santa

Christmas 2020 – what will it be like?

As Victoria remains in lock down and everyone is finding their own way to manage with everything that is 2020, many thoughts are heading towards December and Christmas.

Perhaps even more than usual, Christmas 2020 is both a sign of the end of the year (something more are looking forward than usual this year!) and the start of summer, and a sign of happiness, celebration and Christmas spirit.

Large koala in Santa outfit cuddling young girl

Christmas 2020 may be somewhat isolated…

But what will Christmas 2020 be like?

Here are some changes we will probably have to accept…

  • wearing masks is likely to be recommended or required while shopping and at Christmas functions. And I dare say many a public Santa will be wearing a mask – maybe it will be a beautiful red mask with white fur straps!
  • The Santas we see in shopping centres and the like are likely to be a bit younger than we are used to – this is already being seen in the recruitment process as we protect our older citizens from the Corona virus. This may mean smaller tummies and fewer real, long beards
  • Santa photos will be different. Children may need to be near Santa rather than on his lap – maybe kids sit in a sleigh and Santa stands behind them or Santa can peek around a Christmas tree or Santa sack to where the kids are sitting.
    Some places may just not have Santa at all this year. Maybe they’ll just have props or a large Santa cut out, and more people will need to be creative with a relative dressed in a red suit or utilising virtual tools. Or maybe perspex screens, like in many shops now, could be utilised

    Santa and a girl on surf boards in a wave tunnel

    Maybe standing on surf boards is a way to have Santa physically distanced from children this year!

  • Santa photos and visits may be bookings only to enable more control of numbers and contact tracing
  • Smaller gatherings are likely – it just remains to be seen how small will be mandated. Events like the Melbourne Zoo Christmas party, Mornington Train Santa trips, Christmas pageants and parades, popular Christmas light spots, the Gingerbread Village and even Christmas markets may be banned, while work and family celebrations may be restricted. Myer has already cancelled their Melbourne windows for this year.
  • Less travelling so interstate family is less likely to visit
  • Carols by Candlelight may also be limited this year which would be very sad. The big events, like the Melbourne Carols on Christmas Eve, could still be run and televised without an audience or a small audience socially distanced.
  • Santa won’t hand out gifts to keep distance and avoid contact – maybe children can take a gift from a sleigh or a table

    Santa and elf talking to a child in a shopping centre

    Seeing Santa walk around shopping centres, talking to children and families, is something we may not see in 2020

  • Christmas shopping may be spread out more – it is likely retailers will start promotions and sales earlier this year to reduce crowds in physical stores and manage the logistics of online orders. And for us as consumers, shopping away from crowds is a wise move, too, so get those Christmas lists started!
  • We may have more access to Christmas celebrations away from home as more events are likely to be broadcast instead of pulling crowds  – for example, the Adelaide Pageant will be in the Adelaide arena at twilight and broadcast this year so the rest of Australia may be able to enjoy it this year (let’s find the positives where we can!)
  • Christmas mass and church services may have to be virtual or severely limited in terms of how many people can attend and what they can do (eg no shaking hands or communal hymn books)

 

Santa handing a gift to a boy through a window

Santa will still give gifts for Christmas 2020!

However, for anyone concerned about Santa being able to visit on Christmas Eve, rest assured that he is still expected to visit children globally. Santa has delivered gifts during previous pandemics (and more localised health problems) and there have been no cases in the North Pole. Remember, he comes in quietly and wearing gloves so maintains social distancing in every house so I have no doubt Santa will bring joy to children’s  faces this Christmas.

Having said that, maybe he will deliver fewer gifts as sourcing materials and gifts in 2020 will be harder. And perhaps Santa will want to continue the more basic

the little reindeer who lost  his  presents~ Christmas book review

the little reindeer who lost  his  presents Front cover of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

by Jedda Robbard
Little Hare Books, Richmond (Melbourne), Sept 2017

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 12 page board book with lift the flaps

I don’t recall how I came across this book, but it is sitting amongst my other Christmas books, and is very cute!

The story

Little reindeer is helping Santa – until he lost some of the presents that is!

My review

This book starts with the little reindeer receiving a note from Santa, asking him to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve:

Inside page of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

I like how the book shows how proud little reindeer is at being asked to help – this is certainly something that helps young children identify their feelings of pride when they get to help someone they admire. Then, little reindeer shows off a little in his excitement with sad consequences – also something young children can relate to, I’d say!

Little reindeer’s friends help him out, happily including Koala and Kangaroo joeys, which is a nice positive feel and moral for the story.

Inside page of a board book called The little reindeer who lost his presents

It is a lift the flap book, making it less suitable for very young readers to handle themselves but lots of fun for many ages to enjoy. And Roddard’s illustrations of the animals and piles of presents are gorgeous.

Would I recommend it? Yes, this is a lovely Christmas book for younger readers – and one that can be read all year really. It has a happy story with nice messages, fun flaps to look behind, and beautiful drawings, so what’s not to love?

