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Tag: christmas

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Day Thirteen: Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

When I think of Christmas morning, what tends to come to mind first are the smells that come with it. The smell of the real Christmas tree, the smell of fresh coffee grinds and steamed milk, the smell of bacon and slightly burnt toast and […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Day Eleven: Homemade Christmas Cards

Who doesn’t love a decent pun? Or a well-timed pop culture reference? Or the odd insult every now and then (all in good faith, of course)?

Greeting cards, more often than not, are so impersonal, each of them similar to the next feigning well wishes and generic celebratory sentences. It is rare to be given a greeting card that makes me laugh or makes me feel and I think this comes down to, obviously, the fact that they are produced for the masses. Once again, you can’t beat something that is homemade, something that is crafted with someone specific in mind. That’s why, this year I have decided to hand-make a range of Christmas cards for my friends and family, featuring quotes from televisions series and movies that they love and appreciate, simple one-liners and of course, the standard Christmas puns.

I have used references from television shows such as The OfficeSeinfeldFriends and Community. My brother isn’t a fan of Christmas anymore (no idea why), but for him and for whoever is the grump in your family, I made a Grinch card and one for people that are just absolute pricks. I had my Mum in mind when I made the Elf card – the message o the inside says, “Have yours-ELF a Merry Christmas”. It isn’t my best pun work, but she will love it.

Like I said, I get the most joy when I am sitting at my desk thinking about those that are close to me and trying to come up with something for them that will bring them joy and make them laugh. So for me, homemade Christmas cards are a must.

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

Day Ten: Christmas Cookies

So a few weeks ago, I made these bad boys for Unwritten Cafe: And I am happy to report that they all sold out! Over the weekend, I made a new batch of Christmas cookies that are on sale, in-store at Unwritten now!! They are […]

Day Nine: Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas

Day Nine: Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas

Much like my cocktail post, I had planned buying a shitload of wrapping paper and decorative elements and wrapping presents and taking pretty photos but the pregnancy is catching up with me, the hours in the day seem to pass without me realising it and, […]

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

As I have mentioned in a few of these Christmas posts, my family has a few things that we do each and every year that make up our own little traditions. The visits from Santa, the morning trips to the cafe, the mojitos in the sun. All of these little moments are what make Christmas what it is for me, and what I want it to be for my son and my own little family. My family have a few other traditions as well, but there are also things that I have always wanted to make part of the Christmas season but haven’t felt like I was able to. As much fun as this time of year is, I am probably the one who gets most excited by Christmas. I am also the only one in my family who places this much emphasis and desire on making things a ‘tradition’. I have no idea where I got this from, but it’s who I am – my name is Leah Cwikel and I am a Christmas-aholic.

Like I mentioned in whatever post it was that I mentioned it in, every Christmas morning Mum, my brothers and I will wake up at the same time, step outside of our rooms and see what Santa has in store for us. After the initial hunting and gathering of presents, and a lot of hugging, Mum and I or my brother and I will head up to the café to make everyone coffees, fresh juice and to pick up whatever other supplies we may need for Christmas morning breakfast (like lemon for the pancakes, or bacon to go with the eggs). Once we arrive back, we will all sit down around the tree drinking our coffees and taking it in turns to give each other presents.

What I haven’t mentioned until now, is that every year we will do all of this donning Christmas hats. That is one of our most serious, steadfast traditions. In the lead up to Christmas every year, we will buy a new set of hats for each of us. There have been elf hats with ears attached, sequined Santa hats, baby pink Santa hats (mum’s choice) and reindeer headbands.

We have done this every year except one where, instead of the hats, my brothers and I went to Big W and bought each of us a ‘bad Christmas t-shirt’. We loved the idea of ugly Christmas sweaters but it is just too hot for that here in Australia (even though the last five or six Christmas’ have been grey and rainy).

It’s a lame tradition but I love it.

Another tradition that comes with our family’s Christmas is the breakfast menu:

–          Coffee (two or three)

–          Juice

–          Pancakes with maple syrup and lemon and sugar

–          Bacon, eggs, roast tomatoes and toast

We always have too much food – especially pancakes. Ever since Jack was little, pancakes have been his favourite. When he was about six, he ate a record eight pancakes and has been trying to beat it ever since. So far, eight is the record. Mum has always made the best pancakes, and I have always loved watching her make them; she has always had really strong, beautiful long nails (which thankfully, she passed on to me as well) and instead of flipping pancakes with a spatula or a knife, she would peel the edges up with her nails, pick the pancake up and flip it over. I was always mesmerised by how she did it and now, it’s how I flip my pancakes too.

Every Christmas Eve for the past five or so years, we all meet up at The Bayview, the pub in Gladesville where one of my brothers work. It has become the pub’s biggest night of the year and there is always EVERYONE you know there, and music, and festive humans (some too festive, really) and it’s close to home and makes for a good few hours of fun before collapsing into bed ready for the big day.

The only other tradition that I can think of is that whenever we crack Christmas bon-bons over lunch, we always read the jokes out to each other and wear the silly paper hats for as long as we can before they get too infuriating to bear.

I have thought about what traditions I want to share and pass on to my children and in my little family for years. I have added to the list of my desired traditions each and every year and, now that we are expecting a little man OH SO SOON, I can finally realise all of them. ALL OF THEM.

I will continue all of the traditions that I have grown up with – ESPECIALLY THE VISITS FROM SANTA – but in addition to them, the traditions I want to introduce are as follows:

 – I want to have a giant box or chest that becomes known as the Christmas Box. It will be where I keep all of our decorations and Christmas knick-knacks and, every time the box comes out, Bub will know that it’s Christmas time – TIME TO GET EXCITED.

