The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Ida's Christmas and inexpensive Christmas ideas.

This week we are looking at inexpensive or free Christmas ideas.  This is not to say there is anything wrong with spending on Christmas rather to say that if money is tight you can still celebrate.  It can be a real crisis for a family to feel they cannot give their children a wonderful Christmas due to financial stress.  While I think it is much harder with teenagers little kids do not know what costs money and things are magical to them no questions asked!


The photos in this post are from our farm Christmas.

To get us started lets think about years ago when Christmas was just a wonderful time and it did not mean maxing out the credit card at the mall!

Vicky went to visit Ida and asked her about Christmas when she was in her children were small. So we are travelling back eighty years or so...

A Simple Christmas with Ida:

Ida being very young herself had a childish joy about the season that went beyond material things. She was mature enough to understand that times were hard and that her and her husband wouldn't be participating in any lavish celebrations since money was so very hard to come buy and had to be used wisely. 
Ida learned very on to hoard away part of what they could get since waiting until the last minute never really seemed to be her style. Back then everything had value and could be used, even something as simple as the string. So she kept everything and always looked for things that others threw away. String and bottles and paper or broken things that were discarded. She thought she could make something with these things. 
She had a small amount of things that she had collected and decided that they would celebrate! 
So she had her husband cut a very small tree because they had such a small home and she had him break the bottles gently so she could take some of the pieces and tie them with string to put on her little tree. She cut paper stars from butcher paper that she straightened out and hung those from string by her little table. 
A local church took donations for the poor so she went there to see what she could find for her little family and proudly walked away with a wool coat that was full of holes, a sheet that was really threadbare and 1 roller skate. Intending on having a wonderful holiday she took her treasures home and made her husband a pair of wool liners for his holey boots, her little girl a doll from the old sheet and for her son they took the roller skate and her husband made him a truck out of it. All handmade and all special. 
Ida's little family had pancakes for Christmas dinner with sugar on them. That was a big treat. She said sugar wasn't expensive, but since they didn't have much money she saved hers for special occasions or for jam making. Ida and her husband enjoyed each other's company immensely and decided that Christmas would always be a holiday where they would just enjoy each other so they ended their little celebration with a walk in the snow. And a new baby 9 months later!
XOXO
Vicky


I know that when Dad was little he played farmer with sticks to make cattle yards, walnut shells were cows and knuckle bones were sheep. He played for hours with his farm animals. So I know the truck made from the roller skate was probably loved!

The girls tell me that highlights of Christmas included looking at the lights on the houses. On Christmas Eve it was our tradition to have a late night and drive around with Christmas music playing to look at everyones lights and decorations. In Australia Christmas is in summer and so it is a little later before it is dark enough for all the lights to come on. When they were little they were asleep before the end of this and I would lift them out of the car and they would wake up on Christmas morning!  Later on it served to make them sleepy and drift off to sleep happily.

Another thing they loved is having supper under the Christmas tree. They would bring their pillows out and make a nest under the tree and the twinkly lights and have a cup of "tea" (milk) and a biscuit and be in this little magical world. Reading a story next to the tree was another.

Christmas movies were also a tradition that we all loved! Old fashioned Christmas movies were the best! 

Going to an event with carols was wonderful. The town always had a carols night. Sometimes we went with our church on a bus and sang carols outside of peoples houses that could not get out to such events. This was so much fun and you really felt the emotions of Christmas! 

We always left Santa a snack and a note. Usually it was a glass of milk and cookies. Santa was a fairly messy eater as there were always a lot of crumbs and an empty glass. We figured this was because he was in a pretty big hurry. 


As there are deer at the farm I gave a friend a deer antler and she put it in her front yard late on Christmas Eve. Her little boy found it on Christmas morning!  This was substantial proof that one of the reindeers had dropped it when they were on the roof. You have to love scientific thinking. My friend told me this was just wonderful!

