A pregnant mother-of-ten has revealed how she manages Christmas for her extra large family – from wrapping more than 150 presents to go under the tree to controlling the chaos as her children tear into the gifts on the day.
For Malinda, 33, and her husband Erik, also 33, the silly season is just an extension of the ‘organised chaos’ of their life with ten children – from planning monster meals to making sure every child has enough gifts under the tree.
Daily Mail Australia caught the family on their annual trip to see Santa at Westfield Fountain Gate in Melbourne on Thursday – capturing the behind-the-scenes fun and finding out what it is really like preparing for the day.
The mother of these ten children has revealed what it is like having an extra-large Christmas. The children, Andrew, 14, Kaitlyn, 12, Stephen, 10, Cooper, 8, Lachlan, 7, Tyler, 5, Isabella, 4, Harry, 3, Joel, 2 and Zoe, 1, are all pictured
Mum Malinda, 33, pictured right, and Erik, also 33, pictured back left take their children for Santa pictures every year
Some of the children were more excited to see Santa than others as the family walked towards his set at Westfield Fountain Gate in Melbourne
The family had a quick chat with Santa before posing up for a photo – mostly to make sure he got all of their gifts ready
The children, Andrew, 14, Kaitlyn, 12, Stephen, 10, Cooper, 8, Lachlan, 7, Tyler, 5, Isabella, 4, Harry, 3, Joel, 2 and Zoe, 1, were well behaved for Santa as they arranged themselves for a picture – hoping to stay in his good books until Christmas Day.
Some of the children were less enthusiastic to see Mr Claus and held on tight to their older brothers and sisters.
The family then headed to the shops – so the children could remind Malinda to tell the man in red what they wanted to see under the tree on the big day.
Their mum, Malinda, was candid about what it actually takes to put on a great Christmas for her family – revealing the big day – including food costs about $5000, with any spare cash going toward the celebration.
Joel, two, being comforted by Malinda as some of the older children chat with Santa
Malinda and Erik aim to have 15 presents for each of their children – three or four of these will be from Santa
Joel bravely looking on as Santa gives his three-year-old brother a special book as a gift for visiting
The older children had an in-depth brief with Santa while some of the younger ones kept a ‘safer’ distance
MEET THE FAMILY
Dad, Erik, 33
Mum, Malinda, 33
Andrew, 14, Kaitlyn, 12, Stephen, 10, Cooper, 8, Lachlan, 7, Tyler, 5, Isabella, 4, Harry, 3, Joel, 2, Zoe, 1 and Haley is due in early 2018.
Presents take the most organisation – Malinda shops around for presents and only starts wrapping once she has everything, doing it as quietly as possible once everyone is asleep.
She insists she manages to hide the gifts every year – finding new hiding spots as her family grows.
‘For gifts I have a list hidden where I list everything the kids have or is on lay-by. Each child would get about 10 or so gifts depending on the year but we keep it even or as close as possible,’ she said.
‘This year no one is getting a big item like a bike so they have 15 smaller gifts.’
Presents take the most organisation – Malinda shops around for presents and only starts wrapping once she has everything, doing it as quietly as possible once everyone is asleep
The family try to have their Santa photos taken every year, in 2014 there were just eight children, in 2015 there were nine
2016 was the first year where ten children made it into the photo, there were ten in 2017 as well but number 11 is due in 2018
WHAT’S ON THE MENU FOR CHRISTMAS?
Two hams, two chickens, a turkey, two beef roasts, five pasta salads, a big batch of homemade potato salad, three dozen eggs, five cucumbers, 2kg tomatoes, two bunches of celery, two heads of lettuce, two cans of beetroot, two kilograms of cheese, two pavlovas, a mudcake and another cake to be decided on shopping day
The family basically work out what the Christmas budget is on a year-to-year basis, spending whatever they can afford.
‘On average its about $5000 with everything like food, teacher gifts and kids presents.
‘In 2014 the kids got a trip to Disneyland so we spent a lot more that year and other years we have only had $700 for five or six kids,’ she said.
Three or four of the presents are marked from Santa – who is left milk and biscuits for his efforts with carrots kept out for the reindeer.
The others come with love from mum and dad. The children are only allowed to open up their presents once everyone is awake – with the older children helping the younger ones with their wrapping paper.
The family then headed to the shops – so the children could remind Malinda to tell the man in red what they wanted to see under the tree on the big day
These two much preferred to be Santa and an elf than be next to the real version – here they are with their best picks
Dolls also appeared to be popular with the five younger children – who appeared to enjoy the shopping trip best
The presents that aren’t from Santa come with love from mum and dad – there will be about 150 presents under the tree this year
WHAT GIFTS ARE POPULAR?
Target’s top five gifts for this festive season: Fun appliances from $15 each, Jojo Siwa Large Bows $10 Flamingo or Swan floats $19, Headphones $15 each and Pyjama sets $12 each
Erik is Finnish – so the family have a dinner on Christmas Eve, which is usually a traditional roast dinner with both chicken and beef.
The feast the next day includes ham, pasta salad, four cakes and a Christmas turkey and is the second most time-consuming part of the season.
When Malinda isn’t busy looking after her ten children she posts loving pictures and videos of them online – everything from setting up the Christmas tree to her 11th child’s gender and name reveal.
The family start their Christmas preparations in October ‘after all the birthday shopping has finished’
These pictures are from 2015 – when the family went to Disneyland – the trip was part of the family Christmas
‘It is a lifestyle choice – some people eat out a few times a week, some people travel overseas every year, we have lots of kids,’ she said
The family are online as ‘Yes, they are all ours’ clarifying one of their most common questions.
Other questions include how do they afford so many kids, who all attend private school, if there are any sets of twins, which there isn’t and how they get from place to place, in their bus of course.
‘It is a lifestyle choice – some people eat out a few times a week, some people travel over seas every year, we have lots of kids,’ she said.
This little groover picked out headphones on the family visit – making sure to pick a set that couldn’t be mistaken
Other questions include how do they afford so many kids, who all attend private school, if there are any sets of twins, which there isn’t and how they get from place to place, in their bus of course
Malinda, who is heavily pregnant with her 11th child, kept a keen eye on what her children wanted for Christmas
The family are online as ‘ Yes, they are all ours ‘ clarifying one of their most common questions