My Mindful Christmas Plans are well underway and for a change I actually feel organised and calm about Christmas. Letting go of all the hype and expectation makes it easier. Focusing on what’s important feels better.
So without further ado, our Christmas Plans . . .
Tradition and Meaning
Teaching the kids about giving to those less fortunate
I wanted to show the kids that there are people less fortunate themselves, people they can help. I thought I might do this via volunteering, however many organisations are overwhelmed by offers of help at Christmas and it’s the other 364 days of the year they could really use our help.
So instead we will give the kids an allowance to choose a gift for their Day Care and Kindergarten to give via the World Vision website. Check out the inspirational accounts of my fellow bloggers’ recent visit to India for World Vision if you’d like to know more about how your gift can help.
We’ll be looking for other ways we can help in the new year. There are opportunities like social visits and becoming walking buddies to help people in your community. Check websites like www.govolunteer.com.au to find opportunities in your local area.
A thoughtful Advent Calendar
Our Advent Calendar is up and running. I haven’t filled all the pockets yet, choosing to see what’s on each week before deciding on good activities and outings. The kids love it, and I’m wondering whether to use the envelopes for mini gift cards or keep them for next year’s calendar! See how we made our coastal advent calendar here.
We are following the old Victorian guide to gift giving:
We’ve decided to focus on experiences as the main gift. For example, Crash Girl really wants to dance. So dance classes it is, which can be nicely supplemented with “something to wear” gifts of dance shoes and outfit. For CrashBoy, he needs to be as active as possible to wear him out. So we figure he ‘needs’ a sports activity or class of some kind, perhaps accompanied by a rugby ball ;). What he really wants is ‘Batman’. Whilst I wouldn’t be adverse to a visit from Christian Bale, I guess I’ll be trawling eBay instead.
A Frugal Christmas
Actually, when it comes to shopping, I’d rather avoid the madness of shopping malls and happily scroll through eBay. I’ve been given a $200 Paypal credit from eBay so I can crash test their site for Christmas shopping. I haven’t spent it yet, but their categories for gift ideas will make it easy to find some great deals. For example, there is currently 50% off Christmas sale in the official Deals Direct online department store or save up to 68% on gifts handpicked by eBay, or 80% off plus size fashion label City Chic. I usually think of eBay for second hand goods, but 83% of all items available for sale are actually new items. You can buy everything from discounted designer brands to great handmade or hand crafted gifts. Another section I’ll hit up is Booktopia Bookstores – yep, on eBay!
One of the reasons I don’t like shopping in the big retail stores here is that your choice is so limited. Not so on eBay. Believe me, I’ve just spent an hour looking at Batman costumes! I asked CrashHubby what he wanted for Christmas and he said “a deck”. Not sure I’ll find one of those on eBay! Or maybe . . .
If you do venture into the stores, please leave your credit card at home. We will not be using our credit card this year. It’s just not worth it. Instead consider pressing CHQ or SAV at the checkout to help eftpos raise $1 million for Vision Australia in their annual Giveback campaign.
I’m going to do my best to make some Christmas presents this year.
Something to wear . . .
My first attempt is an infinity scarf or circle scarf. This is my kind of sewing because it only involves one seam and minimal straight cutting!
I made it following this tutorial from some lovely Japanese stretch knit I bought from Spotlight (140cm x 180cm). I’ve made two for $30 because I ended up cutting the scarf in half because it was just too big and bulky. The result is a lovely summer weight scarf that can be worn as a shawl too
Something to play with . . .
Any presents ‘From Santa’ to the kids will be hand made too. If not by me, then by someone else. Earlier in the year I was sent some great handmade felt toys by Mel of Creative Wishes.
CrashBoy is really into pirates and loved his Pirate costume and play set. You could spend more on a plastic set made in China, or you could support Work At Home Mums like Mel. Mel has kindly donated one of her felt sets as a giveaway (see end of the post for details).
