Fun Ideas to Make Christmas Magical for Your Kids
Since the twins were born, my goal was to make Christmas magical for them just as my parents had. I mean, who doesn’t like to see their child(ren)’s eyes light up Christmas morning? I remember believing in Santa when I was a kid and it is a time I still treasure.
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After the twins turned three, I made it my mission every year to recreate the same magic my parents made for me and my siblings.
I knew that there was going to come a day when this magic will be gone and I was going to make it last as long as possible.
Sadly, Christmas 2015 was when we had to break the news to the boys. My husband was deploying and would not be here with us for Christmas making one of our traditions hard to pull off.
The boys were 10 years old and I have to say that they took the news well (after about a bazillion questions.)
With all that, I decided to write this post to share with you all the different ways we created the magic that lasted for 7 years.
Below you will find some old traditions while others I came up with as the years went by. Now, you don’t have to do all of them at the same time. Each year is a little different as children get older (and wiser).
Ways to Make Christmas Magical
1. Hide the Gifts
We all see the movies and read the books where Santa is responsible for all our gifts. So how does one explain the gifts that sit under the tree before the big day?
How can one get their kids to behave for Santa if he’s already delivered the gifts? Every year since their 3rd Christmas, I hid the twins’ gifts including those sent by relatives.
Nothing was ever put under the tree until after the boys went to bed on Christmas Eve. The next day, their eyes were as big as saucers so expect the same from yours.
Gifts labeled from relatives can be easily explained away as gifts from those relatives who asked Santa to deliver them. I was lucky to have family that played along and wrote “from Santa” on their gift labels.
2. Watch Lots of Santa Movies
This is fun. I especially enjoy the classical claymation ones of my days but anything that will touch upon the spirit of Christmas is great.
For older kids on the verge of losing that Christmas magic, Elf, The Polar Express, and Miracle on 34th Street may give you one last year of magic for your kids.
3. Talk to Santa
If you tend to go to malls or other special events that have a Santa on hand, take advantage and go.
For kids who find this scary or if you just want to avoid crowds and lines opt for the kids to receive a video call from the big guy. You can do this by registering your kid(s) at www.portablenorthpole.com.
This site allows you to add your child’s name, upload pictures for more personalization and provides several options for messages.
And the best part, it is all for FREE!! When all is done, the site will email you a link so that your kid(s) can view their message from Santa.
The message is fun and your kid will be shocked when they hear Santa saying their name over and over.
If your child is on the younger side, you can expect them to talk back to Santa even though it is a recorded message. My boys thought he was “FaceTiming” them and kept answering Santa and waving hello and goodbye. This site is genius!
If you’d like to see some reactions, head to YouTube and search for “Portable North Pole Video Reactions.” Some of the reactions are too cute like this one: https://youtu.be/FZVFnZCyy_I
4. Make Reindeer Food
Google ‘reindeer food‘ on the internet and you will find different ways of making it. I usually use about a cup of oatmeal and some sugar.
I mixed these together and put them in a small mason jar (you can also you an empty baby food jar).
For a more bird-friendly recipe, check out this site that has an accompanying poem that you can glue to the side of the jar.
If you have some time to be creative, the following craft is great for kids:
- decorate your jar to look like a reindeer by using pipe cleaners as antlers
- glue eyes and a red pompom for the nose to the lid (you can get these from any craft store)
On Christmas Eve, have the kids sprinkle the food on the lawn.
5. Keep Track of Santa’s Movements
Check out NORAD‘s site where the military men and women of the North American Aerospace Defense Command track Santa’s every move.
Here, you get to watch Santa visit various countries throughout the world all day starting on Christmas Eve. I kept my laptop open to this site the whole day until it is time for the kids to go to sleep.
I later learned that NORAD came about because of a wrong phone number that was printed in an advertisement. To learn more about the history of Norad, check out the video below.
6. Create a Ribbon Path
Measure the path from the kid(s)’ room(s) to the Christmas tree or to a special gift. Cut some ribbon or piece together some garland to that length.
Then, after the kids are asleep, place the ribbon close to their beds or even on their doorknobs.
The next morning, the kids will wonder where the ribbon will lead to, which, of course, is to their gifts. This is great for presents that can’t be wrapped such as a bicycle.
You can even hide a much-prized present in a closet so that they have to follow the ribbon to get it.
We have a two-floor home and my boys were so intrigued by this ribbon that was just strewn about the floor and banister until they got to their bicycles. It was pretty exciting for them.
7. Put out Cookies and Milk
This is a no-brainer. Just don’t forget to take an exaggerated bite out of those cookies so the kids can see that Santa was there. And you get to have a little treat for all these things you are doing.
8. Make Some Santa and Elf Tracks
Once the kids are asleep on Christmas Eve, create Santa and Elf tracks. For this, I used my husband’s boots and traced an outline onto cardstock.
The elf feet should just be a small version of teardrops. Use baby powder to lightly sprinkle ‘magic’ snow onto your stencils.
If these seem like a lot of work, then you are in luck because I have created the stencil for you for free. Just fill out the form at the end of the post.
This was a huge hit the first time we did it. In fact, it got more attention than the presents.
By the way, if the kids ask you why doesn’t this “snow” melt, just say it is magical North Pole snow and that it never melts.
9. Leave Some Evidence that the Elves Were There
I am a huge fan of Prep and Landing and that is why I later added elfin feet to #8 above. Because we have a dog, I also sprinkled a little glitter on the floor near the tree.
Like the cartoon short, we wanted the boys to think that the elves had to put “Sammie” asleep while they prepped the house for Santa.
If you have never seen Prep and Landing, I believe they show it on one of the major networks every year. Check it out and you will understand this particular activity.
10. Polar Express Tickets
Every year on Christmas Eve, we watched the movie The Polar Express. We did this so that it was the last thing on the twins’ minds before heading to bed.
Once the boys were asleep, we placed a hole-punched Polar Express ticket under their pillow. Then, we put a single jingle bell into their stocking.
On Christmas morning when they found their tickets, we told them that they must have ridden the train last night. And they believed it!
The jingle bell was the best part because they would check to see if it would make a sound. Priceless!
So, if you’d like to try this activity, fill out the form at the end of this post and receive your free Polar Express ticket printable. You will also receive the Santa and Elf print stencil.
To make your tickets look as good as the ones from the movie check your local Arts & Crafts store’s papercraft aisle and look for gold-colored paper.
Final Thoughts on Making Christmas Magical
Below are some of my own suggestions and recommendations for creating your magical Christmas:
- You can start some of these activities at age 3 or 4. Any earlier and your child will not really remember anything and will probably not react to everything as you’d hope.
- If you see that your older children are losing that magic, you may still get away with it one more year but after that, it may be time to tell them the truth.
- Hiding large gifts will prove challenging. If you don’t have the storage to do so perhaps ask a relative or neighbor if they can store it for you. If that doesn’t pan out, you can always wrap it and say that Santa sent it early because it was too heavy for the sled.
Lastly, I really hope you enjoy these 10 easy and fun ways of making Christmas magical for your kids. It’s been four years now and my children still talk about all the fun they had on Christmas mornings.
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Braidys J Burgos says
Great ideas Dionne. You are so creative.