How do you make Christmas magical?
Stokey parents certainly know how to make Christmas the stuff fairytales are made of... I know this because I eavesdrop!
As I sipped a hot chocolate in Stokey today, I listened to parents planning their festivities and I was bowled over by the effort they make to put a little magic into Christmas. My own parents nailed this. Growing up, there was the obligatory counting down of ‘sleeps till Santa’, every year we’d write a letter and put it up the chimney for Father Christmas and we were encouraged to also ask Santa to bring something special for someone in need.
My Dad never batted an eyelid when he regaled his boyhood story of hearing Santa’s bells...Legend has it that he rushed to his window just in time to see a sleigh disappear across the rooftops. As a father he collected pretty lanterns, which we used to light the landing path for Santa and his reindeers. We left mince pies and brandy for them too and there was always a trail of crumbs, a badly drawn thank you note and sometimes even a reindeer poo in the morning.
Celebrating my son’s first Christmas this year holds extra poignancy for me.... my own Mum died eight years ago and I never thanked her for her role in making our family Christmases sparkle. Our tree is adorned with decorations we made, or bought –they date right back to my own first Christmas and each holds a special memory.
I know there’s a lot of emphasis on receiving but my parents did a great job of instilling in us the pleasure of giving. There was an order to our family Christmases which focused around giving... the youngest child would give their presents first... starting with the next youngest and working up to the eldest. Only after giving all their gifts would the youngest receive one. We opened our gifts from Santa in Mum and Dad’s bed as soon as we woke but our presents to each other followed a long family walk. When I think back on my childhood the most precious memories and the clearest ones are of Christmas.
Having a structure and consistency to Christmas with children seems like it should be important... I loved anticipating what was to come and it meant presents were spread throughout the day rather than ripped greedily open at once. At just 11-months-old our son will be too little to remember this Christmas so we have time to figure out what form our family Christmases will take. But next year Operation Christmas Magic will be in full swing.
I’ve been reading around and these are some of the sweetest ideas I’ve heard:
Write a letter to your child each Christmas Eve to keep in a special memories box... in it describe what their year was like... the high’s and low’s, funny moments and special milestones reached.
Buy a Christmas tree skirt and each year draw around your child’s hand and write their name and the year inside. They’ll enjoy looking back at how much they’ve grown.
Make a Christmas stocking using babygros from your child’s first year.
Ask your child to choose and buy (with their own money) a present for a child in need, then wrap it and donate it to a suitable charity.
Track Santa using NORAD www.noradsanta.org
Spend Christmas Eve watching festive movies... ELF, Polar Express, The Muppets Christmas Carol etc.
Message us here or on Facebook to share your own family Christmas traditions and tips for making Christmas special.