Some of the other free or almost free ideas are to sneakily decorate your neighbours letter boxes with tinsel.
Decorating biscuits, gingerbread men etc.
Making paper decorations, stars and garlands.
Playing Christmas music and decorating the house and the tree. When I was little putting up the Christmas tree was so exciting. Putting the angle on top was the best thing for me I think out of everything!
Making a nativity scene. Every year we did this at school starting with a cardboard box. I loved this!
Acts of kindness especially for Christmas.


Setting the table beautifully and using your best things!
Making things sparkle with lights and candles. Creating a magical atmosphere really sets the scene!
You can really up the excitement Christmas Eve. NASA has a Santa tracker and you can watch which country Santa is delivering to and his progress!  I still watch this myself haha!

Even now it is the lights, carols and finding ways to make someones Christmas special that do it for me. Plotting a surprise. Doing something special that no one expects.  Helping someone you don't even know.  These are the things that give me that special feeling of Christmas. Money doesn't buy any of this anyway. 

If you have unused decorations or a tree set it up for someone who doesn't have one. I decorate Kath's room at the nursing home. It takes very little time and she just loves it!  Already I have been asked when am I coming and am I bringing a tree?  Yes I am. It is like one foot high but it is a tree! 

Make a hamper of cooking for someone you think might be alone for Christmas or a family that could use it.

Start a tradition like reading Christmas stories at bedtime or having a family story next to the Christmas tree. These are the things that wonderful childhood memories are made of!

Now over to you. What are your best memories of Christmas as a child? How can we make Christmas wonderful that doesn't involve a lot of money? 
I would love to hear your Christmas stories. I have not experienced a white Christmas! Usually it is hot here!  
We have been making gifts, we will be cooking and wrapping. Now lets see if we can add those magical touches!  We are almost exactly one month to Christmas Eve! 

I hope you are having a great week. I am working on finishing off jobs and projects! xxx




55 comments:

  1. We light the entire house with only candles on Christmas Eve and it is magical. Just little inexpensive tea lights will do and they can go in any type of holder or on a tray or plate.

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    1. Dear Lana, That would be beautiful and set such a lovely scene! Its all about atmosphere! I love it! Many thanks, love Annabel.xxx

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  2. When my husband and I had been married about 5 yrs, we were both working full time and commuting about 3 hrs a day in Los Angeles. When the holidays came, we'd spend it on some L.A. freeway going to a relative's house. One year, we decided to tell everybody we were staying home. Oh, the grief my husband's family gave us! Guilt trips! We stuck to our decision and stayed home. My friend loaned us her son's Nintendo and games. We spent the day in our jammies, had Chinese food delivery, and played games all day. Best Christmas ever!!

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    1. Dear Debby,
      I think that some of the things we don't do are just as important as what we do! Too much running around, demands, travel etc can just be all too much. I think it is wonderful to be able to have a quiet Christmas relaxing together. It can take courage to break out of traditions we don't even like and create ones we do like! Thanks for sharing this hopefully it will inspire someone who is struggling with pressures from others to do too much! With love Annabel.xxx

