Yesterday was a bit of a bit of a flop in the christmas challenge. I read Louis and Elena (or sang rather) the Kiwi version of the 12 days of Christmas. And then I thought we could write our own version, with all our favourite things… which was where things went wrong. I may be slightly overestimating my 2 year old son’s interest in writing songs and taking photographs. (And the song is unfinished. I’ll keep you posted. I’ve decided it is the answer to my creative-and-brief-family-christmas-letter-conundrum.) (I do like dashes.)

Today is miserable outside – perfect weather for a DVD. My sister bought Louis a Thomas the Tank Engine one last year – ‘Thomas’ Snowy Surprise!’

(Not my image but I’ve paid my dues by linking to their website. Merchandise much?)

After watching all the stories we played the ‘sing a long’ and then the games, one of which was ‘Match the Snowflake’.

Louis was rather taken with the pretty snowflakes, which made me think of another christmas craft we could do: snow flake making! And as watching a dvd, even a dvd with games, feels like a bit of a cop out, I thought we’d double up today and do both…- and it’s all to do with christmas, or rather ‘the holiday season’.

I had saved this image on pinterest a while ago – it’s not mine, therefore, and it will link you to the website of the woman to whom it belongs.

This was the simplest of the three and worked out beautifully.

If I’m honest, and I generally am, I drew, cut and even opened the snowflakes, but they gave the kids so much joy I don’t care if I technically did everything. Louis threw them around the room and made them fly, Elena had a good scrunch and munch, so I’m labelling this particular christmas craft a success! Might even try to hang them up in the windows.

As to christmas challenges earlier in the week, monday was the mad day (ie. the day off), tuesday was catch-up: present wrapping and clove-in-orange-candle-holders, and wednesday… rats, I’ve forgotten. Oh, right, letter from santa! Easy to forget, that.

Here’s what I mean by clove-in-orange-candle-holders. Cloves pressed into oranges makes the most divine smell – inherently christmassy. Don’t ask me why. Don’t argue with me. It’s just my opinion, but I love them.

step 1: make a whole in the orange skin with a toothpick

step 2: select your clove (one that isn’t broken)

step 3: jam the clove in the hole (if you can find it)

Turning it into a candle-holder (especially a safe one) is a bit tricky. You must ensure the orange is going to sit flat and stay that way: so you stick a bunch of cloves around the base till it sits right. Then you cut a cross in the top, after removing the green bit (sure, I could look up what it’s called but then you’d have to look up what it meant… probably). I cut out the center bit and then pulled back the peal just far enough to get the candle in.

Note: I did cut off bits of the candle so that the bottom was kind of pointy. Or pointier. (‘Pointier’ is an actual word folks. There you go; learn something every day, and today it’s not the name of a bit of an orange.)

If you have a ton of oranges, an artistic streak and a bit of courage, you might want to attempt something more ambitious:

Again, not my image. Flogged from via, you guessed it, pinterest. I was going to give this a go, but I suspect my attitude toward Louis’ involvement might have changed for the worse.

It occurs to me now that a load of people and cultures might take offence at making decorations out of food – food we don’t intend to eat but could have, had we not messed with it. What can I say? I’m the product of a very wasteful culture, it’s true, but on the other hand these are christmas decorations that are entirely biodegradable and aren’t made by impoverished children, losing their eyesight, in a fire-trap of a factory for eighteen hours a day… It’s impossible to please everyone.