How do i "DO" christmas

(27 Posts)
ringaringarosy Sun 13-Oct-13 10:37:52

Growing up christmas for us was just basically my mum and stepdad buying us some stuff,and having a turkey roast dinner on christmas day,we had a tree up aswell,that was it,no traditions or anything,they didnt really do santa,my mum used to say that she bought the presents and then santa took them away and bought them back again on christmas eve,which didnt really make sense so i didnt believe in it for long.

My kids are 5,4,3 and 1 now,and up til now weve not made a huge fuss out of christmas or father christmas,but as the older ones are at school they are starting to ask about it,i am feeling quite christmassy this year and would like to start some traditions and start the whole santa thing,ive bought elf on a shelf and have a hamper with christmas books,dvds etc in.

What do i do about santa,are all the presents from him?we never had stockings,what are they for and who are they supposed to be from,when do they open them?

Im also due december 19th which is why im sorting it all out in my mind now so i can relax in december and nest!Ive bought all the kids presents and all the kids on dhs side,just not grown ups yet.

so basically,how do you do christmas?and what do you tell your kids about santa?

MmmmWhiteWine Tue 15-Oct-13 12:15:24

For us Christmas works like this -

Christmas Eve = trip into our nearest big town to see the lights, ride the carousel, soak up the atmosphere. Stop off somewhere for dinner on the way home...nothing fancy, just Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny's or similar. While we've been out the elves have magically left new PJs on our DDs beds along with their stockings, ready to be hung up (either me or DH "forget" our keys once we're in the car ready to go out and have to dash back in to leave the pjs/stockings on the beds while the girls wait in the car). Once back home we all get in our pjs, leave out whisky, shortbread, carrots etc by the fire, watch a bit of Xmas telly then off to bed for the DDs and open a bottle of fizz for us, while we wait for them to go to sleep so that we can creep up and fill their stockings.

Christmas Day - girls can open their stockings as soon as they wake up, then once it's a reasonable hour we all go down stairs together...no-one is allowed down before the others - and the girls open their presents from Santa and DH and I do ours too. They're also allowed to open any presents from family we won't be seeing later that day. Tea and bacon rolls all round after the present opening. My DPs normally come over early afternoon when we do more fizz, more presents and some canapés. Then dinner around 3ish...then a walk, games and they go home about 9ish. DDs off to bed, we clear up and open more fizz (do you spot a theme??), TV and collapse!

Boxing Day - a do nothing day, PJs all day if that's what folk want to do, grazing from the fridge, eating chocolate, watching TV and drinking more fizz. My favourite day!!

lucysmam Tue 15-Oct-13 11:59:16

ringaring, boxing day is a lazy day for us. I get lots of snacky bits and bobs, remains of the meat from Christmas day, maybe some naice ham and crusty bread and pickles.....all on the table around lunch time for us to pick at for maybe an hour or so (dd2 is fussy about food & tends to take ages over one thing).

Pj's most of the day. Maybe wander to the park or into town for reduced xmas wrap for the dc's for next year (last year it was for a hoover because ours packed up on xmas eve hmm )

Munch our way through boxing day afternoon with selection boxes, roses etc, peaceful bath with wine when the girls go to bed.

ringaringarosy Tue 15-Oct-13 11:48:13

wow thanksfor all thegreat ideas,lots of lovely things for me to copy!

What do you do on boxing day?my mum used to go to the sales and we used to get left at home to watch even more tv!what do most people eat?

lucysmam Sun 13-Oct-13 19:18:39

wamabama, I think I might pinch your holiday tree idea, sounds like something my two would enjoy making decorations for through the year smile

Guitargirl Sun 13-Oct-13 18:44:23

Found the thread I was looking for, it's this one: lots of good ideas for Christmas Eve.

Have booked to take DD to see the Nutcracker this year at Covent Garden. I am beyond excited about that.

Guitargirl Sun 13-Oct-13 18:27:46

wamabama - I like the idea of a holiday tree - I might pinch that one for next year. I have always liked the Easter trees that you see in the shops but couldn't justify the cost really - but if I used it at Halloween and Christmas too...bargain!

