We all want to give our kids the best Christmas ever, but sometimes it’s difficult when you’re just not feeling very Christmassy. This year I am really struggling to get into the festive spirit. I feel like I really need to do something before I ruin Christmas for my girls. So this post is a collection of ideas for how to rescue Christmas for your kids when you’re just not feeling Christmassy!
Last year was our first Christmas in the UK with kids. I wanted to make it as magical as possible. I had a number of blog-related experiences come through my mailbox which helped, and given that everything was very new and different and magical for the girls they really did have a special Christmas.
Why am I not feeling Christmassy?
I’m putting this down to a couple of reasons.
- I’m quite homesick for my family this year. Last year my sister spent Christmas with us, and almost every Christmas for the past few years has been spent either with family, or close friends. This year, it’s just the five of us, and that’s okay. But it’s been miserable weather recently and a lot of our expat family and friends are or have gone back to Africa where it’s hot and sunny weather. I’m just a bit jealous, to be honest. (Yes, I know I’m acting like a child, but that’s just how I feel).
- The other reason is that I feel like the build-up for Christmas started before Halloween was even over! Instead of it being a December holiday, it started at the end of October so my body clock is telling me that it’s been a long
2 weeks6 weeks already!
Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a Christmas grinch generally anyway. I love Christmas. What I don’t like is the over-commercialism and the excessive cost of everything!! I hate how people are led into debt to ‘celebrate’ something that should not be about spending ridiculous amounts of money trying to show off how much you love everyone!
And don’t get me started on that damn elf! So no, I have NOT been feeling very festive or Christmassy this year. I find it hard to believe I’m the only one either, but maybe I am.
But … I’m a Mom, so I need to snap out of it!
The mom part of me realises that this could very well be the last year that my girls really ‘believe’ in an old guy in a red suit with a bunch of reindeers flying through the air delivering presents to all the boys and girls across the world in one night! My eldest is 8 and I’m sure she partly already knows the truth but is still desperately clinging to the magic of Christmas.
Elf on the shelf and everywhere else!
Last week they asked me why our elf hadn’t turned up. Every day they would come home from school telling me about all the fun and crazy things their friend’s elves had done. I stood firm with the response that our elf must be lost. He’s just not come round this year. The mom-guilt did start creeping in though. In my defence, I was just really rubbish at it. I forgot on more than one occasion. I also hate cleaning so creating a mess to clean up myself was just about killing me inside. This year I refused to put myself through that.
Where are their letters?
Then yesterday my eldest asked me why they hadn’t received any letters this year. Last year I’d been gifted a pack of letters from the elves, one for each day in December, almost like an advent calendar of sorts. But even that I forgot to put the letter out some mornings before they woke up. #badmom
Letters from Santa Claus & the Elves
Anyway, last night I realised that if I don’t “snap out of it”, I’m going to end up ruining Christmas for my kids. They deserve better. They deserve magic. So at 22.00 last night when the rest of my family had gone to bed, I fired up my laptop as a start to see what I could come up – Operation ‘How to rescue Christmas for my kids’ began!
A quick search on Canva (my go-to for all blog related graphics and images etc) and I found a template for a letter from Santa. So I wrote them a personalised letter from Santa, and dug deep to try make it as “realistic” and magical as possible.
After printing the letter off, I then (and this is how you know just how guilty I felt) found some glitter that I had previously hidden from the girls and put gold glitter all over the letter. I then wrote their names on an envelope in fake handwriting and left the letter by the front door for them to find this morning.
My eldest read my letter, and after a few minutes of re-reading it and carefully examining it, (I swear she doesn’t really believe anymore), she says to me, “Wow mom, Santa has very good punctuation.” She looked at me suspiciously, knowing I’m a copy-editor (lol). I quickly came back with, “Well I bet Mrs Clause edited it for him to make it extra special.” She quickly agreed with me, so we’re safe for one more year. lol
Honestly, they were so happy. Christmas really is for kids! Their happiness made me feel even more guilty. Why did I let my inner grinch almost ruin Christmas for them?
I’m now determined to make it up to them. This is my plan of how to rescue Christmas for my girls, before it’s too late!
How to create a magical Christmas for your kids!
With that said, I’m still a frugal non-crafty Pinterest-imperfect mom. So I asked for some help and suggestions of Christmas activities that I can do with my girls to help bring that Christmas spirit into our lives. I have received some really awesome ideas that I’m sharing with you now. Operation How To Rescue Christmas for your kids is a go!
Get your kids to write a Christmas List to Santa – it’s never too late!
Jenny from The Gingerbread House has a free download letter: Dear Santa – My Christmas Wish List that your kids can fill in. I love this one because it helps guide them on their list-making. Keeping it short and sweet with 4 simple categories:
- Something I want
- Something I need
- Something to wear
- Something to read.
Letters from Santa Clause
You can scour Pinterest and find loads of free downloads of letters to your kids from Santa Clause. These are all customisable which is great. Or you can just go onto Canva and create one yourself. My tips for making it as authentic as possible are:
- Use their names
- Refer to something on the list they made
- Talk about how their mummy/daddy are so proud of their achievement in [insert something great they have done].
- Mention a specific tradition that your family do every year. (We always leave a snack out for Rudolph and his friends.)
- Refer to the town or village where you live.
- Use swirly lettering to make it look more authentic.
