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What are your 'magic makers'?

(76 Posts)
Whatsername17 Mon 21-Aug-17 18:55:41

By which I mean: what do you do to make Christmas special/magical? We don't tend to spend a huge amount of money on presents at Christmas as our dds have a big family and are lucky to receive lots of gifts. To be honest, It all got a bit ridiculous when dd1 was first born as everyone seemed to be in a race to buy her the most stuff - it was totally overwhelming and I felt a bit like the magic was lost and was replaced with stuff. The family have since pared everything back a bit and we have tried to set a trend that Christmas is about being together and having fun and that is what makes it special. I love Christmas and want my girls to realise it is about more than just getting shitloads of stuff. The things we do to make it magical are:
1. We have a wooden advent calender filled with tasks. The tasks are mostly free craft based things that we can do together. E.g. the 1st of December's task is always 'put up the decorations'. Then we have things like 'collect pine cones to decorate', 'snuggle under a blanket and watch a Christmas film', 'go and visit Santa', 'write your Christmas cards' etc. Dd1 loved it so much last year she still goes on about it. The best bit was that most of the activities were free and we could all do them together.
2. The Christmas eve hamper. Again, this is a family thing. We all get new pjs, there is a day trip 'ticket' for the whole family, a cookie mix to bake for Santa. Then traditions like the special plate for the cookies, the dds stockings and the magic key.
I also take dd1 shopping to choose a toy for charity. We save pennies in a jar throughout the year. It's nice to see her think of others and not just what she wants. I'd love to hear what others do.

Nicpem1982 Mon 21-Aug-17 19:54:12

We make bird feeders and hang them in the park

We bake cookies for neighbors

Whatsername17 Mon 21-Aug-17 20:01:55

I love the bird feeders idea!

Nicpem1982 Mon 21-Aug-17 20:03:55

It's nice just bird seed from wilko and lard

Nicpem1982 Mon 21-Aug-17 20:07:19

We go and feed the ducks too at the canal near our house last year the poor ducks got we wish you a merry Christmas sang at them by my dd (2)

Whatsername17 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:18:34

That is so cute! I'm going to put feed the birds as a task in the advent calender. Dd1 will love it.

15MinutesWithYou Mon 21-Aug-17 21:25:53

I really like the idea of buying a toy for charity whatshername. How do you go about getting it to the right people?

Whatsername17 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:29:08

Our local Tesco does a charity toy drive so I tend to go through them.

Iamafool22 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:31:43

When I was young my parents would take us to the local garden centre to buy 1 new Christmas tree decoration each year. I absolutely adored it, and when I was old enough to move out into my first place my parents gave me all the decorations collected from each year which I had picked out. I carry on this tradition still and will do the same for my children, every year when the decorations come out we talk about each one and when it was chosen smile

Nicpem1982 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:32:09

I too love this idea as my dd is very fortunate and has lots of lovely experiences/time/gifts at Christmas so I think her choosing a gift for a less fortunate person is a good idea I'm contacting our local Salvation Army to enquirer about a donation

Dd does chose a gift for our local zoo on her favourite monkeys birthday

WeeM Mon 21-Aug-17 22:57:40

@lamafool22 that's so nice it made me cry a wee bit! I am starting to try and build some traditions up, so far my dd has bought herself a few decorations for her own small tree with her pennies. We also do Xmas eve box and watch muppets Xmas carol every year whilst wrapping presents or writing cards. Last year we also got a gingerbread house from Aldi and decorated that together. I do find that time gets away from me every year though and I've always got great ideas but then before I know it, it's too late!

TelephoneTree Mon 21-Aug-17 23:03:28

We do a Christmas Eve box, but without the box - just wrapped PJs and book & DVD on Christmas Eve.

The most magical thing we do are personalised letters with all the news of what's going on in the North Pole. We do an Advent set of one letter a day through Advent. The kids absolutely love it.

Also - we get our tree together, Christmas baking, watch Santa on the Norad Santa tracker, go to a pantomime ... make cards, crafts, go to see the big tree in town ... it's all amazing!

TelephoneTree Mon 21-Aug-17 23:05:30

Watch a Christmas film together on Christmas Eve - with hot choc , a North Pole Breakfast on Christmas Day, play board games on Christmas afternoon ... honestly we have so many little traditions, we almost don't have time to do them all!

kingfishergreen Mon 21-Aug-17 23:10:10

Ooo what's a 'north pole breakfast'?

sjd84 Tue 22-Aug-17 07:03:52

Love all of these ideas, especially the task filled advent calendar... now to think of 24 tasks!

NotMyPenguin Tue 22-Aug-17 08:47:12

I absolutely love the idea of the advent calendar!

Would anyone (especially OP) mind sharing some ideas for Christmassy tasks/activities that could go in one?

I'm not really a Christmassy person myself, but DD (4) has a real soft spot for the season and I want to make it a special time for her.

Also dying to know what a North Pole breakfast is!!

Anatidae Tue 22-Aug-17 08:49:49

Nothing. I'm really bad at xmas and don't actually like it.

