Don’t forget to leave a mince pie out for Santa

Don’t forget to leave a mince pie out for Santa

According to the original roots of this tradition go back all the way to ancient Norse mythology. Odin, the most important Norse god, was said to have an eight-legged horse named Sleipner, which he rode with a raven perched on each shoulder. During the Yule season, children would leave food out for Sleipner, in the hopes that Odin would stop by on his travels and leave gifts in return. Such a tradition continues today in countries such as Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, where children still believe that horses carry Santa’s sleigh instead of reindeer. On Christmas Eve, they leave carrots and hay—sometimes stuffed into shoes—to feed the exhausted animals. In return, they might hope to receive such holiday treats as chocolate coins, cocoa, mandarin oranges and marzipan.

Over the years, different countries have developed their own versions of the tradition. Here our children leave out sherry and mince pies, while Swedish kids leave rice porridge. Santa can expect a pint of Guinness along with his cookies when delivering toys in Ireland. French children leave out a glass of wine for Père Noël and fill their shoes with hay, carrots and other treats for his donkey, Gui (French for “mistletoe”). In Germany, children skip the snacks altogether and leave handwritten letters for the Christkind, a symbolic representation of the Christmas spirit who is responsible for bringing presents on Christmas. Though many German kids mail their letters before the holiday—there are six official addresses for letters addressed to the Christkind—others leave them out on Christmas Eve, decorated with sparkly glue or sugar crystals. On Christmas morning, the letters have been collected, and gifts left in their place.

We come up with two beautiful plates to help personalise this tradition for your children or grandchildren.  A ceramic Dear Santa plate (click here) or a plastic Santa Stop Here plate (click here)

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Jigsaws - the Ultimate Christmas Gift?

Jigsaws - the Ultimate Christmas Gift?

The jigsaw puzzle started life in the 18th century as a Geography educational aid. The first jigsaws were maps.  By the 1930s the cottage garden began to dominate, and is still the favoured style of traditional puzzles.

(No cutesy cottage from us, check out our personalised map jigsaw HERE.)

Jigsaws are a joy at Christmas, the ideal gift, the perfect way to while away hours of stress free time, usually a social occasion but not necessarily. Whist some people love the peaceful solitude of doing a puzzle by themselves, we at OMG HQ have a family tradition of everyone chipping in an hour or two until the puzzle is complete, sometimes in silence, sometimes with great excitement when the ‘missing piece’ is finally found and certainly some triumph upon completion.  Jigsaws come in all sizes, all degrees of difficulty, for all ages, at all prices. Depending on your taste, they can be educational, artistic, funny, challenging, competitive, social and comforting.  Unless of course someone jams a piece with great determination into a space that clearly isn’t correct.  Do you correct them?  Argue over it?  Or just quietly replace the piece when they aren’t looking?!

The map puzzles we sell are unique in that they are custom made around the postcode of your choice.  Our personalised map jigsaw puzzle is the ultimate celebration of your very own special place and is created just for you using the address and postcode of your choice. We even mark your special address with a jigsaw piece in the shape of a little house.  If you are a jigsaw officiano, you will know that this is called a whimsie!

So treat your family to a lo-tech, communal, fun gift this Christmas – literally everyone can join it.  It could almost be seen at the Ultimate Christmas Gift!  Get your kids off their devices and start a family puzzle after that turkey.

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Christmas Eve Boxes – What are they all about?!

Christmas Eve Boxes – What are they all about?!

A carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for Father Christmas are traditions that most British families associate with 24 December. But as so-called Christmas Eve boxes gain popularity, do they add to the festive joy or simply pile on pressure for parents?

Christmas Eve boxes are typically given to young children as a way to break up the anticipation of the next day with some small gifts and activities.

They can be as simple as a cardboard box or as elaborate as an engraved wooden chest, filled with sweets, pyjamas, films, books and games.

But many parents are oblivious to the Christmas Eve box – while others understandably feel that a box adds to the stress and workload of keeping children entertained over the Christmas holiday.

But do they piles pressure on families on tight budgets or those who feel Christmas customs are getting out of control?

Things commonly found in Christmas Eve boxes

  • family board game to play in the evening
  • A set of pyjamas they can wear at night and on Christmas morning
  • Some hot chocolate in a festive mug and bubble bath for before bed-time
  • Christmas film or festive book to read
  • Some Christmassy sweets and chocolate like coins and candy canes
  • Treats to feed the family pet dressed up as “reindeer food
  • personal letter from Father Christmas reassuring your child they are on the “good list”

Anticipation is the key to a child’s Christmas experience, and Christmas Eve Boxes only heighten that anticipation of the following day.

But what’s it really all about?  It’s most likely so parents have some time to prepare the turkey, keep the little ones occupied and to eek out the whole Christmas feeling of excitement.

Indulge or ignore, the Christmas Eve box has taken hold in the UK.


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Santa sacks - to wrap or not to wrap?

Santa sacks - to wrap or not to wrap?

Make the festive season as magical as possible with large Christmas sacks and decorative Christmas stockings that are just as exciting as the gifts that are in them!

You can also make sure there’s a bit of order on the big day by making sure everyone has their own sack of presents. Not only will this save everyone rooting around under the tree for their gifts, Christmas sacks are also a great way to make the day a little bit more magical.

Add a name to each of your Santa sacks so everyone knows exactly which theirs is and start a wonderful family tradition that they are sure to love each and every year. BUT… You’ll still need to wrap everything up though!

Unwrapping is half the fun and surprise and if they are all unwrapped to start with, its over way too quickly!!

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