How to enjoy Christmas with children
Well folks, there’s only a few days left until Christmas 2020. This is the month we make more plans to see our family than we do for the whole year. To catch up with friends, get the children together and spend time planning how to enjoy Christmas. There are annual rituals in decorating the tree and buying presents for loved ones. Buying a whole lot of food that will be eaten by people we care about and have invited to share this event with us.
Have you scheduled your holiday? If not, don’t panic but read on for ideas of how to enjoy your Christmas amid a pandemic.
This December, 2020 is a car crash compared to a normal year. A year that began with the promise of a fresh, unused canvass that was then ripped asunder. How is your Christmas going to work this year? With government guidelines constantly changing and remaining fluid, any plans we make are tentative and likely to change. Because of this, we need to open our minds and look for ways to make this a stress-free Christmas.
Enjoy a family Christmas without the family
My son is in a school with over 1,000 pupils and has a bubble of 250. Over the past 10 months, I have become used to the dark shadow of Coronavirus and watched its steady progressive march towards us. From hearing of someone who knows someone, to positive tests in my sons school and then to my immediate family, it has now reached us. It is a time of worry yet Christmas is meant to be a beacon of family and togetherness. Have you made plans on how to enjoy Christmas this year? Are you going to ‘see’ your family via Zoom and have a quiet time at home?
I had intended to make my time with my son as special as I could this year. Christmas is always a difficult time for us as his sister is no longer with us and he has to leave half way through Christmas Day to go to his fathers. Although he loves his father, it is never nice to leave your home, your presents, your day to go and start the day again somewhere else. Being a single parent is not always just tricky on the parent, it’s the children who also have to adapt.
Self-isolating over the holidays
Instead, my son now has to isolate. Close contact with someone who tested positive at his school means he cannot see anyone else until Christmas. My job now is to be the super mother and figure out ways to make this time special. For my son and for me. So, for all the families reading this, lets stretch open our minds and think creatively.
Christmas Eve, for many is a day of frantic present wrapping and pre-preparing food. For us this year, it is going to be a more relaxed, festive day. I want a day that not even the Coronavirus Grinch could ruin. So, lets run through a few ideas that will put a smile on our faces and get me humming along to a carol or two. I have planned my time with my son and would like to share it here with you.
Christmas Eve shenanigans
At approximately 7am Christmas Eve, my son will run into my room, very excited and wake me up. As I’m not 11 years old any more, it might take a little longer to get going but once he has suitably jumped on the bed and begged me to get up it won’t take long before our home is be filled with the smell of freshly brewed coffee. For me, that is heaven on an early morning.
North Pole breakfast
As this is a special day, we will be having a North Pole breakfast. If you don’t know what this is, head over to Pinterest as its ‘all the rage’. The idea is that when your child wakes up, they discover a table groaning with yummy looking food, ready for them to eat. As I never wake up before my son and am a single mother, I have to amend that slightly. So, the night before, when he is in bed I will get out a tablecloth and cover it with glitter. With festive napkins, tinsel and candy canes, the idea is to make it glitter and sparkly with festivity and sugar!
Our breakfast will be a mixture. Steaming hot cocoa, pain au chocolat, berries arranged to look like a Christmas tree, marshmallows for snow, chocolate raisons for Elf poo, milk for Santa in case he comes early and cookies for the elves. What will yours look like? Don’t forget to include ‘Elf on the shelf‘ for your celebrations. It’s the last day for him to be out and kids would go wild seeing him at the breakfast table.
How to enjoy Christmas outside
Once we’ve had enough sugar to last a lifetime, we’re going to wrap up and go for a walk. After all, English winters can be beautiful and its nice to get outside and breath in the crisp air. When I was a little girl it always snowed at Christmas time. Such a magical time to open your eyes in bed; feel the stillness, the quiet and just know that it had snowed in the night. Well, it hardly snows in the UK any more at Christmas time but that’s no reason not to put on your gloves and scarf and get out together.
Where do you live? Even if you live in a city, there are always plenty of interesting things to see. We often go hunting the nicest decorated house. Or taking a designated path that leads to a warm, inviting coffee shop. Maybe that coffee shop is your own house this year but it can be just as magical. It’s all about the Christmas attitude that you put into it.
Christmas kids arts and crafts
Also on the list are arts and crafts. My son will testify that I am not that crafty. So I love Pinterest for giving me not just ideas but step by step instructions. Once we are back home and warming our bones with a hot drink, we’re going to make Christmas trees out of sticks and wool with buttons for the decorations. Not that inventive, not that difficult but it sure is pretty! Here is the link if you fancy creating something your child will love and that you won’t get stressed by. If you are one of those families that enjoy decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, I’ve included some super tips to add to your festive day.
Can you smell the gingerbread?
To follow that strenuous activity, mother and son need a snack. But not just any snack. We are going to be making and eating gingerbread cookies from yes, Pinterest! The delicious warm spiced aroma will mingle with my second and last coffee of the day. This makes it feel oh, so Christmassy and spreads a warmth throughout our home. Once we have covered each other, the work tops and the floor with ingredients, we will collapse in a comfy chair and eat our rewards.
Work done for the day, next on the agenda is a Christmas movie. What’s your type of film? I’m pretty easy going and anything but horror will do me. For a family special, Netflix pulls out the stops with the second Christmas Chronicles leading the way. A few hours later, we will have a dinner chosen my son, turn on the tree lights, draw the curtains and shut away the day. I like to encourage him to sit and read and he recently bought himself one of the Percy Jackson series. They’re great for pre-teens, have a fantastic vocabulary range in them and help foster an active imagination at the same time – we love it.
Have I tired you out with my day? I hope you feel the cozy warmth that will emit from the togetherness of it all. That is my intention for our day. A fun day that we will both enjoy; no pressure, just family creating good memories.
Elf on a shelf
As a last evening activity, we will say goodbye to our ‘Elf on a shelf’ as its his last evening with us for a year, tidy up the kitchen and tiredly get ready for bed, excited about the day ahead and content with the one just gone. A cookie and glass of milk on a plate for Santa (still a tradition), carrots for the reindeer and we will cuddle up in bed for a while and talk about the day to come.
When your family is divided, you have a ‘single parent Christmas‘, so have to think outside of the proverbial Christmas sack. There is no mum, dad and two kids in their festive sweaters yearly picture. That frame is forever cracked with pieces missing but mother and son are both happy and continue our growth in a positive way. These memories created last forever and the more stable and harmonious they are, the more both of us grow into happy, relaxed people. Its all good.
So that is how my Christmas eve will unfurl and I now wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday. 2020 has been a strange animal and we are teetering on the edge of a new future. None of us are certain how 2021 will look but I for one intend to leap into it with an open mind and a happy and full heart.
Merry Christmas and a joyful new year to you all