Christmas is a wonderful time of year, especially so for children. Experiencing Christmas with your own children is the best way to bring back some great memories from your past and to plant new ones also. It can, however, of course, be an incredibly stressful period too, which is the last thing that you want.
Here are some useful tips to help make Christmas even more special for both the kids and yourself.
Include the Children in Your Preparations
The pleasure of anything is largely derived from the anticipation of it. Children will enjoy helping with the Christmas preparations and it will help to build their excitement.
Towards the end of November, go online to buy craft materials to make paper chains and Christmas tree decorations. A Saturday afternoon is the ideal time to sit the children down at the kitchen table to make their own baubles to put on the tree and make the paper chains to hang. Play Christmas music while doing this and you will all experience the Christmas cheer early.
There are many items that can be handmade for Christmas, from the wreath on your door to the crackers and even the Christmas cards you will send. These will keep your children busy. You can help them to complete the many chores associated with Christmas preparation and help to make it even more special for the kids.
Take the kids with you to pick the perfect Christmas tree, let them help you to decorate it so they can hang the baubles they have created for it themselves. Make it as bright and as OTT as possible – remember this is a Christmas full of joy and expression for your children.
Sustain the Mystery of Father Christmas
Sit your children down at the start of December and ask them to write to Father Christmas asking him for one gift. Get them to list out all the good deeds they have done to earn a present and then make an event too of posting them off to Lapland together.
On Christmas Eve, hang the homemade stockings at the end of each child’s bed. Then gather the children to sing carols and read aloud the traditional Christmas poem – The Night Before Christmas. Finally, just before bed, get them to leave out a mince pie for Father Christmas and a carrot for the reindeer.
After they are asleep, you can create signs of Father Christmas’s visit. Put on large boots then sprinkle sieved icing sugar around each to create ‘snowy’ footprints from the chimney to the Christmas tree. Take a bite from the mince piece and remove the carrot for the reindeers, as though it has been eaten. This will make a big impact on Christmas morning when the children find signs of his visit. The excitement they feel will also spread to the adults too, helping to spread that Christmas spirit through your home.
Stay Stress Free on Christmas Day By Preparing
Stressed parents can make Christmas depressing. If you buy food a few days before Christmas Eve you can do a mental run through of the meal to ensure you have all the ingredients and tools you need. Prepare all food on Christmas Eve. Make the stuffing mix, peel all the vegetables and if you have bought a frozen turkey, be sure to get it out of the freezer to defrost on Christmas morning. On Christmas morning get it into the oven in good time and set alarms to ensure you don’t get distracted and burn anything.
After dinner, watch a festive classic, such as Miracle on 34th Street or Home Alone, together as you digest the feast. Afterwards, why not play games the children can get involved in, such as Twister, Guess Who or Connect Four? Ultimately Christmas is about enjoying the holiday together. If your children have a magical experience, so too will you.
The author is a drama therapist, working with disabled children to overcome their challenges through play, narrative and story making. She has travelled the globe, helping children on many continents to appreciate their own creativity. She recommends www.buyforlessonline.co.uk as quality online supplier for all Christmas craft needs.