1 – Create a Christmas Box. Create a box for the festive season that can be pulled out on 1st December every year. Include Christmas stories, DVDs, music CDs, figurines, decorations, and festive toys. When the kids see the box coming out of storage, they will know that Christmas season has begun!
2- Let the kids choose a new tree decoration every year. Make the shopping trip part of your family tradition – and mark the date on the back or bottom of the decoration so you can remember when it joined your family. Try not to steer their choice towards something tasteful, as the beauty of this tradition is that it captures a moment in time – and if that’s the year they fell in love with a penguin wearing skis, so be it!
3 – Wrap 24 books and place them under the tree. It doesn’t matter whether they are old, new, or library books. Let your child open one book every night in the lead up to Christmas to read before bed as a unique and memorable countdown to the big day.
4 – Decorate the tree as a family. It’s true that the toddler isn’t going to be a huge amount of help, whilst the baby will probably get tangled up in the fairy lights – but unpacking the decorations, putting up the tree, and switching on the lights after all that hard work will be just as magical for the children.
5 – Donate a gift. Teach kids that the act of giving is more important than receiving by making an annual gift donation to a child less fortunate. If you live in the UK, The Salvation Army is currently running an appeal for gifts. More details here.
6 – Fill Christmas Eve Boxes. Leave a box downstairs for them to discover on Christmas Eve morning. Fill it with Christmas Pyjamas, festive DVD’s and books, warming drinks, and a fun festive-themed activity to keep them busy that day. This gets them excited about the big day. Some ideas here.
7 – Play Elf on the Shelf. Make the lead-up to Christmas an exciting time by welcoming an elf into the family. The idea is that children believe the elf has been sent by Father Christmas to watch over them and report back on naughty and nice behaviour, but the mischievous elves get up to trouble while they are sleeping -and the kids will race around the house every morning to find out what they have been up to. More details here.
8 – Make card writing a family event. Find writing the cards tedious? Stock up on craft supplies – and let the kids decorate the inside of cards and envelopes with crayons and stickers.
9 – Christmas Lights Hunt. Let the kids stay up late and climb into the car in their pyjamas as darkness falls, before driving around the streets to hunt for the best Christmas Lights. Drive down high streets with themed shop windows and decorations hanging above – and along any roads where the houses are impressively decorated. When you get home, let them drink hot chocolate and read Christmas stories as a reward for their hunting.
10 – Take a photo every year with Santa. Make sure you get a photo of your child every year with Santa. As the years go on and siblings join, file each photo away – and when they are grown up, you can create a book, print, or canvas to remember how they changed throughout their childhood.