn’t too hard to manage
  4. Avoid bonbons with plastic nonsense inside – you can get or make bonbons without plastic items or with better quality items instead of just throwing out lots of little gimmicks. Better yet, get some reusable bon bons and really reduce the waste this Christmas
  5. Only leave out healthy snacks for the reindeer and boomers – glitter is awful for the environment and the animals so avoid that, but if you leave out carrots and grass or oats any left behind by the animals can be composted or thrown in the garden
  6. Buy food from eco-friendly places wherever possible – farmers markets are a great source of veggies for example

 

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