Make My Life More Christmas

We have wrapped up some unique Christmas gift ideas for your child’s teacher, foodies, Eco warriors, healthy eaters and all you busy types.

Gifted Teachers

Teachers go above and beyond during the school year so a gift is a nice way to say thank you. But what does a teacher REALLY want? Well, we asked them! And here’s what they said.

  • “A small plant or herb is useful, pretty and I can remember the child when I see it bloom.”
  • “When parents get together and get one gift as opposed to lots of little gifts, that works well.”
  • “My favourite was simply a class photo in a beautiful frame.”
  • “I’m most appreciative of a hand written card sharing a favourite moment.”

Good Grief

Christmas can be particularly tough for any family that has lost a loved one during the year. Melinda Phillips of Good Grief, says it is especially important at this time for people to take care of themselves. “There is no wrong or right way to act,” says Melinda. “Some people keep busy to distract themselves while others prefer to spend quiet time reflecting.” Melinda recommends you give yourself permission to do less this year and accept help if you need it. “And let yourself have fun. Having fun doesn’t mean that you are forgetting your loved one.”

Gift Guide Mantra

A simple way to make sure Santa doesn’t go overboard with gifts this year is to follow this present mantra for each child.

Something they want: Electronic devices and games rate highly on this list.
Something they need: It can be as simple as socks or a big pressie like a new bed.
Something to wear: A pair of pyjamas or the jersey of your child’s favourite team is always a hit.
Something to read: Picture books for toddlers or laugh out loud books for tweens.

Track It

It’s hard to keep on top of your nutrition and exercise regime, right? Wrong. Amanda and Simon of Mission Possible Fitness, suggest you get an activity tracker and focus on making 15,000 steps a day. After all, if you’re running around, why not clock up the kilometres at the same time! “Holidays mean a change of routine, so change up your exercise. Get moving at the beach or walk with the kids,” Simon says. As for parties, Amanda recommends NEVER going to a party on an empty stomach. “Have a healthy meal or snack before you go so you’re less likely to head straight for the Doritos.”

All Aboard

Nothing says Christmas feast like a long smorgasbord of delicious dishes. Elizabeth Macri of kitchenink, says preparing a buffet before everyone gathers gives you more time to spend with guests. “Serve plenty of roast vegetables like duck fat potatoes and honey roasted carrots and if you’re serving up ham, have some meat sliced ready to go,” she says. As for sweet dishes, Elizabeth recommends changing it up with a layered sorbet slice. Simply buy three different coloured sorbets from the supermarket, freeze them in layers in a loaf pan and serve slices with macerated fruits. Yum! “And set up a separate drinks buffet where people can help themselves.” Fill the vintage-style glass drink dispensers, which are at every homewares store right now, with colourful punch (a kids’ and a grown-ups’ version), berries and mint, and enjoy!

Easy Being Green

We can get caught up in the consumable side of Christmas but Melinda Bito of Ecotoys , says focusing on being mindful rather than wasteful is simple. “Australians produce 40 million tonnes of waste yearly and Christmas celebrations contribute to that,” she says. Melinda suggests creating gifts you’ve baked, made or sewn yourself. “It’s also a great opportunity to support our local crafters and artisans. Handmade doesn’t mean it has to be made by you,” Melinda says. “Shop at local markets or online marketplaces that offer handmade options. Choose items made from natural materials such as wood, rather than plastic.” Charities such as Oxfam have great gifts for all the family and the a very eco friendly.

Deep Breath

Schedules are always busy but add end of year concerts, work parties and Christmas catch-ups into the mix and November and December can get crazy. Keep on top of overwhelm by using breathing techniques to calm yourself and practise stillness. Deep belly breathing reduces stress and tension almost immediately and can be practised wherever you are. Limit alcohol and up your water consumption to keep yourself hydrated. Being mindful about your nutrition will help keep your energy levels up and allow you to put your best silly season foot forward.

Words by Penny Webb

Guest Contributor