One of our most Magical Christmas moments every year….

Have you ever heard of Portable North Pole?

If you haven’t then you’re in for a treat this Christmas.  Guaranteed!

Portable North Pole helps you to make a video from Santa personalised for you children and considering it’s a free service, the quality of the video and the level of personalisation is excellent.  It only takes about five minutes to upload a photo of your child and fill in the little prompts to personalise the video and they the link to your completed video is emailed to you in minutes.

We’ve done this every year since I found the website and every year the expressions on their faces have been absolutely priceless and definitely one of the highlights of our family Christmas build up.

I can’t recommend it highly enough so get the page bookmarked and try not to forget about it before Christmas comes around (don’t worry if you do, I’ll be reminding you I’m sure ;-))

Different ways you can contact Santa (for free)….

One of the most magical parts of Christmas to me has always been the letters that the kids have written to Santa.

We usually write them at the start of December and hang them on our tree as we have two small felt envelopes addressed to Santa on the tree and at some point soon after we hang them up, they disappear and the kids think that one of Santa’s elves has been to collect them and take them to the main man.

What actually happens is a little different though ;-)

Generally, I take the letters our of the envelopes and use the Royal Mail Santa Service to send them to Santa.  If you  make sure that your letter includes your child’s name and address and a stamp before the 6th December then Santa will try and write back.

Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,

To make a more personalised letter you could try making up your own letter from Santa using Free Letters From Santa or a site like Picmonkey has lots of Christmas backgrounds and stickers to use.

If you’d prefer you can  e mail Santa which is really quick and easy and we’ve always had a really quick reply from him when we’ve done this.

There’s even a live child friendly tweet stream – which isn’t really on Twitter as it’s the North Pole’s version of Twitter.

And don’t forget Portable North Pole where you can get a free video message from Santa.

Over to you, how do you celebrate Christmas in your house – Donna from Mummy Central….

how do you celebrate ChristmasThis week we’re having a nosey at how the lovely Donna from Mummy Central celebrates Christmas with her family.

Over to you, Donna….

What’s your name?  Donna White

Where do you blog?

What’s your Twitter name (if you’re on Twitter)?  @mummy_central

Who’s in your family?  Husband Mr G, and sons Brodie, 7, and Blake, who is 5 in October.

Are you organised or do you leave everything to the last minute?  I usually start buying presents in September, in the end-of-season sales, if I see anything the boys would like. After getting a few things, I smugly think I’ve got it all sorted – then I have to rush out the week before Christmas and buy everything else.

What’s your favourite part of the build up to Christmas?  The nativity shows and carol concerts the kids are usually performing in, taking the boys to visit Santa and the general excitement we all feel about seeing other family members and celebrating together.

Do you have any family Christmas traditions?  We always put up the tree together on December 7th, which is my father-in-law Keith’s birthday. We lost him 2 years ago to asbestosis – and he was the best Grandad the boys could have wished for. We like to remember him by decorating the tree on his birthday. We have camcorder footage of him playing with the boys when they were tiny, and we’ll usually watch a bit of that, and relive some happy memories.  We also have new pyjamas on Christmas Eve – but I think everyone does that one!

What happens on Christmas Eve in your house? Apart from the new pyjamas, just general chaos and excitement. I’m usually in our bedroom, trying to wrap everything, with the door barricaded so the boys can’t burst in. Or Mr G is building some incredibly complicated castle or robot or Scalextric set. We put the boys to bed early, but inevitably they come downstairs 2 or 3 times and we have to frantically block their view of all the presents under the tree (Brodie is getting to the age where he’s starting to question whether Santa exists – and we don’t want to shatter his illusions too early).

Who cooks Christmas Dinner and what do you normally have to eat?  Mr G cooks – because I burn water! I like to put Christmas music on, and help out with peeling and chopping the vegetables. We stay traditional and have turkey with all the trimmings – roast potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrots, stuffing, yorkshire puddings and lots of cranberry sauce. None of us like Christmas pudding, so we usually have a fruit crumble and custard for dessert.

Who washes the pots?  That would be me (loading the dishwasher) after all of Mr G’s hard work.

Tell us about Christmas morning in your house. We lie in bed until the boys come and jump on us. Mr G gets the camcorder ready and goes downstairs first. Then he films Brodie and Blake coming down, catching the boys’ expressions as they see their presents under the tree. I sort through the gifts and hand them over as slowly as I can – trying to make the excitement last, but inevitably it’s all over within 5 or 10 minutes. Then I make us a special breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and we put on some festive music and help the boys play with all their new toys.

What do you do after Christmas Dinner? Watch whatever Christmas movie is on television until we feel able to move off the sofa! Then we’ll either take the sledges out to the local park, and let the boys play in the snow (we live in Scotland – there’s a good chance of the white stuff). Or we go for a walk. We’re lucky enough to live in a historical town with a ruined palace next to a loch. It takes about 45 minutes to walk around the loch, and it’s a beautiful sight on a cold Winter’s afternoon.

Boxing day – Hit the sales or chill out? Good grief I haven’t got the energy to get up early and fight my way through manic shoppers. Chill out – with a glass of wine and another Christmas movie.

When do you take the tree down? I try to keep the tree for as long as possible, because I don’t want Christmas to end! So if I can manage it (and Mr G doesn’t moan too much) I’ll keep it until January 6th.

What’s the worst part of Christmas? Saying goodbye to relatives if they’ve stayed with us over the festive season. Or going home, if we’ve been staying with them.

And the best part?  Everything else. The anticipation and build-up, the excitement of watching the kids opening presents, the family dinner, the cheesy music, the festive movies, eating and drinking too much, and spending time with family.

Thanks for sharing Donna x

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