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  3. Annabel what a sweet and whimsical post today. I loved Idas memories and yours as well. Who could imagine making a toy from a roller skate. It just doesn't happen these days! But it shows the level of imagination and ingenuity exhibited by our elders. I love it. Your Christmas memories are similar to mine. I guess we all have a collective generational consciousness in that respect. We always visited Santa at the premium Department store here (Myer)and went to Santas workshop which was on the roof of that stores building. We'd see the city square Christmas Tree, and view the animatronic Christmas themed displays in the store windows. These were a huge thing back then and you'd have to queue for ages! On Christmas Eve, we would sing Carols by candlelight in the living room, and make a plasticine (like Play-Doh) Nativity. We'd awake in the morning, and Mum would have written 'Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men' in glue and sprinkled it with glitter, in front of the nativity. Gosh that memory brings tears to my eyes! Such a small inexpensive, insignificant thing, but what a beautiful memory for us all. I do something similar with my daughter, by decorating our own hand made gift tags (French inspired of course!), pine cones, and eucalyptus leaves, with glitter every year on Christmas Eve, but somehow, I want to keep Mums' tradition safe in my heart, as something special I shared with her. When my sons were young, the tour of the Christmas lights was obligatory, and for boys, a dunk under the garden sprinkler in the humidity of our December, was necessary to cool off before bed on Christmas Eve. We'd always have pancakes and maple syrup, lots of stone fruit, and nuts in the shell for breakfast, and lunch would be taken turn about amongst myself and my siblings once we were adults. Christmas movies figure large in all my Christmas memories, from White Christmas, to Shirley Temple movies, to Home Alone, The Grinch, and the classics It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Sigh. I really do LOVE Christmas. Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Dear Mimi,
      You reminded me when I was little Mum would take us to the magic cave which was at John Martins department store. We would queue for ages but it was wonderful. I like the horse and always had to ride the grey one Nimble? Anyway it was a big deal!
      I love the special things your Mum did! I see glitter is actually in your veins and inherited!
      My girls still watch Home Alone. Chloe is mad on it all this time later!
      haha that was a funny movie.
      You have beautiful memories thank you so much for sharing. You reminded me of things and yes there are many similarities! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. My children remember cutting paper snowflakes and taping them inside the living room window. Also making a paper chain from red & green construction paper with a number on each link. You start at 25 and tear off one link each night. It was easy for them to keep track to see how many days to Christmas.

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    1. Dear Sharla, Snowflakes in the windows is a lovely idea! And I like the count down paper chain also. Kids love to count down the days. Thanks for this! With love, Annabel.xxx

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  5. Not sure if our children remember getting up at 1 in the morning to see what Santa had brought them. Unfortunately we were up here visiting my in laws at the time so everyone looked like they were half dead the next day.

    The thing that I remember from my childhood was Christmas at my grandparent's place - this was before Christmas so my dad's sister and her family could attend. The grown ups sat at the table and us children sat at the picnic table. That table is my dining room table and this year we are starting on our own memories around it.

    Lynette
    XXXXX

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    1. Dear Lynette, You paint a picture that we can all relate to!
      We have had many years of the big table and the little table when there kids were all set up. I loved it when I was a kid my uncles often came and sat with us at the kids table as he got sick of the adults. We thought that was really cool. Mum has had a lot of years of 20 plus people in which case the second table is set as well. The children table is always special and they seem to love it. It is lovey you still have the same table and can start new traditions with it! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. I picked up a book from the opshop when my children were little called "Maminka's Children", that became our traditional book to read starting on the first of december. We always read the last chapter on Christmas eve. Lots of years we also did advent candles and hymns each morning through advent (we homeschooled so had more time than some), we always sang "Christmas is coming, the church is glad to sing" http://www.sacred.org.uk/worship/Christmas.htm
    For myself I love to read "Two from Galilee - the story of Mary and Joseph" it gets me into the romance. :-)
    I love the RAOK that has taken off in recent years and like to look out for a sneaky way to bless others.
    December the 1st is always the date that we put up decorations.
    I would like to be more sensitive to others who don't have anyone to celebrate with and be more open and welcoming with our Christmas dinner.

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    1. Dear Garden Del,
      Thank you for the link to your hymn! I love your traditions and that the story was timed to start in December and finish on Christmas Eve!
      I think the random acts of kindness plus the pay it forward idea has taken off and people think about that more. If we need to up the Christmas feeling this is a key to success for sure. Thats what Christmas should be.
      Many years Mum has included someone with no family, no plans to come join us. That has been really good. Sometimes the right person just pops up and its obvious who to ask... so far I don't think it has happened for this year yet but you never know!
      Many thanks for sharing your Christmas! With love Annabel.xxx

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  7. I was born just after WW2 so money was tight and Christmas wasn't materialistic at all. My Christmas present was usually a dress my mum made. We used to go to church at midnight on Christmas Eve and the thrill for me was to see that baby Jesus had been put in the nativity scene as we had been waiting for weeks. In the summer heat mum would cook a roast and perhaps we had chicken as it was a treat in those days. Such a lovely time. Annabel, check your mailbox tomorrow!

