Day seven and the kids had to open the calendars early today as we went to a Christmas celebration.
Do you tend to open the calendars at the same time each day, or just when you think of it? It feels right to us to do it a little before bed time so it is really counting down the sleeps until Santa arrives, but the principle applies whenever you open the flaps!
At first, my daughter was surprised to find a fireplace in the Lego Friends calendar, but then she realised you have to have a fireplace to have a chimney for Santa to come down, plus the calendar setting was cold so a fire would keep Emma and Naomi warm. The tiny instructions didn’t help with getting the fireplace together – it was beyond my six year old and I ended up making it for her.
Lego City calendar, on the other hand, gave us a green wreath on a …fence? mantelpiece? building top? What do you think the wreath is attached to?
My children enjoy making a small gift to put with a Christmas card for their classmates.
In the last couple of years, they have each made something different. But this year they are both making one gift for the girls and one for the boys.
The girls will be getting a Christmas hair tie made by my children.
We started with a packet of hair ties and some rolls of Christmas ribbon. Actually, what I used was like a hollow string rather than a ribbon, but any Christmas ribbon will look pretty 🙂
I cut the ribbon into lengths of approximately 20 cm.
Then we simply tied a piece of ribbon onto each hair tie, making the two lengths equal.
We then tied the ends into a bow.
I say simple, but it was more challenging for my six year old than her brother or me – good fine motor skill practice though!
The resultant pile of Christmas hair ties is very pretty and festive! And hopefully will make a number of young girls happy when they open their envelopes.
If you are looking for other ideas of things children can make as token gifts to classmates and the like, have a look at previous things I’ve made with my kids:
Our Lego sets gave to us… A snow plough attachment and a little pet!
Just be glad you could hear yourself sing the 12 days of Christmas that rather than me!
So the Lego City advent calendar tonight was an attachment for last night’s machine so that we now have a snow plough and some snow!
And I think it’s sweet that there are lines on the diorama to match the
snow mobile wheels!
In the Friends calendar, my daughter discovered a small animal and a partial home for it – complete with a water bottle which is very cute.
Read all the days in the 2016 Lego advent calendars:
I recently rediscovered this book in our attic, so I read it a few weeks ago with my kids on a drive to a family outing, when Christmas still felt a way off!
Santa’s niece, Little Miss Christmas, has the important job of wrapping the presents for Santa to deliver. However, she decides she wants a break so Santa and Mr Christmas have to wrap presents instead.
This was typical Mr Men/Little Miss book and enjoyable to read together – my six and eight year olds both enjoyed it and said it was fun.
As well as being fun, I found that this book was good for starting conversations and thinking. For instance, I was able to get the kids to predict the next step of the story when Santa and Mr Christmas got distracted. Then we talked about whether doing jobs straight away was a better choice and a better way to care for Little Miss Christmas.
It took a team effort at the end to get all the gifts wrapped in time for Santa to leave the North Pole, which was a nice message and had the amusement of how different characters ‘helped’ with the wrapping (Miss Nasty had to be supervised and you can guess how Mr Messy went…).
However, Father Christmas and Mr Christmas hadn’t learned their lesson which was a little more disappointing – and didn’t make my kids laugh either. Readers could be left with a worry that some presents may not arrive on Christmas Eve if Santa and the reindeer take off late – I covered that up with the idea that Australia is so early on Santa’s route that he would not miss our place on Christmas Eve!
So this book was fun with a bit more depth than most of the Little Miss books, and can be enjoyed by a range of age groups.
Is your family enjoying the count down of opening an advent calendar each day?
I am certainly enjoying watching my children delight over their calendars each day – and it is fun to see what Lego items are revealed each day.
The Lego Friends calendar gave Emma a friend in the form of Naomi.
My son found a motorised sled in the City calendar and very happily put it together.
As a reminder, on day four we revealed a fire-fighter with a trumpet and a campfire and flowers for Emma.
Following on from day two’s guitar, Lego City impressed my son with a microphone and speaker. He is now wondering if he’ll get some more instruments before Christmas via this calendar.
The third flap in the friends calendar produced a postbox and a letter! I love this day’s surprise – being able to write to Santa via an advent calendar is great!
