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 you can make the day even more magical with these f.
Once those must-have Christmas toys (opens in new tab) have finally been wrapped up, there's nothing better than seeing their little faces light up at the sight of all their presents, but what if you could make the moment even more exciting for them? These clever tricks will make this Christmas THE BEST YET!
1. Watch Santa Claus fly
Let your children know that Father Christmas delivering their presents, with the Google Santa Tracker (opens in new tab) on Christmas Eve! The tracker follows him on Google Maps across the world on the big night, so you and your little ones can make a note of whether he's in the US, Africa, or heading to the UK...
There's also a chance that, this year, NASA will be flying over the UK on Christmas Eve, so you can point it out in the night sky are tell the kids that it's the big man himself! 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.
Check details as we get nearer to Christmas on the International Space Station app - your kids definitely won't want to miss it!
2. Father Christmas delivery tags
You can make your own, download printable designs (opens in new tab) online or buy a pack of fun Father Christmas delivery tags from places like Etsy, special delivery from the North Pole!
Just 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, see if they can do some important gifting in exchange for their gifts.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, make them declutter their bedrooms and recycle or donate any toys they no longer want or play with to charity shops. The more they are able to get rid of, the more presents they are promised for Christmas!
Of course, this doesn't mean that you need to buy more Christmas presents than you planned. It's simply a fun way to get the kids excited for their gifts, and to do something good for others in the process.
If you're looking to do other things to help others this Christmas, you could also get the kids involved in a reverse advent calendar (opens in new tab). Simply fill it with things to donate every day until 24th December, and then give it to a local charity, hospital or homeless shelter.
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...? Well, when it comes to fun ways to give your kids their Christmas presents, one can dream!
In return they get to open a present.
6. One at a 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?', and the kids will be thrilled to see a big pile of gifts at the beginning of the morning.
7. Pass the parcel
A really fun way of getting your kids to take it in turns opening and sharing presents is playing pass the parcel. 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 is one of the most fun ways to give your kids their Christmas presents because it 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.
13. Santa sack
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!
Samantha is a freelance writer at Goodto who has been with team since 2019. Initially trained in psychology, she specialises in health and wellbeing and has additionally written for magazines such as Women’s Health, Health & Wellbeing, Top Santé, Healthy, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo, CelebsNow, Good Housekeeping and Woman&Home.
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