Isn’t it funny how the anticipation of Christmas Eve is almost more fun than the actual day itself? It’s often this way in life, isn’t it – getting there really is half the fun! Christmas Eve is right around the corner so I thought it would be fun to share some ideas about how to make your own Christmas Eve traditions! For the purposes of this post, I’ll assume you’re already planning on snuggling up in your Christmas pajamas and munching on yummy Christmas treats! I will also assume that your family chooses to attend a religious service at the time and place you choose – this post is all about making it a fun night for the little ones! And finally, let’s assume that Daddy got his $&% together and already put together the three bikes, one dollhouse, and three scooters, and that Mommy already went into crazy super mom mode and bought all the ribbon, wrapped the gifts, and stocked up on wine. So here we are. It’s Christmas Eve. Kids are giddy with excitement. Let’s do this thang.
- Get Technical: Track Santa online using this cool tool: http://www.noradsanta.org
- Wait for It: Leave some fun traditions for Christmas Eve – hang the stockings, add a special ornament to the tree, or leave a special picture and letter for Santa (along with cookies, milk, and carrots for the reindeer, of course!)
- Reindeer Food: Make your own “reindeer food” to sprinkle in the snow – you can make your own by mixing oatmeal with sprinkles and a bit of glitter. This will help the reindeer fly! Full disclosure, I found this at a local craft market. The little poem is so cute:
Sprinkle on your lawn at night,
The moon will make it sparkle bright,
As Santa’s reindeers fly and roam,
The food will guide them to your home!
4. Go Outside My kids get SO excited when we take them outside at night. Go look at Christmas lights, or go for a simple flashlight-accompanied walk once it’s dark. Sprinkle your reindeer food, maybe make an arrow toward your house with footsteps! Get creative (and tire your kids out) outside before heading inside for hot cocoa and a movie! Here’s a link to a fun Christmas light scavenger hunt that will make it extra fun for little ones.
5. Do Whatever You Want! Create your own traditions! Pancakes for dinner? Order in a pizza? Whatever it is that your family wants to do, make your own tradition! Your kids will love looking forward to your own special little something year after year. This year, we’ll be making pizza from scratch – in the shape of a christmas tree!
6. Get Multicultural. Our family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, and this year we’ll be lighting the first candle on Christmas Eve as we begin our 8 crazy nights! Even if your family doesn’t celebrate the festival of lights, consider talking to your kids about other cultures, religions, and winter celebrations, such as Kwanzaa, winter solstice. The holidays are the perfect time to talk about how people celebrate all over the world! Why not get out the globe, track Santa’s route, and add in some conversation about cultural and religious tolerance? You might also talk about what other children around the world do to celebrate Christmas and consider incorporating some other traditions into your special night. Here is a great link to how kids in various countries celebrate Christmas.
7. Wake the kids up in the middle of the night to look at the night sky with flashlights for Saint Nick. HAHAHAH just kidding JK JK JK. I’m too scared that they wouldn’t go back to sleep so I’ll literally never try this one, but there might be some brave parents out there who might!
8. PJ Party! Many kids now have special Christmas pajamas, but consider making it a game! Wrap up everyone’s Christmas pajamas and play a game taking turns opening them and guessing who they will fit. Bonus: The kids will be excited to snuggle into bed and will look extra cute in their pajamas the next morning. You can also create a special “Christmas Eve Box,” complete with pajamas, a movie, and special treats. Older kids might be able to handle a living room sleepover.
9. Give back. Do something extra special for a community member, neighbor, or family. Leave a special gift on a neighbor’s doorstep, make a donation to a charity you believe in, or spend time helping out or volunteering as a family.
10. Play Games: Don’t count on a movie as your main entertainment when there are SO many fun games that both children and adults will love! I love these Reindeer Games ideas!
Aside from these ideas, there are also tons of ideas on Pinterest for actual games to play – pin the tail on the reindeer looks like one I might try! I would love to hear in the comments below! What does your family do to make Christmas Eve extra special? I think one of the keys is coming up with your own traditions and then carrying them out year after year. I have my own special tradition I’ll be kicking off this year – I usually wait to have my glass of wine until the kids are in bed, but a little eggnog and rum before bedtime will be making my spirit bright. Cheers!