It’s almost December and albeit the most jolly and sunny time of the year, it is also pretty daunting for us moms. The Christmas shopping is daunting because we don’t only have to consider that Father Christmas is paying a visit to our home on Christmas day, but also that he’s popping in to visit the kids at school as well as making an appearance at Uncle Willy’s Christmas party.

My internal battle has been figuring out how to keep the Father Christmas magic alive while keeping the real meaning of Christmas a focus; keeping the budget in tact and ensuring that the kids remain able to enjoy the simple things in life. I’m no Grinch, but I am fighting the frantic buzz of the festive season and this is how I’m doing it: The Kynies Guide to Christmas 2018.

The vibe – We start December with an advent calendar – I always wait until Woolworths stock their advent calendars with a nativity scene design. This year’s one has a beautiful nativity scene image with the star above the stable for Day 25. We’ll also read the story of Christmas in our Jesus Storybook Bible to the kids and remind them that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. We’ll listen to non-cheesy carol compilations on Apple Music. (Make no mistake, I’m also fan of bringing the cheese and Boney M has a time and a place in our lives too.)

Father Christmas – Father Christmas will pay a visit on Christmas Eve and he will eat our soetkoekies and Rudolph will eat our carrots. He will leave one gift at the end of their beds in a pillowcase which is a family tradition of mine growing up. This won’t be their main gift, it will be something fun and/or practical and something they can open the minute they wake up. The other Christmas gifts under the tree are from Mom and Dad who worked hard to buy them and can be thanked appropriately.

Giving back – One of our favourite things to do is to go to Uncle Willys Christmas party in mid-December. This is a Rotary run event that is replicated all over and goes by different names in different areas. They ask that you bring a bag of good quality, pre-loved toys that can be gifted to kids in under resourced areas. This has become an important learning moment for our kids – that we don’t just give away things that we no longer want to play with, but toys that we actually still love and think that another child may love too. Giving is a good feeling and I want my kids to know that Christmas isn’t just about getting.

The gifts – You don’t need to make your child’s every wish come true and their ‘letter to Santa’ means nothing actually, it’s just a guideline. For eg. ‘School Father Christmas’ got a note asking for a Spiderman for Judah and a Barbie for Kira – Judah is getting a ‘Spiderman surprise egg’ from the front of the Rosmead Spar queue shelves and Kira is getting a Barbie torch – those ones that shine a pink Barbie logo onto the wall when you press the button. Is a blonde long-haired Barbie the best thing for my daughter right now? Nope, it’s not, so she will also get a R25 cute black doll that I spotted at Ackermans. Sorted.

Christmas is coming, but your kids’ bedroom doesn’t need to look like a toy shop! I love the idea of giving only three gifts to your kids on Christmas Day – something to read, something to wear and something to play with. This year our kids are getting something to eat instead of something to read, but hey. We’ve bought the little kids new school backpacks and Ilan will get his Grade 1 backpack with a few gifts inside – something sweet to eat before breakfast, something to wear and something to play with. And that’s it. If family would like to buy something for your kids, suggest that they buy ‘experiences’, not more toys. This year the kids are getting a Kirstenbosch membership from Granny – sure they may not be stoked about opening a membership card, but this is honestly the best kind of gift – one that will keep on giving.

If you’re looking for that fun gift for your kids, here are some ideas from recent media drops we’ve received leading up to Christmas:

Yo-kai Watch

Ilan was beyond stoked to receive a Yo-kai watch, especially as he’d watched a couple of episodes on Netflix beforehand. You pop a medal into the watch  to hear the character’s name, tribe song and other sounds. There is also an interactive app available for free download. Medals and accessories – available from Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Hamleys, Lilliputs and other major retailers. You can also shop online for Yo-kai Watch products at

Nerf Gun

For the uninitiated parents (me until a few weeks ago!) – Nerf has a wide range of blasters, which shoot soft foam darts providing hours of fun and safe, indoor and outdoor action. No pics of Ilan with his Nerf gun yet because he’s getting this one for Christmas.

Plush Toy from Besties

Besties has just opened at Canal Walk and N1 City in Cape Town and has a wonderful and unique range of plush toys for boys and girls. Besties offers 18 exciting categories – animals, bears, bunnies, cats, dinosaurs, dogs, dragons, farm animals, insects & reptiles, monkeys, monsters, novelty, owls, pandas, rag dolls, sea life, wildlife, unicorns and ponies. What’s more, the store offers a bright selection of helium balloons, assorted cards and gift bags, as well as sweets, to help complement the perfect gift. Best thing is that the prices are really decent – the monster in the pic below is R149.

*Thank you to Hasbro and Besties for the Chrismas spoils!


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