(Strictly parents only!) A child’s imagination is a beautiful thing, and there’s no better time than Christmas for parents to get creative.
As adults we can forget how truly magical Christmas seemed as a child. In today’s society, creative thoughts are often pushed aside and as practical parents, we can quickly lose touch with our own imagination. Christmas is the perfect time to get thinking and bring the magic alive for your children. Whether you are pro-Santa or not doesn’t really matter, it’s just about having fun.
With these simple ideas, you can watch your childrens’ faces light up – just have the camera ready to capture the smiles!
Right, dads, grab your boots! No really, grab your boots and a couple of pieces of paper. Draw around them (felt-tips tend to be easier, if you can find one that isn’t pressed in) and cut them out. On Christmas Eve, after the children are in bed, lay the feet by the chimney – next to the tree or stockings can work just as well if you don’t have a fireplace. Mix together some flour and white glitter and shake it around the template, then remove the paper and there you have magic Santa Footprints ready for your little ones to discover tomorrow!
Bring their favourite toys to life
We all know about leaving the mince pie and glass of milk (note – it is perfectly acceptable for Santa to prefer a fine glass of Rioja) on the kitchen table, but Christmas magic can affect everyone… Try setting up a Christmas themed tea party with their favourite toys – mini hot chocolates, half-eaten Christmas biscuits and some festive dips make a good spread!
Let your children discover the toys halfway through – they’ll love the idea of their teddy coming to life to host the party and they’ll be equally thrilled to help the toys finish the food! This can be a magical start to the first day of the holidays.
There’s a mouse in the house!
Try your hand at making a gingerbread house this Christmas. Children love getting their fingers sticky and it’s a great way to spend time with them. Stick the house together and get the children to decorate it with coloured sweets. As you make it, tell your children that you think there might be a family of mice sheltering from the cold in your home this Christmas.
Leave it in the kitchen and when you next go to make a coffee without the kids, nibble at the roof and pull off a couple of the sweets so it looks like mice have nibbled at it – if you want to go all the way try little cocoa footprints leading up to the front door! For the best results, read them ‘The Tale of Two Bad Mice’ by Beatrix Potter! They’ll love the idea of these cheeky little creatures stealing some of their Gingerbread!
A Treasure Hunt can be a truly magical event as a child! For those who want a nativity theme, how about an advent hunt? One clue a day – perhaps finding one piece of a jigsaw a day which gives the last (and most exciting!) clue. Or, if you find that your family is prone to post-Christmas blues, then why not do a Twelve Days of Christmas Hunt to extend the fun to January!
If you’re arty, you might draw a map for your children, or if writing is more your thing then mini poems/riddles as clues are always fun! If you are too tired and it all sounds like a lot of effort, then how about a single chocolate coin hunt that’s a bit more ad-lib where you just say whether the children are hot or cold? If you decide to do one that lasts a period of time, then it can give you a few moments a day where you can finally wash up the many plates from Christmas dinner, stuff some laundry on or simply snooze in the armchair with a brandy.
Midnight Elf Hunt
Some children love rambling through the great outdoors and others need a bit of a push, but suggest a walk at midnight and they will all be surprisingly game! A midnight Elf hunt is just that – grab some torches and make your way through the country (the beach or a greener part of the city work just as well). For parents who want to, making some Elf-prints or planting a tiny hat to be discovered can be fun. Return home for hot chocolate, mince pies and sleep.