My ever patient husband gifted me an early Christmas present last week and when I received it, the heavens parted, beams of golden light shone down on me and a choir of angels sang. I am the gushing owner of the very first pieces of my very own Christmas village, something I have longed for years to have. “It’s for my German heritage”, I’d tell him in defence and he’d simply mutter “Oh my God” under his breath before walking off. And who can blame him. The man has to withstand all sorts of RCB (Ridiculous Christmas Behaviour) from me every year come November. But the winds are changing. Just the other day he came home smiling and handed me a stack of children’s Christmas books to add to our December collection, and I don’t know which one of you stole him and sent him back with a full set of Christmas genes but I’m forever grateful.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em — the war cry of husbands everywhere who live with crazy Christmas wives.
After we bought the village pieces, he went online searching for the best street lamps to set up “because don’t you think it could use a little more light?”. Obviously, I fainted dead cold on the floor and a week later, I’m still trying to recover.
Each year at Christmas we’ll add to our village, and Mr Krause at the hotdog stand is happy about that because he always sells fresh out of hot dogs and could use a little friendly competition.
The thing is this: it’s late November, and I’m not going to go all Clark Griswold and shove a store full of tinsel down your throat, (nobody needs to see my living room just yet) but the smell of pine and cinnamon is strong, you guys. I feel it’s my duty to share. So without further ado, let’s dress in plaid, sip on mulled wine and say the word Hark a lot.
Ten favourite things I love about Christmas:
- Christmas Jammies
I get excited at the sight of little bodies in matching jams, and I can already see the memories being made: visiting our neighbourhood light displays in them, carolling at home in them, Christmas movie nights in them, the magic of Christmas eve in them and then waking up Christmas morning to check if Santa has been. So many favourite traditions represented in the matching Christmas jammies, special are they so. Joel says something about “are they supposed to look that tacky” but let’s just be clear from the start: the man knows nothing about cute Christmas fashion. They’re Nordic. It’s for my European heritage.
Found on eBay here. (Ignore the part where it says it’s from Hong Kong. It’s en route THROUGH Hong Kong from a quaint snow covered fishing village in Scandinavia. Lots of pine trees grow there. Tiny fawn everywhere.)
2. Advent Countdown
Baking gingerbread cookies, doing Christmas crafts, trips to Santaland, our annual photo with Santa — there is great excitement as the kids rush to the advent boxes each morning to find out their activity of the day. It’s a lovely way to create memories with your family and spend December being together.
3. Ornament of the Year
One of my favourite traditions — we get the kids a special ornament every year to hang on the tree — something representative of what they’ve done or what they’ve loved that year. I love the idea of my Christmas tree filled with stories and memories, a tree that keeps getting added to year after year, from waddling toddlers to gappy-toothed primary schoolers to uni kids.
Ella’s is for her intense love of swimming and how amazing she’s gotten in the water with her swimming skills this year, and Billy’s for his INDESTRUCTIBLE love of the garbage truck. Every Friday morning when he hears the faint rumble of its gears in the distance, he drops whatever he’s doing and bolts for the front door yelling “tuck! tuck!”. It’s his thing. And it’s super endearing.
It’s very hard finding a good range of ornaments in Australia — I ordered these on Etsy from the states here.
4. Elf on the Shelf
Once I got it, Elf on the Shelf was stacks of fun last year, our little Hiccup getting into all sorts of mischief (Mummy! He’s got my band aids! Stop him!). We look forward to more silly Hiccup childhood magic come December.
5. Christmas Linens
Another thing which makes me insanely happy: cosy, cheerful, Christmas sheets. Kids tucked in beds reading Christmas stories, the magic of Christmas eve — sheets to me are another way I can envisage cosy Christmas scenes. I’ll take two sets.
Ella’s sheets from here. Billy’s sheets from Spotlight’s Christmas material section – you can run a easy hem with a sewing machine, or just keep it as is. Two metres worth fits his cot.
6. Reindeer Food
Ella has already started asking when we can make reindeer food – it’s a favourite Christmasy thing around here. Oats for energy, flour for flying power, glitter to make Rudolph’s nose extra shiny; you can make up all sorts of cool things each ingredient if for. Kids love it.
7. Christmas Stories
At the start of December, we swap out our usual favourite books for our Christmas ones. They all add to the magic of Christmas and ignite little children’s imagination. Read them tucked up in bed under fairy lights for maximum enjoyment.
8. North Pole Video
I love doing a video from Santa each year. We use the Portable North Pole – free or very inexpensive options to create a personalised video for your child direct from Santa at the North Pole. Amplifies Christmas magic. Love.
9. Annual Christmas Card
This year, Joel wants to take the whole ‘cheesy family picture’ route complete with ugly sweaters and santa hats and stiff bodies perched on old-fashioned arm chairs. It’s a fun thing, planning our card, sending it out and letting our people know how much we love them.
10. Christmas Lights
Not only the twinkle of our tree and the million fairy lights I string up, but visiting our local church light display, going for night walks checking out all the neighbourhood houses lit up — lights are to Christmas as crisp beers are to seafood: essential. We look forward to their magic every year.
Above all, and most importantly, Christmas means family, getting cosy, and settling into a rhythm of being together, being grateful, creating and strengthening traditions, celebrating our village and, as always, writing the story of us.
Happy nearly-December, friends.
Go put some fairy lights on something.
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . .means a little bit more!”