free nativity treasure hunt

FREE Nativity Treasure Hunt

free nativity treasure hunt

Last year I was involved in running a nativity themed treasure hunt at our estate Christmas event.  I wanted to add some fun for the kids, but also bring in the real characters of Christmas. 

The idea was really simple.  Give each child an envelope and hide the nativity characters around the estate (I provided a simple map in case they got lost!).  At each stop they would find a bag of smaller versions of the character, which each child could take one of to put in their envelope.  At the end of the treasure hunt, glue and pens would be provided so that the characters would make a nice nativity picture for the children to take home.

As I was making it I thought perhaps it would be good to share with all my readers.  You could use this at Christmas events or parties, or it would also be perfect to use inside throughout your house on Christmas Eve.  Why not print it off and add it to your Christmas Eve box 

You can download the free printable nativity treasure hunt here – enjoy!  And if you like my treasure hunt then please do share it with you friends, family and church members. 

free nativity treasure hunt instructions

Make your own Christmas Eve box for FREE!

Christmas Eve boxes are all the rage at the moment – another thing to spend money on to make sure Christmas is magical for your kids.  And I do get it – it is all about anticipation and planning fun things that your kids will remember.  But sometimes all these “Christmas traditions” just add to the expense of this time of year.

This is the first year I am going to make up a Christmas Eve box, partly because my son is old enough to understand it now but also partly just to give him something to do on Christmas Eve when we arrive at the grandparents super excited!!  But I am not going to order one online or spend lots of money on it.  I am going to put in free or cheap things that we would probably have done/used on Christmas Eve in previous years anyway but it just keeps it all nicely together.  

Here is my contents list:

  • Clean pyjamas – no I am not going to go out and buy news ones. Just normal PJ’s are fine everyone!
  • Stocking to hang up – we already have these from previous years
  • Reindeer food – Sam made this at nursery, but if not you can make it easily with oats and glitter.  Lots of fun for sprinkling on the grass outside so the reindeer can see your house….
  • A colouring in “Santa Stop Here” sign – I am using the one I got sent in our letter from Santa, but you could easily find one online to print out or get your child to make their own
  • A book for bedtime – this could be a new one if you want, but if you haven’t got the budget just add one in that they haven’t read for a while or ask a friend to do a book swap.  We have a great charity locally called Re-Read that gives out free books so have a look around to keep the cost down.
  • A paper plate to decorate for Santa – some people like to buy an expensive santa plate, but this year I am going to get Sam to decorate his own plate to leave out for him.  This could prove tricky given that he wants to leave out chilli con carne (apparently Santa needs a proper meal!) but then each year he can do a new one.
  • Cookie Mix/chocolate log/gingerbread house – baking is one of the best Christmas related activities, so a good way to keep the kids occupied on Christmas eve is with baking.  You could put in cookie mix in a jar, or in our house we always iced and decorated a chocolate log (chocolate swiss roll with chocolate butter cream all over).  Use up whatever ingredients you have left in the cupboard and it should be a pretty cheap endeavour
  • Christmas film – I might put one of these in, as we a film lovers in the house anyway.  The only one I have on DVD is NATIVITY!  Again, I might see if some friends will do a christmas film swap so we can watch something new.  If I have a bit of spare cash the week before I might even spring for some treats for whilst we watch it (but I might not!)

I am going to put all of these things in a cardboard box that I got some of my online shopping delivered in wrapped in wrapping paper and there you have it!  A pretty much free Christmas Eve box.  Here is the photo so far:


Do let me know any other free or cheap ideas you have for your own boxes by commenting below.
candy cane bombing

Candy Cane Bombing!

So I am feeling rather festive at the moment after weeks of preparing everything at work and now the decorations have gone up at home.  It got me thinking about how I am going to bless those around me this year.  I have done numerous things in the past – leaving secret hampers for neighbours, having an open house – but this year I wanted to do something fun!  So I have chosen to do some CANDY CANE BOMBING!!!

My friend mentioned this on social media last year, and it felt a bit too late to do it then, but this year I am on the ball!  Basically, you get some candy canes and all a little message (see below for my free printable sheets).  Tie it all together and then hook them on to the handles of cars so that when the driver comes back they get a little Christmassy treat.

