christmas

Aussie Christmas Scrabble!

Tinkles was playing scrabble this morning!

So yesterday, my son’s Christmas present from Sunday was put to use by Tinkles  and Ginger, and today my daughter’s present was in use – cheeky elves must think the presents were for them!

Aussie Scrabble is just like normal scrabble in that you have seven tiles to place as words on the board, but there are some extra cards to add an Aussie flavour – that’s as specific as I can explain as we haven’t yet played a game of it., and Tinkles hasn’t told me any additional details or rules!

Christmas elf and Lego dragon playing Aussie Scrabble

Tinkles plating Aussie Scrabble with the Lego Dragon she rode last year!

A closer look at the board, showed us some words appropriate for Christmas elves and for today, being Christmas Eve! If you can’t read them, they have made ‘Lovesanta’, ‘Tinkles’, ‘reindeer’, ‘elf’ and ‘Christmas’.

Lego Dragon and Christmas elf made Christmas words on the scrabble board

As long as Dragon knows how to spell Ginger, he can get a decent score on his next go in the game!

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!

 

Tinkles has a baby elf!

We have a baby elf in the house!

Baby Christmas elf in a cradle with a bottle and dummy

The children looked around the house for Tinkles this morning, then found her in front of her door. Only, this time Tinkles was not alone! Inside a cradle beside the Christmas tree, we spotted a baby elf!

She is very cute and even has a milk bottle and dummy in the cradle with her 🙂

My daughter absolutely loves babies so she is beside herself with excitement to find there is now a baby elf in our house (I have to clarify that it is a baby elf as we already have a number of her babies living with us!) She is also happy to find the baby elf on the day she transitions to a new school – I suspect Tinkles chose today to give her a confidence boost so thank you Tinkles 🙂

 

Pin the carrot…

Tinkles had found a new friend and they like playing together!

This morning we found a chopping board leaning against the couch to enable Tinkles and her new friend, Tooth Elf (this elf lives with us all the time and holds onto any fallen out teeth until the tooth fairy collects them, usually leaving a financial token in the elf’s pouch in appreciation!) to play pin the carrot nose on the snowman!

Christmas elf and tooth elf playing pin the nose on the snowman

I am feeling a bit inspired to set up some sort of pin the … games for this afternoon. We have done many variants of this game to suit birthday party themes, etc, and we’ve even done a snowman before (it was Olaf for a Frozen party). I think I will need a slightly bigger blindfold for the kids though – the ribbon suits Tinkles but the kids’ heads a little bigger!

Christmas elf playing pin the nose on the snowman

What would you call Tinkles’ game though – pin the carrot on the snowman or pin the nose on the snowman?

Building a Lego train set

You may have picked up that we are a Lego family – my son in particular loves Lego, but two of his sisters have also been keen Lego builders, and as a family we’ve enjoyed a number of Lego advent calendars. And now it turn out that our elf Tinkles is also happy to build Lego!

To their surprise, the kids found Tinkles this afternoon in the lounge room, having set herself up nicely with a red cloth (easier to spot Lego pieces there than on the carpet!) and an unopened Lego Christmas train set.

Tinkles the elf with a Lego train set box

My son is bursting to open the box himself and make it, but Tinkles can’t be touched of course so I have told him we must wait and see what Tinkles has in store for us.

Welcome back Tinkles!

Christmas must be coming as we woke this morning to find Tinkles the elf has returned to our home!

It was very exciting to find that Tinkles has her own little elf door… my nine year old was heard to say “If only Tinkles wasn’t leaning there, I’d have so opened that door by now!”

Tinkles the Christmas Elf sitting beside her door and Christmas tree!

It was very exciting to find Tinkles with her own door and Christmas tree – the kids loved the welcome mat, too! And they took turns reading the letter out loud to us all.

Tinkles sitting beside a doormat printed with 'Santa stop here!'

Close up to see the door mat in front of Tinkles’ Christmas door

We noted that the letterhead was a little different this year, and then spotted the PS from Santa “PS Tinkles was cheeky and added her photo above – did you notice?”

Letterhead of Snata and elves - with Tinkles face pasted on top!

 

Christmas at Grandad’s Farm ~ Christmas book review

Cover of Christmas at Grandad's farm

Christmas at Grandad’s farm

by Claire Saxby
Illustrated by Janine Dawson
Five Mile Press, Scoresby, 2013

Age group: early primary school

Format: 32 page hardcover

This book I spotted in an op shop during the year and have finally got around to reading and reviewing it! I recognised Saxby’s name from the ‘meet…’ series about famous and worth Australians.

The story

The children arrive at Grandad’s farm on Christmas Eve in preparation for the full family celebration on Christmas Day.

My review

The story starts with (and repeats occasionally as a chorus) “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way” and is written in stanzas, so I found it impossible not to sing this book – I bet you have already sung some of it yourself having reading this sentence!

I loved the traditional Australian references – swimming in the creek, cramping into Grandad’s old ute, playing cricket on Christmas Day, scoffing lunch, and everyone collapsing in a stupor on the couch afterwards!

Inside pages of Christmas at Grandad's farm

As I’ve written before, it is important for children to relate to others through books and movies etc so finding a story and song that is about sunshine and BBQs rather than snow and sleds is great for those of us in the southern hemisphere! Let’s face it, it may be good for kids but I enjoy finding things that I can relate to sometimes too!

