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If there is anything we love more about the seasonal festivities, it is the good times one can have with their family. The options are endless; cherishable moments are guaranteed. As you read on, we list just a few traditions you can start with your child this Christmas.
Everyone has fond memories of certain holidays. The reason they are fond is most probably because of certain fun family activities. Be it donning the Christmas tree with ornaments or baking sweets with your nani, holiday traditions always have a way of bringing family together. Oh, and we don’t need to mention that it helps your child’s overall wellbeing.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Before we go “fa, la, la, la, la…” with our holiday plans, here are some Christmas traditions you can start with your little ones.
If there is anything that makes a person go warm and fuzzy during the holiday season, it is a heartfelt gift. And what better way to convey the Christmas spirit than with a hand-crafted greeting card. Unique Christmas cards made by hand always trump the generic seasonal cards you get from the store. That’s why this activity ranks first on our list of Christmas traditions.
Sit down with your child to create greeting cards for loved ones. You can create as many cards as you want. However, since repetition and long hours may possibly restrict the creative juices, try to limit the number of cards to two or three in one sitting.
Before getting started, prep your work area by gathering necessary materials and stationery. This includes card paper, origami paper, markers and pens, pencils and accessories, buttons, embellishments, glitters, and stickers.
You could look at Pinterest for some ideas and ask your child to model the idea. Or you could encourage your child to unleash their creativity, which is our favourite route all day every day.
Whatever you and your group end up creating, the recipients will 100% remember the thought and effort that was put into their greeting cards.
The idea of Santa mail originated as an American phenomenon sometime in the late 1800s. It has now evolved into a form of expression in which a child writes down their Christmas wish list and resolutions for the New Year.
Writing to Santa is a pre-Christmas ritual exclusively for children; that is, until they realise the truth about the old man residing in the North Pole (shh, we didn’t say anything!). A letter to Santa is not merely a child’s wish list, it has its benefits.
For starters, it is the perfect opportunity to practise grammar, vocabulary, and sentence-building.
It teaches them how to write with purpose.
It helps build gratitude.
If your child has never written a letter to Santa, you can start that habit from this year on. The best time to encourage your kid to write to Santa is before you start your Christmas shopping (convenient, huh). But don’t tell them that!
Let them first hear the story of Santa Claus. Tell them how children from around the globe write letters to Santa Claus in the North Pole. And once he reads these letters, he travels on a sleigh pulled by eight reindeers to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve.
For your child’s letter to Santa, prepare their work area with necessary items: good quality paper, pens, or pencils, and lots of colours. Encourage your child to start with ‘Dear Santa’. Ensure they cover the following points when they write: how is Santa doing, how good they were last year (‘I made it to the basketball team’ or ‘I played with my baby sister’), what they would like for Christmas (can include a few items), and how they will be good in the coming year.
Let your kid decorate the letter as pretty as they want. Put the letter in an envelope; if your child wants to, they can decorate this as well. Once they are done, put down the address (You can go creative here; we love ‘Santa Claus, Elf Lane, North Pole - 1’) and stamp.
Let your child hand the letter back to you; assure them that you will make sure it reaches Santa. Since it contains their wish list, it only makes sense to get the gift your child anticipates, if it is a reasonable request. Keep the letter safely for years to come.
If there is anything sweeter than Christmas treats, it is probably the making of said edible items with the family during the holidays. While that line may have sounded cheesy, we don’t doubt it one bit. Whether you are expecting guests or not, sweet treats and hot chocolate are a must-have for Christmas Eve.
A day or two before the cooking process, gather the adults and the little ones in the kitchen. After taking everyone’s inputs, make a list of the things you want to make, take stock of the ingredients in the pantry, and note down the items that need to be purchased.
There are plenty of options for Christmas sweets. We have narrowed down a few classic treat ideas, which will also be a fun family activity:
Once you have decided what goes on the menu, patiently explain to everyone their tasks and a timeline in which they are expected to complete them.
Giving your child an apron will incentivise them to be in the kitchen. Now that they look the part, give them age-appropriate tasks to do. For instance, two- to three-year-olds can help with basic decorations or cracking an egg. Four- to five-year-olds can help with tasks that make use of their fine motor skills such as stirring. Children above six years can start doing complex tasks as long as they are aware of their surroundings.
