reindeer

8 days to Christmas – day seventeen is here!

Just 8 days to go until Christmas – are you excited or worried about the size of your ‘things to do before Christmas’  list?

Ornament calendar

While this ornament looks fancy and is bigger than most other ones, it was still just two simple pieces interconnected to make our reindeer.

Images of the press out reindeer ornament

Lego City

I love the little chef with his tray of biscuits that my son found behind flap 17! He is inspiring me to go bake something, too…

Lego chef with a tray of biscuits

Lego Friends

Today’s ornament from the Friends advent calendar is colourful and cute – but is it a boot on wheels or an unusually shaped vehicle?

Lego boot on wheels

Christmas book

Tonight’s Christmas book is The naughtiest reindeer in the zoo which will be a nice story to read while those biscuits are cooking I think!

Day nine of advent calendars

The weekend is drawing to a close but the advent calendars are still going strong!

Ornament calendar

The calendar added an angel to our tree today, and revealed a picture of an angel atop a snow covered tree.

collage of angel press out decoration from advent calendar

Lego City

Getting into the Christmas theme today, the Lego City calendar produced a light stand with mistletoe. Putting the mistletoe together was a little different – the leaves sit in a small hole in the flowers’stalk, and the the stalk can be fitted into other Lego pieces as usual.

Lego work woman and snowman near lamp

Lego Friends

My daughter loved the rocking reindeer that she found behind flap number nine of the her Friends calendar tonight.

Lego rocking horse ornament

Christmas book

And tonight, we are going to be reading Bubbay – the first book we reviewed on Love Santa and very Australian. We can look at the pictures, think about the Dreamtime and talk about appreciating what we have.

Make Santa and his sleigh!

Last Christmas, my daughter’s grade 1 class made some Santa sleighs and reindeer in their art classes. I think they are very cute, and a clever idea on the part of their teacher.

COllage of kids craft work - Santa in his sleigh with a cotton reel reindeer

I love the Santa face and beard some of the children created! The reindeer are very cute but don’t really stand up very well unfortunately – you need something stronger than pipe cleaners really.

Two child-made Santa sleighs and reindeer, with Santa smiling

As this could also be a great craft activity for Christmas in July (and craft in the upcoming winter school holidays may be a good choice!), here is my break down of how to make Santa and his sleigh.

Making Santa and some reindeer is a fun kids' craft activity.

Materials

  • 1 cardboard box with lid (about 7cm long and 4cm wide)
  • sheet of plain paper (could be coloured or Christmas themed but that reduces decorating!)
  • scissors
  • textas, pencils, glitter, glue, etc for decorating
  • double sided tape (or glue)
  • two cotton reels (wooden preferably)
  • 1 brown pipe cleaner
  • 3 glittery red pipe cleaners
  • two googly eyes (you could draw them on if you wanted to)
  • gold elasticized thread or string
  • a golden bell (or a bead will do)
  • a couple of cotton wool balls
  • thick red paper

Instructions to make the sleigh

Cut out two sides for the sleigh, making them about as long as an A4 page.

One end needs to be about 15cm high and the other only 3 cm or so high. The shape in between is up to you – it can slope down quickly like a husky sled or stay high and then slope down like a sleigh (better for keeping Santa warm and his sack safe!)

CLose up images of Santa's sleigh made from paper and a cardboard box

Decorate the cut outs as you wish with colour and glitter.

Sit the box inside the lid.

Doing one side at a time, attach the sleigh sides onto the box with double sided tape (or glue). Leave 2 or 3 cm of the paper past the box.

 

Instructions to make SantaRed paper Santa face made by a child

Take the red paper – cut it into a circle of about 10 cm in diameter (ie 10 cm across the circle).

Cut a triangle wedge – about 1/5 of the circle.

Roll the piece of paper so that the two sides of the wedge overlap and can be taped or glued together.

Stick a cotton ball on the top of the cone and another near the base to be Santa’s beard.

Draw on some eyes and Santa is done!

 

Instructions to make the reindeer

Stick the googly eyes onto a cotton reel.

Fold the brown pipe cleaner in half and push the folded end into the top of the cotton reel with eyes. Depending in the size of the hole, you may want to add some glue to keep the pipe cleaner in place. Adjust the pipe cleaner to look like the reindeer’s antlers.

Cotton reel and pipe cleaner reindeer made by a child for Christmas

Push all three red pipe cleaners through the other cotton reel. Then, adjust them so that there are four ends are equal on each side of the cotton reel – these are the four legs and can be pulled into position.

