Do you feel the pressure to make Christmas magical for your kids? Our kids are only young once. As the holidays approach, I find myself gathering ways to make Christmas magical for my kids. It doesn’t take long to find those magical ideas though. Creative suggestions are everywhere, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Remember, the most important thing for your kids is a happy parent. Not a stressed-out one.
Incorporating traditions, fun decorations, and joyful activities can all be simple yet fun ways to bring delight to your children this holiday. With the right mix of love, preparation, and a sprinkle of creativity, you can make the magic of the holiday season come alive for your little ones.
Creating a Magical Atmosphere
Decor and Lighting
For me, part of the magic of Christmas includes the decorations and lighting. Use fairy lights, candles, and Christmas ornaments to create a festive and warm ambiance in your home. Try to involve your kids in the decorating process – it’s a fun and creative activity that you can enjoy together.
Indoor Snow and Snowball Fights
Our family lives in a snowy part of the world. Which makes Christmas time a fun time of year. Who doesn’t love a white Christmas? We also make paper snowflakes to hang around the house that adds to the magic of the season. We actually leave our paper snowflakes up until spring some years because our kids love them so much.
Embracing the winter can be such a powerful way to roll in the holiday season. If you have snow, get outside to build a snowman with your kids, go sledding, snowshoeing, or even just have a snowball fight. Don’t have snow where you live? Roll up all the socks your family has and hold a “snowball fight” indoors.
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Holiday Music and Christmas Carols
Music plays a crucial role in setting the magical tone for Christmas. Listen to holiday music and encourage your kids to sing along to their favorite carols. It’s not only a great way to bond as a family but listening to holiday music playing softly in the background adds an extra layer of festive charm. You can also attend or organize a Christmas caroling event in person or via a video chat.
Magical Family Traditions
Advent was never a thing in my home growing up. But, it has become one of my favorite things to do with my kids during the holiday season. Instead of the usual candy-filled calendars, we do a family activity together for each day of Advent. Each day before Christmas we craft, look at lights, play games, do puzzles, and more!
If you want to know more about how we do our Advent each year, read: 65+ Amazing Advent Activities for Families
Does your family write letters to Santa? Our kids love writing letters to Santa. This tradition not only helps them practice writing skills but also helps us know what kinds of thing our kids would be interested in receiving for Christmas. Win-win!
Christmas Eve Boxes
Our family doesn’t do Christmas Eve boxes, but many families do! The main idea is that you gift your child a box on Christmas Eve with all the things they’ll need for a magical Christmas. These boxes often include:
- Christmas pajamas
- A holiday-themed movie
- Hot cocoa mix
- A small snack
The Christmas Eve box sets the stage for a cozy family night in, watching movies and snuggling up in your festive pajamas. It’s a tradition that can make the night before Christmas even more special.
Sibling Gift Exchanges
We love to help our kids think about the things they can give during the holidays, not just what they’d like to receive. One of the best ways we’ve found to do this is with a sibling gift exchange. This is a holdover tradition from my family growing up. The idea is that each sibling is assigned (or draws out of a hat) the name of another sibling. They are to spend their own money and pick out a nice gift for that sibling. We like to open these sibling gifts on Christmas Eve. This sets the gift apart from the chaos of Christmas morning, and makes it an exciting thing to open a gift on Christmas Eve. I loved this tradition as a kid, and my kids love it now.
Special Christmas Breakfast
Christmas breakfast can be so fun and magical! Every year, my father-in-law would make Belgian waffles for my husband’s family. In our family we eat crepes on Christmas morning. Other Christmas breakfast ideas could include:
- Festive pancakes or waffles
- A variety of fresh fruits
- Warm, gooey cinnamon rolls
A fun Christmas breakfast not only brings you closer as a family but also helps to start Christmas day with delicious, homemade treats.
These magical family traditions have truly enriched our holiday season, creating unforgettable memories and establishing a strong sense of togetherness.
Incorporating Santa Claus and his Helpers
Norad Santa Tracker
One magical way of incorporating Santa Claus is using the Norad Santa Tracker. Every Christmas Eve, our little family follows Santa’s progress around the world as he delivers presents to children. We enjoy watching the live updates, seeing where Santa is currently located, and how many gifts he has delivered. It’s an engaging and interactive way to keep the magic of Santa alive.
Santa’s Milk and Cookies
Many families leave out milk and cookies for Santa. This a great way for kids to prepare for Santa, and show appreciation to him. It also adds to the magic of the night. Simply place cookies and milk out in a safe place (careful, our dog ate Santa’s cookies one year and was so sick!). “Santa” can eat all the cookies, or just a bite or two from each cookie.