 – I want to set up the tree on the same day every year, December first. Each year the Christmas Box will come out and the tree will go up and we will all decorate it, and the house, together.

 – Every December, I want to read Christmas books. I don’t even mind if I read the same ones each year; I find that every time you read a book, especially with big chunk of time in the middle, you get something different out of it.

 – Every December , I want to watch Christmas movies as a family.

 – During the second weekend in December, I want to drive to a road or street in Sydney that is illuminated brightly with Christmas lights; where there are lots of families wandering around, pointing out the different things they see.

 – I didn’t know whether or not I was going to jump on the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ band wagon.. but I am totally all for it. 100%. Couldn’t be more excited for it. Yes. Christmas and elves and yes.

None of the traditions are particularly special or out there or extravagant, but they are what I have always wanted to do in my childhood, teenage and adult years (my whole life) and all I feel is that it will bring my family closer and all I can think of is the happiness, surprise and joy it will bring my son. And that’s what this is all about now, it’s all for him.

Day Seven: Christmas Cocktails

Day Seven: Christmas Cocktails

YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I have been so excited for this post! I may not be able to enjoy a stiff drink at the moment (and to be honest, I actually haven’t felt like one) but I can still appreciate one, or, the idea of one. I had planned […]

Day Six: Best Christmas Reads for Kids and Adults

Day Six: Best Christmas Reads for Kids and Adults

Christmas and books and books about Christmas – THIS POST HAS IT ALL. I have always wanted to have a tradition where I read Christmas books throughout December. Until now, this has remained but a thought and a wish.. this year however, I plan on […]

Day Five: Visits from Santa

Day Five: Visits from Santa

My mother is many things.

She is creative and fun, intelligent and beautiful, entrepreneurial and hilarious.

My mother is also Santa.

For as long as I can remember, my mum has prepared the most epic Santa scavenger hunts, puzzles and presents for my brothers and I. Even when all three of us knew that Santa Claus and his chimney-dwelling ways weren’t real, mum continued to surprise us with ‘visits from Santa’ each and every Christmas morning (besides one year when Jack, Hugo and I turned the tables and surprised mum instead – but more details on that later).

One of my fondest memories of Christmas and my childhood as a whole, really, was the Christmas of 1997. I was six years old and had bunk beds in my room. I woke up well before daybreak on Christmas morning to find an array of presents at the foot of my bed – most notably there was a big teddy bear wearing a yellow knitted jumper with the word ‘teddy’ stitched onto it and in his lap was Crash Bandicoot 2 for PlayStation. I remember holding my new teddy’s paw in one hand, tucking the game under the same arm and clumsily climbing down the ladder of my bunk-bed. I set the television and the PlayStation up and excitedly started playing my beloved Crash Bandicoot. By the time the sun eventually rose and the rest of my family started waking up I had already finished the game. It is still one of my mum’s – and actually, my whole family’s – favourite stories to tell around this time of year.

Since then, mum gets more and more creative with each year that passes. Sometimes there will be clues hidden around the house that leads each of us to different rooms where our presents are hiding, other times the three of us need to work together to get our presents and then some years she just decorates the hell out of the house so that when we would open our doors, we were immediately met with Christmas. It has been a long-standing tradition that my mum started, and I haven’t heard of anyone else’s parents who went to the lengths and creativity that my mum did. Christmas Day morning Santa visits are something that I will definitely be continuing the tradition of for my son.

One year when we were all still living under the same roof, each of us woke up and opened our bedroom doors to signs made from tissue paper and cotton buds that said “HO”. Loose cotton buds reminiscent of snow were scattered all the way down the hallway, down the stairs and to the Christmas tree where our gifts were waiting.

Another year, throughout the entire house, mum had hidden pieces of brown paper with partial clues written on them. All three of us had to find all of the pieces and figure out the clues which then lead us to our presents from mum.

One of my other favourite Santa visits was when we all walked downstairs and there were four milk crates that mum had wrapped and filled with tinsel and wrapping paper and cotton balls. We had to completely tear it apart and sift through it all to find whatever presents she had hidden in there. Similar to this, I think it was two years after that that in the middle of the lounge room was a HUGE pile of tinsel and other various Christmas decorations – and I mean HUGE.. once again we had to dig and search for what lay within it!

My brothers and I did give mum a break one year when we took over the reigns as Santa. Once mum had gone to bed and shut her door, my brothers and I strung three entire lengths of twine across the hallway and down the stairs in a zig-zaggy mess. We also printed out about thirty copies of Jason Bateman’s head (he is mum’s favourite) and hung them from the ceiling. We set her off on a scavenger hunt that led her through all of the string. She had to follow each clue to the next one until she eventually found her presents. From memory, I think they were in the dryer..

When we were really young, Mum and my brother’s dad used to do the whole plate of cookies, carrot sticks and half-drunk beer thing. Mum put flour on the kitchen floor and made it look like Santa and the reindeers had trundled on through, but that was soon replaced by mum’s epic creativity. I love what mum did for us because it was so unique and varied and we never knew what to expect. We looked forward to the hunt and surprise of it all more than the reward at the end of it. The visits from Santa have always made for a really fun way to start Christmas morning; there was always laughter, always love and always always hugs. What mum did for us year in and year out has stayed with me, and I cannot wait to give the same gift of fun and joy to my son.

Day Four: Gift Guide for Pregnant Women

Day Four: Gift Guide for Pregnant Women

I have never found gift-giving particularly difficult. Those that I buy for, I generally know pretty well whether it be a family member, a partner or a friend. I actually love the lead up to Christmas and writing a list of ideas for presents for […]