christmas eve

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…

We’re at the end of advent calendars…

So the big day is almost here, and Santa will be visiting lots of good girls and boys over the next few hours.

To help us finish off our countdown and build the anticipation of Christmas Day, our Lego calendars provided another two days of fun for us…

23 December

My son was delighted for find Santa’s sleigh behind flap 23 of the Lego Friends calendar (meaning the earlier one is now just a sled!)

Lego City Snata sleigh

Likewise, my daughter was excited to find a ‘one horse open sleigh‘ to attach to the horse from day 22.

Lego horse pulling a one horse open sleigh

Christmas Eve, day 24

And so we have reached the final flaps in our advent calendars – is the excitement at fever pitch in your family yet? There was speculation from my children – would it be Santa, or maybe a reindeer, some presents or Santa’s chair? But there was no doubt it would be something Christmas…

My daughter was very happy to find a Santa snowman – that is, a snowman with a red top and a Santa hat. So the Friends advent calendar had some disappointments early on but the rest was up to expectations and my daughter seems to have forgotten her sadness, which is good. It does have me wondering whether or not to bother next year, so I guess I will be looking at other options for 2018.

Lego snowman dressed as Santa

While I think it is just a sad anomaly, we found nothing behind the final flap of the 2017 City advent calendar 🙁 We can see it was meant to be Santa – and we searched the box and everywhere around where we have kept the calendar, but Santa was not to be found unfortunately.

Lego advent calendar Santa flap

It’s Christmas Eve! And the end of advent calendars!

Collage of 2016 lego Advent Calendars

Happy Christmas Eve!

Yes we’re on the last day of our advent calendars now, and there’s no doubt that Christmas is upon us! Hopefully you are organise and feel ready for the big day – I know Santa is all set and on his way Down Under!

So there is no surprise that the Lego City advent calendar flap opened to reveal Santa!

A bit of applause for Mrs Claus – Christmas book review

A bit of applause for Mrs Claus

by Susie Schick-Pierce, Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz, Muffin Drake-Policastro
illustrated by Wendy Wallin-Malinow
Naperville, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2012.

Age group: 3-5 year olds, plus earlier readers

A Bit of Applause for Mrs ClausThere are many, many books and stories about Santa, but not so many about Mrs Claus so this seemed like a different angle worth looking into.

The story

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa is sick so Mrs Claus has to take over so the children don’t miss out on Christmas.

My review

Many parents will understand how Mrs Claus feels with the number of jobs still to be done on Christmas Eve as she has a very busy night. She has to wrap gifts, cook snacks, harness up the reindeer and finish decorating all the trees. Mrs Claus even has to write a pile of letters to children to on behalf of Santa!

[Spoiler alert!] While the story focuses on Mrs Claus, the story doesn’t damage anyone’s expectations or hopes as Santa gets better in time to do the Christmas Eve run.Sample page from 'A bit of applause for Mrs Claus'

Names of the six white boomers

So most Aussies know that it is too hot in Australia for the reindeer (they are used to the snowy North Pole after all!) so six white boomers help Santa get around Down Under on Christmas Eve.

Many people are interested in the reindeer names, but did you know that the boomers also have individual names?

Six boomers pulling Sata's sleigh

The actual six white boomers song does not include the names, unlike the original Night before Christmas story, but they are included on the album by Rolf Harris when he produced the song in the 1960s.

So, the boomers who help Santa are…

  • Jackaroo
  • Curly
  • Bluey
  • Two-Up
  • Desert-Head
  • Snow

If you are not an Aussie, many of those names may seem a bit strange or foreign, but they seem fairly normal to me!

A mother’s love at Christmas

Six years ago, my mom gave me the best Christmas surprise in my life.

I hadn’t seen my aunt and cousin for a good couple of years because they were living in another country and at this time of the year, I especially missed them as we used to visit a Chinese restaurant together at Christmas Eve.

That night, my mom drove me to the Chinese restaurant without any prior notice and I was genuinely shocked. I asked her why we were having dinner in that restaurant, out of many others on this special occasion, but she just shrugged her shoulders and replied that she missed the food so I dropped the question and didn’t suspect anything. When we arrived there, she led me to a reserved table and my jaw dropped when I saw two people already seating at the table. It’s my aunt and cousin!

I was so happy that I almost squealed.

Family celebrating Christmas together with a meal and bon bons

Sharing a meal with family is a very special Christmas tradition

I gave them a tight hug and there were tears prickled in the corner of my eyes. We talked and I realized that my mom had been planning this a month ago, arranging flight tickets and chatting with my aunt secretly on the phone at night to make sure everything is undercover and well. I was so thankful of my mom because it was the best Christmas surprise ever. My aunt and cousin stayed for two weeks and we had a really good time.

This has to be one of the most heart-warming Christmas memories that I have had in all these years because what my mom did is filled with love and care. She is the perfect manifestation of the spirit of Christmas, that is, to show affection and care to the people you love.

Love Santa amuses children

Activites from Love Santa to entertain kidsIn the lead up to Christmas, young children are very excited and often need more activities, attention and distraction – while parents needs kids busy so they can get things done!

