2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 13 – Carols and Candles

I must admit we have never gone to a community carols night before!   Between the school carols night and Christmas parties we always have something on.  But this year with a little help form our elves we were all ready to go! 

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A Carols Goodie Box with a blanket, chips, pretzels, lollies and of course glow sticks! 

The glow sticks were the hit of the night!  They each had a glow necklace (which came in handy trying to identify your child in the dark!) and either a Glow Tree stick or a glow Stick santa!

To be honest, the carols night wasn’t our thing.  Be warned slight rant ahead.  We came a little late so all the spots at the front were full so we couldn’t see a thing.  WE only had a blanket and everyone else had chairs! The music was all very slow and religious.  We had expected a fun, family night of singing and entertainment with a great mix of music so we could all join in.  There was no dancing, or bands or choirs or school groups just soloists, singing religious/slow music.  Besides the 15 minutes that Santa was on stage, the kids were not interested in what was happening and didn’t know any of the songs.  It was a community carols night, but run by a local church.  Don’t get me wrong….We are religious.  We believe that Christmas is about CHRIST, but it is a time for families and friends to enjoy time together.  A time to sing loudly and badly, to do the actions to songs with your children, to dance and be joyous.  It felt more like we were watching a Religious version of Australian Idol where each soloist was trying to out do each other with there operatic technique.  

BUT…..the upside, the kids played with glowsticks……outside…….. at night.

Seriously they could have been anywhere.  Those three simple things provided all the entertainment they needed!

 

Lesson learnt and next year we might try and find one of the council run carols nights or even just stick to the school ones.  

But we went, we ate together, spent time talking as family and we watched two excitable children run, jump, dance and play whilst glowing like Christmas Trees.   

THE JOY IN A GLOW STICK!

10 Elf On The Shelf Antics From Real Homes

Right about now is when you start to run out of Elf On The Shelf Antic ideas.  Wither that or you are just so worn out by all these Elf Antic shenanigans every night, you now lack motivation!  Our elves were hanging out on that Chandelier for more than two nights!  I just couldn’t have been bothered to get them down!

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So what better way to get re motivated then to check out some great ideas from REAL Homes! 

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Kirsten – Wally The Elf “Undecorated” the Tree!


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Kate – Our Elf The Artist!


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Susan – The Gift of Giving – A Great message from this elf!


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Elissa – A Toy Convoy with the Elf at the lead!


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Emma – Another “Elfy” Breakfast!


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Emma – All Wrapped Up! The Elf is reading on his wrapped toilet!


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Melissa – Elfred the Elf has had some fun making snowflakes!


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Tara – Bon Bon Tug Of War with the Elf and his friends!


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Rachael – A very thoughtful Elf with a gorgeous Angel.


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Melissa – A Sticky Situation! This Elf has missed his friend so much he has used his name stickers to decorate himself!

There are just so many wonderful Elf ideas out there that I could not include them all (although I may just have to do another post!)

 

ok so one more……

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Elvis The Elf, belongs to Luca and Evie! He needs a passport to get home but looks like a ship and stamps will have to do for now!

Check out The Organised Nest Facebook page for the most amazing photos from our readers! It is so inspiring to see how many mums and dads are going to great lengths to introduce the magic of the Elf into their homes this festive season!

So have you got some inspiration, a second wind, re-motivated? I certainly am and can’t wait to put these antics into practice! 

Thank you to all of our fabulous readers for sending us these great pics! 

 

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 12 – Beach Buddies

Did you know Elves travel at the speed of light?

We awoke to find our Elves were missing!  The kids searched the house but they were no where to be found! 

Oh well the day must go on and its a perfect day for the beach.

As the kids played in the waves their Elf friends appeared on the beach!

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The look on the kids faces was priceless!  The whole way home they discussed how they got there and how they would get home!

You could do this antic without leaving your home!  Perhaps the elves leave some sand and shells in your house or maybe a new pair of hats or sunglasses!

Love a SUMMER CHRISTMAS!  

