Christmas magic is about more than just gifts – it’s about togetherness and tradition, good food and the warmth of giving. But we moms know that magic doesn’t just create itself! Presentation matters, as does mood. That doesn’t mean you should give yourself loads of extra work in the days leading up to Christmas or wake up at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning to make everything perfect. But should you find you have the opportunity, why not take the time to create some new holiday traditions for your family to enjoy on December 25? Here are just a few ideas to help you do just that!
Prep the Area Before Opening Presents
Though I get that it might not be possible depending on the enthusiasm level of your kids, try to grab a few seconds before your kids bum rush the tree to turn on the lights, put on some jolly Christmas music, and arrange the presents prettily if they’ve been knocked around. Have a model train going around the tree? Start it running around its track, too. You’ll put everyone in a festive mood and *bonus* your Christmas morning pics will look amazing!
Have a Special Christmas Morning Breakfast
Listen, I’m not suggesting that you get up at the crack of dawn to start making custom omelets or homemade cinnamon rolls. There are plenty of crockpot breakfast casseroles that are amazing and dishes that are even better when prepped ahead of time, like baked stuffed French toast and sausage breakfast bake. Quiche is another good option – just sub out breakfast sausage for the usual meat. Heck, even cinnamon rolls can be made ahead and warmed up! Simple.
Let Them Wake to Stockings
I mentioned in another post that back in the day, my brothers and sisters and I would wake up to our stockings hanging on our doorknobs. We got to ransack them first thing and our parents got a few extra minutes of shut-eye. Having something to open right away may buy you some precious time in the prep department since your kids won’t be champing at the bit for the prezzies under the tree.
After your special Christmas morning breakfast has been eaten and the presents have all been unwrapped, Christmas day can start to feel like a let-down if nothing else is planned. Give your kids something to do, like assemble and decorate a gingerbread house or decorate Christmas cookies. When the weather is nice, a walk around the neighborhood can give the whole family a chance to take another look at the decorations before they’re taken down in a few days or weeks.
Sip Christmas Cocktails (Responsibly)
For the grownups, have something special on hand to make coffee and cocoa an adult treat. Think peppermint schnapps, Kahlua, whisky, rum, Amaretto or Frangelico. Here’s an even better idea: Invite neighbors over to share!
If It’s Still Dark, Roll with It
As frustrating as it is to have two kids wide awake at 4 a.m. because they’re pretty sure they heard Santa and just want to check pleeeaaaaaase Christmas lights, carols, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate can be that much more magical before the sun is up. And just think! You’re upping your chances that the little ones will be in bed early, at which time you can enjoy your spiked hot chocolate in peace.
Plan a Visit from Santa
When enough adults are around, little kids aren’t likely to connect the disappearance of one with the sudden appearance of Santa. Make renting a costume for a visit from Santa a yearly affair – even after the little ones aren’t so little anymore. Alternately, a grownup outside with a leather strap of real jingle bells can give the illusion of a Santa visit. When the kids hear the sound of Santa’s sleigh, run them outside to see if they can catch a glimpse of the big man himself!
Go Light Peeping
Once the sun sets, bundle everyone into the car for a drive around town to look at the best Christmas decorations in town. Make sure to ask around before Christmas day to find out where the truly epic displays are.
Remember that even if you feel a little let down by Christmas because growing into adulthood has faded the magic somewhat, your children are seeing the holidays through fresh eyes and hearts. Try to see and experience what they are and I bet you’ll find that your spirit is suddenly truly merry and bright!