Making Christmas Morning Magical
Here’s a beautiful post from Ben about how adding those little touches to make your family Christmas even more special.
Growing up really does suck sometimes, and this is no better demonstrated than at Christmas. Remember when you were a kid, how amazing Christmas was? The tinsel on the tree, the lights wrapped around street columns, the family sat around a table laughing and joking while wearing daft paper crowns…and, of course, the presents. I can vividly recall tearing at wrapping paper like a rabid dog, frothy mouth and all, as my parents awaited my girly squeals of delight.
But as the years go by, the magic fades. Today, if I awoke in the middle of the night to find a fat beardy bloke at the foot of my bed, I’d call the police. I put on about three stone in weight after eating nothing but Quality Street for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I worry about how I react when I open presents, knowing full well that no matter how hard I try, I won’t be able to hide my disappointment at receiving socks for the last two years running. (Am I really getting that old?)
As a child, Christmas morning was the best time of the whole festive period. You’d wake up at some ridiculous hour when your parents were nothing more than sausage-shaped lumps under a warm quilt, and leg it downstairs to gaze wide-eyed at the gifts under the tree, or the crumbs on the plate that held biscuits for Santa the night before. As the parent of a three year-old who is understanding the whole Father Christmas concept this year, it’s now my turn to make Christmas morning as wonderful for him as possible…so here’s a few ideas.
Footsteps in the Hallway
Leaving biscuits and sherry on a table by the front door is an established Christmas tradition. Aside from that, it gives you the excuse to eat biscuits and swig sherry the night before. Actually, two glasses of sherry: Santa needs one for the road. Make that three.
But a great idea is to put snowy footsteps in the hallway (or throughout the house) to make it look as if Santa really has been trapsing around. It’s dead simple to do, and really effective. First, buy yourself some Insta-Snow (or similar product). Then, the night of Christmas Eve (or really early in the morning, if you function well enough) mix up a batch of this artificial snow by mixing it with water. Grab a pair of wellies, boots, or simply your day-to-day shoes, and place them on the floor in a footsteps formation. Sprinkle the snow around the shoe to form an outline, and you’re done. It looks convincing, and adds an extra dimension to the whole ‘Santa breaking in’ thing.
Music, Hot Chocolate and Christmas Breakfast
Although your kids will probably rise before you, it won’t be for long. If my childhood is anything to go by, my wife and I will be rudely awoken by a toddler jumping on our faces whilst bellowing in our ears that it’s time to get up. But wouldn’t it be great if he could come downstairs to a lit tree, some nice kiddie Christmas music and a mug of hot chocolate – followed by a great breakfast? There’s tonnes of brilliant recipes out there. I reckon it’s worth the extra half hour out of bed just to see the look on his face.
The majority of presents may go under the tree, but it’s also a great idea to hide some around the house and give your child(ren) little clues to help them on their way to finding some more gifts. It’ll make the morning even more exciting and establish a tradition that one day they may pass on to their children. Beware, though: this particular game will come with added squealing.
Even as an adult, though, Christmas is still a wonderful time. It’s when long-lost family members meet to swap stories, share laughter and snooze in front of the TV. It’s watching the utter joy and excitement on the face of your child as he unwraps the present he’s been hinting at for the last three months. And it’s the only day of the year when it’s acceptable to stuff your face with turkey until you throw up.
The simple fact is you can find magic in anything at Christmas. The frost resting on the leaves; the vague scent of mulled wine in the air; and – just for a few days, at least – the stiff-upper-lip Brits actually smile to one another as they pass on the street, collars turned up against the brisk December chill.