Here are a few activities (additional to those in Santa’s letters) that may entertain your kids while they wait for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve:

 Santa’s face colouring in page

 Six white boomers colouring in page

 a printable colouring-in book about Santa train (for early readers – they’ll get skills from it)

 a pop up Christmas tree card or mantlepiece decoration

 play games and see what’s happening with Santa’s preparations to fly Downunder

 cook some yummy treats for the family – just to check they’re ok to leave out for Santa to snack on!

 go and see some Christmas lights or Myer (and other) store windows

 try some new Christmas craft ideas

 tell some Christmas and Santa jokes and fun stories

 set them up on the computer and play some Santa games

 write letters to Santa – even if they’ve sent a list, let them write a friendly letter to Santa for fun (and good manners!)

 teach them some Christmas tongue twisters

 listen to the story of Kris the Moose (although disappointing that the Boomers are ignored 🙁 )

 together, read Santa’s letter to the world (it’s about Santa and fun but also has educational and making-them-think elements)

 

If you have some other good ideas, please share them here as we all need help and creativity for our kids at Christmas!

Reindeer treats

For something a bit different, over the weekend I got my kids to cook some biscuits that reindeer and boomers will like – we will make them again on Christmas Eve but we HAD to test them first of course!

Make your favourite biscuit dough

roll out the dough then cut into carrot shapes (I found a carrot cutter in a local homewares store but you could do it by hand…)

put carrots onto greased trays and into the fridge

after about 20 minutes, put tray in oven to cook (15 minutes at 180 is usually enough but check your recipe)

cool then remove from tray

make some green icing and cover the carrot tops

make some orange icing and put into an icing pipe (or a ziplock bag and cut the corner off)

zigzag the orange icing over the carrots

let the icing set then store in an airtight container (if they last that long – my kids have never eaten carrots so willingly!!!)

 

For icing I mixed 1/2 cup icing sugar with 2 teaspoons of water and 2 – 3 drops of food colour. Add a little more water if needed but make sure it is thick rather than runny.

Through the eyes of children

When I was little my sisters and I would LOVE Christmas Eve. My step-father and his family were from Europe and so we celebrated the festive season on Christmas Eve at either my grandparent’s home or my Aunt’s home. Either way, it was special.

Grandpa would have lovingly put up the Christmas tree weeks before – a Christmas tree that stretched up to the ceiling and spread out across the room. We would feast on a range of Australian and European foods, including some specialities that Grandma would only make at this time of year, and there were never enough of those! But there was always MORE THAN ENOUGH food to feed us well for a week and then some!

After dinner we would open presents… piles and piles of gifts, carefully wrapped and decorated. But the present-opening wasn’t a frenzied free for all. We would hand out the gifts one at a time – that was always done by the kids – and then everyone would watch as the recipient opened their present, then we could hand out another.

The night continued with a myriad of Christmas music, dancing and performances by my sisters, cousin and myself, and perhaps some Christmas movies thrown in too.  And there were always on-going discussions throughout the night as to who was going to Midnight Mass and who was staying home. Grandma always chose Mass and at least one other adult would have to accompany her.

Somewhere between 1am and 2am we would be fighting to keep our eyes open and would eventually fall asleep in some corner of the loungeroom (or on an adult lap), only to be carried, still sleeping, to the car and then into bed (still fully dressed) when we arrived back home at around 3-4am.

We still celebrate on Christmas Eve but now that I’m grown up the tree doesn’t seem quite so big. And being allowed to stay up practically all night for one night of the year isn’t as big a deal as it was back then, yet the magic is still there. Instead, the magic now comes from watching the excitement in the eyes of the current generation of littlies – my son, nieces and nephew. As I watch their sparkling faces I fully understand their awe at the size of the Christmas tree and their excitement at being able to stay up waaaaay past bedtime.

Merry Christmas to all…

Falling from bed

Christmas dreams in bedWhen I was about 6, I feel out of bed on Christmas Eve taking the mattress and blankets with me! Santa arrived to deliver presents and helped me – he lifted the bedding and me back onto the bed! He did it so well I didn’t even stir.

I don’t remember how I knew this – I guess Mum and Dad told me the next morning after Santa told them – but I knew it was a fact and I loved Santa for it 🙂

Favourite Santa stories and memories

From the time we’re one or two years old until we’re about 10, we get a special visit from Santa on Christmas Eve. We also see Santa at special events, shops, parks and in books and movies.

Some families have special traditions for Santa – like leaving the same snack every year, hanging up stockings, finding presents under the tree or on the bed. We love hearing about these traditions, so pelase share them in this category of our blog.

Your special stories can go in here, too – those one off things that happened that hold a special place in your heart.

To add your story, please register on the site by clicking ‘register’ under the meta heading on the left, and then log in using your password. Go to the ‘write’ page and type in your story – simple! Stories are all moderated before they go live (just to ensure it stays family friendly) but your story should be live not long after you post it.

We hope that sharing these ideas will bring a smile to your face and give others’ inspriation for creating their own special memories and family traditions.

Love Santa’s Elf

Share your Christmas story
Instagram