For kids, there really is nothing more magical than Christmas. Not only is there the prospect of presents, but the promise of Santa coming all the way from the North Pole with his trusty herd of reindeer to hand deliver them to their house.
And there’s also Santa coming down the chimney, being allowed to stay up later than usual, eating an almost unlimited amount of chocolate and all the sparkle and excitement of seeing family at the most magical time of the year.
There’s nothing better than seeing their little faces light up on Christmas morning at the sight of all their presents, but what if you could make the moment even more exciting for them? These clever tricks that will make this Christmas THE BEST YET!
1. Watch Santa Claus fly
On Christmas Eve at 5.20pm the International NASA Space station will be passing over Britain and will be visible from earth.
Tell your children that it is Father Christmas delivering their presents! Then whilst one of you takes your children outside – the other one will have about 10 minutes to put all the presents around the fireplace or under the tree! When the children come back in, they’ll really believe Santa dropped them off on his way over.
To get the most up to date information (and precise timings depending on your UK location) download the International Space Station app – your kids definitely won’t want to miss it!
2. Father Christmas delivery tags
Either make your own or buy these fun Father Christmas delivery tags, an official mark of the North Pole!
Fill in the details – your child’s name, the ‘naughty or nice’ list (depending on how generous you’re feeling this year!) and where to leave the presents.
3. Recycling Sack
Instead of just buying your children new presents every year. Make them work for their gifts.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas make them declutter their bedrooms and get rid of any toys they no longer want or play with to charity shops and upcycling. The more they are able to get rid of, the more presents they are promised for Christmas!
4. Eat breakfast upstairs
Instead of everyone rushing downstairs and being unable to tear themselves away from the presents when you are trying to make them eat something other than chocolate, make everyone stay in your bedroom (or whichever is biggest).
Nominate one child to be your ‘helper’ and assist you with getting the breakfast things (they get a little peek in return for their assistance!) whilst everyone else waits upstairs.
This also means the children aren’t allowed downstairs before you wake up!
Then at least by the time they get downstairs they have eaten something rather than just sugar.
5. Christmas present challenge
You probably won’t fancy monitoring anything too physically exerting at this time of the morning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your children.
Make them sing a carol (or at least the chorus), find marshmallows hidden around the room, run to the bottom of the garden or maybe even pour you a drink…? One can dream.
In return they get to open a present.
6. One at at time
Instead of everyone unwrapping their presents at the same time, which means the fun is over within fifteen minutes and no one knows what anyone else got (plus it always results in something getting lost in the chaos…) try unwrapping one at a time.
Make everyone unwrap one present at a time, starting with the youngest member of your family and working up in age, then back to the start again.
It means that presents last a little longer and people get to see each other’s reactions!
Also you are less likely to have the inevitable… ‘Are there any more?’
7. Pass The Parcel
A really fun way of getting your kids to take it in turn opening and sharing presents. Just like you would at a kids’ party, make a present that’s layered with little presents like gold coins and small stocking fillers wrapped in different types of Christmas paper.
The kids can pass them around to Christmas music and it’ll make a few little presents go a very long way
8. Christmas Piñata
You might have thought that a piñata would hold only sweets and chocolate, but you can also fill them with small gifts – think bouncy balls, shaped rubber bands, stamps, plastic jewellery, and gold coins!
And some white confetti or shredded paper will make it seem like it’s snowing when the kids finally break in!
9. Surprises in Store
Ok, so it’s a messy one, but filling their pressies with fake snow, glitter, and cotton wool will make it look like a big Christmassy explosion when they open their presents!
10. What’s that up the chimney?
This is one that will truly bring the story of Santa to life. Choose one of their most-wanted presents (if it will fit) and hide it up the chimney.
When they’ve opened all their presents and they’re wondering where the final one is, tell them you thought you saw some soot falling down the chimney. Ask them to take a look for you and, low and behold, one of the presents must have got stuck when Santa came down the chimney!
11. Presents at the end of their bed
This one’s a clever trick for getting you a longer lie-in! Leave one present (just one!) at the bottom of your kids’ beds. In the morning, they can come into your room and open it while mum and dad get to have a cuppa and wake up properly. A good way of controlling the excitement for just that little bit longer…
12. Stack ’em high
How about stacking up their presents from biggest to smallest. To little ones it’ll look like they’ve got a mountain of presents, plus they’ll have to work their way from top to bottom, saving the biggest until the last.
Place all your kids pressies into a big Santa’s sack right next to the fireplace. Your little ones will really believe Santa has been to their house and it will make getting their presents out even more special.
14. Lucky Dip
Instead of just having specific pressies for your kids, make it a lucky dip instead!
Wrap all sorts of small toys, nick nacks, stocking fillers and chocolates and place them under the tree unlabelled, then they can pick a pressie and have no idea what it’s going to be each time.
And if you’ve got girls and boys in the house and the thought of the ensuing arguments over who got what fills you with dread, wrap the boys and girls presents in different paper so they know which ones to pick from.
15. Present Hunt
If it’s dry enough outside, how about sending them on a present hunt around the garden? You can hide them in bushes, plant pots, at the bottom of trees and tell them that they must have fallen out of Santa’s sleigh when he flew over the house.
16. Wrap up the door
How about wrapping up an open doorway into the room where their presents are waiting? That way, they’ll have to unwrap their way through to get to them, or simply let them break through the paper by jumping through it!