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Make your own Christmas family traditions!

Section: Christmas

Make your own Christmas family traditions

Our readers share the ways they are making their family Christmas unique by creating their own special rituals. 

Phone the Christmas Elf

Claire White, 37, from London, is mum to Jessica, seven, Olivia, four, and Lucie, two; she says: ‘On my mobile, I change my husband’s name to ‘Christmas Elf’ and his photo to one of a cheeky elf. He’ll call regularly to ask if the children are being good so he can report back to Santa. Sometimes he’ll catch the kids out by saying he knows they didn’t eat their veg. He usually calls around bedtime, so it’s a sure-fire way of getting them into bed quickly!’ 

Invite a snowman to dinner

Becca Farrelly, 28, from Nottingham, is mum to Mia, two; she says: ‘My nan came up with this idea to get us to sit through Christmas lunch. She decorated a jar as a snowman, with cotton wool and buttons for eyes, nose and mouth. Inside were little presents. He sat in the centre of the table, and could be opened while we waited for pudding. I’ve started doing it now, as Mia is old enough to sit at the table. It will help keep her at the table during dinner!’

Create your own advent calendar

Lyndsey Jones, 35, from Essex, is mum to Bailey, three; she says: ‘When I was a child, my mum would wrap 24 little parcels for me to open, one every day in December until Christmas. I started doing it for Bailey last year. I don’t spend a lot. One bag of chocolate coins can be divided up to make four parcels, but then I might spend £5 on a nice hair clip for another present.’

Make a keepsake Christmas bauble

Sian Jones, 39, from Cheltenham is mum to Mollie, three; she says: ‘Mollie and I paint Mollie’s hand, then she cups a pottery bauble to create a handprint. It’s lovely to see the print getting bigger each year.’

Give a toy to charity

Sarah Greenwell, 33, from Durham is mum to Holly, three, and Fin, one; she says: ‘We donate a toy from each of the children to charity. We wrap them up and I tell the children that their gifts go to little girls and boys that haven’t got a lot of toys. They love it and I really like the idea of doing something good for others at Christmas.’ 

Pack a survival box for Christmas Eve

Nicola Bassett, 33, from Leicestershire is mum to Lilly-May, three, and Isla, one; she says: ‘Last year I bought Lilly-May some new pyjamas. I put them in a box along with a Christmassy DVD and told her it was a Christmas Eve survival box sent by Santa’s elves. She absolutely loved it! I’m going to do the same this year, and make one for Isla too.’

Make a gingerbread house

Jenny Kearney, 38, from London is mum to Edward, five, and Nuala, three; she says: ‘Every year the children help measure out the ingredients and spices for a gingerbread house and men. It always get us in the mood for Christmas. The biscuits can be made in an hour or two, but we often work on our gingerbread house for a couple of days. We keep it out for a few weeks over Christmas, but the gingerbread men often get eaten, so we have to make another batch!’

Make a trail of footprints

Victoria Neofitou, 30, from Essex is mum to Andreas, five, and Athean, two; she says: ‘On Christmas Eve we wait until the children have gone to bed, and then we dip my partner’s work boots into some talc and make a trail of Santa’s snowy footprints from the fireplace to the presents he’s left them. When they wake up in the morning they’re more excited by the footprints than the presents! My son asks why the snow hasn’t melted and we tell him it’s because the snow where Santa comes from is magic and never melts.’

Play ‘Christmas Lights X-Factor’

Ruth Wilson, 40, from Cheshire is mum to Louis, five, and Luke, two; she says: ‘Every Christmas, we walk around our estate and “judge” the festive lights and decorations. We’ve done it since our eldest was two and it’s grown into a real tradition. We shout “Merry Christmas” at all the festive houses, with louder shouts for the best decorations. The house with the loudest shout, wins! As you can imagine, it gets a bit noisy!’

Employ Santa’s Little Helper

Lala Gray, 37, from Hertfordshire is mum to Viola, three, and Magnus, 11 months; she says: ‘My eldest becomes Santa’s Little Helper to help deliver our Christmas cards. She loves putting the stamps on each card, then we put them all in her favourite bag and we walk to the postbox around the corner. She’s responsible for posting all the cards and gets really excited.’

Go to the shops for Rudolph’s carrot

Abigail Hall, 33, from Kent is mum to Amelie, four; she says: ‘We’ve shopped for a special carrot since Amelie’s first Christmas when she was just three months old. It’s a big event! I give her some pennies to put in her purse and we go to the greengrocer. After we choose the carrot – some are too big or not the right shape – we bring it home and put it outside our front door on Christmas Eve with a bowl of water for Rudolph.’

Switch on Santa cam

Hannah Jackson, 34, from Melton Mowbray is mum to Emma, five, Lucy, three, and James, 14 months; she says: ‘When my eldest started to understand what Christmas was, I told her that the burglar-alarm motion sensors we have in nearly every room in our house were Santa Cams. When the red light was on, that meant Father Christmas was watching! The Santa Cams are really helpful – the children eat all their tea up when he’s “watching”!’

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