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Which Christmas traditions would you recommend / avoid?

(20 Posts)
elsbethy Mon 17-Nov-14 06:18:34

We have a DD who has just turned 4, and a DS who will be 9 months old. Last year was very low key because we were moving house, and previous years we've always gone to my mum's, so this is our first proper family Christmas at home.

I like the idea of pyjamas on Christmas Eve, but haven't really got any further than that. I'm conscious that any 'traditions' I start this year will have to continue for the next few years, as my DD is very routine driven!

Any suggestions for little things that make it special for your DC, or tips on what doesn't work?

glenthebattleostrich Mon 17-Nov-14 06:29:54

We read the night before Christmas e very Christmas eve.

Mince pie, wine and carrot for father Christmas and reindeer food out before bed time.

Take dd to choose a decoration for the tree the first Saturday in December. We also choose dh's present from her.

Chottie Mon 17-Nov-14 06:30:58

hanging up the stockings
going out when it is just getting dark to see all the Christmas lights locally on Christmas Eve

Tzibeleh Mon 17-Nov-14 06:49:08

Allowing a present-opening free-for-all: bad idea. Results in overwhelmed distress and dissatisfaction.

Stockings are free-for-all (and designed to keep dc busy and give us a bit of a lie-in, so include food, books, drawing/stickers, Lego, etc). But tree presents get opened one at a time as a family, everyone taking a turn, in sessions between meals and playing with presents. Sometimes it takes us a couple of days to open everything!

We always give each dc their own presents, but there is always a shared gift as well.

Neeko Mon 17-Nov-14 07:53:35

We use that rollable icing (white and coloured) to make a family of snowpeople for the top of our Christmas cake each year. The kids love doing it and each snowman has a different coloured hat and scarf and is a different size to correspond with the four of us. Then the kids get to eat some of the leftover icing.

We also do some handmade gifts for grandparents etc. nothing fancy. One year the kids decorated cotton reusable bags and we have made shortbread, glitter tags and those snowmen made out of marshmallows, chocolate buttons and jelly tots using cake pop sticks. It's nice to teach them that Christmas is as much about giving as it is about a Santa list.

3pm on Christmas Eve everything stops for a family Christmas movie.

Whatever you do, enjoy it!

elsbethy Mon 17-Nov-14 09:51:04

So many great ideas. Thanks everyone, I want to do them all! I'm going to have to start making lists.

A shared present for them both is a nice idea. DH will be at work Christmas Eve, but I will definitely plan something for when he comes home.

Clueing4looks Mon 17-Nov-14 10:11:05

The 5 days leading up to christmas I put a little gift on the tree every day from the 'Christmas tree fairies', only something little like chocolate coins, craft set, colouring book, £1 shop stuff. It gets the kids excited for Christmas, gives them something to do while they're not at school plus helps with their behaviour (they only visit if the kids are 'good')

Its a tradition passed down from my mum, and even though my kids sadly don't believe in FC anymore (10 and 11yo) they still love (and I think believe in) the xmas fairies!

Rowboat Mon 17-Nov-14 10:26:30

We have family Christmas film night every weekend in December. Lots of Christmas books and songs. (trying to teach dd the 12 days of Christmas!)Pjs and Christmas bath on Christmas eve. Visit to Santa. This year dh will take dd to the cinema for a Christmas film (probably Paddington this year).
If it's fit, I'd recommend getting out a bit on Christmas eve to run off some of the excitement.


Oo make Christmas cards. For family only probably. it's fun and helps get into the spirit at the beginning of advent. (and Christmas doesn't begin in our house until December however much dh and dd try and persuade me otherwise! luckily ds is too small just yet to have an opinion otherwise I might be completely out votedgrin )

Rowboat Mon 17-Nov-14 10:28:43

I Love love love the icing snow family. Stealing that one smile

whojamaflip Mon 17-Nov-14 10:41:33

Dc make the paper chains for the kitchen every year the weekend before they get off school.

Mince pie, glass of port and carrots out by fire place on Christmas Eve.

Read the Mousehole Cat and Night Before Christmas in front of the fire with hot chocolate, squirty cream and marshmallows.

