australia

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.

Santa is coming to Australia – Christmas book review

Santa is coming to Australia

by Steve Smallman
illustrated by Robert Dunn
AliCat, South Melbourne, 2012

Age group: early to mid primary school

Santa in Australia – you gotta love that 🙂Santa is coming to Australia

The story

The book starts with Santa and a little old elf preparing the sleigh and reindeer for his trip Down Under. It then covers the flight, including getting lost in cloud, and delivery of the gifts.

My review

Santa is nice and cheery, a young reindeer is bright and finds the way to Perth’s Bell Tower, and Santa’s magic is throughout the book. So it was a fun and happy read.

Interestingly, Perth got the most mentions but Santa then went onto the other major cities (though one does wonder why he went to Alice Springs, then the east coast before going to Darwin!). One spread includes many recognisable structures, although predominantly Sydney and Melbourne, and the last page sees Santa flying home over Sydney rather than Darwin…Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

As a positive, the Santa-nav uses kilometres and there is no snow in Australia, Santa refers to little Aussies and ‘crossed the Equator and headed down under’. I was less happy with children leaving out ‘cookies and milk’ and a reindeer snack was left inside rather than out on the grass as I’ve always known to do.

Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

There are other versions available, such as Santa is coming to Western Australia, Santa is coming to the beach, various parts of the UK and USA, and even Santa is coming to my house.

Astute children may ask why Santa went straight home after Darwin rather than delivering gifts to children in other countries (and my seven year old did notice!), but that didn’t detract from the overall story.

As always, it’s nice to see a book centred around places you know, so Aussie kids are bound to enjoy this book. And children elsewhere may well enjoy the story in its own right and get some interest out of seeing some views of down under!
Sample page from 'Santa is Coming to Australia'

A genuine endorsement for real letters

Unfortunately, there are some sad people who spam others for enjoyment or to make money in unscrupulous ways.

Genuine vs spam Santa letters

baby girl holding a red envelope

Who could prevent a baby or child this delight?

What’s sadder is that there are even people who would use children’s love of Santa and the magic of Christmas, and the love of adults for those children, to try getting money out of others.

We were very pleased to find that PC mag Australia wrote about this problem and gave two reputable options for Santa letters rather than the scammers – Australia Post (for a non personalised letter) and Love Santa (for personalised letters with additional touches).

Staying safe

As well as sharing our excitement at getting such an unexpected mention, this article inspired me to give some tips on avoiding spam…

  • if you’re unsure, do NOT click on any links in emails. Type out the URL yourself so you go to a real site (there are emails that look right but have links that will take you somewhere unexpected)
  • don’t just rely on emails – check their website or Google them for reviews and comments. Personally, I don’t trust anyone who advertises by emailing strangers!
  • if in doubt, only make payments through trusted sites, such as paypal or a direct deposit from your banking facility. And NEVER give credit card details via email.
  • look at the email address – does it come from a domain that seems valid (eg a relevant business name)? does the name in the email match the email address?
  • read the website – does it feel genuine (this comes through even more in a blog and articles which are less sales-orientated), do the photos look like real people, are there contact details, and so forth.

Here’s to getting rid of spammers!

It’s the big day!

Santa has visited Australia, said good-bye to the Boomers and headed off with the reindeer, so it’s time for us to say…

MERRY CHRISTMAS AUSTRALIA!!!!!!

 

Have a fantastic day full of love and laughter,

Tash and all of Santa’s Elves

Merry Christmas Australia!

It is now officially Christmas Day on the east coast, and if Santa hasn’t been to your house yet – he’s on his way!

I would like to wish you a very Merry and safe Christmas. Have a lovely day of laughter, love and merriment, enjoying the spririt of giving and joy that is Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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?

Christmas Lights in ACT

There is a lot of fun and delight to be had from Christmas lights, for the young and the young at heart! Some homes have lights in their tree, some have  just a few lights visible to the world, but there is a growing number of homes (and businesses) that make a display every Christmas for many people to enjoy.

