Elf on the Shelf
Little old Elf on the Shelf aint everybody’s friend. I know for some, this little tradition is a nightmare for many reasons. Trying to think of something different for 24 days straight. Waking up in a sweat in the middle of the night because you’ve forgotten to move him or putting up with 20 questions about the elf.
As crazy as this all can be, it honestly is one of my favourite traditions. I love the joy it brings my kids. I love hearing them talking about it and wondering what he’ll do next. They are so excited every morning and seeing their little faces is just priceless.
If you dare to participate, here are a few tips..
There are soooo many different ideas out there now, that it is quite easy to come up with 24 different ideas fairly easily. Check out Pinterest, Facebook and good old Google for inspiration
- Make a list early
After researching, write a list down in your phone or a notebook and plan them out in advance. As you see new ideas, you can add them easily to your list. I like keeping an easy list and a harder list so if you’re time poor you can choose a super easy one, or if you’re feeling more creative you can look at the harder choices.
Christmas Eve Box
I started this a few years ago and the kids really look forward to it. I started out using a large cardboard Christmas Box from Red Dot or Big W and last year updated to personalised wooden boxes, even though they’re not as big, so it’s a bit difficult to fit everything in!
You can put all sorts of things in the Christmas Eve box, and make it unique for your own family. These are the items I like to put in ours…
- Christmas PJ’s
- Christmas Book
- Something Novelty like a pooping reindeer or bubble machine!
- A sweet treat – For some reason my kids expect a Nutella and bread stick dipping treat. I bought it one year and now that’s what they look forward to the most!!
- A Christmas DVD – even though with all the streaming options now this seems obsolete! But they still love it!
Gingerbread House & Gingerbread Cookies
I’ve always loved the idea of gingerbread houses but had NO IDEA how to make them. I can be creative, but they looked super fiddly! A few years ago someone told me you could buy gingerbread kits from IKEA and I was sold! It was easy to make and the kids loved doing it. I made heaps of icing, bought heaps of different lollies and let them go wild making it. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and it also gives you about a 30 min break without anyone asking you for a snack!!
While you’re at it, why not bake some gingerbread cookies and get the kids to decorate them too. We love to bake a whole heap of cookies and give them to our friends and neighbours as we see them leading up to Christmas. I love doing this because it really encompasses the spirit of Christmas by not only bringing some Christmas creative joy but to also teach your children that little acts of kindness go a long way.
Decorate their Bedroom
Over the years I’ve bought little decorations for their bedroom like a light up Santa, a mini Christmas tree, tinsel, a decoration to hang on the door and Christmas sheets and pillows which I purchased from Pottery Barn.
I would set it up every year for them, but now they are a bit older, I love seeing them decorate their own room the way they like. They also love putting up their artwork and craft they’ve made at school or home. It instils more of that Christmas spirit but also their own creativity and ownership of their own space.
Yes I’m one of those matchy matchy people! I Love matching pyjamas and matching Christmas day outfits. It adds to the fun and I love looking back at the outfits in photos. Usually the last day of school is free dress so they get to wear their Christmas outfit to school too and usually any other Christmas function leading up. So they at least get some decent wear out of them!
Big W the past few years have had some cute matching Christmas outfits. Peter Alexander is always my favourite for matching PJ’s. They are such great quality and always have super cute options. My kids still wear their Christmas pyjamas from 3 years ago! I always make sure I go at least one size bigger to make sure they last for more than just a year.
On Christmas Eve we have our routine of having dinner, a bath, get into our new Christmas pyjamas (which I pre-wash) and put out Santa’s snacks and drink (Santa likes beer in our house!)
Then we go outside to throw reindeer food mixed with a bit of sparkle on the back lawn so the reindeers know where to land! We mix oats and glitter together in a bowl, then throw it up in the air! This makes for gorgeous boomerang videos and photos! We usually check one of the many Santa apps to see where in the world Santa is, and then we read a copy of The Night Before Christmas that I also read every Christmas Eve as a child.
If you don’t have a book that you used to read, start your own tradition. Choose a book with gorgeous illustrations and make that your special Christmas Eve book that your kids will continue to read with their children. Tip: buy two or even three copies of the same book and put them away so that there is a brand new one you can give to your kids as adults. Chances are the original one may be a bit worn out!!
Whatever traditions you decide are right for your family (or your sanity!) enjoy them. Take in the moments, watch the love and the joy and feel that special Christmas spirit that only having young children brings. It last only a few short years, so enjoy it…even if that means having a glass of Christmas cheer in your hand at all times!!