Family fun time
Who needs telly when you’ve got grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and kids to play with?
Why not organise a family a treasure hunt, on foot in the local neighbourhood? Someone will need to plan it in advance, using clues based on what everyone can see in the street, in shop windows, in neighbours’ gardens and so on.
When the hunt starts, split the family up into teams or pairs, with staggered start times (no cheating, mind!). The payoff for the organiser is that they can put their feet up for a couple of hours while the teams roam the local area. But they have to sort refreshments for everyone else when they get back. Prizes can be offered for the most correct answers and can of course be edible!
Singing for their supper!
Before children get too old to be self-conscious about singing, try teaching them all the words to ‘The twelve days of Christmas.’ Then on Christmas Day itself, part of the after-lunch entertainment can be getting them to sing the lines in turn to see who manages to remember what!
Everyone should join in with a rousing chorus of ‘and a partridge in a pear tree’ at the end of each verse.
Itsy-bitsy present hunt
You could hide some of the children’s presents around the house with a different coloured piece of wool attached to each one. Then trail the wool all over the house so that each child has to follow their own trail of wool wherever it goes until they finally find their present at the end. The house will look amazing – like a giant, multi-coloured spider’s web. Watch the look on the kids’ faces when they see it like that on Christmas morning! Of course, the story is that mum and dad are helping out Santa with a few gifts of their own, as he has so many presents to deliver to other children…
Memories of Christmas past
Start a tradition of taking the children out on Christmas Eve to buy a new Christmas tree decoration. Each one is theirs to add to the tree.
After Christmas, the decoration can go into each child’s special Christmas box, so that when they leave home they will have their own decorations for their first Christmas tree. Wherever they are, it will remind them of home.
Tape some wrapping paper over the front room door so that the kids have to burst through it on Christmas morning to get to the presents. They’ll feel like superheroes! Create your own door wrapping burst.
More than food on the menu…
Create your own a ‘conversation menu’ for Christmas day. Ask each of your children beforehand to write down something that has happened or that interests them, so they can share it at Christmas lunch. It doesn’t have to be formal AT ALL, but it could generate a healthy debate and encourage your kids to be quite passionate about their opinions from a young age.