New year, new you? Is a Government job right for you?

New year, new you? Is a Government job right for you?

Gold Coast Mum presents this article in partnership with Chandler Macleod Group.

For many people, now is the time of year when they may take a step back and reassess their career or life path.

Working in the public service sector can be a rewarding career, not just because of the opportunity to potentially make a difference but it also tends to attract relatively high incomes and good work conditions.

While today’s economic climate makes it difficult to call any job ‘secure’, government employees have the peace of mind that if they are made redundant they will receive their entitlements and assistance in obtaining a new position.

While it has its perks, some people struggle with the processes and procedures involved in working for such a regulated organisation.

What are some pros and cons of a government job? Are you searching for some tips on how to land a public service role?

Get Some Advice
The best way to determine whether a government job is right for you is to talk with someone who has experience in public service. Government is a big employer, so chances are someone in your circle of friends works in the public sector.
If not, you can always reach out to a specialist human resources and recruitment agency like the Chandler Macleod Group for their advice on government jobs and whether it’d be a good move for you.

The Benefits
From administration to healthcare, infrastructure to policy, there are so many departments, roles and potential career paths in the government sector.
One of the biggest perks is the ability to be seconded to perform higher duties, work on projects or in another team while still maintaining your permanent original role.
Most government departments will help you to obtain qualifications and experience along a defined career path developed with your manager and where possible, vacancies will be filled from an internal pool of applicants first.

There are also generally quite generous leave entitlements, flexibility options and salaries.


The Drawbacks
Transitioning into a public service role from the private sector can be challenging – there are generally very rigid rules and procedures in place. Adherence to policy is often monitored closely. Some people find this style of working to be frustrating, no matter how regimented their previous position was.
Changes of government can also dramatically impact your work priorities and there tends to be quite high levels of public scrutiny in major (and minor) projects.
These cons aren’t necessarily going to be deal breakers for most people, but you do need to be prepared to put up with a certain level of ‘red tape’ in your work environment.  

How to Get a Government Job
The public sector can be notoriously difficult to break into. The application process and selection criteria tends to be in depth and rigorous. There’re also invariably far more suitable applicants vying for the roles than there are vacant positions.
Register with a recruitment agency to give yourself the best chance when searching for a government job. Recruitment agencies often have a number of government contracts on their books, particularly for contract and temporary roles. They’ll be able to help match you to a role that suits you career aspirations and your skills.  

Whether you are considering a move into local, state or federal government, the public service sector has so many options available. It’s an ‘industry’ that is perfect for any stage of your career from starting out right through to executive level positions.

If it’s something you’d like to pursue, start speaking to potential recruitment partners today.

Do you/have you worked in the public sector? What advice would you give to someone looking to start a public service career?  

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Disney - magical fun for the whole family

Disney - magical fun for the whole family

Oh how I do love all things Disney!
 
See this pic below. Oh yes, that's my younger sis and I, aged 8 and 9, with Donald Duck at LA's Disneyland.

 

Disneyland LA - 1991
 
 
And here's me pictured with both of my younger sisters at Disneyland Paris and Disney World Florida a couple of years later. We were very fortunate to be living overseas around this time - so it was quite convenient to enjoy an amazing holiday to each of these spectacular locations.
 

Disneyworld Florida - 1998
Disneyland Paris - 1997




Now, if you can cast your eyes off my gorgeous teen fashion sense (halter neck tops and Calvin Klein hotpants/ Adidas shorts - whoot whoo or my middle sister's Michael Jackson get-up), you may not be surprised to know that in my days as a wannabe pop star, my plan was to move overseas to become one of the Disney princesses so I could perform live on stage every day.

It didn't work out for me, however I do have a friend who I recently found out performed as a Disney Princess for a couple of years! How cool is that!

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm a Disney lover. SO...I'm totally excited to be sharing a Disney experience with my children in a few weeks!

Sssssh, don't tell them, but under the Christmas tree this year, Miss 4 and Mr 2 will be receiving tickets to the Brisbane performance of Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales
.

