0

Do Not Open Until 25 December

Christmas is 9 sleeps away, and the courier parcels are arriving at our house like crazy town. The other day I had two separate companies pull up at the same time. They raced each other up the path, it was awesome.

A large amount of what is coming is either (a) online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, (b) online shopping for me disguised as online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, and (c) my usual work stuff that really isn’t particularly interesting at all.

And, then there is the presents. The Actual Presents, sent from various friends, family, Grandparents, Secret Santas and the like.

Now bears the questions – do you open the presents as they arrive, or do you wait until Christmas??

For me and my presents, I wait. And the reason I wait is because I don’t get to open many presents on Christmas day, so it’s fun. Now, I use the term “wait” loosely because let’s be honest, I have zero will power and 9 days is a loooooooong time to wait. But I will try, gosh darnit I’ll try.

But, for the kids. Do I make them wait, or allow them a couple of sneaky early pressies?

Reasons to Wait

  • The are intended to be opened on Christmas Day, so they should be opened on Christmas Day
  • It makes it all the more special to wait
  • It teaches them that they can’t have what they want, when they want it. They must wait.
  • It serves as a valuable bribery tool

Reasons to Let Them Let Rip (the wrapping paper, that is) 

  • It makes Christmas last for aaaaaaaages
  • It allows us to treasure each present separately, rather than them getting lost amidst the chaos of Christmas Day
  • It shuts them the heck up. School holidays, yo.

Like I said, many of our presents come from Grandparents and friends who live far away from us. We aren’t going to see them on Christmas Day (*sad face*) and by letting the kids open the presents early, we are able to give those presents sole focus. This is particularly special when they are gifts that require concentration and loads of little parts. If the kids opened them with all their other Christmas Day loot, it won’t be the same.

At the end of the day, whether or not the kids should be opening their presents before Christmas Day is entirely up to the parent. I’m a read-the-end-of-the-book-before-im-halfway-through kinda person, so you can probably guess where my preference lies. But, that being said, there is still a healthy-ish pile of gifts under our tree, stubbornly waiting for Christmas Day.

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Even my Secret Santa gift. Sitting there. Taunting me.

“open meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you know you waaaaannntttt toooooooooo”

 

 

1

‘Twas the night before Xmas

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Mum and Dad settled with their cups of tea

Prepared to “help Santa” put presents under the tree

But wait, what’s that sound? What’s that noise that I hear?

I sense that a child is creeping quite near

“Go to bed” Mummy said with a slight sense of fear

As Daddy, he dashed and he covered with care

All of the presents all over the floor

The paper and tape and the toys! “Close the door!”

He whispered with panic to Mummy, “They’ll see!”

“Back to BED!” Mummy said as she scooped up all three

Of the children and sent them all back to their beds

“Sleep well, see you Christmas” she kissed their sweet heads

“If you don’t go to sleep, well then Santa won’t come

And no Santa, no Christmas, no presents, no fun!”

She sighed as she crept back out of their door

Tripping silently over a toy on the floor

And once more the silence was all through the place

The cupboard of presents had run out of space

With a creek and a tremor Mummy opened the door

And the noisiest present, it fell to the floor!

“What’s that” Mummy heard and she froze on the spot

“Go to BED” she said, “Or Santa WON’T STOP”

Once again with the ritual, the kiss and the smile

Though through clenched teeth – this was taking a while!

Mum’s tea had gone cold, she was no longer happy

Dad’s patience was thin, he was no happy chappy

Midnight came and went, and the kids would not sleep

Every time “Santa” came, the kids, they would creep

Back out to the lounge, to see all the fuss

And then marched back to bed, “Oh for goodness sake JUST

GO TO SLEEP so Santa can COME” scowled Dad

“I’M TIRED AND GROUCHY AND GETTING QUITE MAD!

If you DON’T go to SLEEP, no Christmas will be

I’ll cancel it, stop it, it’s late, don’t you see!

Santa won’t come if you DON’T GO TO BED!”

It’s three in the morning, Mum rested her head

on the floor by the tree, where the presents should be.

At quarter past four, Dad stormed off to bed

With two kids in tow, who were just off their heads

with excitement and thrill, but no Christmas awaits

For naughty little children, who only frustrate

their Mummy and Daddy who just want to be

Santa and put presents under the tree!

Five thirty am and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Three sleeping children and one sleeping man

All piled in the one bed, all legs, arms and hands

And then it is morning, and out the kids run

And squeal with delight and clapping and fun!

“Santa came!” they scream as they wake up their parents

“But how …?” queries Dad, “it doesn’t make sense?”

