Magical Christmas Traditions & Fun

Magical Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a fabulous time of magic and wonder, togetherness and spirit. We were asked about our favourite Christmas traditions so here’s a selection to inspire you and your family.


This is such a simple idea but the children look forward to it. We have a Christmas Memories book that we put under the Christmas tree and all the family can write in it. Sometimes it’s a list of their favourite presents, sometimes it’s why their Christmas dinner was so yummy, and sometimes it’s a cracker joke. But everyone gets to add something and we can look back at the memories each year.

Christmas memories

100+ Elf On The Shelf Ideas

The idea of the Elf on the Shelf is that Santa sends an elf to check on the children in the house to ensure they’re being good before Christmas. We start it on 1 December and the elf, or elves, do something overnight, each night in the run-up to Christmas. Our elf can be particularly cheeky and sometimes does more things while the children are out at school!

If you’re ready to embrace the elf fun but need inspiration we have lots of Elf on the Shelf ideas. Some may say it’s the ultimate list of tried and tested elf antics to inspire you this Christmas. There is something for everyone with oodles of magic and imagination in tow.

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Elf on the Shelf ideas

Welcome to December Breakfast

Start advent off with a North Pole breakfast! This is the perfect way to introduce a Christmas elf to your home or just build the excitement and begin the countdown to Christmas.

We have waffles and pancakes with syrup and lots of chopped-up fruit to add on top (still in the fridge when I took this photo!) And Christmas crackers at breakfast time is always fun!


Chocolate Surprise Pudding

It looks like a Christmas pudding but it’s chocolate and has a secret space inside for more goodies!

It’s not hard to make (although do heed my warning about taking your time with this one). I’ve made this with the preschoolers while the bigger children were at school so it is something the kids can get involved with. Or you can do it in the evening and give them a real treat to wake up to on Christmas even.

Here’s how to make this alternative Christmas pudding.

Alternative goody-filled Christmas pudding

Have a look at our Fun Christmas Food Ideas.

Mini Marshmallow Toasting

Toast mini marshmallows over a tealight and have mini fruit skewers for chocolate sauce dipping.
*Ensure you use a non-scented or dyed beeswax candle to avoid fumes.

Teacake Puddings

Do you like Tunnocks tea cakes? I’ll admit, we’re all partial to these yummy chocolate and mallow treats.

So, here’s a simple way to make them look like Christmas puddings! Perfect for dessert for those who don’t like the real thing.

Chocolate Christmas pudding

Christmas Planner

All you need is a roll of wrapping paper (plus some coloured pens, scissors and sticky tape) to make a fun Christmas planner.

We drew a big snowman on the reverse side of the wrapping paper. The children then drew his face and coloured in his scarf. We added a hat (just a piece of scrap cardboard) and we then stuck him to the fridge door.

We then cut out snowballs (white circles) and put a date on each one. We wrote down our plans on each of the dated snowballs and then stuck them on the fridge door too.

You could use this to build up the excitement for the big day. It’s also handy for remembering the school Christmas concerts/plays/shows at this time of year!

Christmas fridge planner

The Magical Lost Sleigh Bell

This is Santa’s lost sleigh bell. Each year on Christmas Eve we lay a sleigh bell on the garden path for the kids to discover. They believe it fell from Santa’s sleigh.

Don’t forget to add the reindeer flight magical Christmas dust (a sprinkling of glitter).

Santa's lost sleigh bell

A Grinch-Themed Sleep Out Beneath the Christmas Tree

A lovely way to build excitement for Christmas, create your own themed sleepover. 

The Present Rug

We use this idea to come together to see what Santa has brought each child. They take turns sitting on the rug and we gather around to watch the opening of each present.

It’s a good way to absorb the presents and slow down the pace on Christmas morning.

We also have some frenzied stocking opening but always make sure what’s opened is properly looked at and not immediately discarded to go onto the next.

Christmas present rug

Why not have a look at our Fabulous Christmas Stocking Filler Ideas?

Santa’s Magic Key

No need to worry if you don’t have a chimney for Santa to climb down. You can make this clever book with a hidden compartment for Santa’s magic key! See how it’s made here.

Santa's Magic Key

Slow Cooker Snowman Soup

Switch on the slow cooker in the morning for the perfect after-school treat!

We call this Snowman Soup but it’s also known as white chocolate hot chocolate. We serve it from the slow cooker with marshmallows and squirty cream. Don’t forget to include a snowman storybook for cuddles on the sofa too.

Santa Cam – He’s Watching!

A follower gave us this idea and we love it! It’s a fun way to ensure the kids remain well-behaved in December.

Tell the kids that the smoke alarm is a secret camera for Santa to keep an eye on them in the weeks before Christmas.

Keepsake Memory Bauble

Create a keepsake memory bauble to add to the Christmas tree each year. You can put in a small item or get the kids to write some thoughts about Christmas, a present list or hopes for the future.

We’ve bought the clear baubles in the local pound shop before and have seen them on eBay too.

Do A Christmas Movie Advent

Check out the best-loved Christmas films for a Christmas film marathon!

Step Into Christmas

The kids love this! It’s great fun for the last day of the school term.

The bedroom doorways have been wrapped by order of the North Pole and the kids have to break through the paper to begin their Christmas school holiday fun!

A Cool Yummy Present

Who says presents need to be left under the tree? Not us!

Christmas is also about yummy food and treats we don’t usually have during the year. So why not wrap up something delicious that the kids like? You can leave a clue under the tree to lead the kids to the present too.

PS We’ve found that everyone loves a profiterole tower.