Miss 4 and Mr 2 will be beside themselves when we see Snow White, Cinderella and Belle in January.

They will be so excited. And I too will be just as excited to see the joy on their faces when they get to experience the pure magic of a live Disney performance.





Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales. This enchanting journey features more than 25 Disney characters in an unforgettable theatrical experience for all families.
©Disney. All Rights Reserved.


From Feld Entertainment®, the producers of Disney On Ice, this authentically-woven tale of “happily-ever-after” will take us on a wacky, fun-filled journey with Mickey, Minnie and all of our favourite Disney friends.

Recently, I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit Snow White at her castle. Here's what she had to say: 

Princess Snow White, it’s so great to get to talk to you. Thank you for inviting me to the castle.
“Well, thank you for visiting.  It’s always so much fun to have friends here.”

I was wondering, now that you and the Prince are married, is this where you live?
“Yes.  After he woke me from my sleep, the Prince brought me here.  Isn’t it pretty?  And everyone is so nice.  They love to sing and dance as much as I do."

I was going to ask you about your hobbies. Besides singing and dancing, what else do you like to do?
“Let’s see… Well, I love to garden and bake.  My friends the Dwarfs are always so happy when I bring them special treats.”

What is your favourite thing to bake for them?
“Oh, that’s easy – gooseberry pies!  Even Grumpy smiles when I bring a gooseberry pie to the cottage.”

How are the Seven Dwarfs?
“They’re wonderful!  They’re very busy in their diamond mine, but they’re much better now about keeping the cottage neat and tidy.  Doc told me that he makes sure they do their chores.”

Do you get to see them often?
“Yes, why just yesterday we had a picnic in the meadow.  And we played a very fun game of hide and go seek.  Bashful is very good at hiding, you know.”

I imagine he is.  Do you also spend holidays with the Dwarfs?
“Oh, yes.  The winter holidays are our favourites.  We decorate the cottage and the castle with pretty evergreens and dried berries.  And we all get together for a great big dinner and exchange presents.”

Oh, what will you be getting the Dwarfs this year?
“Can you keep a secret?”

Of course.
“Well, I’ve knitted them each a new hat and mittens to keep them toasty warm.  It gets so cold in the forest, and I wouldn’t want them to get the sniffles.”

One more question, Princess Snow White, do you have any words of wisdom for little girls who admire you?
“Oh, goodness… well, I always try to be kind and gentle to everyone, especially my animal friends.  And if someone is feeling a little sad, I listen and make sure to give them lots of warm hugs.”

Well, thank you, Princess. It has been a pleasure speaking with you.
“Thank you!  I had so much fun.  Please do visit us again soon.”

To spend more time with Snow White step into a world of wonder where wishing is only the beginning and dreams really do come true in Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales.

For tour dates and further information on Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, visit www.disneylive.com.au 


Brisbane - Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales                             
January 17 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Ticketek on 132 849 www.ticketek.com.au/disneylive

Cairns - Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales
January 21 at the Cairns Convention Centre
TicketLink on 1300 855 835 http://www.ticketlink.com.au

Townsville - Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales
January 24 and 25 at the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre
TECC on (07) 4771 4000 http://www.tecc.net.au


* Disclaimer: Gold Coast Mum will be receiving tickets to attend the performance. All opinions are my own as always.

Have you ever been to Disneyland? What are your favourite Disney memories? Who's your favourite Disney character?


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Christmas Craft Ideas - Handprint Canvas

Christmas Craft Ideas - Handprint Canvas







Christmas may be just around the corner, but it’s not too late to get your craft on & come up with some amazing creations with the kids!
Or, if you’ve left present shopping until the last minute, cute home-made gifts are always a hit for the Grandparents on Christmas Day!

‘Made-with-love’ gifts (or home-made) are enjoyable to make with the kids (as long as paint doesn’t end up all over the furniture or floor) and are something to be treasured by the lucky recipient.