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    1. I love it that some churches still hold back baby Jesus until Christmas Eve.

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    2. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I think it is lovely that your Mum made you a new dress for Christmas! Also about the baby Jesus only going into the nativity on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.
      My surprise was in the mailbox! I will email you... thank you thank you! This was a great surprise! With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Hi Annabel, I have many fond memories of Christmas.
    As a small child we went to my Great Grand Aunt's place for Christmas lunch. There was a tree and a small handmade gift for all of us(22 children ranging from young teens to babes in arms). The best part was lying on the lion skin on the back veranda. It was a real lion skin. My Great GF was a director of Taronga Zoo and a lion passed away and he got the skin. We felt so exotic and clever. The pudding was full of sixpence and you had to be careful no to crunch down too hard. These were collected and kept for next year as they were silver and not the metal alloy that the 5c piece was made out of.
    When our children were little, they always knew it was nearly Christmas when Santa came around our rural community, on the back of a bushfire truck. They got a loot bag of lollies and a can of fizzy drink and were in little people heaven. My two always believed Santa was real because they always got something they whispered in his ear when he visited on the truck. 'Santa' was a neighbour and he always passed on what had been whispered.
    On Christmas eve, no matter how hot and humid(we lived just south of Darwin), special choc chip cookies were made and baked for Santa. He liked beer, not milk at our house, so a can was left in a little cooler with ice and cookies wrapped up in plastic wrap so the ants couldn't get them. A bale of hay and a horse trough of water was left out for the reindeer. They were very messy with hay spread out everywhere. There were usually big boot marks as well(Bluey's gum boots). I made a Santa sack for each of them when they were little. Katie has already looked for and found hers so it can go under the tree this year. She will be 25 this Christmas.
    Our DIL asked me to make a Christmas stocking for Tilly. This was posted off today. My mother made an ornament for each child each year and this arrived in a letter addressed to them, about a week before Christmas. This was so very special. We didn't put the tree up until after Katie's Birthday on the 19th Dec and the first thing that went on the tree was their new handmade ornament. Mum is continuing this tradition and has made a little Christmas boot garland for Tilly. These were handmade out of bits she had in her busy room(sewing room).
    Today Katie made her first Christmas Pudding. She will be working Christmas morning, having lunch with us and then spending the evening with her boyfriends family. She wanted to make a pudding as her contribution to the Christmas dinner feast. The pudding is now steaming away for the next few hours. This is a relatively inexpensive and yet rich part of the whole Christmas process. Handmade with love.
    I used to have a Christmas Club account when I was working. Each pay a small amount went into the account. By December there was enough in the account to purchase one good present for each child and a range of little bits to go in their Santa sack. There was also enough money to buy the bottles of fizzy drink, chips and lollies that the kids loved. Bluey and I always had a few prawns as our yummies. Trouble is the kids developed a taste for the prawns as well.
    Instead of that savings account, I now place the gold coins in my purse into a ceramic vase all year round. The savings in the vase are my Christmas shopping funds. This along with making things all year means that my budget is really looking very healthy.
    I have been finding it hard to get into the happy spirit of Christmas. I found it today in the most unusual of places. I had to have a followup for my stitches today. My Dr is a lovely woman of the Muslim faith. As I was leaving she wished me a Happy and Blessed Christmas. At this point I almost burst into tears. When I got home Katie asked me to go shopping with her so she could purchase what was needed for a Christmas pudding. Two ever so small things and I have found Christmas joy. It is the joy of the giving of yourself.
    Life is good.

