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Things to do on the run up to christmas - with the children

(16 Posts)
spottymoo Wed 07-Nov-12 21:46:39

so far i've booked the panto - we'll visit the local garden centre to get the kids a new bauble also looking for a christmas market as well.

We only have weekends available as they dont break up till the 21st this year any other surgestions i can do with them that aren't overly expensive.

confuugled Wed 07-Nov-12 23:58:09

check out the norad christmas site which opens on december 1st. Easy to do at home after school or at weekends. (and yes, it's the american Norad missile tracking centre thing - years ago a mistype of a phone number for santa went to norad's predecessor rather than a toy shop. the colonel in charge told his staff to give out santa's current location and it's become a tradition - history here

bit like an online advent calendar with different games and info on it in the run up to christmas, santa getting ready at the north pole etc, usually a christmas countdown on it.

comes into its own on christmas eve when it tracks santa flying around the globe doing deliveries. Get to see him start off, watch as the map slowly gets coloured in to show where he has been, anticipated arrival times in different places, little videos of flying past famous things (eiffel tower, sydney opera house, great wall of china etc etc). Bit different every year, but all based on the same basic premise...

kids love it as builds excitement gradually over the month then lots over christmas eve itself. And from your point of view, great educational tool as it helps to show them how time zones work, geography as santa flies around, maths as they work out when santa will reach them or how many presents he delivers in an hour etc. And handy to have sitting on the computer - you wouldn't want to just sit there and watch it all day/night but good to dip in and out of for updates!

mmmmmchocolate Wed 07-Nov-12 23:58:50

Find somewhere new to visit Santa and make a day of it.

Lots of pub/restaurants have a breakfast with Santa event on. This has gotten very popular over the last few years. You would have to ask around your area for recomendations as some I've heard are really good and some not so much.

One of my favourite things to do at Christmas as a child was putting up the decorations and then having a takeaway and watching a Christmas movie. smile

Ice rinks pop up in December where I live can't skate for toffee though

We're making a gingerbread house this year the kit is mega cheap in ikea, it should stress me out be nice to assemble and decorate with the DC's!

Local light switching on events are starting now so there might be a few local to you coming up.

confuugled Thu 08-Nov-12 00:09:09

also do things like make christmas decorations (snowflakes, paper chains, salt dough models, etc) or orange pomanders

go to church for a kristingle service or carol service. (I'm not religious at all but these can be quite nice and good for feeling really christmas-y. And act as a reminder that it's not all about the presents, give a bit of cultural and religious dimensions to the celebrations,

make mince pies and christmas shaped biscuits/cookies (should be able to pick up a set of cookie cutters for less than a fiver from the big supermarkets) that will last for years to come

get them to help with the choosing and wrapping of presents you're giving to others, can be lots of fun. (just remember to hide any paper that santa will be using to wrap their presents so they don't suss that mummy and santa shop for paper in the same place!)

get a couple of christmas dvds to watch together and having family film sessions with popcorn (or some other treat - maybe the cookies made together previously), snuggle under blankets and just relax and enjoy. Things like it's a wonderful life, nativity (haven't seen it but it gets good recommendations on MN), miracle on 34th street, etc. Look out for them asap - they have been about £3 each in the supermarkets but now hallowe'en's gone, their price will start to rise!

christmas robin - get a little robin decoration - move him to a different place each evening for the kids to hunt down the next morning (or when they come home from school if mornings are always a nightmare!). And remind them that robins report back to santa to help him keep his list of good kids up to date

aufaniae Thu 08-Nov-12 00:10:06

I really want to see Matilda, but DS is too young I think (4).

TheReturnOfBridezilla Thu 08-Nov-12 08:07:20

We've booked a panto, ice skating at our local Winter Wonderland, a Christmas-themed trip on a steam engine, we're going to a country park to feed some reindeer, a Santa's grotto in a castle and we're doing the local Christmas markets. We normally just see santa and do the markets but there seems to be loads to do here this year. Why not look at your local council website or google "Christmas in (your town) 2012" for inspiration.

oreocrumbs Thu 08-Nov-12 08:47:07

We are doing the following:

Pantomime
Visit Santa
Feed the reindeer
Ice skating at the museum (Love this)
Lots of outdoor walks followed by afternoons on the sofa with christmas DVDs for me

Violet77 Thu 08-Nov-12 10:39:53

Trip to the christms markets, choose a bauble. So excitibg for little children.