The Handprint Christmas Canvas, pictured here (made by a friend who gave me permission to share her images) is an easy and effective project.





All you need is:
A canvas
Paint
Battery-operated Christmas lights (small set or even a flashing necklace might do the trick if positioned well).

How to:
Decorate the canvas with your family’s/kids’ hand prints. Wait for the paint to dry before making holes in the canvas and positioning the lights through the holes to create your very own lit-up Christmas Tree Canvas.


 
 
 
 
You can stock up on other goodies and craft supplies from Clever Patch and whip up a ‘made-with-love’ porcelain mug decorated with the fabulous glass and glazed porcelain markers. 
 
 






 
 
 
 
Stay tuned for Miss 4 and Mr 2’s creations. Will share when they have completed their masterpieces. ;-)

What are your favourite Christmas craft activities?
Gold Coast Mum was supplied with some Clever Patch goodies to enjoy. Check out their Christmas catalogue here: https://www.cleverpatch.com.au/catalogues/details/christmas-2014
As always, all opinions are my own.


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5 tips for an eco-friendly bedroom

5 tips for an eco-friendly bedroom


Gold Coast Mum presents this article in partnership with MiniJumbuk premium wool bedding products. 
 


If you’re considering taking an eco-friendly ethos to the bedroom, there’s good news on a number of fronts.

The basis of being eco-friendly is using sustainable and recycled products that are often produced from natural fibres. That means it’s good for your health and easy on your hip pocket. So you can also literally rest easy knowing you’re being kind to yourself and the environment.

Here are five ways to go eco in the boudoir:

Natural fibres
The kindest thing you can do for the environment is use products made from natural and renewable resources, whether that’s sustainably grown timber bed frames or wool quilts and down filled pillows. Natural fibres also tend to have great anti-allergen and insulation properties, meaning you’re far more likely to have a good night’s sleep amongst them. For example, wool bedding is known to draw moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool in winter and warm in winter, thereby reducing your heating and cooling costs. You can check out places such as the MiniJumbuk website for some great ideas and deals on woollen bedding.

Wood
Bedrooms tend to be enclaves for wooden furniture, be it your bedframe or bedside tables. These days most wood used for furniture is sustainably produced, meaning it comes from forests grown specifically for the purpose of production that are not old growth or feature rare trees. If you’re in doubt, a quick internet search will highlight the furniture companies who place importance on sustainable production.

Flooring
Using sustainable flooring such as wood really cuts down your environmental footprint, and often it’s better for your health. Synthetic carpets are a haven for dust and dust mites, so if you do like something soft underfoot in the bedroom, try to go for natural fibre carpets such as wool, or natural fibre rugs.

Recycle
If you really want to embrace your inner eco-warrior, consider using recycled products, such as furniture and bedframes. You can create a truly classy bedroom utilising antique bedside tables and a dresser, or up-style some vintage items from the op-shop and give them a new lease on life. Not only are you doing the environment a massive favour, you’ll be saving yourself a packet too, and the hunt for the perfect pieces to match your vision is always a blast.


Our twincesses ‘sleep like a baby’ in their recycled (& safety approved) cots



Fresh air
Most of our environmental impact is made through the consumption of energy, so consider this as you kick back in bed. Do you really, really need that air-con or heater on while you sleep? Instead, use the assets of your natural fibre bedding and add a little extra air via fans or through open windows. If you need heat, then revisit that old water bottle instead of turning on an electric blanket.

It only takes a few little investments and a small mindshift to bring eco-friendliness into all areas of your life and, with just a couple of minor alterations, you can even do it while you sleep.

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Five Ways to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Five Ways to Stay Safe this Holiday Season


Gold Coast Mum presents this article in partnership with GC Traffic Lawyers
 
 
 
 
The holiday season has a strange effect on many motorists, and not in a good way.
Perhaps it’s the season’s cheerful aura that makes them forget or ignore basic road rules, or perhaps it’s the fact that there are many more people on the roads that makes the place seem even more dangerous than normal.
Whatever the reason, the accident rate spirals at this time of year, so it is important to remember a few things to keep you safe this holiday season.
 

