The way kids see Christmas and the way adults see it is very different. When you are young, the magic of Christmas is there in a very real sense. Everything seems that little bit more twinkly and special. Now, maybe this is because you have time off school, maybe not. Whatever the case, the longer time goes on, the more the literal magic starts to rub off. Sometimes, the kids’ enthusiasm and the idea of a winter holiday is all that keeps you going.
Does that mean that adults don’t love Christmas? Not a bit of it – although we get slightly more cynical about it we can all find something to value in the holiday season. What it does mean is that we need to work at making Christmas magical. If we have kids, then their excitement about the season helps – but it also means that we need to do the work to ensure that magic stays real for them.
To put it another way, what is stardust and glitter for our kids amounts to standing in queues and defrosting huge turkeys for us. And it’s not something we’d ever trade away. The fact that your kids are off school means they’re around the house more – which is great. It also means you need to find ways to keep them occupied – and that’s not as easy.
They say the devil makes work for idle hands. You need to be the Christmas angel that finds them more suitable diversions.
Some houses around the country have a tradition of buying a board game each Christmas as a general present for the family. This is a good idea, and to go a bit further, I’d advise not wrapping it. Instead, have it on hand for those times when you need to be busy preparing for Christmas. If you’re going to be occupied in the kitchen for some time, then set it up at the dining table and appoint an elder kid to be in charge.
It’s important to have the game going on within earshot, as your kids may be liable to have disagreements over the game. If they can be kept good-natured, then you can get a lot done while your kids have fun. And if they can get through a game without it becoming a squabble, they can always be rewarded with a treat from the seasonal chocolate stash.
Aren’t You A Crafty Devil?
By the time schools have wound down for the year, you’ll most likely have your decorations up. However, there is plenty of scope for more decorative touches around the house. If you’re going to have visitors, then a few signs welcoming them to your home at Christmas are an idea. Get some craft supplies and allow your children to unleash their creative side. Ideally, they’ll unleash it tidily. But just in case, don’t leave them alone to do anything too messy.
You may need to get them started – putting down some sheets of paper on the floor to catch anything that may fall is a good idea. Getting hold of some cordless glue guns from Glue Guns Direct or similar will allow you to do some work on which they can build. Get them to create a centrepiece for the kitchen table. This can then be used at Christmas dinner, making the whole occasion more special for them.
Welcome To My Humble Abode
Of course, around Christmas, you’re likely to have visitors. And the more nervous parents among us will know that this can be a stressful time. You have to balance keeping bored kids occupied and getting the place ready for visitors to come around. One way of doing this may well be to give your kids “jobs” that they can do when the guests arrive.
Now, it goes without saying that you don’t want to give them jobs that are difficult. One kid can take coats, for example, while another can play waiter and take drink orders. Prior to visitors coming, you can enlist their help in getting sandwiches and drinks ready. You’d be best advised not to have a smaller child carry anything sharp or cumbersome, of course. But for their help, you can pay them with a stocking-filler present or something similar.
The key in among all of this is to give it the sense that it’s all part of the magic of Christmas. By giving kids roles that they can play, bringing games into the process, it still feels unique to them. By giving them treats you incentivise them to play their part. All of it goes together to keep that magic alive for your kids – and that’s what’s really important about Christmas.