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Making this Christmas extra special for kids

Without our usual traditions, you could be forgiven for feeling less than enthusiastic about the festive season. We show how to rediscover your seasonal sparkle for you and your children.

By Jo Dunbar

Thanks to COVID–19, plenty of our usual traditions for this time of year aren’t possible. It’s easy to get bogged down and feel miserable about the things you feel your children are missing out on, but changing your mindset could be the key to embracing this unpredictable run-up to Christmas.

The Christmas story

While Christmas excitement can sometimes be a blur of Santa and naughty elves, now is an opportunity to remind children of the true meaning of Christmas. With more time spent at home, burning advent candles (safely) every evening is possible, and you could make a Nativity scene out of toy figures or by drawing and cutting out cardboard ones.

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf has been a popular pre-Christmas tradition for a number of years, but this year we could well have more time to set up his or her antics. As we aren’t busy going out to pre-Christmas drinks, the usual rush to plonk an elf on a bookcase or in the biscuit tin every night after the kids are in bed won’t seem as stressful.

Christmas crafting

More time at home – together with childish Christmas excitement – can be harnessed as energy to put into making decorations, whether you make paper chains or pretty snowflakes. No, they won’t be perfect, but does that matter? It’s not as though you’re having visitors!

Writing to Father Christmas

Right now, visits to see Santa aren’t possible. Royal Mail are operating their usual Letter to Santa scheme: where children write to Father Christmas and (as long as letters are sent before 11th December) will receive a reply.

Alternatively, the NSPCC has launched its annual Letter from Santa campaign where, in return for a donation, your child will receive a personalised letter from the big man in red.

Have a pre-Christmas clear out

Charity and Christmas go hand in hand. Lockdown coupled with preparations for festive gifts will inevitably lead to many of us having a clear out, so encourage your children to dig out old clothes that don’t fit them anymore and toys they no longer play with. When it’s safe to do so, these can be donated – and you’ll get a tidier house.

Head out and about (within reason)

Even in Tier 3, outdoor parks and gardens are still possible to visit in household groups. So you can still make trips to see the changing leaves and enjoy the opportunity for a wintry walk. Or head into town and take your kids to see the city centre Christmas lights. Nothing says Christmas like rosy cheeks and a twinkle in the eye.

Every parent wants to make Christmas memorable and special for their children, so try not to dwell on the negative aspects of this lockdown. Our kids take their lead from how we, their parents, approach things. As we’ve all learnt this year, so much is out of our control.

Throughout the challenges of 2020, our kids have shown us how adaptable and resilient they are. Try to keep this in perspective as we approach what will be a Christmas we will all never forget.

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