We finally set up our Christmas tree. I always like to do this on the first weekend of December. My husband buys me a special bottle of bubbles and I spend a wonderful evening putting everything together. No bubbles this year though (I'm 9 months pregnant) and I've been so ill with a cold and sinusitis that I just didn't have the energy to tackle it all on my own (we have a HUGE tree - over 9 feet tall!). So for the first time ever, I let my husband and daughter help decorate the tree. It took no time at all with all three of us working together. Maddy was brilliant - she happily sat on the floor sorting the decorations in to piles and handing them to us.
Maddy's favourite part was seeing her Christmas Pine Cone that she worked so hard on hung right in the front of the tree and right next to the Christmas Pine Cone that I made at kindy when I was 3 years old. She loves to point them out and say "Maddy's Pine Cone and Mumma's Pine Cone". So sweet!
Maddy's Pine Cone 2012 (left) and My Pine Cone 1986 (right)
We had some new vintage Christmas decorations to put out this year. Unfortunately my Grammy had to move in to a rest home this time last year and she gave me some of her ornaments while we helped her pack up her belongings. One of my favourites (and Maddys too) is this gorgeous musical Santa. It still has the price of 1 pound and 19 shillings written in pencil on the bottom. Love!
I came across this fantastic free Christmas Subway Art the other day over at Eighteen 25. I bought a cheap precut matt and big ready made frame from Factory Frames to go with it and I am really happy with how it looks. It has become the focal point of our buffet dresser so I'm going to change the artwork for each celebration and season.
I try and add one or two new Christmas decorations to our stash every year. This year I was lucky enough to win a gorgeous Bespoke Christmas Dove from Mudbird Ceramics. They had them beautifully displayed inside heart berry wreaths from Crabtree and Evelyn on their Facebook page. They looked so gorgeous that I completely copied their idea, purchased an extra Christmas Dove for Madeline and made a personalised wreath for each of our girls. (Excuse the horrible brown door! We have nearly finished renovating our 100% original 1970s living room but there are still a couple of things that need doing like replacing the brown wooden internal doors and the yellow glass in the front door - lovely!)
The following afternoon was our local Santa Parade in Browns Bay, which also happens to be the largest Santa Parade on the North Shore. We didn't get to make the Farmers Santa Parade in November which is the main parade in Auckland which I was looking so forward to but I was just too sick to make it. Maddy didn't care - she was quite happy sitting with her Nana and cousin Archie on the foot path at our local shopping centre watching the parade go buy and trying to catch lollies.
Last Saturday morning we took Maddy to see The Santa Claus Show at The Pumphouse. The play is in it's 11th year of being preformed at the Pumphouse. It was absolutely lovely. This production is done by the same company who did Hairy Maclary in the last school holidays. The running time was nearly an hour and a half which is a really long time for a 2 year old to sit still but Maddy did great. She just loved it. I thought it was a great way to introduce your child to Santa without forcing him upon them. Maddy likes the idea of Santa but hasn't wanted anything to do with him in person. This way she could watch him from the safety of the audience and get used to him in her own time. By the end she was asking where he was and when he was coming back if he went off stage.
I was also lucky enough to receive some complimentary tickets to The 12 Days of Christmas at the Bruce Mason Centre which my Mum and I took Maddy to on Wednesday. It was another fantastic show.
Apart from a couple of get togethers with family and friends this week (including my Dads birthday on Christmas Eve) that is just about it for our 2012 Christmas build up. Phew!
We've done a few smaller activities at home which have been great.
We watched Santa in a free personalised video from Portable North Pole. This is absolutely gorgeous and Maddy thought it was wonderful. Answer a few simple questions and Santa will email you a free personalised video message for your littlies to watch. It is so lovely and Maddy was absolutely in awe watching Santa talk to and about her.
We called Santa on the free Telecom Santaline.
We wrote to Santa using the free Official 2012 Letter to Santa Claus from The Idea Room. Maddy is obviously too little to write her own letter so this was a simple easy letter for us to complete together. We posted the letter in the special Santa Letter Boxes at our local NZ Post Shop. We are looking forward to receiving our reply to arrive any day now.
We've been reading Christmas stories each night at bed time including
But her absolute favourite has been a Hallmark Recordable Book, The Night Before Christmas, that we picked up on super special last year from Briscoes.
I also purchased an Elf of the Shelf at the end of last Christmas and had great plans for him but he sadly got a little forgotten about so I've popped him away and we'll look forward to reintroducing him again next year. For those of you not familiar with tradition...
"Based on the tradition Carol Aebersold began with her family in the 1970s, this cleverly rhymed children's book explains that Santa knows who is naughty and/or nice because he sends a scout elf to every home. During the holiday season, the elf watches children by day and reports to Santa each night. When children awake, the elf has returned from the North Pole and can be found hiding in a different location."
If time permits this weekend, I would still like to make some Salt Dough Hand Print Ornaments with Maddy and ice together the Gingerbread House panels that I had grand plans for. I baked the Gingerbread House Panels last week and they are still sitting in an air tight container - not to mention all the Gingerbread Men I made that also remain uniced plus I made about 100 tiny Gingerbread Men which stand about 6cm tall and are proving to be fantastic for toilet training rewards. But this baby of ours is starting to giving me some weird and wonderful aches and pains so we'll have to see.
Thank you so much to all of our readers for all your support this year. Your support and contributions to our blog mean the world to me. I have some wonderful things planned for 2013 which I really look forward to sharing with you. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas day celebrating with family and friends. Keep safe over the summer break and I look forward to hearing from you all in the New Year.