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    1. Jane I don't think that the banks do Christmas Clubs anymore - I use to work in the bank and we would have people coming in all of the time filling their books up and requesting a new one. Those cheques use to be issued around the end of November/beginning of December and look out if they didn't turn up when expected.

      I also remember the butcher use to start his Christmas order book late October (I think) and you could pay some on it each time you went.

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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    2. Dear Jane, I enjoyed reading this so much! Your childhood memories through to the things you did for your children. The hay bale and the strew strewn everywhere from the reindeer! And the proof of Santa with the correct gift turning up! That is so beautiful!
      I love your Mums tradition of the ornaments. I think I am going to actually adopt that. I love it.
      And now I am glad you had two lovely things that have got the Christmas spirit going for you. I hope you find many more. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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    3. Just wanted to add that Bendigo Bank in Australa still do Christmas club accounts! I have had one now for 25 years! It comes due from Nov 1st. The interest is pathetic nowdays, but I still like having one. :-) You can draw out until the end of January, then have to pay a penalty to get it out earlier than the following Nov. I find it is a great incentive to keep money specifically aside. Love, Kaye xo

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  9. Hello Annabel, as a child we'd be all tucked into bed on Christmas eve all very excited but trying to be calm and Dad would come in and talk to us about Father Christmas coming and how we better get to sleep and then in the morning we'd be able to wake up and see what he'd brought us. We would end up very excited and mum would get cross with dad saying that he was revving us up. It was quite funny. My boys used to lie under the tree just like your girls did and look up through the lights, the funniest thing was when the dog joined them. She'd lie inbetween them just because she loved them.

    It's all very exciting for you with Harper this Christmas, I'm sure it will be lovely as she will be a bit more excited about presents I'd reckon this year.

    Fi xx

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    1. Dear Fiona,
      This is funny as my Mum always told Dad he was getting us over excited and to knock it off. haha of course we loved getting over excited.
      Seriously this was our house exactly.
      I love that the dog joined in with the Christmas tree light gazing. How gorgeous. That is like out of a movie!
      What special mémoires. No wonder we feel nostalgic at Christmas time. I hope this year is good for you even though it has been a very hard year. With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  10. Dear Annabel,

    Reading Ida's Christmas story touched my heart beyond measure. Thank you, Vicky for taking the time and sharing the words and wisdom of a remarkable woman. How blessed we are that she is able to share her experiences and history with you and that it can be conveyed to us.

    In thinking about my own childhood memories of Christmas, the one that is top most is that every Christmas that I can remember my Mom and Dad had a tradition of taking us, when we were old enough to go, to the USO and serve dinner to the servicemen and women who couldn't make it home for the holiday. I always remember the aroma of turkey that permeated our house and our neighbors houses as they roasted many to take there. After dinner was served at the USO we came home to our own Christmas dinner. The next day we went to my Nana's house and she always had stockings for us filled with candy, and doll clothes for our dolls that she'd made. And there were cookies galore and another dinner with our aunt and uncle and cousins.
    Wishing all the Bluebirders in here in the US a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Love, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you I know Vicky will tell Ida what you said.
      Serving dinner to the service men and women would have been an amazing experience. What a good thing to do.
      I love your Nana and that she made doll clothes for your dolls! You had a wonderful family Christmas!
      Thank you so much Cookie. Have a great Thanksgiving to you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Annabel, So many sweet things in this post, I love the idea of reading a story to the little ones while they enjoy milk and cookies sitting next to the tree ... that is just plain magical! The deer antlers made me chuckle and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ida's Christmas! I can't wait to hear more from Vicky and Ida!

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    1. Dear Patsy, Somehow I often think of the twins you look after quite a lot. I hope they have a very happy Christmas. The story reading is an easy one but lovely.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you! With love Annabel.xxx

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  12. When I was very young, I was losing my belief in Santa, much to my mothers dismay. That year, she took my dads boots and baking soda, and made "snowy" tracks on the rug from Santa. It worked! She also has a picture of me when I was about three, sleeping at my windowsill where I was waiting to get a glimpse of Rudolph!