To tie in with our Mummy Meditations theme of joy I have chosen to put the following verse on my cards to go with the candy canes:

“Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger” Luke 2:10-12

To get your free printable pdf version of the candy cane bombing tags and have a go yourself just click here.
Why not share some photos of where you have been bombing on my facebook page or tag me one twitter (@ace_rach) – I would love to see!

Mum on a Mission Reviews – Letter from Lapland Mailroom

I am not sure what your position on Santa is – there are many valid arguments both for and against letting your children believe that Santa is real.  I am going to assume that if you are reading this post then you are “PRO-Santa!” and so would love to hear about a great way to bring some more magic to your kids Christmas!

This is the first year that my son has been big enough to write a proper letter to Santa, and so in November he wrote down that he wanted a mud kitchen (not sure he’s going to get that but hey!) on his bit of paper and gave it to daddy to post to Santa.  He was reasonably excited, although not as excited as mummy, when he got a letter back:


We ordered his letter from Santa from Lapland Mailroom this year and it was interesting to be able to compare it.  In the past I have had letters from the NSPCC, which is a lovely way to both support charity and get a little keepsake for your kids.  Now with the NSPCC you do just get a letter (which is lovely don’t get me wrong!) that has been made with a very basic mail merge (so it has his name it in but most of the rest of it is generic) for a suggested donation of £5.  
The letter package from Lapland Mailroom is obviously more expensive (£7.95 or £8.95 with an activity pack) but I think it is worth that extra bit.  The letter itself is much more personalised with details about what happened last Christmas (I was able to put in that Sam left out mashed potatoes for Santa) so brought a lot more joy to Sam when I read it to him as he remembered last year.  You also get a nice child certificate with the child’s name on. 
The activity pack is also really good quality (and I think worth the extra £1) as you get a card, a door hanger, a “santa stop here” poster, a christmas decoration and an activity sheet to colour in, all on good quality card.  I am going to add the poster and door hanger to a Christmas Eve box so that we can colour them in and put them up ready for Santa. 
In my opinion, the pack is definitely worth the £8.95, and Lapland Mailroom can guarantee delivery of it before Christmas if you order before the 20th December.  There may be other cheaper or free letter from Santa services but this is definitely the best one I have seen yet.
You can use this code to get 10% off your letter from Santa – “lapland10” at 
Happy Christmas everyone!
Disclosure – I have been sent a free letter from Santa from Lapland Mailroom to review on my blog, but all opinions are my own.  
monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

November Monthly Inspiration

With Christmas fast approaching (yey!) I thought I would share with you all some of the things I am loving at the moment which might make good presents or outreach gifts this Christmas:
  • Hillsong CD Let there be light – Now I don’t usually like Hillsong albums all that much.  I generally find them a bit too much style over substance, and I prefer to have music that includes more scriptural truths in it, but all the reviews of this album have been fantastic so I thought I’d give it a go!  And I do love it.  My favourite song is “What a beautiful name it is” but I could pick lots more that are my next favourites.  Perhaps a few too many slow songs, but some great lyrics in there.  
  • Casting Crowns CD The Very Next Thing.  Now I really do love Casting Crowns and I have about 6 of their albums to prove it!  To start with the songs do sounds pretty samey to previous albums, but what I love about their music is the story and reason behind why each song is written.  They will always be based on a scripture which is included in the cover and after a few listens you get a better understanding of that song.  My favourite on here are “The very next thing” as it talks about that season in life where you don’t know God has for you next.  Plus their harmonies are amazing!!
  • Cheerfully Given – If you are looking for some Christian gifts handmade by others then this is a sort of etsy for Christians website!  Katie who is had a cuppa with a few months back sells her lovely jewellery on here and you might just get some more inspiration.
  • Room DVD – now this is a strange one, but I just watched this film and was blown away by it.  You do have to be in the right emotional state to watch it as it is quite moving, but definitely worth getting.  It is all about a mum and son who are living life in one room, and what happens when they get out (not to give too much away!).  If I need to convince you more it is under £5 on amazon so just do it!
  • Bible Society Colouring Calendars – I love these!  I am always on the look out for new creative ideas to express my faith, and these calendars are a great way to do this.  They are also only a 50p donation each so why not buy 10 and give them away to others?!  The bible society also have some great little Christmas booklets for kids and other resources such as a nativity from scratch to help share your faith this Christmas.   



