For many parents, the idea that Christmas is the most magical time of the year has diminished in line with ever-bigger present lists and the idea that it isn’t really Christmas if you don’t go broke trying to make everyone happy. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. This year, why not recapture the spirit of Christmas and bring the magic back? Whether you’re on a strict budget or have a little more to spend, there are things you can do to make it magical for everyone.
Set a Good Deed Challenge
Christmas is all about giving, so why not start by having a Christmas challenge to do good things for each other? This could be simple things around the house like picking up things for other people or helping them with little tasks through to picking up litter together as a family. Reward the kids’ good deeds, this doesn't have to break the bank, finding cheap toys for boys or girls can be a great starting point to treating your children.
Take a Christmas Light Walk
Some families don’t have the money for expensive decorations but can feel compelled to try and make their house as “magical” as the next. Well, magic can be found in a simple walk without breaking the bank on costly lights. Not only do you have Christmas decorations in town and city centres to explore, but some neighbourhoods (especially those with a lot of young families) practically put on a light show for free. Find a street or area that’s gone all out on decorations, bundle up in coats and take a family walk to explore the magic.
Create a Mini Elf Workshop
This one might be more elaborate but, if you’ve got a garage or shed that’s empty, why not make it one of Santa’s outposts for the festive season. A few blankets, an Elf on the Shelf who helps Santa when no one’s looking, coupled with a few fairy lights and decorations could leave you with a curious and excited child throughout December. You can even buy Christmas treats from the latest online toy sale, allowing your little one's to get excited all through December.
Don’t Forget the Snow
It might not snow this Christmas, but there are still ways of bringing snow to your kids for that little extra bit of Christmas magic. Artificial snow is available at a reasonable price and there are even make your own snow kits that can really get kids involved in the run up to Christmas.
Make Decorations Together
Many of the ideas that kids have about Christmas and what “should” happen are based on things they see in films and on television. The fact is, no family Christmas is going to be as magical as Miracle on 34th Street, so stop striving for the impossible and make a little family magic this Christmas. Homemade decorations can be symbolic of your family working together, making them far more personal than shop bought ones.
Have a Christmas Movie Night
With all the running around at Christmas, it’s easy for parents to get to Boxing Day and realise that they’ve missed all the magical moments that the festive season offered. So, one night in the run up to Christmas Day, schedule some time for a film night as a family (and with any extended family or friends you want to invite, of course). The film could be something hilarious like The Grinch or something more heart-warming like The Polar Express. You know your kids’ tastes and they’ll remember you sat around the television together more fondly than if you’re just rushing back and forth during the festive period.
Read a Christmas Book
If Christmas seems like it’s all about noise and colour, slowing things down a little could make this year more magical. It’s true that some kids will turn their nose up at the idea of reading a book. If you have one of those in your midst, technology can come to the rescue. Read some interactive Christmas stories together at bedtime on a tablet or computer and fill their minds with the magic of the festive season. A child’s imagination is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when you’re trying to make Christmas magical – activate it at every opportunity!
Track Santa on Christmas Eve
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s progress around the globe on Christmas Eve for years and it’s a sure-fire to get even the most sceptical of kids into the Christmas spirit. You can find the live stream online on Christmas Eve, so why not put it on a screen in the background while you’re doing whatever else you’re doing on Christmas Eve? It can also be a good pointer for when they need to go to bed – otherwise Santa isn’t coming!
Get Some Reindeer Food
As well as the old tradition of leaving a mince pie out for Santa, it’s also become a tradition in some families to leave food outside for Rudolph and his friends. This can be a cute thing to do as a family on Christmas Eve but be cautious about the food – some of the sparkly versions that shops sell are poisonous to the animals that do end up snacking on them.
Tell Them Santa Has a Secret
This is a sneaky one that might not work with some of the more curious kids around, but it could be worth a try to keep the magic alive for a few more hours. Tell your kids that Santa has a new secret way of making sure they stay tucked up in bed because of all the naughty children he’s found spying on him lately. Then, once the kids are asleep, decorate around the door of the room where the presents are, crossing the threshold with crepe paper or banners that are easily broken through. When they wake up, they’ll have to burst through the paper to get to their presents. For extra credit, leave a snowy footprint on the carpet!
What are your top tips for making Christmas magical this year?
At PoundToy, we love tracking Santa on Christmas Eve, along with creating the perfect Christmas Eve Box. A great way to do this is to gather kids toys and games which could be opened the night before. Let us know how you like to make Christmas magical in the comments down below...