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 11 – Sweet Treats

Today was one of those days, that we really needed to pay the house some attention!  So in order to take advantage of some time at home we thought it was the perfect time to make some sweet treats! 

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The elves kicked it off with some Mad Milk!

I have seen this idea all over the Internet, but I couldn’t bare to waste milk!  I wasn’t keen  on green milk in my coffee!  I poured a small amount of milk in each cup and then added a few drops of green food colouring.  Some green and white stripey straws completed the antic. 

The kids asked the elves if they could have a sip of their drink.  For the days activity we made milkshakes! Some ice cream, milk, some green food colouring, a dash of vanilla flavouring and blend it all together.

So not for me!  But they loved it! 

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 10 – Santa’s Wishlist and The Gifts that keep on Giving.

Ten days into our Elf Adventure’s and we are ready to write a Wishlist to Santa. This is an activity I am VERY careful about! Christmas can easily become a time of want, want, want, me, me, me. 

This is how we keep this in check.

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We explain to our children that they can “wish” for four presents.  

Something they want, 

something they need

something to wear

and something to read.

This year we have changed it around a little bit! 

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So kids don’t really like receiving clothes and to be honest I dont really like giving them either!  So instead of something to wear, we are choosing something to learn!  

 Some ideas could be;

  • Puzzles
  • Magic Kit
  • Skipping Rope
  • Dance Game
  • Educational App 
  • Board Game
  • Knitting Set
  • Musical Instrument

The other major change we have made this year….

Something, SOMEONE ELSE, may NEED.

Last year we realised our kids get way too much and give too little.  Even by sticking to our four presents above, once the kids receive gifts from grandparents and aunties and uncles they get way more than they need.  With this in mind, my children live in a family where there is nothing they ever really need.  They have clean water, food, a roof over their head, access to health and good education.  But at this time of year in particular we think of those who really are in need.

We started by showing the kids the Unicef website.

Oh boy were there lots of lessons to be learnt here.

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  1.  Needs Vs Wants. We had a long talk about what “needs” really are.  What do you need to survive.  Water, Food, Good Health, Shelter, Clothes, Love. They quickly realised that all their “needs” have been filled since the day they were born.   We spoke about when we say we “need” something often it is really a want.  We then discussed, how and why many children around the world don’t have their needs met. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 5.40.15 AM2. Their Is A Big World Out There but you can be the change.  Sometimes kids get caught up in their day to day life (as do we) and forget to think about the world greater than them.  We looked at a world map and spoke about countries that may be in need.  Yep the world is a BIG BIG BIG place.  But that doesnt mean we (even kids) can not make a difference. This was easy to relate to for them, as many family members and friends had already spoken to them about the work they do in East Timor, Afghanistan, India and Cambodia.  Their Dad had some great pictures to show them of him delivering medical supplies and medical assistance to very malnourished and sick children. They have seen these photos before, but suddenly it had a context.  The world is a big place but we can do little things to make a difference.  

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 5.38.41 AM3. The Golden Rule.  We talk a lot about the golden rule in our family.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.  How would they feel if they were in need?  What would they want people to do for them? The list is endless and I had to keep bringing them back to “Needs”  We would love to send our drink bottles to them, but if they dont have clean water to fill them with, they will not be very helpful.   

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4. Better To Give Than to Receive.  We imagined what it would be like if you went without something and then suddenly someone presented it to you.  How would they feel?  Imagine if you could to do that for someone? You could trade just one present you will receive for a present you could give.  Now it’s really making sense.  This not just a lesson to be learnt, a discussion to be had, but there is something we can DO!!!

We are back on the UNICEF WEBSITE choosing our present to GIVE.

 SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS! 

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 You can choose a gift based on the amount of money you want to spend, or like my kids something they thought would be really useful! 

 This is by far the greatest lesson to be learnt during the festive season.  It is something I can only hope has not only been learnt by my children, but sunk in and remembered for years to come.  It is so easy to get caught up in the world of want, want, want, buy, buy, buy at Christmas.  But it is the perfect time to remind them to…..

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If you would like to work through this activity with your children, we have included a template below.  