 

Try Proactive Legal Advice
If you’re really worried about staying safe this season, be proactive and brush up on the current rules, regulations and responsibilities you carry as a driver. You could visit the website of a traffic law firm such as GCTraffic Lawyers for some additional information to get you on your way, or just pull out a road rule book for a bit of a refresher. You’ll be amazed at how many basic regulations you may have forgotten.
 
Use Common Sense
Don’t do something stupid. It sounds simple enough advice, but many accidents are caused by drivers doing silly things. Human instinct is a powerful force, and many people rue the day they decide to ignore the little warning signals in their head and take the risk anyway.
If a manoeuvre in your car seems dangerous, it probably is. If there is a nagging word of caution in your head to be careful, follow it. To be safe, you need to be smart.
 
Be Courteous to other Drivers
Be nice to fellow road users. If you can let a car in to the line of traffic, do so.
Don’t rush other drivers and force them to make mistakes. Showing a bit of courtesy can go a long way towards a safe and pleasant journey. And you will find that displaying courtesy to others will return courteous behaviour in kind.
 
www.facebook.com/goldcoastmum

 
 
Follow the Speed Limits
We’ve all heard and seen the road safety advertisements – speed kills. One of the greatest killers on the roads is speeding, so much so that law enforcement more than doubles on the roads at holiday time.
It is important to understand that speed limits are well thought out and there for a reason, not just to randomly slow you down.
Engineers have worked out the safe speeds you can do, and you are advised to respect them.
 
Have Rules in Your Car
Depending on your age and experience, the antics of passengers in your car can have a detrimental effect on your driving.
Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. It is quite reasonable to set rules in your car to stop your passengers doing silly things that may distract you. Don’t feel embarrassed – safety comes first. And anyway, it’s your car, so you can set any limits you want. (Though it may be hard to get the little people in your life to abide by such rules).
 
Safety on the roads over the holiday period is everyone’s responsibility. You can’t stop others from doing stupid and dangerous things, but you can modify your own driving behaviour to at least take away some of the risks.

 

Have a safe and happy Christmas/festive season!

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Top 5 Most Exciting Things About Being Pregnant

Top 5 Most Exciting Things About Being Pregnant


Saddle up there folks, you’re in for a wild ride. Pregnancy is a mind bending foray into hormones, weekly milestones and serious physical feats.
It signals a shift into a new phase of life and is the first part of the journey into the rewarding world of parenthood.

So with such a wild and incredible ride ahead of you, what are the five most exciting things to look forward to as a pregnant woman?
 
Gold Coast Mum presents this article in partnership with Australian fashion maternity store Maternity Sale www.maternitysale.com.au


You are Not Alone
From the moment you get a positive result on that pregnancy test, there is the knowledge that you are no longer alone in your body.
You are set to transform into a highly efficient factory that will ultimately produce another human being.
Long before you don a maternity dress and the world shares your secret, it’s already happening inside you.

 
That First Flutter
Most mums can relate to the amazing experience of feeling the first flutter of their baby.
Not a kick or a thud but a tiny, tiny flutter somewhat akin to feeling a butterfly take flight.
It’s a realisation that this baby, who will soon take hold of your entire life, is tangible and real.
(And then, as your pregnancy progresses, you may experience occasions where your bub is kicking/moving around with such enthusiasm that your colleagues, sitting across a table, will be able to see your tummy moving furiously. Yesss, this happened to me during my morning meetings whilst pregnant with my first - Miss 4).

 
The Physical Factor
For many of us, it's all true; your hair does magically become lustrous, your skin does glow - even as you fight relentless waves of nausea and an overwhelming urge to sleep.
That’s right, just as you start wondering why pregnancy feels like a cocktail of undeserved hangovers, seasickness and narcolepsy, your hair will start to resemble a Vidal Sassoon commercial and your skin takes on a Revlon gleam.