But when the kids slept with the Dad snuggled in

Mummy crept out and got working again

With the presents and stockings and flour on the floor

From Santa’s big feet as he walked through the door

Of the chimney, the carrots the reindeer left messy

Because the one hour sleep, the tears and the stressing

Feel worth it to know that, for at least one more year

The kids still believe in Santa and his reindeer.

And the relief that it’s over, and Mummy can nap

And have some of her special drink (which I wish was on tap)

And now we approach that same night again

I’ve made it quite clear that it WON’T be the same

That Santa will NOT come if kids do not sleep

All the presents will go onto the rubbish heap

So here is to Christmas and all that we do

As parents, as Santa, and his reindeer too

And here is to kids who sleep all through the night

I’m holding my breath but a Mum, she can dream, right?

 

2

How to make an Advent Calendar

As many of us do, I spend a fair chunk of my time on Pinterest. I don’t search for anything specific, I just mindlessly peruse the scores and scores of pins, looking at nothing in particular. It’s a fab way to kill time.

On one of these many perusals, I found this picture of a homemade Advent calendar.

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How cool is this? And to think, rather than the kids eating bland, cheap chocolate once a day, I could put interesting lollies into each box. Maybe even two lollies. What?! Crazy! Fun! OhmygoshIneedtodoit!

So, I pottered off to the shops to buy all the supplies I needed. I think, somewhere along the way, I forgot I had three children, and would therefore need to make three calendars. But, that’s ok. Three isn’t a lot.

Here is what I needed:

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Paper to make 48 boxes (because, lids as well). Times three.

Stickers to decorate.

Ribbon and card for the base.

Lollies.

More lollies to replace the original packs. That someone ate. It was me.

And, here we go. Let’s make an advent calendar!

I didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on this thing, so I bought a pad of small paper. The boxes are supposed to be made with square paper, but this wasn’t an issue, I just had to cut each piece into a square before folding. I got surprisingly quick at this.

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To make the box, I googled “how to fold a box”. I freakin love the internet. It knows everything. And, because I’m not going to detail every step to you, here is the link I used.

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By about box #30, I was folding these so fast I even had time to pat myself on the back and congratulate myself on what a crafty, dedicated, organic mother I was. As I ate lolly bag #2.

And so, night after night (well, night after whatever random night I remembered, “oh, that’s right, I’m meant to be folding boxes”), I would sit and diligently fold boxes.

I did a really, really good job.

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Until I realised, I had folded over 60 boxes and I still had a long way to go. And, somehow, mysteriously, half of November literally vanished. Gone. No idea where it went. How could it possibly be November 27, when just yesterday it was March 3?

And then, someone ate the other bag of lollies.

Still me.

And so, here you go. After the better part of a month, and over $15 spent on supplies, I give you, the advent calendars for the kids.

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What’s that, I hear you say? Those don’t look like ….

Well. No. They aren’t. Because apparently three kids x 24 days x lids and bottoms = a freakin butt load of boxes. Not to mention the fact that the kids kept eating the lollies. OK IT WAS ME.

These calendars were $2.10. EACH. I don’t even care if the chocolate tastes like dirt, I’m not the one going to eat it.

And, my kids win anyway – they get a super exciting pre-Christmas treat – two sticker books, 64 pre-folded boxes and some ribbon. All the christmas craft one could want!

And me? Well, lollies, of course.

 

 

 

0

’twas the night before Christmas

And here we are .. and so this is Christmas …

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The reindeer food is sprinkled on the lawn – a lovely mix of cornflakes, rolled oats and glitter. BoyChild also helpfully threw a bunch of carrots onto the lawn “for the ray, dear” (which I retrieved quickly. I need those for my salad tomorrow!).

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The children, in their sweet matching Xmas pyjamas (though not entirely appropriate given that the pjs are long and it’s a balmy night here tonight!), laid out the food for Santa and his reindeer. Three cookies (dairy free, incidentally!), a glass of milk (in previous years it’s been Coke Zero but since this Mumma has stopped drinking that, conveniently so has Santa!) and some carrots for those reindeer (not the ones intended for my salad!), and then three more cookies since the original three mysteriously disappeared. Mere seconds after the plate was laid out, a fight broke out (because BoyChild put the cookie in front of the milk, or something?) and milk was spilled all over the presents. Never mind, no crying over spilled milk. See what I did there?

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The kids planted their red-and-white jellybeans, scattered with glitter, which will magically grow into candy canes in the morning (provided the “fairies” remember. They forgot last night and had to do it discreetly at 7am this morning).

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And now, at nearly-10pm, all three lovely children are fast asleep. Mr and Mrs T are just about ready to set out the presents, fill up the stockings, and head to bed.

