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Ten Things To Try This Christmas

I am LOVING this time of year - I really am SUCH a Christmas Fairy (something Stephen enjoys and sighs about in equal measure). This year, despite hecticrazymanic year-end deadlines and To Do lists, I am determined to give my family the gift of a Christmas EXPERIENCE. Often small but memorable moments that will hopefully become traditions in years to come. (Please don't get me wrong, it's nothing major at ALL - just a conscious effort to try and be "in the moment" in the days leading up to Christmas instead of rushing around for weeks and becoming not-so-nice to live with in the process!)

So here's my check-list for this year - please share any of YOUR ideas in the comments below!

1. Tis the Season to Buy Christmas Lights

At ten months, Isabella is still too small to enjoy a lot of what we are doing - but for her, I have tried to find loads of twinkly lights. And I have put them EVERYWHERE - above the kitchen cupboards (so very Nigella!), surrounding the pot rack over the kitchen island, on the Christmas tree, and decorating the book shelves in the dining room. We even found the most gorgeous reindeer at @Home that lights up - probably Isabella's favorite thing in the whole house at the moment!

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2. Tis the Season to be Baking

While Kayla is definitely a "gifts" person, her love language is definitely TIME. She absolutely craves one-on-one time with each of her parents and is often a nicer person to be around once her little emotional tank has been filled. So this year, we're baking up a storm - just the two of us. So far, we have made the Christmas Cake and a few batches of mince pies. Next on our list is a Gingerbread House (although I think I might need to be VERY drunk to get through it. It looks HARD. Needless to say, I am on the lookout for a special kit to help keep our mistakes to a minimum!)

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3.  Tis the Season to Find a New Signature Dish

Each year, we make Christmas Ice-cream - so incredibly easy and perfect for a hot summer's day when Christmas Pudding seems overwhelming. (It's SO easy - simply mix two litres of softened vanilla ice-cream with a crumbled Christmas pudding. Refreeze!) This year, I have been on the lookout for another "signature dish" that we can make each year and add to our Christmas Traditions repertoire, and I found it! How clever is this? And it's something Kayla can make (with a little supervision)!

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4. Tis the Season for Christmas Morning Pancakes

This has to be THE cutest idea we have found - Christmas Reindeer Pancakes! Perfect for Christmas morning and so incredibly easy. Can't wait (for Stephen) to try these!

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5. Tis the Season to be Giving

We absolutely loved being part of Santa's Shoebox this year - an amazing initiative that will probably end up being one of our favorite Christmas memories. It somehow "grounded us" and reminded us about what's REALLY important. 

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6. Tis the Season to be Schmaltzy

With so many of the CUTEST ideas on Pinterest, it would be so easy to get carried away! So we have chosen just one project to do - this handprint Christmas Tree. I thought it would work so well right now with all our different-sized hands, especially Isabella's tiny little paw prints! I got the canvas and paints from Herbert Evans in Rosebank. It would also make a lovely gift for grandparents!

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7. Tis the Season to do Something Magical

There is so much happening at the moment, that choosing one thing was really hard. I adore Christmas Carols but the timing was off for us this year, so instead we will be visiting the breath-taking Garden of Lights at Emperors Palace - a magnificent winter wonderland for children and so worth the visit (if previous years are anything to go by). Also on our short-list was Sleeping Beauty on Ice at Montecasino, but we leave for our holiday the day it opens!

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8. Tis the Season for a Message from Santa

This is the third year we will be doing this for Kayla - it is SO worth the time it takes when you see the reaction on your children's face. And it's FREE! Visit the Portable North Pole and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to personalize Santa's message for your child. Brilliant!

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9. Tis the Season to Elf Yourself

Kayla's MAF (Mad Aunty Fiona) got us all hooked on Elf Yourself. Upload photos of each member of your family and then watch the resulting video of yourselves as "elves" singing and dancing. Hilarious!

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10. Tis the Season for the Night Before Christmas

I absolutely adore this Christmas poem and will keep reading it each Christmas until Kayla loses the will to live! We then change into our brand new Christmas Pajamas, leave some milk and cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer and go to bed. (Well, the children any way, the grown-ups still have a few chores to do!)

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