Want, Need, Wear, Read Template

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 9 – Movie Magic

Oh how I love a good Christmas Movie and it looks like our elves do to!

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The Elves bought us a new Christmas Movie (Disney’s “Prep and Landing”)

Looks like they enjoyed a movie snack as well.

After our BUSY Train day this was exactly what we needed, a relaxing, quiet movie day at home BUT…….

The movie lasted less than a hour and did not hold the kids interest!  So it was onto “The Polar Express”  They have watched this movie so many times and yet they still LOVE it!  It is full of many great messages for the Christmas season and for life in general.

There are a few scary parts but my nearly 4 year old and nearly 6 year old were not scared.

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This was the BEST timing!  Lisa from Life As We Know It put together the BEST list of Christmas movies!  This has everything from Kids movies to something for Mum and Dad to cozy up to!  

You can read all about her A-Z of Festive Films on her blog!

So do you have a favourite Christmas Movie? 

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 8 – Train Time

Speaking of traditions…..last year we started a new one.  It has got to be one of my favourites.  The annual Santaland Excursion!

Santa land is a section of the major Myer department stores dedicated to housing Santa.  It is truly a wonderful experience for all involved and a day my kids talk about all year!

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The Elves knew about our plans!  The kids had not seen this train set for ages and couldn’t believe the elves had found it and put it together! Trixie the elf is being ever so helpful and giving Holly Jingles a ride. 

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All dressed ready to go we drove to the train station ready for the adventure to begin.  Getting the train is a special experience for our kids and I sometimes wonder if that is their highlight of the day!  I must admit, however that I was shocked at the price of train tickets!  Nearly $10 one way for an adult and $4.50 for a child!!!  I might have been better off driving in! Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.43.33 AM

As we headed into the mall, the festive spirit was alive and well.  All the stores have their Christmas displays in the windows and the mall was decorated ready to welcome the Christmas shoppers.  The kids RAN from display to display!Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.43.43 AM

But our favourite display as always was the Myer Christmas Windows.  Each year the windows have a theme based on a childrens story.  This year it was “Gingerbread Friends” by Jan Brett.  Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.43.53 AM

The windows are interactive with each display moving and playing music.  Some of it is quite realistic so be warned my kids even got a little scared when a character moved towards them! 

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With the windows done, it was off into Santaland! 

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Myers really knows how to create an experience.  Literally as we walked in the doors,  we found some clues on how to get to Santaland!  Scan this symbol with an app on your phone for an interactive story.Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.44.33 AM

On arrival at Santaland, children line up for a ride on santa’s train.  They are presented with a “golden ticket” (which they get to keep) to board the magical train.  The train only starts when the children yell “SANTA”  It ravels a few times around the track, ringing it’s bell. 
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A few families at a time then enter Santa’s area.  There is a movie on for the kids to watch and the cutest santa boot stools! Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.44.56 AM

Finally it’s our turn! Santa’s helpers had already asked Mummy what the children’s names are so when they walk into Santa’s house he greets them by name and comments on how much they have grown. 
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Santa is seated in his lounge room complete with his reindeer sleeping on the floor.  The Reindeer is electronic and occasionally his chest rises and his ears twitch! It had Little miss A fooled but not Master O! Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 5.45.35 AMIt is such a great setup.  The kids can chat away to Santa without the hustle and bustle of the other people in line.  Santa really took the time to chat to the kids about their year, and what they wanted for christmas.  This made my Santaphobic Little Miss A feel so comfortable, she happily posed for a photo!  

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After their official photo they had a quick play outside Santas house on the train.

and the finished product…..

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Our last Santa photo of just TWO CHILDREN.

We had all of this done and dusted (including a very thorough browse of the toy section) by 11am!  Right in time for lunch!

Both kids fell asleep on the train ride home, thoroughly exhausted.  This was one of those days that my heart literally burst with joy.  To have such a wonderful time with two healthy and happy children, experiencing the magic of Christmas together.  One tradition I hope remains for many years to come.

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 7 – Tree Trouble

Have you realised how much I love family traditions yet?  Some of these are of our own creating but many have been handed down to us from our respective families.  One of these is putting the tree up on the 1st of December.

