Why not start new traditions with your kids this year? They could make Christmas extra special.
When most people think back to Christmas as a child, it’s not the presents they remember, it’s how Christmas made them feel.
Everyone knows to write a letter to Father Christmas and leave a mince pie for him on Christmas Eve. But what else could you do with your family?
Here are 12 easy, inexpensive traditions that will add to the magic.
1. DIY Advent calendars
Instead of buying an advent calendar from the supermarket, invest in a wooden or cloth advent calendar and give your child a Christmas advent project to complete.
Each day they could receive a jigsaw piece, beads to make an advent necklace or bracelet, or Lego bricks, with the final piece arriving on Christmas Eve in time to complete their creation.
Special tree decorations
Get the family involved in decorating the Christmas tree, but save the tree topper until last.
Make a point of putting it on with everyone watching. Maybe even take a photo every year – a wonderful way to see your family growing.
Christmas trees often tell a story of family life over the years, and a new decoration each year will add to that story.
When your children leave home, present them with their own collection of decorations for their first tree.
Whether it’s a traditional Christmas cake, a gingerbread house or mince pies, baking together as a family is a great way to spend time together in the run up to Christmas.
Christmas lights tour
Wrap up warm and walk around your local streets, admiring the Christmas lights in people’s windows.
Most towns have a couple of houses who go all-out with their decorations, so make a night of visiting these too.
Get together with friends or neighbours to sing some festive songs, either outdoors or in. Or you could put on a family Christmas show where each family member has to perform.
Receive a letter from Santa
It’s exciting to write a letter to Father Christmas – but it’s even more magical to receive one back.
You can support the NSPCC by ordering your letter through them in return for a donation.
Santa’s video message
Enter your child’s details on the Portable North Pole website and Santa will put a special video message together for them.
This enchanted food will glisten in the star light so the reindeers know where to land, and help the animals refuel while Santa delivers the presents.
Just combine oats, icing sugar and glitter in a zip-lock bag, give it a shake and sprinkle outside.
Every Christmas Eve, before the boys and girls go to bed, Father Christmas’s sleigh flies across the world to wave to all the boys and girls.
The International Space Station website has all the information on when you can see him.
Track Father Christmas
Head to the NORAD website (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and follow Father Christmas as he travels around the world, tracking his progress as he visits children in different time zones.
The Night Before Christmas
What better bedtime story on Christmas Eve than Clement C Moore’s The Night Before Christmas to add to the magic and excitement? If you don’t have the book, you can listen to or watch various versions online.