Family Christmas rituals

Uncategorized Dec 22, 2020

If you are worried about disappointing your children on Christmas day - read on for inspiration for rituals that don't cost you anything

Remember, a month or two after Christmas you’ll find that your children barely ever remember what they have been given.  What they do remember is the feeling of being together and the rituals you have created. This is why I will always say - buy less and spend as much time creating family moments as you can.

You might be in a panic that you missed the shops and you don’t have enough. If that’s you. Please don’t beat yourself up. Even if your kids are disappointed on Christmas day – they will be ok. Focus on some of the things below and you’ll find that is what they remember.  

So here is a list of 10 family rituals, I hope that you might get some inspiration for some of them and take them on as your own.

  1. From an early age, it is really good to instil the idea of giving. No matter how small the gift is, family members so appreciate the effort a child has made. Have your child make a card with their handprint and scribble, get them to wrap up pine cone or help to bake some cookies.
  2. A Christmas eve meal can be a fun one for the kids to get involved in. Get your children to participate in planning the menu and making decorations for the table.  When ours were smaller we kept it really simple and they loved it – A bag of Hula hoops and carrot sticks for a starter, pasta pesto for the main and a choc ice for pudding. They would draw up the menu and we had crackers and candles on the table.  We still do this with our teenagers with a slightly more sophisticated menu! They definitely feel it is an important part of Christmas.
  3. On Christmas Eve start a ritual of watching a festive film together. Our favourite is Love Actually but you can pick a film for younger kids.
  4. We loved to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Or tell them a story with them as the characters in it.
  5. When they go to bed on Christmas Eve, put out a glass of milk and cookies for Father Christmas (and remember to leave some crumbs and drink the milk), you can leave carrots for the reindeer if you have a garden (remember to get rid of them too)
  6. Get them to hang their stockings in your living room. Top tip – if you leave stockings in children’s bedrooms they are very likely to wake you up anytime from 4 am to say “He’s been”.  If the stockings are in the living room you can tell them that they have to wait till it is properly morning to give him time to come. Then in the morning make a big deal of the suspense before you go into the living room. "I wonder if he has been.... Shall we look or shall we wait a bit longer....?" Open the door a crack and close it again "Oh gosh, I'm not sure, shall we check again?".  To encourage delayed gratification get them to open one present at a time rather than rip them all open in a frenzy.
  7. Make Christmas day breakfast special – lay the table with pretty napkins and have treats you might not usually have like chocolate croissants.
  8. On Christmas day, try to make time for a game with them. Anything where everyone gets involved is part of creating those special memories.
  9. Children love a dance, turn down the lights, crank up the music and do some bad mum or dad dancing. 
  10. Make a treasure hunt - you can get lots of ideas on the internet and all it needs is a few sweets for the treasure. The fun is in the hunt. 

I hope these are useful for you.  Inevitably Children can get over excited and have meltdowns around Christmas.  They may be disappointed with some of their presents, something might break, they can get high on sugar and become rather crazed. This is normal. Try to get some sleep yourselves and not kill yourself making everything perfect. Also try not to break the bank buying things you can’t afford. What kids need most of all is your love and time with you. Any disappointment they have will wear off but the good memories will continue.

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