(This was definitely the case for me with my first pregnancy, until the last week where my body was taken over with the PUPPS rash. Hideously itchy/no sleep etc, that thankfully eased as soon as bub was born).

Enjoying my luscious locks whilst pregnant with Miss 4.

 

A New Look
That lustrous hair and gorgeous skin is accompanied by a body capable of amazing feats and incredible change.
Your new bustline and new bump call for some retail therapy and a new sense of style.
Now is a golden opportunity to pamper yourself with some great wardrobe items such as gorgeous maternity dresses, funky maternity shirts and seriously comfy clothes.

Maternity wear is not the frumpy stuff it used to be. Websites such as Maternity Sale feature stylish and chic pregnancy attire that will have you feeling fantastic.
 

With Miss 4 (then 20 months) whilst pregnant with Mr 2 (he and Miss 4 are 21 months apart).


The Kindness of Strangers
The human race is inherently wonderful when it comes to welcoming babies into the world, and that kindness generally extends to expectant mums.
The number of people who will talk to you about your baby, when it’s due and what you’re expecting is amazing.
They will share their own memories and experiences in the nicest of ways. 
It’s as if a woman in a maternity dress is an invitation to communicate about the real and personal moments of life.
People see a baby bump and are suddenly and very kindly cheering you on into parenthood.

I attracted plenty of comments and well wishes whilst at the beach while 37 weeks with my Twincesses (who were born the next day weighing 6lb6 & 6lb3).
 
There’s so much to be excited about when you learn you’re expecting a baby.
From feeling that first flutter to hearing your baby’s heartbeat, it’s a magical time filled with mystery, promise and change that ultimately ends with the sweetest gift of all.


If you’ve already had a baby, what did you love about pregnancy?

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GIVEAWAY - True Detective

GIVEAWAY - True Detective

"Alright, alright, alright"... ladies and gentlemen, have I got something to share with you...
(as you may be able to tell, it may have something to do with spunkaroo Matthew McConaughey).
With four little ones to run around after, my husband and I’s days of watching a variety of TV shows LIVE are long gone.  
These days we rely on the ability to record shows and watch back when the kids are asleep so we can pause, play, and rewind as we please.

So it was with great pleasure that we were recently provided with the hit US TV show True Detective on Blue-Ray Disc to watch at our own leisure.
With such a star-studded cast (the show stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), I couldn’t pass on this opportunity to let you know about True Detective.
And, if you haven’t already landed yourself a copy, there is one up for grabs for one lucky Gold Coast Mum reader thanks to Warner Bros!
Perfect for a Christmas gift or to hold onto and enjoy yourself!
 
 
 



So what is True Detective?
It’s a US TV show that has taken the US by storm!
The Emmy-nominated first series starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as lead detectives Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin ‘Marty’ Hart (Harrelson).

After being assigned a macabre murder by a killer with disturbing occult leanings, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin ‘Marty’ Hart (Harrelson), partners in Louisiana’s Criminal Investigation Division, become entangled.
Their lives collide and entwine in unexpected, sometimes catastrophic, ways.

Other cast members include Michelle Monaghan as Maggie Hart, Michael Potts as Detective Maynard Gilbough and Tory Kittles as Detective Thomas Papania.

The Blu-Ray Disc also includes various features including behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew, as well as unseen footage, and exclusive interviews with McConaughey and Harrelson as well as the series creator Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

And just when you think this addictive show couldn’t get any better, production is reportedly underway for Season 2 starring:
Colin Farrell
Vince Vaughn
Taylor Kitsch
Rachel McAdams (Helllooooo ‘The Notebook’!)

Holy Moly! It’s a must-watch!
I’m hooked. What about you? Have you seen True Detective/ what TV shows are your favs?
 
For your chance to WIN a copy of Warner Bros' True Detective Blu-Ray, visit www.facebook.com/goldcoastmum
and comment on the True Detective post and/or comment below this blog post.