Next year, when you are thinking about where to go for some Christmas magic, try some of the magnificent light displays across the Australian Capital Territory.

Sharing…

Share the light displays you know of – give an address or directions to find the displays so other people can enjoy those lights, too.

Rank the displays as follows:

4 Santas – spectacular displays that are an event in themselves

3 Santas – displays that are worth taking a detour to on your way home

2 Santas – displays that locals should know about for choosing the best route home

1 Santa – nice displays that perhaps aren’t worth travelling to, but are enjoyable just the same

Christmas Lights in NT

There is a lot of fun and delight to be had from Christmas lights, for the young and the young at heart! Some homes have lights in their tree, some have  just a few lights visible to the world, but there is a growing number of homes (and businesses) that make a display every Christmas for many people to enjoy.

Next year, when you are thinking about where to go for some Christmas magic, try some of the magnificent light displays across the Northern Territory.

Sharing…

Share the light displays you know of – give an address or directions to find the displays so other people can enjoy those lights, too.

Rank the displays as follows:

4 Santas – spectacular displays that are an event in themselves

3 Santas – displays that are worth taking a detour to on your way home

2 Santas – displays that locals should know about for choosing the best route home

1 Santa – nice displays that perhaps aren’t worth travelling to, but are enjoyable just the same

Christmas Lights in WA

There is a lot of fun and delight to be had from Christmas lights, for the young and the young at heart! Some homes have lights in their tree, some have  just a few lights visible to the world, but there is a growing number of homes (and businesses) that make a display every Christmas for many people to enjoy.

Next year, when you are thinking about where to go for some Christmas magic, try some of the magnificent light displays across Western Australia.

Sharing…

Share the light displays you know of – give an address or directions to find the displays so other people can enjoy those lights, too.

Rank the displays as follows:

4 Santas – spectacular displays that are an event in themselves

3 Santas – displays that are worth taking a detour to on your way home

2 Santas – displays that locals should know about for choosing the best route home

1 Santa – nice displays that perhaps aren’t worth travelling to, but are enjoyable just the same

Christmas Lights in South Australia

There is a lot of fun and delight to be had from Christmas lights, for the young and the young at heart! Some homes have lights in their tree, some have  just a few lights visible to the world, but there is a growing number of homes (and businesses) that make a display every Christmas for many people to enjoy.

Next year, when you are thinking about where to go for some Christmas magic, try some of the magnificent light displays across South Australia.

Sharing…

Share the light displays you know of – give an address or directions to find the displays so other people can enjoy those lights, too.

Rank the displays as follows:

4 Santas – spectacular displays that are an event in themselves

3 Santas – displays that are worth taking a detour to on your way home

2 Santas – displays that locals should know about for choosing the best route home

1 Santa – nice displays that perhaps aren’t worth travelling to, but are enjoyable just the same

What is Boxing Day?

The 26th of December is known in many countries as Boxing Day, in particular, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.

Some say it originated as the day when Christmas was packed up – things put away, boxes thrown out, etc.

In England, it was tradition that on Boxing Day gifts were given to employees and the poor. The theory being that staff would work hard to give you a nice Christmas Day so on Boxing Day you thanked them with a gift.

It is a public holiday in Australia* so most of us don’t work unless we are in essential services or retail…

How do you celebrate (or not) Boxing Day? What does the term ‘Boxing Day’ mean to you?

* In South Australia, they have a Proclamation Day holiday instead of Boxing Day but it’s still the 26th of December.

Aussie Jingle Bells

This was sent to me by e-mail. I don’t know who wrote it.

Dashing through the bush,
in a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust,
esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It’s Summer time and I am in
my singlet, shorts and thongs

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine’s getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
he is welcome too.
All the family’s there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Come the afternoon,
Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce
are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes ’round to go,
we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through,
before the washing up.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

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