I want to thank David for writing a lovely piece on how to have a magical Christmas
When you have younger children who still believe in Santa Claus, it takes you right back to your childhood as you see the excitement and expectation on their faces. So how can you increase that sense of wonder without spending vast amounts of money on days out at a grotto or trips to the North Pole?
These five tips were tested and successful with our children, so I am sharing them from our family to yours. So here is how to have a magical Christmas this year.
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How To Have A Magical Christmas
Over a decade ago, while the girls were still young, I picked up an Advent Calendar, but it was no ordinary Advent Calendar. Instead, it was an ornamental version featuring Santa coming down the chimney!
Here he is halfway down!
Every day you remove a numbered rod, and if you remove the last one in the row, he goes one rung further down the chimney until he ends up in the fireplace on Christmas Eve.
This Advent Calendar remains a tradition in our family and even though our youngest daughter is 21 this year, she still secretly enjoys taking her turn! As soon as this Advent Calendar comes out and takes its place on our mantlepiece, our family Christmas has begun.
The girls still have their chocolate versions, but they are disposable and forgotten by January. In contrast, Santa going down the chimney is a fixed part of the season because it is tangible and reusable. It means your children have something to look forward to and participate in from December 1.
In Kent in the UK, where we live, the ‘official start of our Christmas is a trip to the Dickens Christmas Festival in Rochester. When the children were young, the whole family went on this trip every year. The streets of Rochester are filled with people dressed in Victorian Costumes.
There is a Christmas Market in the shadow of Rochester Castle and stalls and shops everywhere you turn. The final part of the day is where a huge crowd gathers in front of Rochester Cathedral to sing Christmas songs. Whatever is happening outside of the festival melts away as you feel the Christmas cheer all around you.
You may not be near Rochester, but there will be a free outdoor event near you. It could be the Christmas lights switched on or a parade near you in a town or city. The important thing is to make it a family event that you all attend whatever is happening in your life. The children know that it is part of their Christmas calendar, and it becomes a part of the heartbeat of your family life.
Christmas Eve Tracking
When the children are small, it can be challenging to get them to bed. However, often, you tell them that Santa is coming. However, if they can see him on his way in real-time, they know what time they will need to get to sleep! That is where Norad comes in. Make sure to set up https://www.noradsanta.org/ on the family computer. Then, you are guaranteed plenty of oohs and aahs and about an hour of peace.
This also gives you time to get on with the preparations. For the big day! When my children first started watching it, it was no doubt relatively primitive compared to today’s Santa Tracker, but it was and remains magical for those who still believe. When Santa is near your country – and by near, I mean within 2 hours! – your children will be ready to go to bed after they have performed one last task.
Don’t Forget the Reindeer.
As with so many children worldwide, our children put mince pies and brandy out for Santa Claus. However, they were also mindful that his reindeer might be hungry as well on such a long trip. So the children always put out nine carrots on a tray for the hungry fliers – not forgetting Rudolph, of course! – and they went to bed wondering if the carrots would go down well. Fast forward to Christmas Day, and one of the first events was reindeer spotting. Of course, the reindeer were long gone, but my daughters knew that if we were lucky, there would be telltale signs that they had taken advantage of our hospitality.
As you can see, there were nine carrots eaten by the reindeer that night, and they had even shed a few flakes of magical glitter needed for flying. There were also golden hoofprints in the garden giving irrefutable proof of Santa’s arrival with his reindeer team. So the children would rush in for breakfast safe in the knowledge that there was still something magical about Christmas Day.
Stockings and Presents
As soon as our children were old enough to understand what Christmas was all about, they were looking for the rules of Christmas. Was there a time when Santa stopped coming? How old was too old for putting your stocking out? Our answer was to put our stockings out for Santa and, much to the children’s relief, they too were filled with presents, chocolates, and the inevitable satsuma! For a couple of years, my youngest daughter put out stockings for her most critical cuddly toys, and they too were magically filled! They were safe in the knowledge that the big man in red would not stop coming to their house, however old they got.
Placing things out helps keep the magic going well into Boxing Day when it comes to presents. So once the stockings were plundered, the gifts were opened one at various intervals rather than all at once. The children appreciated each present and eagerly anticipated the next. It calms everything down and gives you space to breathe.
My final present tip is an absolute must. When our children arrived, our presents, quite naturally, became far less of a focus during Christmas Day. As a result, our carefully chosen gifts for each other were not appreciated as much as they should have been. Our answer? We exchanged gifts on Christmas Night after the children had gone to bed when we had time for each other. Even though the children are adults, we still keep that special time as our Christmas tradition.
First of all, huge thanks to Riyah Speaks for inviting me to contribute to her fantastic blog. When my children look back on their childhood Christmases, they don’t remember that we were often short of money. They remember putting carrots out for the reindeer. My youngest daughter was amazed when a couple of months ago she found out that her friends didn’t! They remember Santa bringing them presents for their stockings that they had forgotten to add to their list.
Finally, they remember Christmas as a time of magic that gave them a love of the season that continues to this day. I hope you found one or two of these magical Christmas ideas helpful and that, in time, they may become part of your own Christmas traditions.
I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
Blogger at David Pearce
You will find my blog on WordPress as Davidgpearce205, where I write various articles, mainly about music, TV, and books. You can also find me in my Twitter guise as @Music_Pearce, where I write reviews to help introduce indie artists, in the main, to a broader audience.