One winner will be randomly selected from the Facebook post and comments below. The giveaway has no affiliation with Facebook.
Thanks to Warner Bros for great giveaway!
http://warnerbros.com.au/



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Top 11 tips to make Christmas magical for your family

Top 11 tips to make Christmas magical for your family

Guest post from: My Travels with My Mum

“Mum, is Santa real?”

It’s the time of year when the seed of doubt about Santa Claus is planted by (or for) older siblings and/or older kids in the school playground.

How do you deal with it? Do you just accept it had to happen one day, or do you try to keep the magic alive just that bit longer?

I’ve always liked Christmas, it may be crass, it may be commercial but it is also the only truly magical time of year in a child’s life.
Birthdays come and go with presents expected no if, but or maybe.
But Christmas... it’s all up in the air – the children don’t know whether they’re on the naughty or nice list!

When my children were little I didn’t have much money and was a single mum, so keeping the magic of Christmas was all the more important for me. Life is tough enough for kids without losing this sparkle too early.



In hindsight I may have gone a little overboard at times but it’s hard not to get carried away when you see just how excited the children are.

So here are my top 11 ways of keeping the magic of Christmas alive:

1. Write letters to Santa
Arrange an afternoon where the kids write letters to Santa.
Get them to think hard about what they have done to be good or even naughty, what they're grateful for or what made them happy that year.  I always tried to emphasise this part in the letters, rather than them just writing a list of wants. 
After they write a decent letter, or dictate a decent letter (I had the younger ones dictate to the older ones - helps with handwriting and empathy/listening skills) they then write their wish list.

When they were younger they either drew their wish list or cut and paste pictures from catalogues onto a piece of paper.

2.  Receive a letter from Santa
My kids loved receiving a letter from Santa in the mail.  I created a personalized letter from Santa by making sure certain things were mentioned: "I saw you helped your little sister fix her broken doll " or  "I saw you were nice to your big sister by not getting her in trouble for breaking your doll" (how did Santa know, Mummy didn’t know!?).  
Another great thing the kids love is a certificate that lets the child know they are on the Nice List.
 

3. Visit a Santa
Visit the Santa. You can explain the shopping centre Santa is one of Santa's helpers or let them believe he is the real Santa Claus.
They joy of a child sitting on Santa’s lap whispering secrets and being in awe is something special.

It’s the time to look at beautiful decorations in the stores and start feeling Christmassy.
Get a photo with Santa every year, it doesn’t have to be an expensive Shopping Centre Santa photographer, it could be a community Santa, a preschool or school Santa visit, they are everywhere. Just get a photo.

Even now that they have grown, my children and I love looking back at our Santa photos from each year. It’s a time capsule, a set photo on a set date every year and a chance to see how they’ve grown (and make jokes about funny outfits/trends/haircuts).


4. Christmas tree
Decorating the Christmas tree can be a delight. We always picked a weekend closest to the 12th day before Christmas (my house was small so 12 days before and 12 days after became my rule - enough to be festive but not too long so I lose my lounge room space).

The tree decorating day (in fact we decorated everything that day) became our first festive family fun day.
We put the Christmas music on as loud as we wanted, sang along, ate dips and chips, drank soft drink (all things we didn’t normally do). The kids chose the theme or colours on the tree. (I have three lots of decorations - red, silver/gold and aqua - all bought in the post-Christmas sales, so our tree can be different every year). It was a great, fun start to Christmas!

 
 



5. The Sneaky present

I started a tradition when my children where around 4 years old.
Every year my children had to ask Santa for one small present that no one in the world knew about.  They told no one of the special present, not even me. They had to whisper it in Santa’s ear when they were sitting on his lap. They had to explain it carefully to Santa so he understood and remembered as he sees so many other children each day. 

While my children were whispering their secret to Santa I would explain to photographer or Santa’s helper what was happening. She would get the information from Santa when we left and pass me a note when we stopped to wave at Santa later. The delight of the Secret Present appearing every year was magical.