Praise everyone for their efforts. When the treats are done baking or setting, place them all on the dining table and enjoy with the whole family.
Adorning your house in red and green colours is a pivotal part of Christmas celebrations. Decorations usually go up in the Christmas week and stay on till New Year (or longer if you want). Even if you don’t want to celebrate extravagantly, the smallest decorations go a long way in setting a joyous mood. That’s why it is equally important to enlist your mini-me’s for this task.
If you like to be organised, we suggest you create a vision or mood board of sorts. Using coloured pencils and water colours, translate your and your child’s ingenious ideas onto paper (this paper roll works too!). Or you could just find inspiration from Pinterest or a simple Google search.
The next task is to purchase decor items. Our website has a dedicated Christmas Shop where you can find ornaments, stockings, gift bags, wrapping paper, and fairy lights. You can also find synthetic options for Christmas trees online.
If you are into DIYs, you can create handmade decorations – table-top Christmas tree, wreaths, Christmas gnomes, light-up bottles, bottle brush trees, ornaments, and more – with the help of your child. (Note: Parental supervision is advised.)
Once all your decor items are ready, it’s time to deck the halls! Lead by example; get your child as involved as possible. If you’re decorating your child’s room, you can let them take the lead.
Remember to place the Christmas tree at a prominent corner in the room. Make sure there is enough room under the tree to place gifts. If you happen to have heirloom or fragile ornaments, explain to your child how to handle them delicately. Give your child one side of the tree to decorate on their own; let them proudly do their thing. You can take the other side. Finish up the decorating process by letting your child put the tree-topper.
Amidst all the seasonal shopping and party-planning, if there is one thing that lets you take a pause and enjoy the moment, it has to be carolling. Besides telling the story of Nativity, carols encapsulate the feelings of joy, festivity, and love.
In Christian communities – even in India, the age-old practice of kids and young adults singing carols in neighbourhood homes during the winter holidays fills the air with festive cheer.
The first order of business is to find Christmas carols you and your child can easily learn. Here are a few popular ones: Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World, and The First Noel. The catchy lyrics and peppy melody make these songs easy to learn and quite difficult to forget even when Christmas is long gone. (Just a disclaimer for when you find your kid humming tunes when they are alone in their thoughts.)
There is no way around the next step: learn the songs. A Google search will get you lyrics for all the songs. Print them out. Play them on repeat; encourage your child to first listen and then sing along. It’s okay if they don’t learn the words by heart.
On Christmas Eve or when the rest of the family is gathered, organise a karaoke or talent night exclusively featuring carols. Encourage your child to sing like no one is around and applaud for their efforts. If you have done carols right, you have done Christmas right.
House party: This is by far our favourite tradition solely because it requires all participants to have fun. The best time to organise a Christmas party – where sweaters or pj’s are mandatory – is Christmas Eve. But any other day during the week also works well.
You can find matching pyjama sets for the whole family online. You can also coordinate your outfits based on Christmas colours. Don’t forget about tinsels, party goggles, antelope ear hair bands, and other accessories.
Since it’s a house party, be sure to decorate the area well. You can scroll up to learn more on how to do that. Make sure to remind everyone to place their gifts under the Christmas tree. If the tree-topper hasn’t been placed already, let the oldest person in the room do the honour.
Let’s get this party started! Other than the ones listed above, here are a few fun party activities everyone can enjoy:
Watch a Christmas movie: We love a good classic but if you are on the lookout for new releases, you’re in luck. Scrooge: A Christmas Carol was released recently on Netflix India.
Plan a karaoke night: It’s okay if your child doesn’t know the lines to their favourite Christmas songs as long as they can belt out the tunes with confidence. If your child doesn’t know any Christmas songs, play any song they love.
Play musical chairs: Christmas or not, we love this game. So does your child. Except for two moderators, let everyone in your party join. Your child will enjoy the game, especially if adults are involved.
Click family photos: Since everyone is dressed in Christmas-themed outfits and your house is all dolled up, this is the perfect photo op. You can take single photos of your child and quirky ones with the whole family.
Open the gifts: If your child has been calm throughout the party, it was all for this very moment. Let your child first open gifts addressed to them; remind them to thank the gifters.
The whole point of Christmas is to spread good cheer. Whichever way you celebrate, you can’t go wrong with the season. There is no overdoing nor underdoing it. Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, lah!