Make Your Own Reindeer Food
I remember when my bonus daughter was really little she would spend Christmas Eve with us, then go back to her mum to spend Christmas day with her. Every year her mum would send ‘Reindeer Dust’ over to us. Back then it was just a little bag of glitter to sprinkle outside so that they reindeer knew where to land.
I thought this was a lovely tradition so last year we did something similar for the girls too. We’d been to The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall, a local country estate and one of the crafts there was to make Reindeer Food. We sprinkled this on the path outside our house and it was just a lovely little Christmas Eve tradition.
This year I’m going to attempt to make our own Reindeer food. (Pray for my kids!)
- Becky from Baby Budgeting has a lovely DIY recipe to make Reindeer Dust using oats and coloured sugar and/or glitter with just the cutest little poem. We’ll definitely be doing this over the weekend to try to get into that festive spirit.
- Claire from Big Family Big Fun has this post on homemade Reindeer Food.
- Charlotte from Team Stein has a great make your own Eco-Friendly Reindeer Food!
The concept behind the food and the dust is the same, it all depends on how you want to spin the story I suppose.
Christmas Activities to Download
There are some fabulous online resources that offer digital downloads which you can get to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit. I’m definitely going to be dong a few of these. Great ideas for how to rescue Christmas for your kids and get everyone in the Festive spirit.
- Baby Budgeting has a really cute Rudolph Wordsearch to download for free, perfect for any family travel road trips.
- There’s Colour Your Own Bunting from The Gingerbread House.
- Then Shelley also reminded me Mrs Mactivity. There are some free downloads on there too for holiday decorations, but for a small monthly subscription fee, you can download a huge number of resources that are not just fun activities but also learning resources. We did their Halloween one last year, but I will be checking out their Christmas resources over the next few weeks.
- Jenni from The Bear and The Fox has a whole book of Christmas Activities to download if you sign up to her newsletter (totally worth it).
- Kate from Crafts on Sea have three lovely designs to make your own 3D Snowman cards. Download them for free in one PDF. These look like loads of fun. I’m sure my girls will enjoy them.
- Also from Kate is this activity pack of Snowglobe Christmas activities. When the weather is pretty awful (which it really has been this winter, staying indoors and doing activities is a good way to keep the kids off the screens!
- For those of you into sensory play, you could try this The Snowman tuff tray. It looks like loads of fun for little ones.
- And of course, you have to have a Gingerbread House – so here’s a lovely house to download and colour in also by Crafts On Sea.
Other Christmas Crafts for Kids
- Jo from Cup Of Toast has these great Make your own Christmas Stars made from felt! I love this as it’s a craft with very little mess!
- Aamber from Nurture The Play has a few Eco-Christmas crafts, I really like the pine cone one.
Christmas Baking With Kids
I have an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to Baking With Kids that I started a few years ago. If you want to get some really great baking ideas that are all child-friendly please do follow this board. I update it all the time with recipes that inspire me. Here are a few lovely recipes for baking with kids over Christmas!
- Melting Snowmen Biscuits by Big Family, Big Fun
- Christmas Pudding Biscuits by Big Family, Big Fun
- Yule Log, Chocolate and Nut Cake – not just for Christmas, by Two Plus Dogs.
- Brownie In A Jar which would also make a great gift, not just to bake yourself.
Getting Christmassy Out And About
Christmas in the UK really is very different from Christmas in Africa. I think I need to just ’embrace’ the weather, wrap them up very warm (whether they like it or not), and take them out!
I’m planning to take the girls into York on Saturday evening. The idea is to wander around and see all the lovely Christmas lights, maybe get a hot chocolate and a cake (they don’t like mince pies). The York Minster is looking particularly fab this year. It’s sure to help in my effort to rescue Christmas for my kids.
Other ideas for outings to get into the Christmas spirit:
- Take a drive through the villages to see the local lights. Our village of Sherburn-In-Elmet have a spectacular Christmas lights display this year, as well as neighbouring villages such as Towton. I’m sure there are villages around wherever you are. The kids just love all the different lights.
- Father Christmas in his sleigh. The local Lions club have organised a tour by Santa & his sleigh. I’ve checked the list and they are due to come past where we live on Thursday evening so I’ll be taking the kids down to see him as his drives past.
- Carols by Candlelight: will be looking at taking the kids to this at the local church.
Keep a lid on the Budget!
Like I said above, I do NOT agree with going into debt and spending ludicrous amounts of money on Christmas! A few people gave some really great suggestions for free or really cheap Christmas gifts or craft activities.
- Lianne recommended a trip to The Pound Shop. They sell some really fun craft activities for kids.
- Becky has a list of FREE Christmas gift ideas for kids so you could get them to make these up for their siblings, cousins, extended family and friends.
I definitely think that Christmas puts pressure on everyone financially. I would urge us all to rethink how much we really need to be spending and to consider alternatives to the typical things that cost money. Personally I’ve always preferred to spend money on doing stuff, than buying stuff, but even ‘doing stuff’ doesn’t have to cost a lot. Please don’t get yourself into debt for Christmas, it’s not worth it in the long run!
Pinterest Christmas Inspiration
I have a couple of Pinterest Boards running at the moment that are full of Christmas Inspiration for everyone.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
And remember, Christmas isn’t just for kids though, it’s for us too! Here’s a little ditty I thought was quite witty. Who else is dreaming of a white Christmas?