Christmas Light Spotting

We all love seeing the local houses decorated for the festive season and it’s one of our favourite traditions to either go for a drive or a walk to see the Christmas lights.

We like to make a Christmas lights hunt list and see who can tick everything off first.

Christmas Card Postbox

All of the children like to send cards to their friends at school or in the neighbourhood so we have a Christmas card post box at home. (It’s easy to make: just paint a shoebox red and add a label on the front).

We then set up a Christmas card writing station with lots of cards and envelopes. I like to include photocopied stamps so the kids can stick them on too.

Once they’ve written their cards, they post them in the Christmas postbox.

Note: Always make sure they include a good ‘address’ and their friend’s full name so you can give the cards to the right class teachers at school to distribute.

You could also use the Christmas postbox for the children to write to Santa. They might choose to send their Christmas wish list or tell Santa how they’ve been good this year.

Chocolate Crispy Cake Wreath

Here’s a yummy treat that would go down well with a Christmas story and some hot chocolate before bed.

Just make your mix with rice crispies/cornflakes and melted chocolate. Then form it into a wreath and add a ribbon to hang it.

Here are the full instructions to make a Chocolate Crispy Cake Festive Wreath.

Letter to Santa Night Light

How simple and effective is this? You can make a nightlight with your child’s letter to Santa by rolling it into a tube and putting a battery-operated tealight inside.

To add extra magic, exchange the letter for a plain piece of paper while your child sleeps and tell them that the words magical blew away to the North Pole.

Stay On The Nice List!

This should help keep the kids on the nice list! Copy this image and save it to your phone photos. If you see any misbehaving, just click on it so it looks like you’re receiving a call from Santa. The subtle threat of a quick call from Father Christmas can do wonders.

Reindeer Poop

Imagine the magic of waking up on Christmas morning to find some reindeer poop!✨

 It’s really simple to make. Just roll some Plasticine/playdough up and add glitter. The kids will love it!

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate Box

We always have this on Christmas Eve but you could do it on a weekend day in December for yummy festive fun. Maybe the kids could have some friends round to join in?

We put out a box with hot chocolate sachets, squirty cream, cookies and other goodies so the kids can make hot chocolates for each other. We usually include special mugs for the kids too.

Dinner Table Table Treat Pots

Dinner table treat pots are a simple and effective distraction to keep the kids entertained while you dish dinner up!

I folded a piece of card to make a bowl, tied it with a bow and filled it with chocolate coins, a candy cane, a Ferrero Rocher chocolate and a Christmas scratchcard (for the older kids).

Christmas Dinner Place Setting Pebbles

To make personalised place settings, we decorated some pebbles with paint to use for the Christmas dinner table. We used acrylic paint as that’s what we had in the drawer. We then dusted them with glitter for Christmas sparkle.

We do rock painting throughout the year as the kids love it. If you’d like to try, we’ve got lots of Awesome and Easy Rock Painting Ideas.

Make a Christmas Bauble Wreath

A lovely activity that can be done with the involvement of everyone in the family. Here’s how we made ours.

Nativity Story Stones

The kids really enjoyed doing these. And it gave us a chance to discuss the nativity story that they were learning about at school. We used acrylic paints (simply as that’s all we had in!) and Sharpie permanent marker pens for the detail. We put these away with the Christmas tree so they can be enjoyed each year.

Once you start rock painting it can be really addictive. Don’t worry, we’ve got lots more Easy Rock Painting Ideas.

Reindeer Biscuits

Have you ever noticed that if you turn your gingerbread man cookie cutter upside down it looks like a reindeer? We were thrilled when we discovered this trick!

You could use ready-made gingerbread men or make simple biscuits. We made ours by mixing together:

  • 225g butter
  • 275g flour
  • 110g caster sugar

We cooked on 180c/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes.

We used gingerbread men cookie cutters to make our reindeers. We cut the biscuits and then turned them upside down to decorate.

To make the icing, we mixed icing sugar and a little water. Ready-roll icing with food colouring was an alternative for the nose because we didn’t have any Smarties.

Christmas Elf Lanterns

Here’s a fun way to make elf and fairy Christmas house lanterns.

We used a jar which we sprayed with white paint on the outside. We then cut twigs and glued them to the jar for the window frames and door. We finished by decorating with Sharpie permanent marker pens and putting a battery-operated tealight inside.

If you like this, you’ll also like our Fairies in a Jar. So easy and so effective!

The Last Present

Don’t do all the present opening at Christmas on one day. We save one family present and take the last present to be opened in the company of a beautiful view.

Gift of Time

This went down well with the whole family so we’ll be doing it again each year. On New Year’s Eve, we put out this Gift of Time box with an envelope inside to be opened each month. The ideas ranged from pennies for the slot machines (something we usually say no to as we either never have change or the requests are neverending!) or getting up early to watch the sunrise on a mountaintop. The kids chose whether they wanted to be with a parent without their siblings or if they wanted everyone around for their treat.

And yes, we do spend quality time with our children every day of the year. (We do need to stop the judgemental parenting, don’t we?) This was just a lovely way for the kids to have something to look forward to each month.

Gift of Time

More Ideas

Make a giant gingerbread house!

Make your own Christmas Eve PJs

Christmas Eve pyjamas

Have a festive cracker hunt and sprout fight!

Christmas cracker hunt

Decorate your own tree in the forest

Forest tree decorating

Make a Tissue Wreath

We Love Christmas!

Follow our festive fun this year on the award-winning Family Days Tried and Tested Facebook Page and watch out for our annual house elf antics. Merry Christmas!

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