Our magical tea with Santa

We have just returned home from a magical family afternoon having tea with Santa at our local Wyevale Garden Centre – this has been a great toddler distraction activity and I wanted to tell you all about it! The magic started the second we arrived, where we were greeted and shown to our seats by the friendliest elf ever! We had crackers and activity/colouring sheets for the kids (although Reuben decided the excitement was too much to start with and stayed asleep in his pushchair….) and were quickly brought our food and drinks. 

The adult food was very good value for money. As an event for kids, I was expecting a slightly lame turkey sandwich, but instead we got a tower of yumminess including the tastiest turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches, delicious carrot cake and a homemade minced pie. The children meals were pretty standard. Sam had chicken nuggets and chips and we had ordered a picnic bag for Reuben to take home which was full of goodie including jelly, grapes, a Müller yoghurt, innocent smoothie, crisps and a sandwich.

After we had enjoyed our tea, our friendly elf returned to get the kids excited for the arrival of Santa. He interacted with all the kids (who had name labels on to make it more personal) and got them dancing and singing jingle bells to call Santa. This was good fun and made it extra special when Santa did finally arrive.

Sam enjoyed meeting Santa, and there was another friendly elf on hand to take photos with our own cameras which was really nice. Sam received not only a present of his choosing (he did initially choose a mermaid Barbie, but after a bit of persuasion changed it to a dinosaur jigsaw!) but also a bag of chocolate coins and a biscuit decorating kit to take home.

I would say that this event was really good value for money for everything you got. Our family of four would have cost around £36, but we had a lovely tea, a relaxing family afternoon and the magic of Santa included. If you are only going to treat your kids to one Santa experience this year I would definitely recommend it, and I will be considering going again next year when Reuben is big enough to enjoy it too! 
More details:



Online booking page – the Wyevale Garden Centre page with further details on breakfast and tea with Santa experiences including online booking page.  Prices range from £3.99 for adults to £9.99 for children.  We visited Carr Gate garden centre near Wakefield, but there are venues across the UK. 

Disclosure: I am being treated to free entry to the tea with Santa experience in exchange for writing about it on my blog, but all opinions are my own.

Tea with Santa and I’m already excited!

This time of year is one of preparation for Christmas.  Each of us has to decide what we will teach/tell our kids about Santa, how many presents we will buy, what other treats or customs we might start or carry on.  It is both exciting and terrifying, as I know for me I want to make Christmas magical but not lose the true meaning of Christmas.  Neither do I want to spend hours queuing with my two year old for him to see Santa to then have home scream and hate it!  So when I was given the opportunity to attend “tea with Santa” at our local Wyevale Garden Centre I jumped at it!

New post on the blog about our planned trip to have tea with Santa! Link in bio

A photo posted by Rachel Ridler (@ace_rach) on

The event will be smaller than normal Santa grottos and more relaxed.  We are going to arrive at 3pm, enjoy a nice meal and activities to keep my two year old busy and entertained until Santa arrives to meet them all.  So I am super excited, as this I’ll be the first year my two year old will meet Santa properly, and I think he actually understands it this year.  

I will be writing up and sharing some great photos of the fun we have afterwards, but in the meantime if you want to know more then visit the two links below:

Breakfast with Santa – fellow blogger Michelle’s review of their breakfast with Santa in 2013.

Online booking page – the Wyevale Garden Centre page with further details on breakfast and tea with Santa experiences including online booking page.  Prices range from £3.99 for adults to £9.99 for children.  We are visiting Carr vale garden centre near Wakefield, but there are venues across the UK. 

Disclosure: I am being treated to free entry to the tea with Santa experience in exchange for writing about it on my blog, but all opinions are my own.

Preparing for the New Year

OK, so I am a little bit late with my New Year themed post, but I have given myself a well earned break from blogging over the Christmas period to enjoy time with my family.  