    I always take my children out to look at lights. We drive around and listen to Christmas music. So festive! Decorations go up no earlier than December 1 and I try to have everything done by end of the first week of December (it's not hard...there isn't much! In fact, the only Christmas decorations is our tree and stockings. Every thing else is winter)As a big family (my family, my parents, and in laws), we go out to dinner on Christmas Eve.

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    1. Dear Jenn,
      I love your Mum! She did a good job and went to a lot of trouble! And was rewarded! Good on her I think that is gorgeous.
      The picture of you waiting for Santa sounds beautiful. What a treasure!
      We have Dec 1 as our tree up and decorating day also. We take them down New Years Eve. Then I start fresh for New Years Day.
      I love going to look at the lights even now. But this was magic to the children and an important part of Christmas. I love that so many people go to so much trouble for others to enjoy! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. I usually (but not always) take my decorations down on Epiphany. Another tradition :)

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  13. A chiropractic college near us sets up an extensive light display for the holidays, and we have enjoyed visiting that every year.

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    1. Dear Chipmunk, That really is a wonderful community service that so many people must enjoy! Wonder thing to do. It just adds joy!
      With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. I remember when my mom would pop a big tub of popcorn. (We didn't have much money but we always had popcorn cause mom grew it herself.) When she could afford it, she would buy a bag of cranberries. We would sit and string popcorn on a long string mom had ready for us. We would eat way more of the popcorn than we strung but we each made a string of popcorn. We then got to string the cranberries. We only had one string to put them on so we took turns putting the berries on. These went on our Christmas tree. Then on Christmas Day mom would take the string of Cranberries off and cook them to go with our dinner. Our presents were usually clothes we needed and our stockings were filled with fruit, nuts and a candy cane. My Aunt would come to visit before Christmas and she would always slip a silver dollar in each of our stockings. We thought we were rich because we had fruit, a candy cane AND a big sliver dollar. Those were the days! Paula in Kansas

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    1. Dear Paula, Thank you for sharing your memories! They are so happy and I love your Aunts silver dollar! All these stories are really showing how simple and sweet was beautiful. Lovely! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Dear Annabel, Christmas is a magical time of year or can be for everyone. It just takes a little imagination.
    Like you it was Christmas lights on Christmas eve, It all adds to the excitement. My boys always had a fun and family filled Christmas no matter how tight our finances were.
    I still have all my family together for Christmas lunch, including my sisters and their family. Mum used to do it but has passed it down to me as my two sisters aren't very organised :) but I love doing it.
    Its a month away today till Christmas eve and the excitement is growing especially for my Grandkids. I have to laugh at my Grandson he calls Santa Ho Ho and has for the last two Christmas's. He is 3 and knows but it is still Ho Ho, love it!
    Have a wonderful week, Love Debbie xx

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    1. Dear Debbie, Well done on taking over from your Mum. It is a lot of work but it keeps it going and the family together on Christmas Day. Plus your Grandchildren are going to remember all you do.
      Now I wonder what Harper will call Santa and have to say about it all with her little vocabulary!? Three is a gorgeous age.
      Have a wonderful Christmas Debbie! Love Annabel.xxx

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  16. The simple Christmas with Ida story is so sweet ❤️

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  17. One of my favorite childhood memories is of playing "I Spy" with my brothers and sister while we tried to guess what ornament the leader was seeing on the tree!

