How to make sure Christmas 2020 still feels magical for children

How to make sure Christmas 2020 still feels magical for children


For me Christmas is the absolute best time of year, full of magic and happy feelings. I attribute that to my own joyful childhood memories.

One of the highlights of working in childcare is being able to share that enthusiasm and excitement and seeing the eyes of children light up as all of the usual traditions are enjoyed.

This year, it’s vital we make sure Christmas is just as magical as any other for our children.

We all deserve it – and there’s no reason that any lockdown or pandemic needs to destroy many of the things that are most special about this time of year.

Christmas was never about the presents, it’s about the feeling.

So how do we make sure that the magic is still alive for children (and us big kids) at the end of a turbulent year like this?

Get your festive head on early

Put that tree up as early as possible and go super festive and overboard with your decorations. The kids will love it, especially if you involve them.

With us all spending so much time inside, those extra festive touches can really lift anyone’s spirit – even the biggest of Scrooges.

Spend the weekend decorating inside and out with your children. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as too many fairy lights, Christmas candles and fake snow.

Make your house a winter wonderland even Mariah Carey would be jealous of. Oh and dig out that annual Spotify playlist of festive tunes and even make some homemade decorations with your little ones. All of this really reminds them that they have something to look forward to – after all, half of the fun is in the anticipation.

Have a Christmas movie marathon

Gather the family round and let everyone show each other the Christmas movie gives them that warm fuzzy feeling before the big day.

You can still grab that TV guide and circle those must watch TV movies and specials – Christmas is certainly not cancelled anywhere on TV.

Write Santa a letter

One of my fondest memories is pulling out the Argos catalogue and writing my letter to Santa then taking a wintry walk to the post box to send it to the North Pole.

Make sure you find time to write your children a reply – and you can also bear in mind these tips for sharing with them why Santa is on a budget this year. It’s certainly not because they have been naughty.

Do a bit of festive baking

Many of us have been doing a lot of baking this year but that just means you will be pro at making all those festive goodies.

The classic is obviously the Christmas cake for us grown-ups (the boozier the better) but for little ones you have endless possibilities from Christmas shaped gingerbread biscuits and cookies for Santa to a full blown gingerbread house.

It’s amazing how a simple tradition like a biscuit shaped like a tree can instill excitement.

Make Christmas cards

Arts and crafts are always and easy and fun activity with kids.

You can all make unique cards for loved ones we might not get to spend the day with this Christmas. Just let the glitter go wild. The sticker and messier the better.

If Covid rules make this a little trickier this year, why not all just make cards for each other in the household?

Put on a Christmas performance

With the likelihood of school nativities and carol concerts cancelled this year, your little ones might want to do a little Christmas performance of their own, whether it be a nativity using their toys or their own little carol concert.

They could make up a Christmas song dancing around the tree or could do some classic Christmas carols or hymns. Kids have a great imagination so their songs will be both magical and silly, but most of all full of joy.

Really embrace that creativity, it is so good for development and morale. Plus, it’s something you can remind them of when it’s Christmas when they are 18, especially if you have video evidence!

Take a proper family photo

You know you want to. Get those Christmas jumpers or PJs with the tree in the background or, if we are lucky, the snow outside.

Be as silly as you and they like and keep the memory forever. In years to come, you won’t look back at this photo and think ‘pandemic’.

Go for a walk in a winter wonderland

Fingers crossed for a white Christmas and lots of snow. Failing that, most of the UK should see a bit frost and all this adds up to that perfect family walk spotting all the magic winter can bring and spending time together. Wrap up warm, take a trip out and enjoy the crisp feeling and seeing your own breath.

Go all out on advent calendars

There are so many different options now but it’s a perfect excuse to get creative if you don’t want to buy a ready made calendar. You can make one and customise it to for your child.

My favourite idea is a one book a night advent calendar. Wrap up 24 picture books and open and read one every night leading up to Christmas. The excitement of not knowing what story they will get is extra magical. You don’t need to buy new books – they can be books your child already owns.

Alongside this you and you little one could do a reverse advent calendar for your local food bank. Each day, put a non perishable item in a box in the lead up to Christmas and then together go to hand it. This teaches children that giving to us is just as magical a receiving gifts and gives you an opportunity to talk about those less fortunate which is great for building character and awareness.

Dress up as Santa

With the likelihood of grottos been online only this year, a magical idea might be to dress as Santa for your household and the little ones especially.

That extra special visit will be one they always hold as a memory.

Drive around the neighbourhood

Hopefully the rest of the neighbourhood will be in the same festive spirit and will have decorated the homes, so load the kids into the car, blast those Christmas tunes and take a tour, having fun with scoring your neighbours’ decorative efforts.

Obviously don’t share these with your neighbours – that might turn a bit harsh.

Make a Christmas Eve box

I still do this one today. Fill a festive box with a Christmas movie, Christmas PJs and a festive storybook. Add hot chocolate, fluffy socks or any other Christmas goodies your think your child would like.

Enjoy Christmas Eve snuggled up on the sofa with your family watching Christmas movies or playing games before they head to bed to wait for Santa to arrive. Christmas Eve can be just as magical as the day that follows.

Track Santa

Just like planes Santa can be tracked through the sky on Christmas Eve – after all Santa isn’t above aviation laws . Gather you little ones around the computer and watch as they track Santa through the sky at this website . It might get them to bed quicker if they see he is nearing your town.

Stick to traditions

Dinner tables might be smaller this year but all the traditions will still be there.

Kids waking up far too early, Dad taking his time to come down and pretending to be shocked at where these gifts came from, Mum with her bin bags. That Christmas morning Bucks Fizz. Christmas dinner filling the house with beautiful smells. Crackers being pulled. Everyone getting merry and eating too much, festive films and spending the day with the people you love most and appreciating how truly lucky you are.

Focusing on the traditions you can keep rather than dwelling on those you can’t is especially important for children and there is so much we can still do to maintain that magical feeling for them.

Everything else is a ‘new normal’ but the more classic your Christmas, the better.

Don’t break the budget, just focus on tradition, warmth and fun – on the surface, it may seem like kids want to be flooded with gifts but it’s the memories of tradition that will stick with them, long after they forget what they unwrapped.

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