It’s now December and a lot more Christmas is around us.
For example, as of yesterday classrooms at our local school are decorated with tinsel and trees and Christmas parties are in full swing.
Obviously though, Christmas items have been on sale for a while now, along with decorated shops and Christmas centric advertising campaigns. And some will say it all started too early.
I’m ok with Christmas things around in October (on a small scale) and November, although I do find hot cross buns on sale in December a bit much in preparation for Easter!
But did you know that Christmas promotions stated in early spring (that is, during September) back in 1912 and even in August 1914? And complaints about Christmas starting ‘too early’ and ‘earlier every year’ were made in 1954 Britain and 1968 USA. So it’s not really a recent thing that Christmas is getting so early!
Ads for Christmas were published in November 1885, and retailers started with Christmas ‘events’ as early as November in 1888 and 1893.
Well, it obviously works for retailers to promote Christmas earlier, or they’d have stopped it long ago.
Earlier promotion and reminders of Christmas encourages some people to shop earlier which means
I found it fascinating to learn that an American social reformer by the name of Florence Kelley strongly supported early Christmas shopping promotions to stop “the inhumane nature of the eleventh hour rush”. She felt that the shopping frenzy in December was “a bitter inversion of the order of holiday cheer”, and I must say I agree! From her essay in 1903, a huge campaign was waged to bring shopping forward as part of Kelley’s fight against child labour and abuse of overtime.
Some people like Christmas advertising to start well before December as it
So how do you feel about Christmas being presented to us from September? Would you prefer it started in November or December?
Today, Emma found some ice skates (for her and for a friend yet to be discovered from the calendar!) while the Lego City calendar revealed a fire fighter with a guitar!
Emma seemed to enjoy listening to the guitar as she skated!
While my daughter was excited to find ice skates, I am aware that day two of 2015’s Lego Friends’ calendar was also ice skates and a little stand for them…
First of December and that means it’s time to start opening advent calendars and counting down to Christmas!
So today we opened up the day one flaps…
Lego City had two snowmen – a dad and his son apparently! – with red scarves.
And the Lego Friends flap revealed Emma.
What sort of advent calendar did you start today?
My family had a great time last year checking out Melbourne’s Christmas sights. And we’re planning to do it again soon.
So what is so good about seeing all those lights and decorations?
Obviously, every Christmas decoration costs money. And wide scale displays cost a fair bit, especially if you factor in the electricity costs to run a light display.
I was surprised to read recently that it costs about $3.78 million to ‘fund and promote’ the Christmas displays in the Melbourne CBD. I hadn’t really thought about how much it cost before.
It’s a lot of money, and if you add in that most (all?) local councils also spend large amounts of money, it seems somewhat decadent to spend it on decorations rather than spending more on other causes (like homelessness and health care).
So it is worth spending that much money on one month?
I love the lights and displays, and I can see benefits to having them. But I am struggling with spending that much money on them.
So for what it’s worth, here are some suggestions from me on how to cut back those costs while still celebrating the Christmas magic.
How else could cities and councils cut back on their Christmas savings without cutting back on Christmas cheer?
I think of three, or maybe four, categories of Christmas music…
A few days ago, Pitchfork put out a list of their top 50 Christmas songs ever which is really interesting as they give stories and information about the songs, too. There are certainly songs on there I don’t know so I may have to start checking out rock Christmas songs this year!
Who knew Sufjan Stevens has released more than 100 Christmas songs since 2001, for instance?
Or that Frank Sinatra sang three different versions of “have yourself a Merry little Christmas“?
Or that Chuck Berry also sang a Rudolph song written by Johnny Marks (who wrote the original Rudolph the red nosed reindeer)? It was called Run Rudolph Run.
I got these two trees, and a pair of green star earrings, from the Werribee Zoo – various Australian zoos run the Beads for Wildlife program. The program enables local women to create bead jewellery and decorations, thereby having an income (valuable for their families obviously) and reducing the need for large numbers of domesticated animals so there is less competition for African wildlife.
In short, my Christmas trees are contributing to their motto of More Beads = Less Livestock = More Wildlife.