christmas

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

An elf popping out of a kitchen drawer!

Peaking out of the kitchen drawers this morning – I think Tinkles knows finding her was pretty tough twice this week (in the laundry and with the elephant tea set) so she made it easy today!

Not sure how exciting it would have been inside a drawer of plates and bowls though, not if Santa needs reports about our kitchen drawers 🙂

Tinkles the Elf peaking out of a white kitchen drawer

Tinkles the Elf finds some elephants

This must be the week of hiding well as it again took us a while to find Tinkles the Elf today, although we did manage it before leaving for school unlike when she hid in the washing machine!

In the lounge room there is a glass fronted cabinet with glass shelves. It was on one of those shelves, interacting with an elephant tea set, that we found Tinkles. Luckily there is little tinsel around that cabinet so it was easier to spot her red and green outfit!

Christmas elf sitting beside some cute ceramic elephants

Tinkles the Elf hides in the laundry

Tinkles was well hidden today – I ended up finding her long after the kids had gone to school as she was sitting in the door of the washing machine! Not sure if she thinks she needs a clean or she just thought it was a funny spot to hide – lucky I spotted her before I put on a load of washing as it may have been a bit dangerous for an elf…

Tinkles having a tinkle on the piano!

Maybe she was inspired by last night’s Lego piano from the Lego Friends advent calendar, but we found Tinkles sitting on the piano this morning. Just as well it is electric and unplugged or we may have been woken during the night with her tinkling with the keys!

I wonder if we should get some Christmas sheet music for Tinkles (or my daughter anyway!) so we can have some live carols and Christmas songs....

Catching the Christmas train!


Last weekend, we saw Santa on the Christmas train on the Mornington Railway.

The Mornington Railway is run by volunteers and runs a number of Santa trains in December so it seemed like a fun activity.

It was the first time the kids had been in a train with compartments (like they do in Harry Potter!), so they loved that and were very excited at the idea of Santa coming into our compartment and speaking with just us.

Unfortunately, he didn’t actually spend much time in the compartment with us – just gave the kids a candy cane each – but at least he was there and spoke to them.
Santa on Mornington Rail train

We caught the train from Moorooduc to Mornington and back. As part of the Christmas experience, a Christmas tree was at the station with boxes of baubles that children were welcome to hang on the tree. It was blank when we first saw it but was soon covered with baubles!

child decorated Christmas tree on the train station

The kids loved watching the train from the footbridge (27.1m long, 6.5m high, originally built in 1900 and located in North Fitzroy), looking at the old station items and posting letters to Santa. The kids were interested in seeing ‘history trains’ and noted the difference (other than size!) between this train and the Lego bullet train the Lego City advent calendars produced a few days earlier.

A jumping castle beside the station was also a big hit – given we had it to ourselves, it was pretty special!

We followed the trip up with a picnic in a nearby train-themed playground, so had a lovely day.

Have you caught the Mornington train before?

TV time for Tinkles the Elf last night…


Even Tinkles seems to say Thank Goodness Its Friday as she sits on the couch to relax with some TV – wonder if she sneaked in some Christmas movies while we were asleep?

Christmas elf relaxing on couch with a remote control

Tinkles the elf finds our Christmas books


It took a while to find Tinkles this morning – yet she was in an obvious place as we found her sitting on some of our Christmas books!

Tinkles teh elf sitting on some Christmas books

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