Because, according to Princess, we will be getting up at ONE IN THE MORNING TO OPEN PRESENTS.

Plot twist – we won’t be. No siree bob.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!!! Wishing you all a very safe and happy Christmas xo

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Today we did nothing. It was great.

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It’s now four sleeps till Christmas and things are getting pretty chaotic. Our lives seem filled-to-the-brim with commitments, BBQs, shopping trips, play dates and all sorts of other things like that. It’s really easy at this time of year to forget that sometimes, doing simply nothing is both relaxing and therapeutic. In fact, I think it’s essential for kids to have a day where there are no plans.

Today was that day.

Last night we were out at a friend’s BBQ (or, adorably, Bar-Ke-Kew as BoyChild says) and got home around 8pm. Since school broke off on Wednesday, we’ve been out until well-past-bedtime almost every night. Doing nothing today wasn’t my intention for the day – it just kind of happened that way.

Princess woke up at (somewhere around) 7am. I’m not 100% certain of the time, only that she came into the room and said iPad was flat so I went and found the charger, plugged it into the plug next to her bed, and flopped back asleep in my own bed again. (While I don’t feel like I need to justify myself, I do feel like mentioning at this point that I was up and down all through the night with BabyGirl and BoyChild, so I was fairly exhausted).

BoyChild didn’t wake until 8:30am which is fantastic. Granted, he was in my bed so I was awake from 8am (he gets quite “kicky” in his last half hour of sleep. His foot seems to just gravitate to my kidneys). Mr T phoned us from his work at 9am because he hadn’t heard from me and was concerned that we weren’t ok (bless him) and that phone call is what dragged me from bed.

I made the kids toast and did something quite unusual for me – I turned on the TV. I don’t know the last time I watched TV in the mornings. But there I sat, happily in the rocking chair (still in my nightwear) and drank my coffee. Even more unusually, BoyChild and Princess just sat near me (but not so near that I cringed) and ate their breakfast while playing quietly. Individually. Without the need to scrap and snatch and scream at each other. I KNOW.

And, there we sat. We chatted. We watched TV. We laughed. We cuddled. And then Glee came on so we danced and sang like crazy during the songs, and sat the rest of the time, discussing every iota of plot change in the episode (“Why are they at High School? Why is his nose pointy? Why did that lady cry?”)

BabyGirl didn’t wake until 10:30am, and she was a bit sad when she got up, but two pieces (TWO PIECES) of toast fixed that and, before I knew it, she also was sitting there, playing quietly and just … doing nothing.

We chatted some more. We danced some more. When Glee finished, we changed the channel to MTV Christmas Songs and danced and sang like crazies.

Mr T got home from work at 1pm. The house was a complete tip, we were all still in our nightwear. But, we were all happy. Crazy happy. Genuinely happy. And, you know what? It set the tone for the entire day. We went out in the afternoon and the kids were amazingly behaved (don’t worry, we got dressed first).

I think, especially at this time of year, it’s really easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the things we “have” to get done, the things we “need” to do. When, sometimes all you need is a day packed full of nothing. Nil. Nada. Diddly-squat.

Now the kids are happily tucked in bed. The house is a mess of epic proportions, but that’s ok – I can tidy it tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be 3 sleeps till Christmas, so it will inevitably get busy again. But at least we had today to reset our bodies, to wipe the busy-slate and to dance like crazies in the living room. And, the best part – Princess cuddling me on the couch and saying, “I love this day, Mum. You are crazy. But I like you.”

Like you too, crazy kiddo.

1

Reasons My Children Cried Today

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It’s getting close to Christmas. And, of course, it’s getting close to the end of the year. It’s a funny time of year, this. And the kids are clearly feeling it. They are tired, school is wrapping up for the year, Christmas is fast approaching, and they are feeding off the stress inevitably coming from us parents as well.

Kids cry – it’s their way of dealing with things. Having three small kids means that some days, there just seems to be an endless stream of tears in my house. Today was one of those days.

Here are just some of the reasons my kids cried today.

