I don't know about you, but these naughty elves have a bit of a cheek really. Coming to check on our children's behaviour, and doing nothing but cause havock while they're here! Bit hypocritical don't you think? Okay, I sound like a kill-joy, I'm not really, there's nothing I love more than creating a bit of magic, with a family tradition at Christmas. Children love routine it makes them feel safe and secure when they know what's coming, especially when it's a fun thing to look forward to every year.
For those of us without a great deal extra to spend at this time of year, we can do without paying out for these extra things to do. I have put together a few of my favourite, free, or very cheap ideas to start a new tradition in your house this year. And remember don't put yourself under unnecessary pressure to keep up with others. Your children will enjoy the festivities more if you are happy too.
Christmas Eve box.
For this you need a box, some wrapping paper, pyjamas for everyone, if you really can't afford to buy new wrap up their favourite ones, a Christmas dvd, or make a ticket to the showing of… if watching on telly, and some snacks and hot chocolate sachets. Wrap the box and everything to go in it. when the kids are preoccupied on Christmas eve hide the box somewhere for them to find and tell them Santa must have popped by early with a treat. Enjoy the movie as a family with your new/ favourite pyjamas on with some snacks and a hot chocolate.
On the day that you put your tree up, make it extra special by having a family sleepover in the living room. Bring down the duvets and pillows and camp out watching Christmas movies, or to make it a bit more special for the children, try a technology free night talking about Christmas's from when you were little.
All children love to buy a gift for their family members, but we can't all spare the money to buy everyone a separate gift, so the secret Santa is a great idea. Set a budget amount per person-even a pound will do thanks to the Pound shop- and put everyone's name into a tub and pull a name out each. If you get your own name put it back and try again until you all have someone else's name. Now you must secretly buy that person a gift for the budget amount. When you open them up see if you can guess who bought you it. If you can't afford it then try a family swap where you all get items that you no longer want and swap them for ones you do.
Most of us with kids have loads of books lying around, if not there's the library, and what better way to spend time with them than reading. Every night from the 1st December you could read a different story or poem finishing with 'Twas the night before Christmas' on Christmas Eve.
Christmas light spotting.
If you have a car get everyone to put their pyjamas on and have a drive around the neighbourhood looking at lights. Get the Christmas tunes on and you could even pack the mince pies and have a supper picnic. If you haven't got any transport then enjoy a late night walk.
I guarantee these traditions will make the memories the children remember forever. Let's face it how many children remember their gifts year to year?