I also love the build-up and usually do or plan to do the following this year:
Elf on the Shelf
Christmas Eve hamper
Harrods Father Christmas
Lapland UK
Christmas lights at Kew Gardens
Thomasland
Take the DCs to see lights on Oxford Street and choose a decoration - last year we did Selfridges, I think will take them to Libertys this year
Disney on Ice
Usually Christmas film at cinema on Christmas Eve
Make Christmas cards/decorations
Decorate gingerbread house
Christmas DVDs, books, cushions, books etc come out on Dec 1st
Tree and other decorations go up the first weekend in December

There was a thread a while ago by an OP who talked about looking for Jack Frost. Her Christmas preparations sounded amazing (although some people on the thread slated her for going OTT). I will try and find it and link.

Lavenderhoney Sun 13-Oct-13 18:23:40

Dh works Christmas Day, so this is our day. Just discussed it with the dc (6,4) to see if they have anything to add. Waiting up for Santa is not on the list!

Christmas Eve- dh works but dc and I put out a glass of sherry for Santa, water for reindeer, and some biscuits. We watch something Christmassy, which if dd has any say, it will be Christmas Barbiesmile lots of carols.

We put stockings on the beds, little toys, chocolate, satsuma, some coinsThey open them when they wake up in our bed. We drink coffee.

Then huge breakfast, whatever you want. Usually a full English.

Play with toys, carols, Dh goes to work. We have a lunch, something nice, then out for a long walk.

Get home, dc play with toys, whatever they want. I cook and we have our Christmas dinner in the evening when dh is home.

I explain the Christmas story and we have a little nativity scene.

Dc stay up as late as they like. We Skype relatives.

I'm going to look on the Christmas thread a bit to see what tips I can get to make it better.

Boxing Day first job after breakfast, we write thank you notes.

wamabama Sun 13-Oct-13 18:14:08

I think it's the build up to the day and these little traditions that really make Christmas what it is rather than the gifts. My Christmases growing up were very similar to yours- mum said the same thing about Santa too so it never really felt special. We also just used to sit and watch TV for most of the day which sucked and there was never any real build up to the day...

So now with my DC I put tons of pressure on myself to make it special. My DC are all under four so I haven't really got the Santa story down yet... but I'll figure something out grin. We do Elf on the shelf, go on a Santa train- steam train and Santa pays a visit grin, buy the DC Christmas hats to wear throughout December, bake a lot of different Christmassy things including gingerbread house&people, mince pies, stollen etc. I make a vegan version of eggnog which we drink out of National Lampoons moose mugs grin. Go to Christmas market, do Christmassy crafts, have a real tree and also we have a 'holiday tree' which we decorate for Easter, Halloween and Christmas which I let the DC decorate. Make snow globes, on xmas eve we go for a family walk and come back to find Norbert the elf has gone but has left a note and little gift hamper for them (new pjs, slippers, choc coins, marshmallows). Then we get into our pjs, drink hot choc and watch a movie. Watching Christmas movies throughout whole of December too is a big thing. Oh and we bake cookies for Santa to leave him on Xmas eve with his soy milk.

Possibly more but it's already huge! I go a bit insane over Christmas because it's my favourite time of year and I'm determined to give them the special ones I never had smile.

lucysmam Sun 13-Oct-13 18:03:40

oooh that sounds fab Pom, wonder if I could learn to knit quickly so I can make some

TheYamiOfYawn Sun 13-Oct-13 17:19:08

My tree decorations are mostly edible: popcorn strings, candy canes, gingerbread shapes and stained glass window biscuits. It looks wonderful and is lots of fun, but the children do nibble them a lot.

There's a book called "All you knit is love" that has patterns for gingerbread people in it Lucysmam - they're a bride and groom but you don't have to put the wedding clothes on them, just do the people.

lucysmam Sun 13-Oct-13 15:47:48

70 we tend to get mice in winter or I would do real ones....think they'd be a bit tempting to small furry critters though hmm

lucysmam instead of fake candy canes and gingerbread men- why not get real canes (out at the moment. The Range, supermarket and £ shops have them) and bake some gingerbread men.

It'll cost you less and you'll probably want a different theme next year.

