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Thank You Cards

Thank You Cards

I always try and send thank you cards on behalf of my daughter who’s three because I find it really touching to see how kind my friends and family are to her. The gifts are always so perfect too. These cards are so easy- cut leftover cardboard from toys in to square. Use leftover wrapping paper and wrap the squares as you would a gift. Tie a ribbon round or stick on a bow. Use foam sticky squares or glue to stick present to card. Finish off with a thank you sticker or best wishes sticker. Hey presto- a lovely handmade thoughtful thank you card.

To anyone who gets one from us this year- these cards were extremely difficult to make and took hours ūüôā

Show someone you care with a handmade card

Happy New Year

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What Is Santa Bringing You This Year?

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I don’t want to come over all saintly but I do get a little annoyed that all people seem to ask my little girl about Christmas is ‘What Is Santa Going To Bring You’

I’m really pleased that her first Christmas at big school is quite traditional and I’m really conscious about giving her the same experiences I had when I was growing up. When she’s older she can make her own decisions about how she wants to spend Christmas.

We went to the Christingle Ceremony last week- a Church of Wales service organised with the Reverend and her school. To me it encompassed¬†everything I think Christmas is all about-family, celebrating our children and the wonderful qualities and talents they have, joining with your community and thinking of others-after all in essence that’s what the story of the bible is about. Believer or non believer.

I wouldn’t say I was particularly religious but I do think the values of Christianity are crucial to a happy life. You don’t have to believe in God to want to live an honest and kind life. That’s what I want my little girl to grow up understanding.

So I’m struggling to find ways of ensuring she knows that Christmas isn’t about the presents you get.

After the Christingle service she was given the symbol of Christmas-an orange with¬†a red ribbon, a candle and sweets on cocktail sticks. The sweets represent temptation. As I was driving home I thought ‘Those sweets will not last two minutes in our house’. But I thought I’d give my little girl the responsibility of looking after the orange until Christmas. One sweet went immediately but I’m really proud to say that five days later the rest are all still there and she checks it every day. For a three year old this shows amazing restraint-I’m really proud of her. I hope it teaches a little about being patient and not being greedy.

Being three she has just started ‘I want, I want’ and tonight she asked for a certain book for Christmas to which I replied ‘We don’t ask for what we want-Santa brings us what he thinks you’ll like’

And I know Santa has bought her way too much. and I’m sure that Santa must be relatively poor after all that shopping.

So what is Christmas if not all about the gifts- here are some of my ideas:

  • Spending time together-go to church, go for a walk in a forest collecting holly or fir cones to spray gold, go to a pantomime or just play games together
  • Christmas is about magical stories-read A Night Before Christmas together, read the story of the nativity, read Peppa Pig Christmas stories-whatever takes your fancy.
  • Make your own decorations-baked sliced oranges in the oven, make a fairy from a doily, make felt decorations to hang. There’s loads of ideas on the internet for all ages.
  • Do something kind-donate to charity, visit the animal centre with gifts, visit someone who’s not very well or make someone a handmade present
  • Do all the fun things that make Christmas magical-talc footprints on the carpets, porridge oats left outside for Santa, carrot-milk and cookie left out the night before, the sound of jingle bells outside as the sleigh comes
  • Go for a walk and enjoy the changing seasons. Christmas is a good time to get wrapped up warm and go outside.
  • Get your little ones to help decorate cards and wrap presents.
  • Give unwanted toys to charity shops

Don’t get me wrong-my little girl is totally spoilt-my house isn’t bare of decorations and I’m no bah humbug. I just don’t want to lose some of the more important parts of Christmas.

Do you?

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TOP SANTA STUFF FOR KIDS

There’s a huge amount of fun stuff online to entertain your children -here are a few fab ideas for you to try this Christmas:

  • Get a personalised video message from Santa where he speaks their name, shows a photograph of them and says whether they’ve been a good boy/ girl this year. It’s free if you do it online but the app is ¬£2.49. At the same time you can get a birthday message for Santa too where Mrs Clause kindly bakes your child a virtual birthday cake.
  • Add a free app called Fake Call To Santa– I love this one. On screen it looks like Santa is calling-there is a jingle bells theme tune and you press connect to take the call from Santa. My little girl loved this-we were having a ‘I’m tired and I’m going to rebel against life’ moment so I said “Santa won’t call if you are being a bit naughty”. With that I left the phone outside of the baby gate. Next thing she asked to go and clean her teeth before bed-snatched the mobile phone, ran in the corner of her bedroom and tried dialling Santa. Love it!
  • Don’t pay for a letter from Santa-there are tons of websites out there that give you access to letters you can amend and download to print. Add some porridge oats in a clear bag as reindeer food and you have a lovely little surprise.
  • Go on You Tube and type in Santa songs and get in the Christmas mood-warning! I did this for my little girl tonight and turned up the volume for a Christmas song-out blasted ‘There’s no presents for Christmas because you’ve all been little sh*ts! Ooooops that volume went down¬†quickly

  • Use Pinterest for cool ideas of Christmas goodies to bake and make. You can never run out of inspiration

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  • Track Santa to find out how many days, hours and minutes are left until Santa arrives, check out the North Pole¬†, play¬†games and listen to music on one of the best Santa websites NORAD. Add to your favourites so you can visit this site easily as many times a day as you want.
  • Christmas colouring- keep them entertained on a cold or rainy day with printable activity sheets. I love these join the dot sheets-free and good fun
  • I found a great talking book too online about ‘How The Elves Save The Day’ -great for learning

I’ve loved writing this blog-I hope you’ve loved reading it.

Merry Christmas

Thank you to my work colleague for passing on some top tips

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Too Busy For Christmas?

 My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.

Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?

Bob Hope

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My little girl started ‘big school’ a month ago and a little list of 30 children’s names appeared in her folder which she brings home every Friday. ‘Not sure why I’d need this’ I said as I stuffed it in the school stuff drawer. A few days later it dawned on me-it was so we could send Christmas cards to the entire class.

I went white and considered:

  • Not sending any
  • Buying pre printed stickers with a message on
  • Only sending to the names my girl mentioned
  • Losing the list

So I asked some other mums and found a mixed bag response-most of which made me laugh- one mum said she was sending cards to the class, one mum couldn’t be bothered to send any and one mum said she’d send to the whole school! Ok I draw the line at that one!

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit Googling these sorts of questions but it’s been a long time since I went to school. So I googled about card sending etiquette.

I got a whole new set of responses to a question I am obviously not the only one to ask (Now feel better)- these made me feel so different.

  • One mum said that imagine if my little girl didn’t get any cards at all and everyone else did-how would she feel?
  • One mum pointed out that making the little ones choose who they send cards to is starting to segregate other children straight away
  • Another said that the children’s enjoyment of getting cards was well worth the effort.

So with all this advice what did I do?

Coming home from school on Friday my daughters bag had four Christmas cards inside-her little face lit up as I told them that they were for her and my little face (!) lit up too as I saw them. As I read out who had sent them to her she told me a little story about each of the children who sent it.

So after this heart warming experience¬†I decided not to send any cards this year-I’m sorry but I am too busy.

I’m joking!!! I went out and bought a box of cards and wrote them all without a moan-my daughter added her own squiggles to some of the cards too.

I was reminded that life can be so busy that you forget what’s important-and that’s people. (Or animals)

I will try not to sacrifice people over time.

Today we popped down to see a friend who’s little boy has been very poorly-we took him some early Christmas presents and some chocolate and helped cheer him and his mum up.

We wrapped our Mr X present for a little 9 year old boy in a local orphanage and I explained to my daughter that some children aren’t lucky enough to have lots of presents so we bought them one.

I paid for three dogs in the dogs home to have a Christmas lunch too.

There’s so much more I want to do- I discovered a little boy called Josh on Twitter- a 13 year old boy who has been left severely disabled by a reoccurring brain tumour. I found him because we share a love of Zumba. This courageous little boy raises money for other children and his Twitter account is an inspirational account of a young boy who offers sincere gratitude to the people who help him or even just those who Tweet him.

His latest tweet shows how selfless he is:

My sats have dropped, had to have a trip to the hospital in an ambulance with blue lights flashing. Thank you @NWAmbulance for taking me

I will be giving a small donation to his charity to wish him a Merry Christmas.

So I hope I’ve inspired you a little bit to make sure you take time out to make someone’s Christmas but more importantly ensure that our children know that the real meaning of Christmas is not in the presents we get but in the love we give.

You can follow Josh on Twitter @JourneyJoshuas or donate via his website http://www.joshwilson.org.uk/2013-christmas-cards-now-on-sale/

Thanks so much for reading my blog today