One of the remaining ends can be shorter and bent upwards to form the tail. Take the remaining end of the pipe cleaner and put into the other cotton reel to join the two reels together, forming the reindeer’s neck.

Note you could make one pipe cleaner a different colour for the tail and neck – I just kept it simple!

Putting Santa with his sleigh

Stick one end of the gold thread onto the smaller end of the sleigh side with some sticky tape.

Thread the bell onto the thread and knot it in place about half way along the thread.

Loop the golden thread and bell around the red pipe cleaner neck.

Stick the other end of the thread onto the other side of the sleigh.

Sit Santa in the cardboard box.

Santa and his sleigh can now be put on a display as a hand crafted Christmas decoration or given as a gift.

Making Christmas masks – reindeer

A close up on the reindeer mask over a faceAs I posted last Friday, I recently made some foam Christmas masks with my daughter – one of Santa’s face and one of a reindeer face.

Neither took particularly long and did not require a lot of my input, but to keep the blog post a reasonable length I separated out the reindeer mask for today.

Whilst my daughter and I made these masks, it is my husband modelling the reindeer mask in the photo here, much to my daughter’s delight 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the Santa mask, the kit was complete and consisted of a piece of elastic and foam shapes.

Foam pieces from teh reindeer Christmas mask set

It was easy to make – some fine motor skills are needed to align the pieces correctly but otherwise it is not too challenging. And my daughter loved putting on the pink ear pieces!

COllage of images of a child making a foam reindeer mask

My daughter was intrigued when she found that the antlers were a little different to the other pieces of foam – instead of peeling off the back of the foam, the antlers just had small bits of adhesive attached. Obviously, this is so that you don’t end up with a large sticky surface above the mask!

Image fo reindeer antlers with adhesive and then being atatched to the mask

Again, this was a simple, fun activity to do and my six year old did most of it herself. My input was mostly some attention and tying the knots (like for Santa, I poked the elastic through from the front and tied it at the back of the mask).Back cover of the package the foam Christmas mask set was in

Now we just have to keep the masks in a nice condition so they can be word at a Christmas event or two later in the year! Are masks part of your usual Christmas celebrations and traditions?

 

 

 

* I purchased this set and receive no rewards (money or otherwise) for reviewing this kit – I have no contractual or business arrangements with Kmart.

Making Christmas masks

I recently had a short time with my daughter when we had nothing planned so we pulled out a Christmas craft set and enjoyed making some masks.

A packet for making two Christmas masks

The Christmas mask set (from Kmart although the packaging doesn’t show it)

The kit was complete  – most of the decorations were foam stickers so no glue was required and allowed us to make both masks quite quickly.

COntents of the Christmas mask set

We decided to make the Santa mask first – and I’ll do a separate blog post for the reindeer mask.

They are very simple to make – start with the biggest pieces, peel off the backing paper, align it on the mask and stick it down. Depending on the child’s fine motor skills, the aligning part may be challenging and need some assistance – while things not being perfect is fine for kids’ craft, any sticky bits that are not attached will remain sticky and be a magnet for dust and fluff!

Child's hands peeling the bakcing of Santa's hat to make a mask

Child sticking a beard otno a foam santa mask

Adding Santa’s beard took precision to get it straight

The pom pom on Santa’s hat is the hardest part – there are many little bits of foam to remove and then aligning all the lines takes some skill. I would expect adult help is needed with this for most kids under 10.

images of the pompom on Santa's hat

The pompom on Santa’s hat requires fine motor skills to create

Then tie on the elastic and you have a mask to wear straight away – no need to wait for glue to dry! Note to add the elastic, poke it through the holes from the front and tie it behind the beard so when it is word, you can’t see the knots and there is less force on the edges of the holes.

Foam Santa mask over a girl's face

ta da! My daughter proudly wearing her Santa mask

Once the mask is finished, there is a reasonable bit of foam left over – certainly enough to keep my daughter happy with additional stickers to make something else with!

Completeed Santa mask with the left over foam pieces

Do you like our fun Santa mask?

It’s a quick and easy kit to have in the cupboard to pull out when you need some brief entertainment – or if you need a quick costume for a Christmas party!

If you can’t find the kit to buy, you could just buy a sheet of foam to cut out the face and then some adhesive foam to cut out the beard, hat, etc – but you may want to find a pattern for that if your drawing skills are anything like mine!

