Tuesday 13 December 2011

Gifts in a Jar, Christmas quicklinks and Melbourne Christmas

Bing said it best: "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."  Christmas baking is underway.  We have three advent calendars on the go (see below).  Presents sitting in a corner of a the loungeroom.  That may sound organised.  Yet half the presents we have wrapped so far were accidentally wrapped in birthday wrapping paper.  We also missed the carols service on Saturday due to the thunderstorms.  We were disappointed but I felt badly for the organisers.

Last year I did a post on gift ideas and decided I would do so again this year.  I've posted some recipes that are either tooth achingly sweet or fun on a stick or even slightly healthy.  There are so many gift ideas in the blogosphere that I decided on a theme for some ideas from other blogs.  Gifts in a jar.  They appeal because the packaging is sorted, even if it is breakable.

I've also taken the opportunity to share some Christmas photos. You may wonder about Christmas in Australia where our nights are too long for light displays and the blazing sun is no place for snowmen, winter woollies and hot ovens.  On the weekend, we had a lovely dinner of festive fingers and Christmas pudding at Miss Marples Tearoom.  It is decorated traditionally (see top photo) as is the above Christmas tree in the Royal Arcade.  We even have lots of traditional Christmas brick-a-brack in shops such as Tealeaves.  But at the end of the post I have some photos of a less traditional and more Aussie Christmas on the streets of Melbourne.

I am sending the top photo to Jacqueline and Lisa's No Croutons Required event.  The theme this month is festive photo.

Ten gift ideas from Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Ten blogger ideas for gifts in a jar:

Christmas quicklinks

Christmas in the streets of Melbourne:

Here are some photos I have taken over the last week or so in Melbourne:

Popular in recent years have been flags for Christmas decorations.  Actually flags are popular for any event.  They aren't very Christmassy, are they?

I am more of a fan of these new hanging decorations that look great against the green trees that line Swanston Street in the city.  As for the Christmas window displays, there are very few of the cosy snow and santa hats type.  Here is a selection of non-traditional shop window displays.



And my favourite!  Santa in a t-shirt serving up a pudding from a pizza oven to Rudoph.  This is the quirky type of Aussie Christmas scene that amuses and pleases me.  (Mankoushe in East Brunswick)

Lastly to prove that it is possible to create great Christmas traditions in Australia, here are the Myer Christmas Windows that have been displayed with a different theme each year since 1956.  I loved them as a child and now take Sylvia along.  Even if it is our own pop idol, Guy Sebastian, singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  Bring back Bing!


  1. Sorry to read about the storms, its such a shame for organisers and paricipants.

    I have enjoyed the Christmas photos of Melbourne streets. I am hoping to go into the city this weekend and snap some pictures of Glasgow city centre, but its been blowy and raining so hard.

    of to check out those Christmas in Jars links, a fab idea I think. I love homemade gifts

  2. Definitely off to check out that list of links, brilliant idea! Am doing a lot of baking this weekend for a timepoor friend, need some inspiration!
    Have a lovely Christmas x

  3. Great photos and great links! I am feeling terribly disorganised this year, I am not sure what has gone wrong. Usually I'd have finished shopping and writing cards by now, but I've only done about half of the former and none (except overseas ones) for the latter :/ I'm thinking I may need to take an afternoon off work...just haven't figured out when. It's frustrating me because I love Christmassy things and don't want to rush them either - but I'm sure it will all work out.

  4. I loved the storm on the weekend, we haven't had a big one like that in years! Having said that I can understand the timing wasn't good for Christmas celebrations.

    Gifts in a jar are a great idea! A few of those links look familiar but there are heaps I haven't seen before. I'm so unorganised at the moment with Christmas plans, the man and I always leave our shopping to the last minute. *sigh*

  5. I start panicking when I think of Christmas this year. So far behind, and I can't see a way to get things done with work in the way until the 24th! So envious of your wrapped presents! :)

  6. I stumbled on your website in a search for new ideas for my vegetarian christmas menu...and just wanted to say I'm inspired by your recipes, your photos (both delicious!)and your writing. Merry Christmas :)

  7. i think you have captured the spirit of Melbourne perfectly! Pretty!

  8. Thanks Marmaduke Scarlet

    Thanks Shaheen - yes I love home made gifts too - look forward to some christmassy glasgow pics

    Thanks Kitchenmaid - sounds like your timepoor friend will be getting some great gifts if your other gifts I have seen on the blog are anything to go by - good luck with it

    Thanks Kari - I think it gets to the point where it seems impossible every year but it sorts itself - that is what I am trying to tell myself because I am feeling far behind right now

    Thanks Mel - it is not so much the christmas shopping as the cards that I am really behind with this year

    Thanks Anon - very kind of you to stop by and comment - merry christmas to you too

    thanks Anh - Melbourne is so unlike Scotland where E comes from but it does have some pretty sights at Christmas

  9. Thanks Hannah - see I missed your comment because I am sharing your feeling that Christmas might be the last straw - it should be easier - good luck with finding time and not getting too overwhelmed by Christmas or work

  10. Thanks for sharing the photos of what Aussie Christmas is like! I love the hanging decorations too. And I looooooooooooooove the idea of gifts in a jar. I just found one for winter panettone mix in a jar! Next year I was thinking I might do all food/homemade gifts.

  11. Love all your photos so much, Johanna! Plus your gift ideas ... going to check out your Nutella. ;-) Thanks, too, for the link to our Home for the Holidays ... Gluten-Free Style series. :-) It's been such a fun event! Merry Christmas to you, dear!


  12. Just arrived here from Tinned Tomatoes - fascinating to see what a sunny Oz Christmas looks like, compared to the yucky grey rain we having in Scotland!


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