Naming a baby elf!

So for the first few days after the baby elf arrived, everyone was happy calling her Baby Elf 🙂

Then my daughter decided she should really have a name and began choosing names. After some thought, she asked Santa and Tinkles if she could help give the baby a name…

Tinkles responded with ‘Yes please”…

My children added a note into Tinkles’ letterbox with name suggestions…

The note to Santa reads “[She] wants Candy Cane and I want Ginger (short for Gingerbread)”

It took a day or so, but they received a response from Santa and Tinkles…

If you can’t read that, the note says “Dear kids, thank you so much for offering to help name Baby Elf! Tinkles and I, along with Mrs Claus, the other elves and even the reindeer, had been debating a name. We finally agreed to use your two suggestions, Candy Cane ad Ginger (short for gingerbread), and voted on it…

“So it is with great pleasure that Tinkles introduces you to Ginger!”

 

Tinkles colouring in Santa!

Tinkles is artistic! Or at least she is careful and colours between the lines nicely 🙂

Christmas elf colouring in a Love Santa picture

Tinkles was discovered this morning colouring in a Love Santa colouring sheets! She has done some beautiful shading so far, with just part of the S in Santa to go before finishing off Santa’s face.

Probably just as well Baby Elf is in her high chair rather than in reach of those pens…

I wonder if Tinkles was colouring in to relax and be mindful or if she was a bit tired and just happy to sit quietly after her trip with Australia Post yesterday.

 

Love Santa offers Christmas activities and crafts to download for free

 

Whose bum? at Christmas ~ Christmas book review

Whose bum? at Christmas Cover of whose bum at Christmas

by Heath McKenzie
Illustrated by Ada Grey
Lake Press, Melbourne, 2019

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 14 page board book with lift the flaps

Doing some Christmas shopping recently and I came across this cheeky little book which we’re giving to our young nephew. It was first published this August so it is quite a new Christmas book.

The story

It’s a board book so not much of a story other than trying to predict who owns the bum sticking out from the flap.

My review

My nine year old read this to her brother and I last night, and we all laughed!

Sure the kids found it a little easy to guess whose bum it was on most pages, other than the names (I mean it is a bit hard to know which reindeer is which from their bum and they expected the snowman was actually Frosty).

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing an elf

I like that each bum is sticking out from something different, be it a fridge, a gift or a Christmas pudding! And the kids just kept giggling at the bums, of course!

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing a reindeer

The pages are thick and sturdy so can cope with little fingers turning and opening the flaps, but the flaps themselves are obviously not as thick as a full board book so make a judgement on the child’s ability to treat books gently, or not!

 

Would I recommend it? It’s a bit cheeky, but that’s what makes it fun! SO yes I recommend it for little people, but perhaps put it away for visitors without a sense of humour!

Santa recycles too!

Santa is known for caring and generosity, and that extends to caring for our planet, too.

A keen Christmas Mum, Kazi Hagan, was lucky enough to spot Santa at her work collecting boxes to reuse. Kazi was able to catch a photo of Santa, too – thanks for sharing it with us Kazi!

Santa with supermarket trolleys of boxes

 

 

So next time Santa delivers a gift in a box, it may just be one he collected form a supermarket! Santa, you are my hero!

SANTA ~ the kids’s song!

Santa with a baby dressed as an elf

Santa with a baby elf

Ever had the kids running around singing B.I.N.G.O.? Or used it as a good song to entertain around a campfire or on a long drive?

Now you can change it up a bit in December by teaching the kids S.A.N.T.A.!

S.A.N.T.A

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A

And Santa is his name-o.

 

To make it more fun, delete a letter each time you sing the verse – adding a clap or action instead of the letter. This makes the song last longer (Sorry!) and develops concentration and memory skills (yes, even annoying repetitive songs can be educational and beneficial!)

I like to make it trickier and more Christmas by replacing each letter with HO, so it looks like…

S.A.N.T.A. (HO version)

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

HO A.N.T.A.

HO A.N.T.A.

HO A.N.T.A.

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

HO HO N.T.A.

HO HO N.T.A.

HO HO N.T.A

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

HO HO HO T.A.

HO HO HO T.A.

HO HO HO T.A

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

HO HO HO Ho A.

HO HO HO HO A.

HO HO HO HO A.

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

HO HO HO HO HO

HO HO HO HO HO

HO HO HO HO HO

And Santa is his name-o.

 

Red hat, White beard

Twinkle in his eye

and Santa is his name-o

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A.

S.A.N.T.A

And Santa is his name-o.

Making Christmas finger puppets

I came across this finger puppet set and grabbed it with no particular purpose in mind.

A day later, my daughter needed a quiet day to recover from an unexpected overnight hospital visit and this kit was a great activity for us. With the incentive that the finished puppets will be part of the Christmas gift to a young friend of ours, she happily set to making some finger puppets!