As hard as it is each November, to resist the temptation of all those beautiful Christmas decorations, I restrain until the 1st of December.

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Our Elves greet us on the morning of the 1st of December, wrapped in tree, lights and decorations!  A sign of the day ahead! 

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 5.54.28 AMThe decorations come out of storage!  This is a picture from last year, we now have 4 storage bins of Christmas paraphernalia!  We store it all in the roof cavity during the year.

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This embarassing Mother has started her own tradition which requires all children to wear Chrsitmas Tree Shirts.  Little Miss A, is wearing Master O’s hand me down shirt that I made for him when he was 2!!!  Look how little they were last year!

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 With the Christmas carols blaring, the tree goes up! Lights first and then  Little Miss A’s very thoughtful decorating! 

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 5.51.54 AMLuckily Master O is more like his mother and had all the decorations sorted by colour! Check out his shirt!  We have managed for it to fit three years in a row! We are going with the same colour theme as last year.  Red, Aqua and Silver.

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with some careful and subtle rearranging the tree is up and decorated all except for…. THE STAR!!!!  First it was lost, then I found it and in my excitement I snapped it!  Then whilst searching for last years Christmas photos…..

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 I found this picture….notice the top?  We didn’t even use the star last year anyway!  This has given me some new inspiration! and it also reminded me of how I decorated the TV unit!  Note to self, take more photos of the house decorations! 

So are you a 1st of December Traditionalist as well? 

Day 6 – Calendar Chaos and Elf Clue Cards – Set 2

Oh I am struggling to keep up with all these CRAZY Elf Antics!

Day 6 – Is the last day of November so our Advent Calendars have arrived!  This year I have gone with cheap and simple!  Each child got a $3 Chocolate Calendar!  Our Elves delivered them with our hanging fabric stocking calendar and would you believe it they had bought a calendar for themselves and attacked the chocolates!!!!

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I can’t believe we are ready for the second set of CLUE CARDS!

Here they are the next 8 Elf Antic Ideas

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[download id=”10″]

Simply, DOWNLOAD, PRINT and ENJOY!!!!!

2013 – My Christmas Elf – Day 5 – Reading Rewards (The Book Basket)

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 5.40.25 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 5.42.24 AMToday’s Antic and Adventure was timed specifically to coincide with the last day of school.

To reward Master O for all of his hard work at SChool this year we bought him a new book. Books are given for every special occasion in our house.  In the front cover we write  a message outlining the occasion and date.  This is a tradition passed to me form my own mother.  On a recent trip to her house I just loved reading the front covers of books given to me (in the Early 80’s!) detailing “The Loss of my first tooth” “Congratulations on a great Ballet Exam” etc. 

This year I searched for a book with a positive message for children.  I was in luck when I  stumbled upon this “AWESOME” book.

"An Awesome Book" By Dallas Clayton

“An Awesome Book” By Dallas Clayton

You can literally READ the book HERE.

“An Awesome Book”  is all about dreaming big.  About children not loosing sight of their dreams no matter how crazy they seem.  It really bought home the fact that already Master O has begun to dream about material items instead of creativity and imagination.  This book really hit a nerve with me and hopefully with him too.

 I definitely recommend it and its sequels to all readers aged 3-9. 

Of course life intervenes and the book didn’t arrive from The Book Depository in time! So the Book Basket was a surprise enough on it’s own!

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I have written many, many times about our book baskets, but put simply it is a basket of books, grouped together of a similar theme.  We do this for The Start of School, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Anzac Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc.  Usually the Book Basket is a plain white basket but the Christmas one is a little more special!  I picked this basket up last year at The Reject Shop. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 5.38.37 AMOver the years we have accumulated quite a lot of Christmas Books!  

We try to have a mix of Traditional, Modern and Religious.  A favourite is the Jolly Christmas Postman filled with letters and envelopes to explore and read.

This Basket has now found a home in the playroom for the festive season.  In a place where little hands can easily access and explore reading them. 

Do you have a favourite Christmas Book?