6.  The gift of a forbidden present

In the months leading up to Christmas, every time the children would mention a certain toy (in my house it was a doll, like Barbie) I would say “No way! No more dolls, no more Barbies!”
I would complain they already have too many, don’t play with them enough and tell them there was absolutely no way they would get more dolls so don’t bother asking.
Then of course on Christmas morning a Barbie would be in the Santa sack. It would get responses like “Ha ha Mum, Santa likes us better than you do!”

It doesn’t have to be a big present just something that makes sense to reject then gift.

7. Santa’s own wrapping paper

Thank goodness Santa and his helpers in the North Pole used different wrapping paper so that Santa’s presents didn’t get mixed up with the family presents under the tree.
Santa would, no doubt, have a few rolls of special wrapping paper just for gifts from him (and would make sure no one would see any traces of it before or after Christmas).
I always pointed out the pretty paper or how it didn’t match our tree, or the pattern, just to reinforce the notion it wasn’t the same as the family’s.


8. The sounds of a visit
My children's eyes widening when they heard the sound of sleigh bells the night before Christmas are something I will always treasure.
I used an elaborate rig of fishing line that MacGyver would have been proud of to jingle those bells. I would wake them (I know! Who wakes children Christmas Eve!) to tell them I heard Santa nearby and pull this fishing line gently to shake the sleigh bells. They loved it.



 
9. Santa’s footprints
I would always reinforce the merrymaking with silly little things so the children could feel Santa's presence.
Sometimes, if Santa had dropped off the presents so well without leaving any other evidence, I would offer a helping hand so the kids knew he had been.

I made baking soda or talcum powder footprints in the garden and lounge room (no snow in Australia at Christmas).
I went to a charity shop to buy the largest men’s shoe they had, then either sprinkled powder around it to outline the shoe, or squirted a light misting of water over the soles of the shoe then pressed the shoe down into a tray of baking soda then pressed on the carpet. I made footprints coming in then going out.

I once got carried away and decided footprints on the roof would be a good idea.
It was 10pm, no one was in the house except for the kids, I was on the roof of a two storey house and of course… the ladder fell.
If I yelled out, the kids would have heard me. So I was trying to get the attention of a next door neighbour by whispering as he was unloading his car. Only to eventually get his attention by throwing handfuls of leaves from my gutter. It was the funniest thing you have ever seen. It took 15 minutes for him to notice me.
And after all that effort, the footprints had disappeared by the morning anyway.

 
10. Feeding the Reindeer
A favourite Christmas tradition in our house is to leave milk and a mince pie or homemade biscuits out for Santa. In the morning the milk and most of the mice pie, except for a pile of crumbs would be gone.

The kids would always leave carrots and lettuce and a bucket of water out for the reindeer. In the morning there would be ripped up lettuce and bits of chewed up carrots everywhere outside and even inside.

I would be so cranky at Santa and his naughty reindeers, the kids would be giggling and laughing as I grumble and clean up the mess that his reindeers made.

 


11. The mystery present
Do you have kids who shake or sneak looks at their presents under the tree before Christmas? 

Mine were like that; I saw sticky tape on a present restuck down when the kids were aged about 7 and 8. So I took all the real presents out from under the tree and wrapped empty cereal boxes and shoe boxes and put them under the tree.

In a few of the display boxes, I put sticks and rocks so they rattled when the kids shook them.

I explained I saw the opened presents so I returned them and bought other things, and that if the new ones were opened, there would be no presents. They kept shaking and rattling the presents asking “Mum, what did you buy us?” all the time. I would say “sticks and stones” and they would laugh. They never sneakily opened the presents but it’s still a family joke about sticks and stones.

**********

The more you put into a child Christmas experience the more memories it will make and the more your children will be able to see the magic. They more they know you have nothing to do with the idea, the more they will think it’s the magic of Christmas!

Traditions like mine, is where the fun starts. I know I enjoy watching my kids now passing such traditions on to their kids and keeping the magic alive!

 
What are your Christmas traditions? How do you keep the magic alive?

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