    Jeanette

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    1. Dear Jeanette, We played a lot of eye spy on car journeys! When I was little I loved the ornaments. Nana had glittery blue and silver birds they were my favourite! With love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    Vicky, thank you for visiting Ida and obtaining this wonderful information. Thank you, Annabel, for posting it.
    When our children were growing up, I always read them the Night Before Christmas before bedtime, we sat out milk and cookies for Santa, I baked sour dough fruit filled rolls, and my husband always fixed brisket for Christmas day meal. We usually got them a couple of toys when they were younger and other items as they grew and it was the time when they got a lot of clothes.
    Our son was interested in Chess from 13 years on, so his wants were always Chess books or another Chess computer game he could play against. Our daughter didn't have any specific thing she was interested in, so we just got what she indicated she really wanted.
    We still fix brisket for Christmas whether it's our year for the kids and grandkids or not. The smell of Bar B Q brisket cooking slowly all night, makes the house smell heavenly Christmas morning.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you in the U.S.A.
    Love and hugs,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glenda,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you!
      Thank you for sharing your Christmas memories and even what you do now with the brisket cooking and the smell of it Christmas morning.
      With much love Annabel.xxx

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  19. Annabel,
    Watching Christmas movies and driving around to see the lights was always a favorite of my boys. We would get a new movie and book each year and have cocoa and cookies. After the boys went to bed I would just sit with the tree lights on and watch it snow. The snow falling at night can be so peaceful and I think filling stockings is my favorite part of Christmas! One of the best things was Rick would hook the sled up to the 4 wheeler and pull the kids around on the sled. They loved it.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love the sled rides. Who needs theme parks! I can just imagine them doing that!
      Watching the snow would have been beautiful! that is like out of a movie to me! With lots of love Annabel.xxx

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  20. Hi Annabel and Bluebirders,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and the comments.

    Thank you Vicky for relaying Ida's past Christmas - she is truly an amazing and resourceful woman.

    It's interesting reading the comments to realise that despite the distance between us all, there are so many common memories - watching Christmas movies, viewing Christmas lights and watching out for Santa.

    Our Christmas's as children were always spent at our grandparent's home where all the family would gather for a traditional hot lunch of roast lamb, turkey and chicken along with baked vegetables followed by Christmas pudding with the hidden threepences and sixpences.

    I remember always getting a new dress (handmade by Mum) to wear Christmas Day. This was such a treat as it was the only time through the year that it wasn't a case of having outgrown my clothes, hence the new outfit, plus, I was able to choose the fabric (and sometimes the style).

    Christmas is such a magical time, especially for children. My DGS(nearly 3yo) is already excited about the Christmas lights as he remembers last year. We have 2 family birthdays (9th and 12th Dec)so our trees don't go up until after the 12th, but I know one little boy and his little sister who can't wait to come and help decorate the Christmas tree (and neither can their grandma :-) )

    Best wishes
    Janine

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    1. Dear Janine,
      I think the feeling of Christmas is the same and the gorgeous aspects like how parents tried to make it magical for the children etc even though we have summer vs winter and those differences.
      I love that your Mum made you a new dress and you chose the material! Have a beautiful time decorating the tree with your Grand children! I remember doing that with my Nan. I loved it. these are the things precious memories are made from!
      Happy Thanksgiving also! With love Annabel.xxx

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  21. Dear Annabel,

    Such a sweet story from Ida.

    I have fond memories of CHRISTmas as a child. I didn't get much and what I did get was usually made by mum and dad. One year dad welded together a metal frame for a dolls cradle and my mum made dolls clothes and pretty frills and blankets etc for the cradle. She used what she had on hand. I can still remember it, and it was so long ago!

    I loved playing with farm animals too! I would play in the dirt and build my own farm, so much fun!

    Sadly CHRISTmas is not what it used to be, although it would be nice if we could go back to a simpler time where "lots of things" weren't the norm. I can only dream.

    Thank you for this post, a gentle reminder to keep it simple :)

    Much love,
    Tania xx

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    1. Dear Tania,
      I think we can do a lot to keep Christmas simple in our own home but not too much how it is out at the shops etc. I basically avoid the shops when they go crazy as I don't like crowds and everyone seems so stressed!
      I also do less running around than I used to do and try and think what is important and what isn't.
      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! With love Annabel.xxx

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  22. Dear Annabel,

    What a lovely post with lots of beautiful ideas and memories. I love the part about Ida. My girls are "too old" for Santa, but you'd never know it! Reading "The Night Before Christmas" after hanging stockings and leaving milk and cookies and a letter to Santa still figure in on Christmas eve!

