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WIN A NINTENDO, AN IPOD TOUCH AND £250 IN STORE VOUCHERS! Please fill in our surveys about your baby's health (open to anyone with a baby under two) and about the role our communities should play in bringing up today's young people (open to anyone with a child aged 5-18). Everyone who does will be entered into our fab prize draws. Good luck!

Hello from MNHQ...

Where we've been sighing (and sniggering) over the best of your Christmas Customs. And feverishly copying down Flame's ace recipe for Reindeer Food.

We're planning our first Mumsnet bakealong! Stand by your pinnies for an interactive muffin-making extravaganza with award-winning baker and food writer Dan Lepard on Friday 8 Jan (12-2pm). Do join us; we can all start New Year with buns in the oven...

Now for this week's parenting news...

Parents warned on alcohol: Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has warned that it's misguided to give children watered-down wine in the hope of introducing them to sensible drinking habits. He says no under-15s should drink at all, 15 to 17-year-olds should only drink under parental supervision, and parents should set a good example because they are vital role models for their kids. Donaldson said there was no evidence for the widespread belief that children learnt to handle alcohol better if they were introduced to it at an early age. What's more likely, he said, is that they'd get a taste for it and so be more likely to drink heavily as adults. (Guardian 17.12.09)

Tough new TV rules: TV programme-makers will be forced to operate under much stricter rules when using children in reality shows, schools secretary Ed Balls indicated this week when he ordered a review of the existing regulations (drawn up over 40 years ago). Mr Balls said programme-makers seemed "determined to keep pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to provide shock value for viewers and push up ratings – rather than do anything positive and meaningful for our children, our culture or our country". (Independent 14.12.09) 

A CHANCE TO TELL FATHER CHRISTMAS ALL YOUR WISHES! Register for free with SAFEnSOUNDmail, then get your dc to email Santa to receive a personalised response. They'll get safe, easy-to-use email and you'll get to peek at their wishlist. Click here for more info.

Other stories in brief

ROADSENSE is a new educational initiative, the first of its kind to offer schoolchildren (aged 14 and over) the chance to learn about road safety. Offered to schools as an add-on to their existing curriculum, RoadSense provides students with a half-day interactive experience at Mercedes-Benz World. Click here for more info. 

Hot threads

Competitions

This month's prizes are:

It's easy to enter (and keep an eye on winners' corner to see if your name has come out of the hat). 

SIGN UP TO MILLION MUMS. Every minute, somewhere in the world, a woman dies due to pregnancy or birth-related complications. Mumsnet is supporting the White Ribbon Alliance's Million Mums campaign, led by Sarah Brown, to raise awareness about this. Anyone who signs up and donates £1 or more will be sent a special Million Mums white ribbon pin. Click here to find out more. Or fess up your dinner party disaster here for the White Ribbon Alliance to use to promote their Global Dinner Party next year.

Quote of the week

Mistletoesnowman recalls her MIL's alphabetically-challenged conspiracy theory: "It wasn't an accident, I tell you; it was MFI that killed Princess Di."

Looking for somwhere to take the kids over Christmas? Mumsnetters suggest:

Find more Mumsnetter recommendations for great days out near you in Mumsnet Local - and once you get home, please add a review in our Days out/Attractions section.

Aitch's TV round-up: A Child's Christmasses in Wales, Thur 17 Dec, BBC4, 10pm
Ho, ho, ho, what's occurring? Leaving behind the pressures of Gavin and Stacey's 'difficult third series', Ruth Jones strapped on a jade satin blouse with full shoulder padding to film this rather lovely comedy drama, written by the comedian Mark Watson. She's the obsessively tidy mother of young Owen Rhys, a boy whose Christmasses in South Wales become a whole lot more interesting when his uncles and cousin (think of them as the Three Idiot Men) turn up...

EXCLUSIVE MN OFFER: CHILDREN GO FREE TO THE ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET'S NUTCRACKER. Don't miss your last chance to see Clara's magical adventures in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets as this vibrant Nutcracker production, designed by Gerald Scarfe and choreographed by Christopher Hampson, returns to the London Coliseum this Christmas. The offer applies 22 Dec-3 Jan on tickets priced £60, £50 and £40 (terms and conditions apply). Call before 24 Dec on 0871 472 0800 and quote 'Mumsnet'. 

Recipe of the week: JackTheHallsWithBauersOfHolly's candied orange peel
Stuck for inspiration and/or cash for those final few pressies? Get zesty with some oranges, a bit of sugar and a couple of bars of chocolate to make these seriously Granny-impressing sweets. Doubles as Christmas-hols-child-entertainment, too, if you let the kids do the chocolate-dipping.
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off being festive till 7 Jan. (Unless the MFI cupboards get us first...)

Merry Christmas!
Love, Mumsnet Towers

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN! Bring the family to visit Santa at the Kids Company Christmas Grotto at The General Trading Company, 2-6 Symons Street, London SW3 2GT. Open from now until Christmas (Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun 11.30am–5pm). All proceeds will fund a magical Christmas Day for over 2000 vulnerable children and young people.

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