  • I put jam on the toast before the peanut butter, not after.
  • I put peanut butter on the toast before the jam, not after.
  • Princess wanted to wear footless tights and I’d put out footed tights for her.
  • I put BabyGirl’s toast on the wrong plate.
  • It was raining
  • Princess didn’t want to wear a raincoat
  • The umbrella went up wrong
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to wear gumboots
  • BoyChild wanted to go in the car, not the pram
  • I opened the door
  • I closed the door
  • Princess wanted her hair in one ponytail, not two
  • It wasn’t Christmas tomorrow
  • It was raining
  • BoyChild wanted to sit in Princesses carseat
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to get into the car
  • BoyChild didn’t want to get out of the car
  • I opened the door
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to go in the pram
  • BoyChild wanted to go in the elevator
  • BoyChild wanted to press the button
  • BabyGirl wanted that drink
  • BoyChild wanted that muffin
  • BoyChild didn’t want to go to the toilet, despite needing to
  • BabyGirl didn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee
  • BoyChild didn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee
  • BoyChild didn’t want to leave the mall, he wanted to ride the elevator some more
  • BabyGirl wanted an apple
  • I cut the apple incorrectly
  • Babygirl wanted a banana
  • Princess wanted to carry her umbrella home
  • Princess’s friend called her “stuck in the mud”
  • There was an unfair distribution of popcorn and chippies
  • It was raining
  • It wasn’t Christmas yet
  • I wouldn’t let the girls play outside in the rain, without gumboots on
  • A birthday invitation had the birthday girl’s name on it, not Princess
  • I wouldn’t give Princess invitations for her birthday (in August)
  • BabyGirl and BoyChild got to see Santa today but Princess didn’t
  • I make Princess go to school
  • A Christmas card was wrong
  • Princess’s friend put a bell on her face
  • I wouldn’t let BabyGirl get into the shower with her tights on
  • I put too much bubble mixture in the bath
  • Princess’s friend left his backpack at our house
  • And a jumper
  • It’s not Christmas TODAY
  • It’s raining and its never going to stop raining EVER

Needless to say, there was a lot of sighing and silently counting by me, and a lot of cuddles and comforting pats on backs. All three kids are fast asleep now, no doubt dreaming of Christmas and rainy days.

And me? Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is another day.

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It’s starting to look at lot like Christmas ♪

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“Mum? How far till Christmas?”

“4 weeks”

“BUT YOU SAID IT WAS 6 WEEKS YESTERDAY!!!! WHY ISN’T CHRISTMAS HERE NOW???!!!!!??!”

And, so it begins.

Today is December 1st, and therefore it’s time to put up the Christmas tree. A lot of people have already put theirs up (or so says my Facebook timeline) but in our house, December 1 is the day. Much to Princess’s dismay, putting up the tree does not, in fact, mean that Christmas is coming tomorrowl. No matter how many times she tried to convince me that I should move the day on the calendar to Christmas Eve (she still doesn’t quite “get” the concept of time, I think!), I didn’t do it. Nay, I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry, Princess.

She was appeased, however, by the lure of an advent calendar. The thrill of opening one tiny, numbered window a day and being rewarded with cheap chocolate is still exciting, for all three kids. Which brings us to the next issue – BabyGirl’s dairy allergy means that she can’t eat the chocolate in the calendar. She is at the age where she will definitely notice that the others have something she doesn’t, and I certainly considered making one for her. But then I had the genius idea to buy a basic, cheap calendar and swap out the chocolate with food she can eat (dairy free chocolate, marshmallows, etc). Great plan, Mrs T. Except that, after painstakingly opening each window on her advent calendar (feeling very naughty as I did it – please don’t tell Santa!), I realised that (a) the doors don’t re-close, and (b) nothing fits in the teeny holes left behind. Oh, me. I might have to be more crafty next year, I think!

Princess has always been a little apprehensive of Santa, so I’m curious as to how the subject will be tackled this year. Last year I sorry to admit that I had to tell her the truth. The semi-truth, at least. I told her that many of the Santas we see at malls etc, are, in fact, not the real guy. I justified it as, Santa is far too busy to be at every appearance, every time! So he gets his friends to fill in sometimes. But, don’t tell anyone! Shhhhh! It’s a special grown-up surprise that kids don’t know.

I know, why on earth did I tell her that?? Well, she is completely terrified on Santa. She was only two when she asked how he could tell if she was naughty or not. She said, “I don’t want Santa watching me when I sleep”. Neither do I, Princess. Neither do I. Anyway, she seems to have handled this little *secret* well, and doesn’t seem to be telling people. And, she still believes in Santa. Thank goodness. It’s also BoyChild’s first year acknowledging Santa. He even seems mildly interested in the whole Christmas palava. He had a nice conversation with his dad the other day – “Daddy? What are you getting me for Christmas? Lego? Good plan! Mummy, what are you getting me for Christmas? Thomas? Good plan!”. Bless him.

And so, today is the day it all begins. When the kids get home from school, Princess and BoyChild will write their letters to Santa. Mr T and I are still in negotiations about the location of the tree this year (I say, behind the fire guard as we have done for the past three years, he says under the bay window, in full reach of the children), but nevertheless it will go up tonight.  Tonight when he gets home from work, the kids can decorate the house, and open their advent calenders. Except BabyGirl. Someone already opened hers.

Ah, Christmas.