Christmas with Children
From Santa’s Grotto, to Christmas classics on TV, treats left out for Father Christmas and a very naughty elf: there is so much to enjoy – and so much to plan and sort!
With a huge family including step-family and close friends with children etc, we had a lot to buy. Internet shopping, as always, was my absolute life saver. I always aim to do this with a few weeks to go before Christmas, buying stuff when I see things, rather than trawling the websites for ideas. Luckily this worked out well this year and saved a lot of last minute stress. I also wasn’t hosting anyone this year which meant no last minute food shopping - it was bad enough driving around the supermarket and the traffic spilling over into the road!
We decided not to really buy anything for our son beyond a couple of token gifts. He is still at the age where a cardboard box is just as exciting as the present within it. At nearly 11 months old, we knew our son wouldn’t really understand anything about Christmas but that didn’t seem to stop him enjoying himself!
He learned how to unwrap presents, and he loved setting off all the singing Christmas toys at his grandparents’. He opened a Happyland advent calendar each day, and began to anticipate this excitedly, and he also enjoyed watching our online animated advent calendar. We read Christmas themed books each night before bed and put him in the cutest Christmas outfits.
And it was all wonderful to see.
We spent lots of time with our families, and were lucky that relatives travelled down to us. Everyone made such an effort with our son, with personalised sacks, beautiful and thoughtful gifts, many personalised and things we will treasure for years to come.
We also met up with friends and ate lots of leftovers, although our friends clearly hate us as we now have tons of noisy toys; I hope they know that I’ll now find something noisier when they have kids! For those who already had older children, it was lovely to get a glimpse of what life will be like at Christmas once our son is that bit older, as they got so excited about Elf on the Shelf, the half eaten carrot on Christmas morning, meeting Father Christmas, and watching Polar Express.
I read another blog where the poster said she would not make Christmas magical for her children, because one day they would realise it was not real and feel tricked. She felt her children saw magic in every day things and so there was no need to create a magical rouse around Santa Claus. She also said it was just a lot of effort to create magical scenes such as Santa’s footprints.
I did think on what she had written, and I always respect the opinion of others and how they choose to parent, but I saw first hand the joy that this magic brought to the children. The effort was very much worth it, although whether I’ll manage 24 hilarious elf scenes in future years is yet to be decided! Having believed in Santa Claus until I was 7 or so (marginal, Mr Trump, I know…) I was not crushed when my parents confirmed my suspicions that he wasn’t real. I then enjoyed maintaining the magic for my little brother. Both of us are well-adjusted as adults and do not have trust issues.
Ultimately having my son at Christmas made this the best one yet. And that was just with me enjoying the films and beautiful decorations and Christmas markets. When my son is old enough to participate fully, understand and enjoy, it will be even better.
I cannot wait.
But the absolute best bit of Christmas with children is that time with those you love, and who love you and your children. Especially when they have gone out of their way to make things special for you and them.
And the fact that Christmas is all about that from now on? I can't think of anything better.