- Honor the holiday tradition of leaving cookies for Santa with this complete Christmas cookie plate set that will also allow you to leave a personal message for the man with the long white beard
- Includes melamine “Cookies for Santa” plate, ceramic “Milk for Santa” jug, paper straw and paper “Dear Santa” notepad
Santa Footprints and Reindeer Food
Santa and his reindeer also like to leave evidence of their visit. You can create Santa footprints using flour and a pair of boots to leave a trail from the fireplace to the Christmas tree. Our family doesn’t do this, but we do place “reindeer food” (a mix of oats and glitter) outside for Santa’s team, and the next morning, we find it scattered on the lawn. This adds a sense of wonder and excitement for the children as they discover the footprints and the signs that the reindeer were there.
Magic Santa Key
Another popular tradition is to hang a special key outside the front door on Christmas Eve. This is a magical Santa key that allows Santa to enter homes without a chimney. In the morning, you can leave the key on the entry table, showing that Santa has used it to deliver the gifts. This helps Santa to visit your house, even if you don’t have a chimney.
Christmas Activities for Kids
DIY Crafts and Decorations
A great way to entertain kiddos during the holiday season is by engaging them in some creative DIY crafts and decorations. Some fun and easy ideas include homemade ornaments, candy wreaths, and paper snowflakes. A simple internet search will give you dozens and dozens of Christmas craft ideas!
Baking and Recipe Ideas
Kids love baking and trying new recipe ideas. Make gingerbread houses together, decorate sugar cookies, or try holiday-themed treats like reindeer cupcakes or snowman cake pops. Baking can provide a learning experience for your children, teaching them how to measure ingredients and follow instructions. Plus, it’s a delicious way to bond with family members and create lasting memories.
Christmas Scavenger Hunt
As a fun holiday twist you can set up a Christmas scavenger hunt around the house. This activity involves hiding various holiday-related items, like ornaments, candy canes, or small gifts, throughout different rooms. Provide the kids with a list of clues to help them locate each hidden treasure. This game keeps kids entertained and helps them develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Holiday Movie Extravaganza
Nothing brings the family together during the holidays better than a cozy holiday movie extravaganza. Compile a list of favorite Christmas films for children, such as “Home Alone,” “Elf,” or “The Polar Express.” Create a comfortable viewing area with blankets, pillows, and dimmed lighting, encouraging relaxation and bonding time. Don’t forget some popcorn or festive holiday snacks to munch on while enjoying the movies.
- Home Alone
- The Polar Express
- The Grinch
- A Christmas Carol
These are just a few of our go-to activities to make Christmas magical for kids. Each activity not only brings joy and entertainment but also creates lasting memories and traditions for families to cherish.
Teaching the Spirit of Giving
Random Acts of Kindness
One way to teach the spirit of giving to kids during Christmas is through Random Acts of Kindness. You can do a few kind activities all at once, or just one a day. If you need more ideas for Christmas kindness, read: Random Acts of Kindness for Christmas.
Serving Others this Christmas Season
Help instill the spirit of giving to your kids this holiday season. There are countless ways to get involved in your community. Some of these might include:
- Christmas Giving Tree: Engage your child in choosing a gift for children in need through your local giving tree. This activity helps demonstrate the joy of giving and sheds light on the significance of sharing with others.
- Book Exchange: Organize a book exchange with the neighborhood kids where each brings a Christmas book that emphasizes the true spirit of the season. Reading these joyful stories can inspire acts of love and kindness among children.
- Toy Donation: Encourage your child to donate old toys, books, and clothes to charitable organizations or individuals in need. This simple act of giving has the potential to teach kids the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of generosity.
- Hands on Experience: Let your child play a role in selecting and wrapping gifts for family and friends. This hands-on experience cultivates their sense of empathy and understanding of the joy that comes from making others happy.
By incorporating such games into our holiday celebrations, I hope to instill the spirit of giving, love and kindness into children’s hearts, thus making Christmas truly magical for them.
Manger and St. Nicholas Day Celebrations
On St. Nicholas Day, you can honor the historical figure who inspired Santa Claus. In many households, this might include things such as:
- Sharing stories about St. Nicholas and his acts of kindness
- Donating toys, clothes, or food to a local charitable organization
- Surprising our neighbors with small gifts or treats
Another wonderful tradition we practice during the holiday season is reenacting the nativity story. By setting up a manger and involving your children in the telling of the nativity story, you can share the true message behind Christmas while creating lasting memories.
Holiday Parades and Community Events
One of our favorite ways to make Christmas magical for my kids is attending holiday parades and community events. These festive gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to:
- Connect with neighbors and celebrate the season
- Enjoy holiday light displays and seasonal decorations
- Watch entertaining performances, such as live music or dance shows
Participating in these events not only adds a touch of magic to our holiday experience but also serves as a valuable reminder about the importance of community and togetherness.