I have magical memories of Christmas as a child. And they aren’t just about the presents.
The most meaningful moments to me were those little things we did as a family, year upon year, that cemented the feelings of excitement, holidays, love and community. The fizzy Christmas ‘cocktail’ on Christmas Eve, the morning visit from our neighbours, watching the Queen’s speech with Grandad snoozing in the armchair — it was these simple moments that I cherish. And these simple moments I’d like to recreate for my children.
If you feel the same way too, why not take a look below and grab an idea or two. A little routine today can build those magical traditions your children will remember in the future.
Lights, Camera, Action
Bedtime for my girls is 7pm, but there’s no harm in breaking the rules for the wonder of Christmas lights. In the lead up to Christmas, we bundle the girls into the car in their pyjamas and drive around, oohing and aahing at the neighbourhood displays. If we’re lucky, we have a photo taken with Frozen’s Elsa and Anna, who seem to be quite social at this time of year.
The girls love putting up the Christmas tree, but it gets a little tiresome waiting for Mummy to find the right sized branches for the holes. To make the event more exciting, we sing Christmas songs, wear Santa hats, and dress up the dog in tinsel. I’m sure he dreads the day each year.
Although it never turns out quite like the picture, Daddy and the girls like to bake a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve. It’s a task and half to get the biscuits to stay standing, but the sheer effort involved makes it taste all the sweeter. If in doubt, you can always build your own DIY Gingerbread House, like this one we got from ALDI!
Santa’s hungry too
After we’ve hung the Christmas stockings, we put Santa’s snacks out near the Christmas tree — he gets a mince pie, some nuts and a glass of milk. Mummy… I mean, Santa is sure in for a treat when he stops at our house. Even Rudolph gets a juicy carrot. Although, he never eats it all – not sure why.
He’s on his way!
Before the girls have fallen asleep, I always take great pleasure in ringing a little bicycle bell from the front room. “He’s on his way,” I squeal. “Better get to sleep!” After they’ve looked out for Santa out the window, it never fails to stop them chattering.
Four in the bed
Every Christmas morning, the girls bring their Christmas stockings into our bed to open. We have a cup of tea and a biscuit in an attempt to stretch out the process, but before we’ve even drained our cups, they’re heading out to the tree.
Books with a Christmas message
Once the presents have been opened, there’s always a surprise book left by Santa at the back of the tree. Good King Wenceslas was last year’s story, and this year’s pick? How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. They’ll love it.
A Christmas Wish
This tradition started by accident, but it’s my most favourite one of all. As Christmas Day is ending, we lie underneath the Christmas tree and make a wish for the year ahead. With the light sparkling above us, it feels just as magical to me as it does for them. And wishes can come true.
Other fun traditions to try:
- Making reindeer food out of muesli and glitter
- Buying new pyjamas to open and wear on Christmas Eve
- Having a present squeezing day where the kids can pick a few gifts and see if they can guess what’s inside
- Making Christmas paper as a craft activity
- Donate a gift to a charity like the Kmart wishing tree
- Watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve
- Buy a new decoration for the tree every year
- Have a relative dress up as Santa Claus at Christmas lunch every year
- Take a family photo in front of the tree before and after presents