‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, everyone was stirring, because there was reindeer food to make, decorations to hang and presents to wrap.
When the festive season comes around, every family has their very own special traditions and rituals – from decorating the tree and playing Secret Santa, to watching a seasonal film or cooking a special family recipe.
Is it time to introduce some new traditions into your family this year? Here are some of our favourites to give you a little inspiration.
Decorate your home and tree
We love this tradition because it sets a marker for the beginning of the celebrations with your family. Why not start early and decorate the tree and home on 1st December and play Christmas songs and drink hot chocolate whilst you do it. It symbolises the beginning of a month of celebrations.
The great thing about decorating is that you can always find special jobs that deserve extra attention so that every child feels that they’ve played an important role. You need someone to place the final decoration on top of the tree, someone to turn on the lights and someone to place the wreath on the front door – you can keep adding jobs until everyone has one. Give each child a different reason why they have been chosen so that they feel really special. It might be doing their homework really well, being amazing in the school play – anything!
Kids will also enjoy having a say in the tree decorations, so allow each child to pick out one new decoration for the tree. Keep all of their decorations from previous years and let them pick the spots for their chosen items.
Write a letter to Santa
In the run up to Christmas, why not ask each child to write a letter to Santa telling him what they would like in their stocking. It’s really useful for you as you get loads of ideas for gifts, and you can encourage your kids to get really creative with colourful pens and sparkles too. They can even cut the paper into a Christmas shape to make it extra special for Santa, or include a letter to the elves to thank them for their hard work.
Christmas is also a great time to get your family writing letters. Buy a stack of Christmas cards or use a family picture to create your own and organise an evening of Christmas card writing. Buy some Christmas treats or biscuits to make it really special.
Watch Christmas films and read Christmas stories
During the weeks before the big day, fill your home with the spirit of Christmas and get the whole family in the mood with Christmas films and stories. If you have a family favourite, save it for Christmas eve as a really exciting treat while you all wait for the arrival of Santa.
Make treats for Santa and the reindeer
It can be challenging to try to contain your kids’ excitement on Christmas Eve. Our top tip is to organise plenty of activities to keep little hands occupied right up until bedtime. A great way to get ready for the big day is to make treats for Santa and his reindeer. Make delicious cookies with icing decorations, or warm up some hot chocolate and have a glass each yourselves. Allow the children to get really involved in the process so that they can learn cooking skills, get creative and burn up plenty of energy to help them sleep.
A tour of the lights
If the little ones are still restless as it gets closer to bedtime, why not take them on a surprise tour to see the Christmas lights in the neighbourhood? A quick drive past some of the lit up houses can be really exciting. Make sure you take a longer drive home and switch to calming music so that they can start to relax.
Build a gingerbread house
This is a big project to take on, but it’s really fun for the whole family, and gingerbread houses make great gifts or extra deserts at Christmas lunch. George offers some great Gingerbread House themed decorations including an LED Tealight Holder, so you can create a themed area in the living room or kitchen that is dedicated to gingerbread. It might take some patience to get it right, but this is the kind of tradition that kids will remember for years to come!
Christmas PJs and jumpers
Christmas is all about comfort. We love this idea – get a very special Christmas Eve gift that all the family is allowed to open early: a new pair of Christmas PJs. It makes going to bed that night even more exciting, and they can carry on wearing them when they open their gifts on Christmas morning too.
Whatever Christmas traditions you indulge in this year, remember the gold rule: it’s all about fun. If you’re having a great time then your kids will be too. Sprinkle a little magic throughout the home by keeping up the Christmas theme and allow your family to be really active and involved in every step of the process.