Must do better now we have a toddler

Jessica78 Tue 22-Aug-17 08:53:21

Have a look on Pinterest for North Pole breakfast, loads of ideas there. I remember that ASDA had Christmas tree shaped crumpets last year (yum) x

Whatsername17 Tue 22-Aug-17 08:57:52

1st of December is always 'Decorate the house ready for Christmas!'
Last year we had:
Go and meet Santa, which coincided with the day we'd booked breakfast with Santa at the garden centre.
Make a Christmas Angel (loo roll holder and craft bits
Decorate pine cones
Bake a Christmas themed cake (We did two, one for the school fete)
Make/Write your Christmas cards
Make a Christmas paper chain
Watch a Christmas film
Read a Christmas story
Make reindeer food (left in a bowl next to Santa's cookies because of the wildlife)
There were other crafty things like make a decoration for the tree.
Take a special Christmas shopping trip with mummy to get daddy's present (and vice versa).
Make a cat toy for the cats
Paint a Christmas picture
Christmas she's was to hunt for the Christmas eve hamper so We turned it into a treasure hunt.
This year we are going to make bird feeders too.

NoWordForFluffy Tue 22-Aug-17 09:01:46

Our two chose a decoration each from John Lewis last year and I think that's something we will keep doing.

I always make mince pies on Christmas Eve and the kids 'help' with that too. This year I'm also going to make some cookie dough for using then, as well as on Christmas Day itself as I've got them cute cookie cutters as part of their stocking gifts. It'd be a shame to not be able to use them on the day!

At the moment we always do the Santa train (we found a fantastic one in the Lakes last year which we will go on every year now until they're too old) which they love.

We've also booked to do the Christmassy event at Dunham Massey as well, which I'm looking forward to.

I want to find a nice Carol service this year as they're old enough to sit through one now. And we may go to the nativity at our local church if they do it again (they put it on if there's the demand). That's on Christmas Eve and starts our wind down to bedtime as it's very relaxed / chilled out.

We seem to do a fair bit, but I do try to space it all out a bit! 🎅

AmethystRaven Tue 22-Aug-17 09:17:00

Some great ideas here! We had a stuff/stress overload last year and none of the grown ups had a remotely nice time because of all the kids presents and overexcitement. My head was spinning well into January and I'm putting my foot down with presents this year and making it a nice cosy time with family, snuggling and local festive outings. Hygge rather than commercial!

2014newme Tue 22-Aug-17 09:19:57

We have a big party for 60 friends
Pantomime
Ice skating

Don't do Xmas eve boxes or task a day it all gets a bit much

SymphonyofShadows Tue 22-Aug-17 09:28:45

Mine choose a new bauble each every year, usually from M&S as we have one really close. We have a Christmas Eve baking tradition where we make rocky road for Father Christmas (even though the DCs are too old now), chocolate brownies and I bake a cheesecake for pudding on Christmas Day. I always cook a ham in coke too, and they associate the smell of it cooking with Christmas.

SpanishFly Tue 22-Aug-17 18:10:41

stock up now on Xmas DVDs, and bring out one at a time when you have time to sit and watch one together.

Pantomime.

Look up The Yule lads Icelandic tradition - my DS1 was taught this at school by a teacher and we've done it every year since. Basically, from the 12th of Dec you put a shoe on the windowsill and every night till Xmas the Yule Lads leave something in it. It can be good/bad/a treat/a penny etc etc. Last year we left a potato in each of the DSs' shoes one night when they had been behaving appallingly.

We go into town to visit the Xmas market one evening and eat candy floss etc.

Ditto re tree decorations. We buy a new one every year - often when we're on our summer holidays - so every single decoration has significance to us.

Xmas Eve we always always watch the Snowman or Snowman and The Snowdog while all wearing pyjamas, before putting out the carrot/milk etc.
Reindeer dust for the doorstep.
And then follow Santa's journey on the Norad Santa tracker website.

Holdbacktheriver Tue 22-Aug-17 18:38:10

Ooh we love Christmas here grin

We have elves arrive on 1st with the children's advent calendars.

We go and look at the xmas trees in the cathedral and one evening we will take a walk around our village to look at all the pretty Christmas lights.

Xmas eve boxes here too with snacks, a Christmas movie, pjs, magic key, reindeer food & hot chocolate

Xmas eve morning we have lots of family & friends round for brunch. It's always smoked salmon, scrambled egg & toast with fresh mince pies at some point later on. We do party games for all the children ( pin the star on the tree, snowman races and a candy cane hunt)

Xmas eve tea we always have McDonald's and then pop over to our local pub (live in a village so lovely traditional pub with a log fire) to see Santa (event put on by local charity supports the village and the school my children attend) and have some more lovely mince pies and mulled wine for the adults.

Then it's back home to sprinkle the reindeer food outside and leave Santa a drink & mince pie, hang stockings and then the children have a bath snuggle up in our bed, we watch Snowman & the Snow dog and then I read them the night before Christmas and put them all in their beds.

I've probably got more but can't think at the moment grin

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