Follow Santas progress across the world using NORAD - great for getting them into bed at a sensible time!

Each of the dc choose a decoration for the tree each year - I keep a note of who chose what and when they move to their own home I will give them a box with their own Xmas secs to put on their own tree.

whojamaflip Mon 17-Nov-14 10:44:15

Oh and Father Christmas leaves footprints on the fireside rug - dh work boots dipped in the (cold) ash and planted on the rug - dc are always saying that FC needs to take his shoes off! Takes a couple of minutes to Hoover up on Xmas morning but I love seeing their faces when they see the mess!

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 17-Nov-14 10:44:40

I have older dd and still finding our groove, dh normally works so has been hard and now have toddler in tow too..limits what you can ie theater etc.

last year I got her a special nightdress, so am doing that this year....we also did elf for a week only, my own way, my own rules and she loved that too, so will do it for a few nights...maybe even less than 7!
this xmas eve we are going to london to theatre just dd and me. we made some stained glass ginger bread so will do baking, no xmas cake though as no one ate it bar me...maybe a yule log.

ginger bread house too...def..maybe weekend before...took her to buy xmas dec.

we normally do panto on box day but due to toddler not doing that this year...after xmas go to big house dressed all xmassy. i still have not found great toddler carol serivce yet or chrsitingle though.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 17-Nov-14 10:45:47

oh and this year we are making our own advent calender proving really easy!!! sewing little paper pockets ready to hang on tree and fill with quality street.

meglet Mon 17-Nov-14 10:47:15

I love the snow icing family too!

We do Xmas Eve pj's, NORAD Santa, Christingle in mid-dec and the crib service on Xmas Eve and watch The Snowman on Xmas Eve. We also wander into town on Xmas Eve (not as busy as you'd think) and the dc's choose a new tree decoration, it's all reduced by then so they can choose a really fancy one.

Sprink Mon 17-Nov-14 10:51:29

Top tradition: making the children sing a song together in front of the tree before opening family presents (as, obviously, the Father Christmas presents and/or stockings are opened first thing in the morning). We do 'Adeste Fideles' because it's been passed down through my family, though I'm not sure the baby could join in just yet at yours, OP.

Top Tip: eat the meal, then take a break (for family presents and play or chat), and then gather for Christmas pudding/desserts. Your stomachs will thank you.

BettyFocker Mon 17-Nov-14 10:51:59

We started a Christmas Eve hamper last year when DS was almost 3. It included new pyjamas (not Christmas themed, so he could wear them for the rest of the year), a Christmas DVD, a Christmas book, hot chocolate sachets (for me, DP and DS), a box of gingerbread men, character bubble bath, reindeer food and a magic Santa key.

We brought it out after dinner, so DS could have a bath using his new stuff, then into his new PJs, then we all had hot chocolate and ate the gingerbread men while watching the DVD. Then we sprinkled the reindeer food on the front path and hung up the key on the front door. Then read the book at bedtime.

It made Christmas Eve relaxing and prepared DS for bedtime. I'm doing the same this year with a new DVD, book and pyjamas. And I've kept the key from last year to use every year.

Bilberry Mon 17-Nov-14 10:55:55

If you decide to make things/do crafts start this earlier than you think as the run up to Christmas, especially once they start school, can be very hectic with less time for crafts than you might think.

I always 'discover' another present each on the tree when we take the tree down after new year.

Always have a note book and pen handy when they open presents to write down who gave what; makes thank you letters a lot easier. Also have a screwdriver, scissors, wire clippers, hacksaw handy as some packaging is a nightmare! Oh, and batteries!

We put most of the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve night so have a 'reveal' on Christmas morning.

SugarMiceInTheRain Mon 17-Nov-14 11:16:50

We always do what we have dubbed the Santa run a couple of days before Christmas. We make up homemade goodies for friends and people we know who are having a hard time, put them on the doorstep, ring the bell and run and hide so they don't know who it's from. Works best at night, when it is easier to hide! Our boys love it.

Neeko Mon 17-Nov-14 12:59:33

Aww. Love the idea of there being lots of Christmas cakes with snowmen families like ours smile

Harrin Mon 17-Nov-14 14:20:18

Love the Santa run idea!

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