Violet77 Thu 08-Nov-12 10:41:07

We make a wreath as well.

iloveholidays Thu 08-Nov-12 10:57:57

I've been planning lots of activities although all small. DD3 due tomorrow, so keeping them as simple as possible...

Christmas activity books - bought a pack of 4 from poundland - will split up
Make paper snowflakes
Make paper chains
Make a Christmas cracker
Visit Garden Centre and buy some new decorations
Make Christmas biscuits
Make & decorate Christmas Cakes
Elf arrives with advent calendar
Go on a night time walk and look at all the Christmas lights
Decorate tree & home
Watch Christmas DVD
Write letter to Father Christmas
Visit Father Christmas
Make reindeer food
Ask mummy to check her emails - Father Christmas has sent you a message
Read Christmas story
Make Christmas cards for preschool teachers & grandparents (I've bought a cheapy pack from the works)
Decorate Grandma's tree
Take girls out to buy each other a present

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 08-Nov-12 13:39:43

Panto

Christmas markets (ds1-6 loved it last year)

Winter walks with flask of hot chocolate looking for fir cones to glitter up as decorations and sprigs of holly to put around the house

Lights, decs, trees up

Letter to Santa and reply via nspcc letter

Evening walks to look at decorations/trees

We put food out for birds an squirrels in December too. Ds loves that

Writing cards-or stamping them with kids Christmas stamps

We have a big bowl in the hall with a few baubles and loads of chocs like coins, quality street etc for visitors to help themselves. Ds1 has taken to keeping this topped up as quite a big Christmas responsibility wink

Make reindeer food and put it out Xmas eve

Ds1 likes to plan in advance what snack Santa and reindeer will be eating and I take him out to buy it

Ds loves doing a stocking for the cat and doghmm

Choosing a few naice decs for kids tree and bedrooms

Making Xmas pics with glitter, sequins, cotton wool, arty packs. Ds will use the pics instead of giving cards out

BoysBoysBoysAndMe Thu 08-Nov-12 13:43:02

Also the national trust have events going on over winter/Christmas if you're local to any of their grounds.

spottymoo Fri 09-Nov-12 19:16:10

thanks for all the great ideas dd is 10 1/2 and ds 9 and this is the first year that they both know their is no big red man - so i'm still trying to keep things as nice as i can for them.

I've found a local christmas market so were off to do that for the day beginning of december.

Next weeked they turn the christmas lights so were going to see them smile

In town this evening we saw a lovely pine cone garland and dd said she'd like to go up to forest and collect some cones and see if we could make our own.

pre-ordered arthur christmas on dvd as we went to see it last christmas and they'd sold out of tickets on the only day we could go.

Does anyone know what chritmas films are coming out this year at all?

DewDr0p Fri 09-Nov-12 19:26:34

We make quite a big deal out of little things we'd be doing anyway grin like writing Christmas cards...

Write a letter to Santa
Buy/Decorate the Christmas tree
Go to the school Christmas Fair
Make Christmas cards
Make Christmas decorations/paper chains
Write Christmas cards
Read a Christmas story
Drink hot chocolate
Go to the Panto
Play some Christmas tunes
Christmas party with friends
Do some Christmas baking
Watch the Snowman/other festive films
Eat mince pies
Play Stick the Nose on the Snowman
Make reindeer food
Play Christmas charades

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 09-Nov-12 19:26:55

My DC are 13 and 10 so their pre-Christmas activities have changed over the years.

We do a London trip-see the lights, go to Hamleys (and we have a Count the Hamleys Bags competition.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Dinner at Garfunkles

A trip to Bluewater or Lakeside in the week before to buy last minute presents.

A trip to the cinema with DH while I do a big Sainsburys shop.

DS does an Activity Day- (DD went last year but doesn't want to go again. DS loved it)

No pantomime (too old grin ) but DD and I go to the ballet.
Too old for reindeer feeding now but they go for a walk on Christmas Eve (park or visitors centre)

tschiffely Fri 09-Nov-12 20:40:12

Christmas on the very cheap here, so far I have picked up a lovely Christmas jigsaw puzzle £2, a quiz game £1.50 both from a charity shop and am printing off Christmas word puzzles/crosswords from internet.

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