1. The Traditions. You know what parents really love about Christmas? Watching their children enjoy the same family traditions they enjoyed as a child. Whether it’s buying a new decoration every year in a department store decorated like a grotto, reading a new festive story every night in the build-up, or leaving a carrot for Rudolf on the front door the night before, this will be the only way they will want to celebrate as they grow up. Whatever you do now and repeat every year ongoing will stay with them forever.
2. The Family Gathering. They may not be aware that their Uncle caught his flight by the scrap of his teeth or that their Auntie was only there for 12 hours before she had to head back into work for a night shift, but they will remember that the family gathered together. They will remember the house being full of people, they will remember the laughter at bad cracker jokes, and they will remember sitting on their grandparents laps in Christmas pyjamas reading festive bedtime stories.
3. The Build-Up. Sometimes the build-up is just as good as the big event – and this definitely applies with Christmas. Your children will remember the magical, exciting few weeks before big day, heading to pantomimes, carol concerts, and meeting Father Christmas in his grotto. They will remember the excitement they felt as they did all these things. For them, childhood Christmas memories will last periods of weeks, rather than days.
4. The Tree Decorating. Memories of the tree going up, the boxes of decorations coming out of storage, the star or angel being taken out of its box and set on top, and having to untangle the lights before stringing them around the tree will stay with your children forever. This will be the official start of Christmas.
5. The Magic. Whether you create footprints on the carpet with flour, take a bite out of the mince pie you have left on the side, or sit with them at the window staring expectantly at the night sky before they go to bed, they will remember the magic you create over the Christmas period. Long past the days when they really believe in Father Christmas, they will remember the thrill of the time when they believed.
6. The Last Day of Term. If your children are old enough to go to school, you will already know the excitement they feel on that last day of term when lessons aren’t really lessons. In the future, they will remember those feelings on the last day of term, with the class performances, parties, and festive film screenings. This will be the real start of the festivities for them and they will come home bursting with excitement about the weeks ahead.
7. The Gifts Under the Tree. In years to come, your children wont remember what they unwrapped at each Christmas. They wont recall when you have bought Christmas gifts on a budget or when you have had the funds to splurge. They will just remember the excitement of seeing gifts under the tree, knowing that they will get to open them soon. And they will remember the anticipation and excitement they felt ripping that paper off their gifts long after they forget what was inside.
8. The Classic Films. They will remember and love the Christmas films they watch as children long into their adulthood. As the titles roll, memories will come flooding back of lazy days in front of the television playing with their new toys and working their way through treats from their stockings. As the years go on, new films will be released, but nothing will compare to the festive films they watched as children.
9. The Act of Giving. Of course, the greatest joy of Christmas is the act of giving – and your children will always remember helping to choose gifts for friends and family members and the excitement of watching them unwrap. As they get older and you allow them to choose the gifts themselves, the excitement will grow even greater – and memories of what they gave will stay with them far more vividly than memories of what they received,
10. Christmas Morning. Nobody forgets the excitement of waking up on Christmas mornings while it’s still dark and discovering a stocking packed full of surprises and a half-eaten mince pie waiting on the plate. They will remember the smell of pine needles and satsumas stuffed in their stockings, the sound of the kettle boiling as their parents desperately try to wake up after one too many sherries the night before, and the change in light as the sun starts to rise for the most excting day of the entire year. And when they have children in years to come, they will rediscover this joy all over again (with strong coffee in hand, naturally).