But now I am back with a blaster!!  It comes in two parts.  First, a round up of my “Mum on a Mission” themed Christmas presents.  Second, a summary of my blogging new years resolutions.  So keep reading because I promise it will be mildly interesting…..
So in true Mum on a Mission style, my Christmas list included lots of books and resources that I thought could help me in my mission to reach other mums and those in my local area: 
Unlocking the door.  A book about evangelism in the real world.  I am really looking forward to picking up some hints and tips on how to get the gospel into real life situations.  I am sure later in the year I will do a review of this book so keep you eyes out!


Baking through the bible.  Another book that I am super excited about!  I asked for this one so that I can do fun baking things with my son but also link them in to bible stories.  I have had a look through and already I am wanting to get started.  There is another one in the series called “Play through the bible” which I am sure I will get over the next year too.  Perhaps I might use some inspiration from these books to start a neighbourhood holiday club or something (ideas are forming in my head as I type!)


Great British Puddings.  Not technically a mission oriented book, but this will definitely help with my ongoing Pudding Club!  Lots of new puddings to try out and some traditional ones to attempt.
So there you have it – my top three Christmas presents as I know these will help me with my mission (the pile of chocolate I feel may detract as I sit in bed eating it all and not moving…).
Secondly, I wanted to publicly write down my blogging new year resolutions.  It has been a great first year on the blogging scene and I have enjoyed it immensely.  I am, and always will be, a bit of an ad hoc blogger – letting real life and God inspire me in my posts.  This can make it a bit hard to plan when posts will come out, but I think it suits my lifestyle and hopefully you will find the stories and posts more real and not forced.  But I want to make sure that I continue to update you all on my Feeding 5000 challenge (it is my personal goal for 2015 to reach at least 300 by the end of this year) so I am resolving to make that a regular feature post.  I will also attempt to take more photos and include them on the blog.
So thank you to everyone who has read this in 2014 and I look forward to inspiring, encouraging and amusing you all in 2015!!


Memories of Christmas

What are your memories of Christmas?  My most memorable Christmas presents over the years have been a dolls house, a netball post (I sucked at netball but I always gave it a try!), a walkman and most recently a vacuum cleaner (I know, I really do get some exciting presents, but when you are first married it is something you really need…).  But you know, the presents get used or wear out and eventually you forget all about them, and what you are left with are the real memories.

I remember being up really early and my mum playing board games with me until everyone else woke up so we could open presents.  I remember the nativity plays we used to do on Christmas Eve at our church and the rush to get from there into the car to my Nan and Grandad’s house.  I remember the open air carols in our town with the Salvation Army Brass Band.  I remember opening our stocking presents from Santa on my parents bed every year until I was about 21!  I remember always wanting to be a server at the midnight mass service at church because everyone used to come in from the pub and we would try to guess who was drunk.  I remember our neighbours down the street having an open house on New Year’s Day.  I remember loving the time I got to spend with my extended family.

I have some great memories, and I am hoping that I can start to build some for Sam this year and in the future.  But one thing I am desperate to make sure I achieve at Christmas is to reach out to others also.  Christmas is all about the good news of Jesus, and so I don’t want to miss out on using it to its full advantage.  That is why this year I have committed to putting on an open house for anyone and everyone – neighbours, friends, family.  I will also be collecting canned food donations for our local foodbank.

There are so many great ways that we can use Christmas for mission, so here is my list of quickfire ideas that you could use last minute (as Christmas is now only a week away!!!)

  • invite your neighbours/colleagues/people at playgroup to your church nativity service or carol service.  Everyone likes to feel Christmassy at this time of year so its a great chance to get people through the door to hear the real message of Christmas
  • do an act of kindness – whether that is a present for someone you know is in need, a donation to a charity or a foodbank or leaving a Christmas card with a message of hope in it somewhere public – it could make a huge difference to someone
  • take part!  Just by being involved in some of the Christmas activities in your community might open up doors to talk to people about the real meaning of Christmas.  So rather than sitting inside grumbling about Santa and commercialism, get out there and spread some joy!
  • make some handmade treats and hand them out to those who are lonely this Christmas – perhaps an older person down the street, a nursing home or women’s refuge.  Tie a bible verse to each one with ribbon or put a nice note saying “praying for ….. this Christmas”.  People will value that sentiment if nothing else and if that prayer is answered it will open doors for future conversations.
Well I am out of ideas, but just want to encourage you all to make some amazing memories this Christmas.  (p.s. please share any great mission/Christmas ideas you have below…..)