As December dawns, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on. The kids are getting increasingly excited as the build-up goes on, the list of things to do seems to be getting longer and the imminent arrival of family and friends to share in the festivities is drawing ever closer! For even the biggest Christmas fan, December can be a pretty stressful month!
Here’s our survival guide to take you through the whole of advent. It’ll help you to make sure you find plenty of time to enjoy the most wonderful time of year with your family.
1st December – Keep a diary of key dates
With Christmas plays, fayres and carol concerts at school and work parties or catching up with friends and family, there are plenty of dates for your diary in December. So, to make life easier, jot them all down in a diary or calendar where you can easily keep a track of what the whole family has planned.
2nd December – Deck the halls (not each other)
Putting up the Christmas decorations is a highlight of the season but it can also be a recipe for arguments between the kids when someone else puts a beloved decoration on the tree. Save on the bickering by asking little ones to each choose their favourite decorations to put up. If they choose the same, then reach a compromise, perhaps tell them which decoration is your favourite and let one of them put it onto the tree for you.
3rd December – Wrap as you buy
With the kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and your other half to buy Christmas presents for, the pile of wrapping can seem a little daunting. Keep mammoth piles to a minimum by wrapping as you buy. You’ll be glad you did come midnight on Christmas Eve when you’re still frantically trying to wrap!
4th December – Label, label, label
It’s very well and good wrapping the presents but make sure you have a good labelling process in place too. Perhaps use different wrapping paper patterns for the kids or buy some festive sticky labels and sticker as you go – you don’t want one of the kids unwrapping their grandad’s new flat cap come Christmas morning!
5th December – Master your present hiding place
You’re presents are wrapped, they’re labelled but now where are they going to go? Find somewhere to stash presents that you don’t want curious kiddies to see before the big day – smaller presents could go in the loft and the garage is great for hiding bulkier items.
6th December – You’re not still gift shopping now!
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas Day, the shops will be full of last minute shoppers – not good for stress levels! If you have forgotten any gifts, write a list and where you can, shop online – it’ll be a lot less hassle than having to stand in long queues with the kids.
7th December – Get the kids involved in Christmas card writing
With so many Christmas cards to write to family, friends, neighbours and colleagues – get yourself some help! The kids will love getting involved by signing their own names in the cards, sealing the envelopes and popping stamps onto them. They’ll also love posting them in the post-box or popping them through letterboxes.
8th December – Plan activities to keep the kids occupied
As the run-up to Christmas goes on, the kids will continue to get more and more excited – leading to a few tempers fraying along the way! Be prepared and write out a list of activities to do on the weekends and evenings that will keep them entertained, helping them to channel some of their excitement!
9th December – Travelling this Christmas?
If you’re going away this Christmas, then make sure you get organised in plenty of time. Make a list of everything you need to remember to pack for each member of the family – including any gifts you need to take with you and activities to keep the kids occupied on long journeys.
10th December – Get the kids to create their own Christmas cards
Creating their own Christmas cards for grandparents and other family members will keep the kids entertained for hours. Set them up with coloured card, glitter, glue, colouring pencils or felt tips, googly eyes and other crafty bits.
11th December – Enjoy a Christmas pantomime
Get well and truly into the festive spirit with a family trip to your local pantomime. The kids will love getting involved in the spirit of a traditional panto!
12th December – Create Christmas gifts for grandparents
To go with their homemade Christmas cards, help the kids to create unique gifts for grandparents. There are lots of easy to follow recipes online for simple sweets or fudge – they’ll go down a treat.
13th December – Make place names
Another great way to keep kids entertained over the festive period is to get them involved in creating unique place names ready for the Christmas table.
14th December – Watch a festive film
With so many Christmas films to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
15th December – Keep little ones safe at Christmas
There are plenty of hazards around the house during the festive season. Keep tots safe by making sure they’re never left unattended in the kitchen particularly when you’re cooking. Using a safety gate on the doorway is a good way to keep them away from dangerous pots, pans and knives.
16th December – Create a food shopping list (and check it twice)
Make sure you know exactly what you need to feed the family throughout the festive season by writing out a list in plenty of time – and check it to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Even though the shops re-open between Christmas and New Year, try and save yourself the hassle of having to food shop during this time by being prepared.
17th December – Create a table centrepiece with a difference
Wow your guests on Christmas morning with a unique centrepiece created by the kids. A chocolate orange Christmas pudding not only looks amazing but is a tasty treat too!
18th December – Turn the dining table into a Winter Wonderland
Get the kids to help you to turn the dining table into a Winter Wonderland ready for Christmas dinner. Have a trial run of how you want the table to look so the kids know exactly how to set the table with you on Christmas Eve.
19th December – Don’t forget the batteries!
There’s nothing worse on Christmas morning than your little one’s excitedly opening a present that requires batteries. Then you realise that you have none in the house! Check what you need in advance and buy them ready.
20th December – Bake mince pies for Santa
There’s only a few days to go now until the arrival of Father Christmas and his reindeer. Keep the kids occupied by getting them rolling up their sleeves and donning their aprons to make mince pies. They’ll love choosing which ones to put out for Santa on Christmas Eve and which ones they can eat themselves!
21st December – Create a Christmas Eve box
A Christmas Eve box is a perfect little treat for each member of the family. Remember, you don’t need to spend the earth on these. Find a suitable box for each family member then pop in new pyjamas, a festive film or book, maybe so fluffy socks, some sweet treats and sachets of hot chocolate. Everything needed for a cosy Christmas Eve!
22nd December – Last minute checks
With only a few days to go until Christmas day, check what you need to do to be ready. Are all the presents wrapped? Has all of the food and drink been bought? You’ll feel a lot happier knowing what you have left to do!
23rd December – Tire the kids out with a treasure hunt
Plan a treasure for the kids to do on Christmas Eve to tire them out. If the weather is dry, include hiding places in the garden and get them looking for Santa’s missing elves! Pop their Christmas Eve boxes at the end of the hunt as their special prize!
24th December – Remember, Christmas Day happens once a year – enjoy it!
Let the kids do your pre-planned treasure hunt, set the dinner table for tomorrow, then open those Christmas Eve boxes! Get your pyjamas on, pop on a film and snuggle with snacks and a hot chocolate.
Enjoy every moment of spending Christmas with your family!