Christmas all Wrapped Up…

How was your lead up to Christmas? Mine usually starts to really warm up in November and then speeds up to warp speed in the last week. There are so many things when put together, make an entire Christmas season experience. Here’s a little snippet of mine…

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November saw gift purchases and I decided to try something new and signed up to be an Elf on Fat Mum Slim’s The Gift Exchange, so some minor stalking for my giftee was on the cards. I loved being a secret Elf, having a bit of fun buying something for someone I didn’t know while at the same time being on the receiving end from my secret Elf. The limit was US$20 (plus postage) and I must admit I chose to go over the limit only because I had so much fun imagining what my giftee and her family would enjoy.

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Presents I sent to my giftee

In return, the present I received was just lovely… a beautiful locally made necklace by Ruby Olive and L’Occitane hand cream, one of my favourite brands. How can an Elf get things so right?!  At the end of the day our little community had a ball seeing what everyone received in our Facebook group and the most special part was our US$5 sign up fee (totalling $6600 which Olympus then matched) going to the Rafiki Mwema charity. A lovely charity helping and supporting young girls in Kenya.

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Present from my secret Elf

Moving into early December, one of my favourite Christmas celebrations is held in our little town.  A night starting with a parade through town, where they divert the highway and you can choose whether you would like to partake in the parade or join the 100’s of spectators who line the street.  The shops are open late, there’s dance shows, photos with Santa and it takes you hours to walk from one end of town to the other – everyone’s out and up for a catch up.

For the past few years the kids and their friends have decorated their bikes, popped reindeer ears on their helmets and rode behind the Town Crier leading the parade. This year was no different except for the embarrassing mummy moment… I was walking IN the parade and tripped over my own feet right in front of a large crowd lined street in front of the pub. There I lay sprawled in the middle of the road (lucky I wasn’t wearing a dress!).

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So many great photos taken by Red Berry Photography our talented local photographer

My friends walking with me in the parade laughed, a lot (as you do) and a very nice guy from the pub crowd helped me up. I did continue walking the remainder of the parade with a big smile on my very red face while my hands were quietly screaming and an egg accompanied with bruising was forming on my knee under my jeans.

My husband missed the incident and was trawling Facebook the next day looking for footage, he was sure someone caught my ungraceful fall in the main street (none that I know of so far). This was probably a warning for what was to be an eventful couple of months.

Fun times ensued with my other favourite Christmas tradition, a girls Christmas catch up dinner. Love my girlfriends and our secret Santa gifts. We were chauffeured to and from the restaurant by one tolerant husband, then presented with individual bottles of homemade Bailey’s as we arrived, a surprise from our girlfriend at Higgledy Piggledy Produce and Larder (we’re spoilt) YUM! The night’s always a guaranteed laugh, fun, dancing and more memories created, not to mention a headache.

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Homemade Bailey’s… YUM!

 More Christmas celebrations followed, this time with work colleagues, a combination of a laughter filled, civilised dinner followed a week later with a hilarious bingo filled fancy dress lunch. Bingo you say?! It was one of those “you had to be there” moments, oh how my sides hurt from laughing. My girlfriend and I took out joint Best Dressed, which was of course a great choice and we will be treating ourselves to a couple of lovely lunches with our winnings!

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Best Dressed winners are grinners

 I got my creative side on and made a Christmas tree by spray painting a branch white. I found a rather large branch at the skate park which sparked the idea. The branch didn’t seem large at the time and I persuaded it into my car. It fitted nicely into the Christmas tree stand I usually put the live one in, once I chopped 700mm off the end so it could fit into the house… whalah!

My littlest helper surprised me with some tree trimming flair and I gave up some decorating control, you know… colours not too close to each other, appropriate spacing etc.  Who would have thought?!

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Very hard to take a photo which did this creation justice

Then there were my efforts at bleaching pine cones which is still a work in progress. I underestimated the length of duration needed for soaking and drying, ok I left it too late but I did it anyway. The outcome however is looking good and I can’t wait to put them to use. I had no idea soaking pine cones would make them close up and then open back up when they are drying (very slowly depending on the weather).  I found this clever idea from Stonegable with great instructions, yes she did mention the drying time! The activity also doubled up as an “experiment” my youngest is into at the moment.

I love Christmas and the decorations, yes I like to have a colour scheme and all that’s involved. In the past few years I’ve put the decorations up with only a couple of weeks to go but this year I don’t know if I caught the over-excited bug from my 6 year old, but the decorations went up early and we enjoyed them all December. It was spesh!

And then there’s the Christmas carols, oh how I love thee and my boys know it. We get the candles out and sing along with the warm up session with Sydney’s Carols in the Domain. We always follow it up with our favourite, Melbourne’s amazing Carols by Candlelight from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Always a joy (husband doesn’t share said joy)! My dream one year will be to go to the carols, hat, candles, appropriate Christmas attire and song book in tow. One day…  I have been known to pull out my son’s guitar amp and hook up the microphone, dig out my piano music Christmas carol books and get the Christmas spirit flowing (but only when my sisters and mum are in town and of course they egg this on).

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Carols by candlelight

A few last minute creations were assembled in the lead up week. My 6 year old missed not having my mum’s gingerbread house this year so I picked up an $8 build your own gingerbread house from Kmart and bingo! We put it together relatively easy and sampled all the decorations to make sure they looked and tasted great. He was pleased and I was too, not realising he’s the only one who likes to eat it!

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Kmart $8 build it yourself gingerbread house

Then there’s pudding, you either like it or you don’t. For those who don’t enjoy pudding, in our house this year we put a twist on it and made a Triple Layer Ice Cream Pudding I found on Bake Play Smile. It was very easy to make and looked and tasted great. Very pleased with that one and will be making different versions of this in the future, oh yes!

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Triple Layer Ice Cream Pudding

Christmas day was great family time, lots of delicious Poachers Pantry ham (our favourite every year), turkey by our local butcher, fun times watching all the kids enjoying their presents and not one but two cricket matches at the local oval.

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Family cricket one day match

Looking back on that long month or so, I don’t know how I managed to fit work in, end of school and sporting commitments and all those other things that pop up. Well to be honest there were a few catch ups I missed out on with my friends (because I was sleeping) and things I couldn’t help them with (because I had to rest) and many other things I didn’t get to do but life goes on.

November I found myself with a middle ear blockage, glandular fever reared its ugly head again and to top that right off I’m ending December with an introduction to cluster headaches. Just lovely but I’m sure with an improved outlook in quite a number of areas, that will have covered me for illnesses in 2016 too.

I had to do an awful lot of resting which I did do and had no choice, which is why I think I enjoyed doing all the festive season creations and events so much. “Make the most of what you can do, only when you can and are able”

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Everyone has their storey, their own Christmas storey, with endings that vary as much as our lives. This was a little insight into mine. There is so much more I could have talked about, the troubles of those close to me, the excitement of the kids and their crazy wish lists but if you’ve read this far I don’t want to lose you now.

My family, the one’s that I didn’t choose (and love) and those friends I choose as my family is what this time is about for me. That’s what is so special to me.  My hope is that you had a lovely time with your friends and your family.

Let’s look to 2016 as a wonderful year and opportunity for us all.

Bling and Butterflies xo


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