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

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    1. Dear Jen,
      I love the too old for Christmas BUT... well it is lovely that they still want to carry on with these gorgeous things. I think we are never too old. Chloe is 30 now and you would think she was 8 when it comes to Christmas which is kind of lovely! Tell them to never lose that!
      Have a wonderful Christmas! Love Annabel.xxx

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  23. I loved this post hearing everyone's Christmas memories. It brought back some lovely recollections of my own

    We always left beer and fruit cake for santa and carrots for the reindeer. We always found a new Christmas dress in our sacks (made by mum and nana ) and what we always found so exciting a similar dress from the same material for our dolls.

    Mum always had a Christmas Club account and nana always made the pudding with the sixpences in. My most precious memory is my nana sitting at the table enjoying lunch with the paper hat around her neck because she was small and the hats in the crackers were so big. I still make the pudding from nanas recipe and lef everyone have a stir for good luck.

    Great memories, wishing everyone a peaceful and joyous Christmas.

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    1. Dear Christine,
      Andy told me they also left beer for Santa which he always drank! lol
      Several ladies said this abut the new dress made for them and I love that. Plus one for your doll!
      What beautiful memories of your Nana and it is wonderful that you have carried on making her pudding. Have a very happy Christmas Christine! With love Annabel.xxx

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  24. What a beautiful post. Thank you Annabel for sharing it with us. Thank you Vicky for relaying Ida's Christmas. I really loved reading it. It meant a lot to me. I have a young family now and reading Ida's Christmas keeps me grounded as to know what is important about Christmas. It is incredible her level of creativity and resourcefulness. I am really in awe of it. Thank you Ida for sharing it and thank you Vicky for passing it on. I love that the children had really thoughtful presents, but that they weren't over-stretched by them. I also love that the day was about a special meal and company. This is exactly what I want to achieve. Funnily enough I don't remember what presents I received when I was a girl. I know I was excited to get them, but I remember going to church in the morning. I remember the drive to see the lights with mum and dad. I remember the food cooking (and smelling the glorious smells, usually some sort of roast), while Christmas Carols were playing. I'd eat juicy stone fruit, and would just love playing with my cousins and being with my grandparents. I loved being with family and having some special food. I hope with my son this year we can read lots of Christmas books by the tree in Advent and go and visit the lights and go to the Christmas Carols. I am excited! Just seeing his face light up when he sees the twinkly lights of the trees is so cute! Lots of love, Bridge Thanks again for reminding us the real meaning and joy behind Christmas- it's not how much you spend.

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    1. Thank you for your comments Bridge I am sorry to take so long to reply! Childhood memories we have give us a lot of information about what it is that children love and will cherish. It is mostly the simple things! I don't remember much about WHAT I was given more about what we did! And the excitement! And back then how long it took for Christmas to come around! Thanks you Bridge. I know you will make it a beautiful Christmas! Love Annabel.xxx

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  25. Wow. Vicky should do a blog about Ida's life regularly. I love hearing about her life. What would appear frugal to us was just her wsy of life. Lots of lessons to learn from such a wise woman. She would probably find it funny that so many from around the world as interested in her life.
    Thanks for the lovely memories too.

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  26. Wow. Vicky should do a blog about Ida's life regularly. I love hearing about her life. What would appear frugal to us was just her wsy of life. Lots of lessons to learn from such a wise woman. She would probably find it funny that so many from around the world as interested in her life.
    Thanks for the lovely memories too.

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    1. Dear Janine, I think thats a good idea! Sorry I am so slow to reply! With love Annabel.xxx

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