The illustrations are detailed so there is some fun finding interesting images (eg the old tyre swing).

We got this without the CD but did not miss it, especially as the Jingle Bells tune is so well known. However, hearing the entire song sung by Rusty Berther may be a fun element to add to the book – or any time you are listening to  Christmas music of course!

Would I recommend it?’ This is a lovely book, fun and fair dinkum, and although it was new to me, it felt familiar and ‘right – rhyming and fitting the Jingle Bells tune along with the Australian references, it feels like the Christmases I grew up with.

Inside pages of Christmas at Grandad's farm

A Christmas smile

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.” – Steve Maraboli

Boy in Christmas elf costume

Making someone smile makes you feel good too

“A smile costs nothing but gives much.It enriches those who receive
without making poorer those who give.
It takes by a moment,
but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.”
Unknown poet

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward

Giving smiles

I love the philosophy of If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. It truly is a simple ting to give away but can have a huge impact on others – I know there are times when a smile from a stranger as I go for a walk has made me feel great so I try to give smiles to ‘pay it forward’.

The happier human has collected some quotes about smiles and reminds us of some smiling benefits (like lower blood pressure, strengthen relationships and reduce stress. Smiling is good!

For me, Christmas brings smiles. Not just for the fun and beauty of Christmas trees, Christmas lights and decorations, not even for the smiles on faces as people open lovely gifts, but for the spirit that often brings out the warmth and generosity of people around Christmas.

Busy people in crowded shops sometimes forget to smile, but I think this is the time we need to focus on sharing smiles and helping ease another’s day.

And maybe if the day is just too tough for you to manage a good deed Santa would be proud of, perhaps sharing a smile or two is manageable. Or maybe just getting yourself to smile will make your day a bit brighter.

This week’s smile

I have just come across a blog that has a weekly smile section. Basically, each week, people share something that has made them smile. The resulting blog post is therefore positive and encouraging, and hopefully brings more smiles. It started form a desire to find more kind, compassionate, loving and beautiful things and behaviours, which is something I admire and can fully support.The weekly smile icon

So I’d love to share smile inspiring things here – what has made you smile recently? What have you done to make others smile this week? Please let us know in the comments below, or share your Christmas story directly onto the Love Santa blog.

As for me, a few things have made me smile this week – seeing my daughter calmly prepare for exams, catching up with an old friend, working on some Christmas blog posts, and ticking off some overdue tasks. But the biggest smile this week has been from pride of watching my nine year old work on a project to help others – she has made over 30 get well cards for sick children and is contacting a local hospital to deliver the cards, some money she has fund raised and to offer the services of herself and her friends for an afternoon at the hospital.

Wishing you many smiles today and always!

Lego and Christmas

Last week I saw a 2018 Lego set of a winter village fire station at Christmas, and it got me thinking of how Lego is very much a part of many Christmases.

collage of images of Lego village fire station at Christmas

Not a key part of Brickman Cities, but a Christmas set couldn’t be missed!

Sometimes, it is used for major city displays, like the massive Christmas tree in Melbourne for Christmas 2015, Santa in his sleigh in Cardiff in 2018, the Christmas train in Cardiff this year, Brickman’s Christmas tree in Sydney in 2014 and the massive Santa in New York.

Lego Chirstmas display in Melbourne, 2015

The Lego tree in Fed Square 2015 was amazing – and very Australian!

And some people have giant Lego displays, themselves – like the 8 foot Lego advent calendar!

Lego itself produces Christmas themed Lego sets. I assume these are mostly for people keen on Christmas and Christmas displays, but lots of kids would also enjoy finding Christmas Lego under the tree on Christmas morning!

collage of Lego Christmas set images

From a Christmas village to Santa and trains, Lego has a range of Christmas kits…

Many Christmas trees around the world have Lego decorations on them, too. Whether made from generic bits of Lego, done through last year’s advent calendar or buy a specific Lego kit for an ornament.

And of course, there are the Lego advent calendars, for City, Friends, Star Wars and Harry Potter, which have given many kids pleasure and excitement throughout December.

So what’s the connection between Lego and Christmas?

We could be a little cynical and just say a corporation is commercially savvy and being part of a huge retail season, although city displays are not generally managed by Lego themselves. But maybe it’s developed over time from all those Lego boxes and sets being opened as Christmas gifts since Lego was started in 1932…

A little Christmas in space!

Have you been to a space museum or centre?

I’ve been to one near Canberra and it was interesting. As expected, there was information about space exploration and how planets, stars and galaxies work. There wasn’t much connection to Christmas though!

However, a good friend is currently in the USA and she visited the Kennedy Space Centre on Merritt Island in Florida. And she found the unexpected – Christmas display in a space centre! Ok, it was mostly Christmas ornaments (which make nice souvenirs!) in the gift shop, and being close to Disney World the Mickey Mouse theme makes sense, but here are the photos she shared with us.

Display of Christmas ornaments at Kennedy Space Centre

 

 

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

Tinkles the Elf tries riding a bike

Good plan to get some more exercise Tinkles, but I think this bike is a little too big for you! But it has inspired us to go for a bike ride today so thanks Tinkles.

Tinkles the elf sitting on a full size bike

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