Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dear Santa.

This post contains a very little bit of  Excuse Me, My parents are Hippies. It gives you a small snippet of what my childhood Christmas was like, but before you read, you should know that this post is SPONSORED.
I do not regularly accept sponsored posts; however I am eternally grateful to companies that support blog writers. Accepting occasional sponsored posts from trusted brands, allows this blog to operate, provides the funds to purchase necessary software and camera equipment, and gives me the opportunity to earn, or free up other income while I write.
Sponsored posts are only ever offered to trusted brands when the theme of the advertising fits well with the blog content, and can be incorporated into an entertaining story that is written completely in my own words and published containing my honest and unbiased opinion.

I hope you like this one.

As a child I would visit with my maternal grandparents for Christmas.
They would always be elaborate affairs with all of the trimmings. No expense would be spared, and my grandparents would spoil my siblings and I rotten with presents.

My mother would sit at the elegantly dressed table, set with the finest china, crystal candy dishes filled with lollies and various nuts. Golden handmade bon-bons, that had sprigs of holly tucked into red ribbons sat on top of lace trimmed napkins.

My mother would watch my siblings and I open our presents, making disapproving tutting sounds at my grandmother, complaining under her breath that she was spoiling us, and had gone to far too much trouble and expense this Christmas.
My father would sit on the lounge, whilst he pondered the meaning of Christmas with a guitar in his lap and Pop would sit in his large brown chair, winking at my siblings and I, whilst he popped Country mints in his mouth from a nearby candy dish, and occasionally spoke to tell us “Don’t tell your Nan, but I’m going to marry that lady one day” Every time the attractive blonde news reader appeared on the telly.

My grandmother would roll her eyes and dramatically announce that she would most likely be dead before next Christmas, and that she was perfectly entitled to spoil her grandchildren if she so wished, as this would probably be the last time she would be able to.

No one was ever actually listening to anyone else, it was as though the four adults in the room simultaneously carried out entire conversations with themselves, whilst my siblings and joyously tore open paper parcels containing bubble bath, new pajamas and countless toys, inhaling the smells of a hot lunch cooking away in the oven, the scent of the wrapping paper, tinsel, the plastic in the new toys and the slightly dusty smell of the old artificial Christmas tree.
Despite these types of dysfunctional family gatherings being primarily exactly what is wrong with me, these memories are mine and they are treasured.

This is the story of my childhood Christmas, and it was filled with magic.
It is that magic that still fuels my love of Christmas today, I love Christmas. I had a conversation with my sister recently about why I loved Christmas, because when you think about it, Christmas can be a massive drain on a lot of resources.
There is a great deal of shopping in crowds, expense, the pressure of choosing the right gifts, the cooking, the cleaning, the wrapping, the assembling of toys at 3am on Christmas eve.
I still get excited about doing these things, because despite the hard work that Christmas becomes when you become an adult, it is the chance to create that magic in my own children that makes me love it so much.

This year, Mattel have created a website to help pass on some Christmas magic to your family, and help take some of the pressure off this festive season, and I was kindly asked to review it, and you can check it out here.
The website promised to add to the magic of Christmas for kids, and help take some of the pressure off gift giving.
So I took a look...

After entering a few details such as your child’s name and age, the website offers the opportunity for your kids to browse, and to choose  gifts from a selection of Mattel toys.
I was pleased to see a great selection of Frozen, Disney Princess, Monster High and Minecraft toys, as they are all at the top of our kids Christmas lists this year!
Your child is able to click on the toys for a better look and a description and they can then choose which toys they like, which are then dropped on to a fun little Santa’s workshop conveyer belt for processing, and added to a Christmas list that can be  shared with family and friends.

Once your child is done choosing their favorite toys, they are given an opportunity to type Santa a letter, and decorate it with stickers and with a click, they are able to post the letter to Santa. A really cute video of Santa checking his mail box delivers a special  personalised Christmas message that your child can watch.
This was Andie’s letter to Santa.

I died of cute.
You are given the opportunity to print your child’s letter as a keepsake, and don’t panic if you aren’t somewhere that you can print the letter straight away, as a copy of the letter is also emailed to you.
You are able to write more letters for additional children, and easily access all of your kids letters and toy wish lists from an easily navigated dashboard.

Over all, I found the website, fun, bright, colourful and helpful. My kids were able to navigate the site easily, and really enjoyed watching the toys they chose drop to their Christmas list, but I think Santa’s video was their favorite part of the website.
Did it deliver on helping add some magic to Christmas?

 If this sounds like something you would enjoy doing with your kids you can check out the website here

Also, by writing your letter to Santa, there is a chance to win one of five hundred toys instantly!

Next week, I will fill you in on how I as a parent found the website features, and whether it delivered on taking away some of the gift giving pressure.
You can follow the fun @Mattel #LetterToSanta

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