(And you can eat the canes after, Gingerbread might be a bit soft)

Monroe Sun 13-Oct-13 13:48:58

We do stockings which are filled by the elves and left on the bed for Christmas morning which are brought through to our room and opened on our bed while DH and I have a much needed mug of coffee to kick start the day - this is usually my favourite time and can last an hour or longer while they open up all the little gifts inside. Nothing expensive but things that tend to keep them occupied for a while and don't require any construction or batteries!

Once downstairs there are a number of presents in the middle of the floor. These ones are from Santa and are the ones requested on the letter to Santa that the DC's write at the beginning of December. They never ask for more than 2 or 3 things each so generally get what they have asked for.

Everything else under the tree is from DH and I, friends, relatives etc and the DC's know who has got them what and can thank everyone for their gifts.

My friend has a DC who is the same age as my DS and he believes that every single present is from Santa. As he gets older she is finding it harder to keep this up as not a single present can appear under the tree until Christmas morning and they all have to be hidden around the home and in our loft. Also, she never gets any credit for all the great gifts she buys him grin

TheOnlyPink Sun 13-Oct-13 13:11:38

Love reading how everyone celebrates! Christmas is huge in our house!

on Christmas eve we go to a party in dh grandmothers house and all the cousins are there. Its relaxed chaos, and very enjoyable. We leave around half 6 and go home to get ready for Santa. New pjs and we sit down to read how the Grinch stole Christmas (that's a tradition for ds1, its his special book that he will take to his own family when he is grown up!) and the night before Christmas (that's mine, i got my book when i was 5 and my mum read it every year to me!) i need to get one for ds2 this year!
then we leave out some treats for Santa and off to bed.

In the morning we all go downstairs together and Santa will have left a stocking for each child and two piles of presents in different wrapping paper for each child. We open everything. Then while dh helps with any box opening and a bit of a clear up, i start breakfast. Really good coffee, pancakes and bacon usually.

After breakfast the kids are allowed some sweets from their stockings, and we lounge with our toys and Christmas music.

Around lunch time my parents and siblings come and we have some nibbles and drinks. My mum and I do some dinner prep and the rest play board games and my brother (the absolute star) puts together any toys that need it!

We all sit down to dinner, but its pretty relaxed, i don't mind if the kids sit or not. Ds1 does sit up, but its not strict.

After dinner my inlaws come and we have dessert together and play some very competitive games and have some drinks.

Everyone leaves around 7, and we let the kids wind down before bed with a film. Once they are in bed me and dh listen to some Christmas music and just relax.

Boxing day we go for a long walk on the beach and eat whatever they want when we get home. Chocolate all day, sandwiches, chips, whatever. Ds1 loves the novelty!

Just writing that has made me feel all excited! I think if you are excited the kids are very easy to get excited too, and that's what makes it special.

lucysmam Sun 13-Oct-13 12:57:56

Cheers for that Whereisegg....wish I'd known sooner ffs! grin was dreading it again this years but the girls love it

CircassianLeyla Sun 13-Oct-13 12:48:36

And they aren't expected to sit for the the hours of eating that takes place.

CircassianLeyla Sun 13-Oct-13 12:48:08

Oh yes I forgot breakfast. We have Turkish breakfast (feta, bread, jam, olives, salad, eggs, garlic sausage) all in the middle of the table how we do in holiday. My DC call it Christmas breakfast even when we are in Turkey in 40 degree summer heat.

Marne Sun 13-Oct-13 12:20:40

oh, and we leave santa a cookie and some milk, dd2 does not believe but dd1 does so we still do it every year.

Marne Sun 13-Oct-13 12:19:10

We never had stcokings, we did have a sack or pillow case, father Christmas would buy us one big present and then a few smaller ones (colouring book, pj's, slippers etc..), father Christmas would take the other presents from under the tree (from family) and also put them in our sacks (so it looked like we had a lot more), we would get up early, tear it all open then my gran and granddad would come over for lunch, the old's would fall asleep in the afternoon whilst we stuffed quality street grin, was the same almost every year.

We do stockings in our house (keeps them quite for a hour whilst we wake up and dh has his morning cup of coffee, we then have presents under the tree from family and a sack from father Christmas (1 big gift and lots of small things), we try and make the present opening last as long as we can.

We also do Christmas eve pj's plus a dvd or a book (again its for our benefit as it keeps them busy Christmas eve night for a hour, either reading or watching a dvd).

