Make Christmas extra special

Christmas is a special time. Children love to help decorate the tree, write santa lists and play in the snow.

See our ideas to make Christmas extra special in 2012!

by Colleen Reid, Mindful Mum

Little touches can make this already magical time even more special. These easy and inexpensive ideas will really bring a festive feeling to your home.

For more DIY Christmas fun for kids check out our homemade Christmas cards.

Reindeer food

Everyone knows Santa is nothing without the help of his flying reindeer. When leaving out a mince pie and milk for Santa, why not make a magical reindeer mix to recharge Dasher, Dancer and friends.

Pour some colourful cereal such as Raindrops and pour into a plastic sandwich bag. Add in plenty of glitter, miniature marshmallows and any other magical looking treats. Using a sticky label, name your reindeer feed and help your children set it out on a plate for Santa’s visit.

Track Santa

Let your little ones log onto a Santa tracking site to keep an eye on Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve. The tracker shows Santa’s sleigh over a map of the world as he visits every country. When he starts to get close, your children will be desperate to get off to bed to make sure they don’t miss Santa!

Bells

On the run up to Christmas Eve, invest in a set of bells from a music shop or many shops will stock them in the baby toy section. Enlist the help of a friend or older brother or sister to occasionally jingle the bells throughout the evening. When your child asks excitedly if you hear the jingling, answer no but tell them all about the bells on Santa’s sleigh. Refuse to hear the noise up until bedtime and when you want the little ones to go off to sleep, tell them you heard the bells too and that Santa must be very close! An easy bedtime method you wish you could use every night.

Santa’s boot print

In the morning, after clocking all of the presents under the tree, the next thing children look for is to see that the treats they left for Santa and reindeer have been enjoyed. Take this to the next level with extra special evidence this Christmas morning. After the little ones go off to bed, take some cardboard and draw around a boot of Dad’s. Carefully cut out the boot shape from the cardboard and remove the boot shape. Lay the cardboard template on the floor in a place when your children will notice it. Use some talcum powder and glitter to create a Santa footprint on the carpet. When your children wake up and spot the snowy boot print glistening in their living room, they will truly believe Santa has been through their house!

Catch Santa in the act

If you, your husband or partner are a whizz at Photoshop, why not take a picture of your living room, open it in Photoshop and super impose Santa looking shocked at being caught into the image? Print it off and leave it on top of the presents under the tree. If this is a bit beyond your technical ability, you can upload an image of your living room to a website and have them do it for you!

Have an elf come to stay

This is a growing Christmas tradition amongst mums in America. On the first of December, they introduce their little one to a toy elf who has been sent by Santa to watch your child’s behaviour. This elf can be a stuffed toy, an ornament or a homemade one. If you really want to go all out, you could make a toy making certificate, reindeer permit and sleigh driving licence for your little elf. Find a Christmas blanket as Elf’s bed and find a Christmas journal to record all of the good and bad behaviour of the children. Fill a sandwich bag with some fake snow – glitter, cotton wool etc and ask your little one to tuck it in beside Elf every night to remind him of home.

Think about how Elf has arrived, at the door with the advent calendars? Fallen down the chimney? Hid in the Christmas box from the loft? Be as imaginative as you can.

Of course, as we all know, Elves are mischeivous. Do some naughty things in the house before your child wakes up and blame it on the Elf. This can include anything from wrapping up the television in christmas paper to setting up a gamer profile on the Wii to eating all of the cookies and drinking Dad’s beer. Your children with love the fun and frolics of having a little elf around! Each morning hide him somewhere new for your little one to find – we suggest the freezer, chilling out as if it were home.

Santa key

Something we always wondered as children was, if we don’t have a chimney, how will Santa get in? The answer of course is a skeleton key, but if you want to make your children’s Christmas extra special why not make a real one. Find an old key, the grander looking the better – ask your relatives, someone will have an old key from a shed or something. Wrap a beautiful red and green ribbon round the loop and hang it on the tree until Christmas eve. Decide on an excellent hiding place in the front garden with your children and then hide it there over night to make sure Santa can get in. When writing their Santa letters, ask your children to remember to tell Santa where to find the key.

Message from Santa

This year, how about surprising your little one with a personalised video message from Santa himself? There are plenty of websites out there who allow you to send in a name and photo of your child and in return you’ll be sent back a convincing personalised video. Portable North Pole do a free personalised video. The Royal mail also reply to Santa letters written in by the 14th of December – here’s how to do it.

Illustration: Marie Canat

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