Material Girl Jodie Bruton on the countdown to Christmas 2016

IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Whether you have a cheap and cheerful chocolate advent calendar, an Elf on the Shelf or an ever-diminishing Christmas activity countdown calendar like me, you’re live on Thursday, December 1.

  1. Put up Christmas decorations. Having been held at bay since mid-September when the stores put up their decorations, our two girls can’t wait to make over every inch of our home. Less is more has no place here.
  2. Watch a Christmas movie. Every year I forget to account for the ballet concert full dress rehearsal, which makes for a late feature, an even later night and a yet uglier morning after.
  3. Go to the ballet Christmas concert. I have just found out the girls will wear their hair pulled straight back rather than parted and twisted into a bun. The part and twist has a degree of difficulty beyond my skill set, even after six years. This simpler do has spared me four parts and eight twists in 48 hours. Christmas has come early!
  4. Ballet Christmas party. Pirouette to the park if you can. 
  5. Read a Christmas book. Five days in, my five-year-old will query the lack of sweets in the calendar.
  6. Make Christmas craft. Invariably this will clash with something unexpected, leaving unfinished objects and uncapped glue sticks everywhere.
  7. Write a letter to Santa. I worry we’ve jumped the gun; they will think of what they actually, really wanted and desperately needed by December 17.
  8. Do Christmas baking. I forget I have a Christmas party and this half-baked idea will go on the backburner!
  9. Go to a Christmas market.
  10. Go around the Christmas lights. Turns out we are invited to a street party in our old neighbourhood nearby and it would be rude not to eat, drink and be merry. Postpone lights to Sunday night.
  11. Water splash park catch-up. Burnt out we only see lights in our street; luckily they’re impressive three doors down!
  12. Wrap a present for the Giving Tree.
  13. Do Christmas baking. Same Donna Hay gingerbread recipe every year; new dove shape makes all the difference.
  14. Write Christmas cards. Having only allowed 10 days for postage, I realise the ones destined for Wodonga from East Albury won’t make it in time.
  15. Christmas shopping. Start and finish. I like a list and a tight deadline!
  16. Christmas shopping. Of course, I can’t wrap it up in one night!!
  17. Wrap Christmas gifts. Add gift wrap to shopping list. Always buy brown kraft gift wrap; it doesn’t have a season. 
  18. Watch The Polar Express on the outside projector screen. Never tire of this classic.
  19. Go around the Christmas lights. Finally.
  20. Photo with Santa. It will take me the entire length of the lengthy queue to work out the best value package is not really great value at all, but now I cannot renege on a meeting with Santa.
  21. Albury Carols by Candlelight. #falalalalalalalala
  22. Finish handmade Christmas gifts for husband’s family. I am blessed to knock around with this creative crew.
  23. Read a Christmas book. Our five-year-old reminds me the calendar is repeating. Why don’t we have an Elf on the Shelf?!
  24. Sprinkle reindeer food outside where dogs cannot reach it.
  25. Someone finally remembers to open No. 25 late on Boxing Day night.