When December rolls around, my mind sets off on a cinnamon-infused magical journey of nostalgia.  The twinkling of Christmas lights, the sumptuous flavours of Christmas cookies, and the sparkle of hopeful anticipation in children’s eyes makes me rekindle my own Christmas memories.

As I was walking around the third toy shop for the day, (and while possibly getting a bit too excited for someone my age) looking for the perfect, lasting gift for my niece and nephew, nothing seemed fulfilling enough.

Amidst all the toys, books and stocking-fillings that were accumulated over the years, the memories that last are the warm moments spent with loved ones.  The last-minute baking, seeing my stocking fatten up nicely, routinely dressing up our dogs in Christmassy outfits and coercing them to pose under the tree while Home Alone looped in the background, trying to decide what kind of biscuits Santa would appreciate the most, and figuring out just how many carrots each reindeer would need to reenergise on such an eventful night (surely, one each isn’t enough).

Sometimes the best gift of all is creating magical moments that will stay with you long after the toy that was all the hype about 10-minutes ago suddenly got boring. Christmas is about stories, experiences, and creating moments that give you the warm-and-fuzzies.  If you’d like to find a gift that instils a sense of wonder, you might want to consider one of the following:

Memorable, Story-telling Ornaments

christmas ornament hanging from a tree

Each Christmas, you could look for a tree ornament that represents something significant to the child at the time.  Let’s say they’re going through a Frozen phase, you could find an Olaf! You could also make a memorable day out of it by taking a trip to an artisan market together, and let the child choose one themselves. Write the date on the back, and keep them in a box.  After a couple of Christmases (I resolved to do it on the 8th), buy a little Christmas tree for the special kid to have in their own room, a new place for the ever-growing collection of unique and special ornaments to hang. A tree will never just be a tree again.

Reusable Advent Calendar

advent calendar for christmas

Generic advent calendars quickly get boring. The excitement of self-restraint and curiosity plummets as soon as the minuscule (and generally mediocre) chocolate of the day has melted away in your mouth. Instead of buying an ordinary advent calendar, why not buy a reusable wooden one that could also double as a pleasing addition to your mantel piece?  They come in every shape and form, and with the freedom of choosing what to put in it yourself.

Snow Globe Collection

snow globes

Ever since I first watched The Santa Clause (1994), I’ve been utterly enchanted by Snow Globes.  There’s something oddly soothing about looking at the scenes and imagining a story around them as the snow floats around and lightly falls down.  If you’re feeling crafty, you could follow this simple (-ish) guide and make your own together!

Scrapbook: Family Baking Recipes

Christmas pudding oreo truffles

Some of my fondest Christmas memories involve moulding peanut-butter snowballs, shaping up Christmas logs, and an upset stomach after consuming way too much cookie dough. Christmas in my family wouldn’t really be Christmas without a batch of rich peanut-butter balls – every family’s got a recipe or two which is a must.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if you suddenly lost one of them? (Sure, you could google it, but you’re risking that it won’t be the exact same one you’ve longed for all year).  Grab a scrapbook, and take note of your favourite recipes, adding one or two every year.  Take your own photos, add tips for improvements and have fun making it all nice and Christmassy together.

A Christmas Keep-sake Chest

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Wouldn’t you love a chance to indulge in some nostalgia and go through all the letters to Santa you’ve written over the years?  Start collecting all the letters, the photo shoots, the Christmas drawings and the Christmas cards your little one makes, so that in a couple of years they could browse through it with a smile, and have their personal Ghost of Christmas Past.

© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Andrea Said