It’s the most magical time of the year! It’s a time when you can introduce some family Christmas traditions that make the run up to Christmas almost as special as the day itself.
Let your Christmas traditions build up as you repeat them year after year. They may become such a great part of your family’s Christmas that, when they grow up, your children carry them on with their own little ones.
North Pole Breakfast
A North Pole breakfast is a big blow out breakfast, decorated in full Christmas style and served during the first week or first weekend of December. It’s a great way to jump start the holiday season and get everyone into the festive spirit!
Set the breakfast table the night before with Christmassy plates, cups and napkins. Maybe sprinkle some fake snow and glitter across the table. Create a special breakfast with a Christmas theme, like one of these ideas:
- Pancakes decorated into little Santas. You could use whipped cream for the beard and hat trim, and jam for the red hat. For the eyes and nose you could use chocolate chips or berries.
- Fruity candy canes made by slicing strawberries and bananas into even slices and arranging them in a cane shape.
- Little strawberry Santas which you can make by slicing the tips off of the strawberries, squirting whipped cream on top and replacing the tip. The cream makes the face and the replaced tip makes the red hat. Add another squirt of cream on top of the tip to make the hat bobble.
- Hot chocolate served with marshmallows.
- Milk served in glasses with a label over the glass saying ‘reindeer milk’.
The Christmas Light Express
Make golden tickets to tuck under your childrens’ pillow as they go to bed during December. Cut them from gold card and write with black or silver pens. The ticket invites your child on-board the Christmas Light Express. You can do this on Christmas Eve or on a weekend night in December. When your children lay their head on their pillow, say that you heard a rustle and ask them to check if there is anything underneath.
When they find their golden ticket take them on a special Christmas adventure. You could wrap them up there and then in their dressing gowns and slippers and take them out on a drive to see all the twinkling Christmas lights in your local area. Give them hot chocolate and popcorn to enjoy while they gaze at the sparkling lights. Or you could create a special Christmas experience of your own.
The reverse advent calendar
This is a great way to help children to think about those less fortunate in the festive period.
To make a reverse advent calendar simply find a cardboard box and use card to divide it into 24 sections. Wine carriers are ideal for this. Just glue 4 wine carriers together to make 24 divided sections. Ask your children to help decorate your box and number each section from 1-24. Then each day buy or find an item to pop in your reverse advent calendar. At the end of the month deliver your goods to a local food bank to be given to families in need.
The ideas is very simple but it all adds up to a big difference, while also teaching children about the joy of giving.
The Kindness Elves
Everyone is now familiar with the Elf on the Shelf and it may well be something you do each December. But there is also a lovely twist on the elf tradition that teaches your child to be kind and thoughtful over the festive period.
The Kindness Elves are beautiful wooden elves who visit your home in December and encourage your children to sprinkle kindness and joy wherever they go. Each day they appear next to items that your child might need to carry out an act of kindness. They may also leave a note to suggest ways that children can bring a smile to others.
They might appear next to a mixing bowl and wooden spoon with a note saying ‘Let’s bake cookies to hand out to the neighbours’ or they might appear on a table, next to some pretty stationary with a note such as ‘Let’s write Great Aunty Lily a letter to make her smile’.
The elves also leave little notes to thank your children for their kindness, sometimes together with little treats. Some mornings your child might wake up to find the Kindness Elves have carried out a little task to help too. They may have lined up all the shoes in the hall, fixed a broken toy or popped a sprig of holly in a vase to decorate the room.
These little helpers can bring a lot of Christmas magic and kind thoughts into your home over the festive season.
Planting candy cane seeds
This little tradition that will amaze younger children.
At the start of December, together with your children, pour some sugar into a bowl and plant some jelly beans or tic tacs. The magic works best if you find sweets that are the same colour as your candy canes and if you pop the ‘seeds’ into a little sparkly bag before planting them.
Each day ask your children to check and see if their seeds have grown. After a few days take out the sweets and pop some candy canes in the bowl of sugar. When your children wake in the morning they will be amazed to see how their little magical seeds have grown into real candy canes.
Christmas Eve boxes
This is a Christmas tradition that has rocketed from a little known custom to something that takes over social media feeds in the month of December.
You can now find many beautiful, personalised Christmas Eve boxes to buy at so many online stores. However this tradition doesn’t need to cost a fortune. It started as a simple idea where parents wrapped a cardboard box in gift wrap and popped a few items in it. Their children were given the box on Christmas Eve to unwrap and to have something to enjoy before the big excitement on Christmas Day.
In the box there might be new pyjamas, a Christmas book, reindeer food (oats mixed with edible glitter to sprinkle on the path to light the way for Santa and his reindeer) and a mug with marshmallows to make a warming drink of hot chocolate to help the kids wind down before bedtime.
24 books of Christmas
This is a lovely way to create snugly bedtimes throughout December and share a joy of reading with your children.
Choose 24 books with a Christmas or wintery theme, wrap them up and place them in a pile under the tree on the 1st of December.
Each evening your children can take it in turns to unwrap a book to read before they settle down and go to sleep.
You don’t need to buy new books, although you can buy bundles of books cheaply from online stores. You can hunt for books in charity shops or even wrap some you already own.
Make a Gingerbread house
These make a great table centrepiece on Christmas day, and are a great activity to enjoy with the children. You can make your own from scratch by trying our Gluten free gingerbread house with full directions and templates included.
If you are short on time (or energy) then you can also buy ready to build gingerbread houses from supermarkets. You can stick the ready made pieces together to make your house and have fun adding sweets and candies as decorations.
Christmas memory book
Each year create a number of memories to put in a special book or album. These could be:
- a photo of your children’s letters to Santa.
- a photo of the children in front of the Christmas tree in Christmas jumpers or in their festive pyjamas.
- a card where you write the top five gifts your child unwraps on Christmas day.
Add both photos and the present card to a book or album to give to your children when they are older. That way they can look back on Christmases past and reminisce.
Adding memories to the tree
Each year ask the children to make or buy a new decoration to hang on the Christmas tree.
Year after year as you hang up the tree decorations you will all look back and remember making or buying them.
Each decoration will take on new meaning and make decorating the tree all the more special.
All these traditions sprinkle a little Christmas magic along the countdown to the big day. Over the years they may become woven in family history and carried on through the generations.