 

* I purchased this set and receive no rewards (money or otherwise) for reviewing this kit – I have no contractual or business arrangements with Kmart.

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!

The night before Christmas – for aviation people…

Sorry, I don’t know the original source of this but as someone works with planes, this made me laugh!

I hope others enjoy it too – Merry Christmas!

The night before Christmas (aviation style)

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,

Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ. 

The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,

While peak gusts from three two zero reached 39 knots.
I sank behind the fuel desk, now finally caught up,

And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When over the radio there arose such a clatter,

I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,

Asked for clearance to land at the airport below.

Santa in a blue Christmas plane

He barked out his transmission so lively and quick,

I could have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick”.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Sure that it was only Horizon’s late Dash.

Then he called his position, and there could be no denial,

“This is St. Nicholas One and I’m turning on final.”
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

A Rutan sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer.

Cleared for the ILS, down the glideslope he came,

As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!

On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills was he takin’?

Those last couple of fixes left the controllers confused,

They called down to the office to give me the news.
The message they left was both urgent and dour:

“When Santa lands, have him please call the tower?”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,

Then I heard “Exit at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”

He slowed to a taxi and exited Three-Two,

As he came down the taxiway the sleighbells’ jingle grew.

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I had run out to him with my best set of chocks.

He was dressed all in fur, which was covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Rotax Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.

His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,

His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fool,

And he kindly informed me that he needed some fuel.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his toes,

Let me know he was desperate to powder his nose.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,

And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom with a sigh of relief,

And then picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,

That with Rudolph, he could land in an eighth-mile fog.
Next, he completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,

Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,

He called up the tower for his clearance and squawk.
“After departure fly heading three two zero,” the tower called forth,
“And watch for a Luscombe inbound from the North.”

Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,

“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”  

Santa in sleigh pulled by 6 boomers1

 

* Images courtesy of Love Santa and 123rf

Naming Santa’s reindeer

An important part of the Santa traditions is how he gets around – namely, his sleigh pulled by reindeer and boomers.

And of course we want to know the names of those precious reindeer and boomers.

Santa's reindeer leaping with joyJust for fun, though, I want to know what names you would have given to Santa’s reindeer if you’d had the choice. Maybe you’d have used some of the existing names (Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet, Vixen, Cupid and Dasher) or maybe you’d have your 8 favourite names instead.

So share your list of 8 reindeer names for Santa (you never know, he may just use them if he retires his current reindeer!) and the list I like the most will win a Love Santa letter prize.

Only family friendly names please…

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.

Reindeer names

Two boomers pulling Snata in his sleigh

Everyone knows Santa’s sleigh is predominantly pulled by his reindeer, but not everyone can remember their names!

As well as the 8 named in the ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’, there are other reindeer in stories about Santa:

 

  • Rudolph – the unusual red-nosed reindeer helps guide the sleigh on particularly dark and foggy nights
  • Olive – “olive the other reindeer shouted out with glee”
  • Chet – the reindeer in training in “The Santa Clause II”
  • Cupid – the reindeer who falls in love with Private (the penguin) in “Merry Madagascar”

Can you add any more?

And you may not know that the original story included Dunder (which became Donder then Donner) and Blixem (later Bliksem then the German Blitzen).

Santa just smiles when asked the names of his reindeer and lets us remember the poem…

The truth about Santa’s reindeer

I’m not 100% sure of the accuracy of this but it certainly sounds plausible. Perhaps Santa could confirm this?

According to the Alaskan Dept. of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, the male antlers drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known… only women would be able to drag a (ahem – sorry Santa) rather largish man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!

Santa’s Reindeers’ names

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house no one could remember the names of Santa’s reindeer:)

Santa's reindeer

Santa’s reindeer lining up for Santa to name…

The 9 main reindeer names

For anyone else trying to remember Santa’s reindeer names to tell the kids or win Trivial Pursuit here they are:

  • Prancer
  • Dancer
  • Donner
  • Blitzen
  • Dasher
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • and, of course, Rudolph
The names of Santa's reindeer

Many other reindeer…

But I also heard that it would take more than 214,000 reindeer to pull a sleigh of 333,333 tons (based on one soft toy per child I think it was) Now there is no way I’m going to list out 214,000 reindeer names, even if I had a hope of knowing them all!

Of course, whoever did those calculations didn’t factor in the magic of Santa or the white boomers so the 9 names above are enough for me!

I’m looking forward to my children reading Santa letters soon! They loved last year’s, and even my husband liked them (and he’s not keen on Santa at all)!

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