8 weeks until Christmas – buying for kids


Only 8 weeks until Christmas and it’s almost November, which makes me feel like planning can really begin in earnest. All my favourite magazines are arriving with great suggestions of things to cook and to make. I’ve also finally sorted the spare room – just in time for the in-laws arrival today but after they leave next weekend, I will have a sewing room and can start on the projects I’ve been waiting to do.

The first of these is a Christmas sack for my niece Saskia. For Angus’ first Christmas (technically his second as he was born at 3.47pm on Christmas Day), I made large calico sacks for him and my niece Zali. There was no real pattern so the size was dictated by the width of the fabric and as luck should have it, I had enough to make 4. I always figured we’d have two kids and same for my sister, so I made 4 sacks at the time. I was glad I’d done this bit of preplanning the following Christmas, as I only had to sew/stick Xavier’s name on – in the midst of packing up our house for 3 years! We weren’t home last Christmas, but my sister figured at 7 months, Saskia wouldn’t know she didn’t have her name on her Santa sack, but this year will be the first time we’ll all be together so getting her name on is my first job – a nice simple one to start.


I also picked up some lovely fabric so the girls will have some dresses as part of their present from us. I have to admit, I like that the girls are still happy to receive clothes, while my boys at 4 and almost 6 have started to turn their noses up. I’m also looking at some Goldie Blox which are very cool toys for girls interested in building and problem solving.

Which brings me to buying for boys. I think my boys have everything they need and the house already feels quite cramped. I’ve always liked the idea of one big present and some smaller ones. I also need to come up with Angus’ 6th birthday present (we celebrate after Christmas lunch), so it becomes quite tricky. And I’m not working this year, so I’m not feeling as extravagant as I might have in the past. After 3 years in Hanoi they are enjoying the toy catalogues that come in the junk mail and I have been using these for inspiration while at the same time hosing down expectations that Santa will bring the $300 water slide and castle.

In addition to trying to make sure they are getting things they both want and need, I’m also trying to make sure the presents are age appropriate. This gets tricky as they want to have what the other one has which isn’t too bad as the age gap is only two years.

I’d also like to see them outdoors more and being a bit more creative, which then means the house is littered in glitter, foam shapes, pens and cardboard creations but is a better option than having them in front of the TV all day.

Thanks to the fact Halloween seems to be getting bigger here every year, I have already picked up a couple of superhero costumes, and was very excited to come across this great present spreadsheet by Nicole Avery over at Planning with Kids so I can remember what I have bought and more importantly, where I have hidden it.

So far my ideas list includes:

  • soccer goals and soccer boots
  • Lego
  • Craft materials
  • New rash vests and board shorts plus some other beach gear
  • A Slip and Slide – which I’m hoping will keep us all cool and amused on Christmas Day
  • Some old Disney movies
  • Some sort of Hot Wheels track that involves some construction
  • Something to do with science experiments
  • Books – and on this I would love suggestions of great options for a 6 year old who loves to read and is reading quite well.

Writing it down it, there is probably almost enough there to write on the list for Santa and for us, plus the birthday present, but as the grandparents will also ask for ideas, I’d love some more suggestions.

What do your kids like? What are the toys that get played with over and over?



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I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

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