We have a 3 course meal for Christmas dinner apart from dd1 who has pizza (don't ask), we like to stay at home on our own as both dd's have autism and anything else is a bit too much for them (we had a bad Christmas a few years ago where we went out and dd2 spent all day crying so now we stay at home), we keep it quite relaxed, the dd's play all day, we then watch all the rubbish tv in the evening. Boxing day we have the step children over for more present opening and a buffet, sometimes we take them to the sales.

Quite chilled out really smile.

GoofyIsACow Sun 13-Oct-13 12:18:56

Just subbing to read later smile

Whereisegg Sun 13-Oct-13 12:06:39

For the Santa footprints.... Flour works very well to be tramped through, and hoovers up easily.

Snacked on, obviously. We do not assault our food.

I think it's the experiences that make Christmas fun and magical. I'm sure your dc will love your plans.

In our house Father Christmas delivers a stocking of small gifts and one bigger gift under the tree. All other gifts are from their real giver, including a few from us. We put an empty stocking on the foot of the dd's beds at bedtime, then sneak it out once they're asleep, fill it and put it back.

In the morning the dds come into bed with us to open their stockings. Then we stagger downstairs for breakfast and tea/coffee, we normally have something nice but easy for breakfast, like croissants or cinnamon rolls (dp always has a bacon sandwich). We generally don't have people staying, so we have quite a relaxed day. No rules about when presents are opened, but we do encourage dd1 to have a look at her presents rather than just opening them all at once (dd2 is a baby).

Dp and I do as much prep as possible for christmas dinner the night before, so generally there's only the meat to go in the oven (we enormally have goose) and veg to turn on. Starters and afters are easy things like baked camembert and bought in chocolate pud that just need sticking in the oven. No traditional christmas cake or pudding here as nobody likes them, but I will make a cake (normally chocolate) which I will decorate with dd1.

We try and eat around 12 as the dds get hungry then. I'm trying out making crackers this year so the dds will have something to play with at the table that I know they'll like. If the dds get bored after a bit I let them get down and play while dp and I enjoy our food, I don't want a fight on christmas day and long meals aren't fun for little ones.

After lunch an extra present from Father Christmas will have appeared under the tree (snuck out by me while claiming to go to the loo). This will be to the whole family and be something we can do together - this year it's a jigsaw, but I'd like to do a game to play when the dds are big enough.

The day is also broken up by dog walks - we'll go out both during the morning and during the afternoon for an hour or so. In the morning one of me or dp takes the kids while the other sorts the food, in the afternoon we all go together.

Christmas tea is leftovers with warm crusty bread (we get the part cooked rolls) and is generally smacked on when you fancy rather than at the table.

After bedtime dp and I drink wine and watch the Doctor Who special on iPlayer.

I should point out, this is what happens on years I am not working. When I am we normally spend christmas with dmil, but it's still quite relaxed (and dp does all the cooking so I can spend what time I have with the dds).

CircassianLeyla Sun 13-Oct-13 11:31:53

We used to have similar a similar Christmas to OP as children. I do have great memories though with decorating the tree etc. my brother and I would always get one same present I.e. Bikes that were hidden at the neighbours.

We believed in Santa but I don't remember any particular stories as such. We just accepted that mum and dad and a few others bought the presents and Santa put them under the tree. We would spend the afternoon riding our new bikes or playing cards.

Nowadays Santa brings done things to our house and the rest to my parents for the afternoon.

We get up and Santa always brings a cereal bar for DC to eat whilst we drink coffee and they open their presents which are usually small things and their clothes for the day. Usually these also have things to keep them occupied for the morning.

DH preps roasties and then we go to my parents where we have more presents and if our big present isn't sonething that needs to be pre-made it will be there.

Dinner - the eating takes the rest of the day as dad is Turkish which means we eat loads of bits and pieces throughout the afternoon which is interspersed with card games/quiz/board games.

We do have a couple of traditions now. Christmas PJs which is growing to more hamper like each year and we are starting to do board games on Christmad Eve. Christmas Eve is my favourite part actually. The two older DC 7 and 5, get really excited about PJs after their bath since they are familiar with the tradition.

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