Still kind of handmade . . .
Makedo Kits - so you know how the favourite toy is usually the cardbox box that something came in? Well, go with it and give your cardboard crazy kid a Makedo kit for Christmas to stimulate their creative play. They can use the reusable connectors and lock-hinges to upcycle all sorts of materials into fun new toys. The CrashKids loved the find and make Plane kit we were sent and worked with their Dad to make their own plane from cereal boxes and an egg carton. And I made this cute little cardboard Christmas Tree!
I’m giving away a Makedo find and make Plane kit (see end of the post for details).
Hand raised . . .
Mr Fothergills Seeds have a Little Gardeners range of cute plant kits for kids. There are 500ml Windowsill Pots, the varieties include Lolly Plant (Stevia), a healthy alternative to sugar that is three hundred times sweeter, Lemonade Plant (Lemon Balm), Mini Strawberry (Alpine Strawberry) and Mini Tomato. And the bigger 1500ml Grow & Create products including Flower Power, with edible flowers like Pansies and Nasturtiums (shown in pictures below), Tickling Mimosa, an intriguing plant that responds to touch, Mini Sunflowers and Mini Tomato. The photo of CrashGirl’s Flower Power pot is taken 2 weeks after planting. She is delighted and checks it every day! The Windowsill Pots are perfect for the kids’ stocking and the bigger pots would be a great present for any kid. Available at Bunnings, Kmart and independent garden retailers or check them out online at www.mrfothergills.com.au.
I’m giving away three prize packs consisting of all the products in the range: eight pots in each pack: four varieties of Windowsill pots and four varieties of Grow and Create pots. See details at end of the post.
Something to eat . . .
Other handmade gifts for our families will come from Sarah Wilson’s new I Quit Sugar Christmas Meal Plans eBook (aff). How good does this Pumpkin Ginger Spice Granola look?
Image from Sarah’s new Christmas Meal Plans eBook
I’m going to trawl through the local op shops for some jars to fill. I’m also going to try making Sarah’s Christmas Trifle which has a meringue base with berry coulis and reminds me a bit of Eaton Mess. You can buy Sarah’s Christmas Meal Plans for $12. Click here to visit Sarah Wilson.(aff link). Another great gift idea is the new Christmas Gift Card (also aff link) which provides a printable voucher to download both the I Quit Sugar eBook 8 week program and cookbook for $29.
Last but not least is our ideas for handmade Christmas decorations. Did you notice the cute little owls and birds on my Makedo Christmas tree above? They are from an easy peasy fabric project at Spotlight. I met the team from Spotlight earlier this year and they gave me some great Christmas fabric which has instructions for making decorations printed on it. Too easy for me! Loved doing these. I just ironed the fabric onto Vleisofix (check out how to do that here) and then cut them out. I told you it was easy!
On of our activities in the Advent calendar will to be to make Saltdough Christmas trees again, because CrashBoy must have taken a bit out of every one we made last year! You can see how we made out Salt Dough Christmas Trees here.
And that’s a wrap!!!!
What a mammoth Crash Test this one was. I’m glad Christmas only comes once a year!
Linking up with Essentially Jess because I Blog on Tuesdays ;)
Now, about those giveaways I mentioned . . .
Giveaways are for my valued community members only. You can sign up over at the Community site: www.crashtestmummies.com/registration so you get the email with all the Christmas Giveaways!
Creative Wishes Felt Handmade Costumes Giveaway http://ht.ly/fNRyi
Makedo Find and Make Plane Kit Giveaway http://ht.ly/fNRHa
Mr Fothergills Little Gardeners Gift Pack Giveaway http://ht.ly/fNRQo
And here’s a chance to win Family Ground Passes to the Australian Open 2013:
Disclosure: For the purposes of this post I received product from Makedo, Mr Fothergills Seeds, Creative Wishes, Spotlight and a $200 Paypal voucher from eBay.