 

The finger puppet kit…

The Jolly & Joy finger puppet craft set cost me $3.00 and contained the following items:Christmas finger puppet kit contents laid out

Underneath all the pieces were some red and green felt squares – it seemed a bit strange to find them glued on (I was scared of ripping the felt by pulling it) but then I realised they have no direct purpose in the kit and they are just there to form a nice background (thus the gluing). Of course, it also gives us some Christmas coloured felt for another craft activity!

Making the finger puppets

The instructions in the kit showed four pictures and explained how to sew together the actual puppets. My nine year old was able to read them once and then sew together the puppets without too much trouble – she got four sewn together in under 20 minutes. red felt with white stitching

The only issue is to make sure you hold the pieces of felt together correctly – my son got one reindeer piece around the wrong way and found they don’t fit quite so well!

Our next task was to attach the details and decorations, which required providing our own glue which I had not realised until this point. Make sure you get some glue that works on felt as I will have to reglue bits of ours as the glue we used was too easily absorbed by the felt.

Unfortunately, things slowed down at this point as the instructions were lacking from here on – we were directed to use the picture provided to figure out how to decorate the puppets which sounds ok until you realise the only picture provided is the small image on the packaging handle:

finger puppet instruction image

It was easy to confuse pieces – for example, we stuck the stocking top onto Santa’s hat initially then swapped to the actual hat trim piece – and not altogether clear where to stick major parts – which way to lay Santa’s hat down and how far up to place the beard took a little bit of figuring out.

attaching white felt felt beard to Santa's hat

Deciding how far up to attach Santa’s beard was a bit of trial and error

Christmas finger puppets to play with!five felt Christmas finger puppets on a red and green background

And thus we created five very cute finger puppets!

This was a simple kit and the puppets were fairly easy to make, although young children will need adult guidance.

 

Once created, the puppets mostly require a very large finger, especially the Santa puppet, making them better suited for adults to use but finger puppets appeal more to children obviously, especially if they made them! I guess one option is for adults to wear the puppets to entertain young kids, but it still seems a bit disappointing to me. Having said that, making smaller puppets would be much trickier for little kids…

Santa finger puppet on adult fingers

The Santa puppet was large enough for two adult fingers (and space to spare!)

The stocking puppet is upside down once it goes on a finger! And again, this one is quite large so it comfortably sits on two of my fingers, rather than one or two little fingers.

Christmas stocking finger puppet

The stocking puppet was upside down when placed on two adult fingers…

The other puppets had smaller openings so fitted nicely on one of my fingers (so will still be a bit big and floppy on a toddler’s fingers!) to put on voices or a performance!

Christmas tree and snowman finger puppets

By this point, my daughter had lost interest (thus the puppets have only been on my fingers so far!) but we will gift them to our young friend and hopefully he will enjoy them.

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…

Tinkles found some new playmates…

So yesterday we put together our collectables and I said the kids could decide where to put them. However, it appears that Tinkles has decided for them and our collectables are in an empty cupboard with Tinkles this morning!

Christmas elf with supermarket Christmas Collectables

Christmas countdown day twelve

Day twelve seems it should have some significance, given the 12 days of Christmas song and traditions!

Ornament calendar

Behind tonight’s ornament, we found that Merrit has a green elf friend! The two elves are ringing the Christmas bells, and we got to make a bell to hang on the ornament tree.

Press out ornament advent calendar day two

Lego City

More suitable in an Aussie summer than a northern winter, today my son made an ice-cream stand from behind flap 14. It does look a little strange near the woman with a snow shovel, but it is a cute little stand and has tempted us all to grab an ice-cream…

Lego ice-cream stand

Lego Friends

This is another of those advent calendar items you just have to ask why? Tonight, my daughter found the pieces to make a large, blue trophy – although my husband was reminded of the Star of David and a Hanukkah candelabra. I’m wondering it this is again a representation of one of the Friends, but surely we could have a symbol of her sport instead of the winning cup?

Anyway, it is colourful and took a bit more skill to construct so my daughter is happily adding this to her collection of decorations.

A Lego trophy cup decoration

Christmas book

Tonight we are going to enjoy reading Santa’s busy night and look for the details in the illustrations (given the plot is a little simple for us non-toddlers!)

Tinkles playing Monopoly!

We were amused to find Tinkles playing Monopoly this morning! She was sitting under the Christmas tree with Santa and my daughter’s two inherited porcelain dolls.

They were playing Junior Monopoly – I’m not sure if it’s because it is a new game for them all or if it was just easier to grab from my son’s room – what a pity we don’t have Christmas Monopoly here for them.

If you look closely, you ca also see that the tokens being used in this game are actually Lego pieces from the Lego City advent calendar my son is progressing through this month! Tinkles has grabbed the woman with a shovel, the boy (I called him a thief, my kids call him a boy!), the huskie and the snowman.

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