Five Christmas Traditions Your Toddler Can Get Involved In
This is a Guest Post by Hayley of Devon Mama
Say what you want, to me Christmas is, and always will be, ALL about the traditions. Where we go, what we do, who we see… even the films we watch all play a part in the annual Christmas build up. But getting little ones involved can sometimes seem like hard work; after all, it’s difficult to drag a toddler to Midnight Mass or help with the wrapping while sipping mulled wine by the fire (even the thought of this makes me shudder). Enter this post, where we’re sharing some of our favourite ways to create Christmas traditions your toddler can get involved in. Mulled wine optional.
Decorating The Tree
If the thought of letting your toddler loose on your main tree is too much don’t worry. They can still get involved in a much less stressful way. Give them their own small tree to decorate! Head to the shops (charity shops and pound shops are perfect) and let them choose a small tree and some cheap decorations to get them involved from the word go. Or look for a felt tree with decorations – you can find these in most well-known craft chains for a very affordable price. Feeling super crafty? Order some craft paper and make your own tree to stick on a door or window before making decorations backed with blue-tac or double sided tape for them to stick on. Let them loose whilst you decorate the real true, Christmas tracks blaring… bliss. Bonus parent points for letting them keep the tree in their bedroom/nursery/playroom too!
A Festive Light Hunt
This is best if you’ve done a pre-scope out first to find the best areas for Christmas light displays. If you’re not sure a quick Facebook question in local area groups will get you the answer. Find the neighbourhoods with the best Christmas lights outside their houses, wait until it gets dark and get exploring. If possible, this is best done on foot (plus it wears them out a bit more) but if you need to do it in your car, it’s just as fun. See who can spot characters first – Santa, reindeer, elves and candy canes! We love our festive lights trek each year, there’s always plenty of discussion about our favourites – usually the ones with the most lights wins!
Mince Pie Making
I promise this is less stressful than it sounds, primarily because we tend to cheat and buy pre-made ingredients… anything to make it easier! Roll out your pastry (bought or hand made) on your worktop. Put your toddler in charge of the circle cutter (or upside down mug/bowl) and allow them to push it into the dough to cut out the bases. Show them how to lift the circles up and put them into the cupcake tray before pushing them gently into place. Then get them to put a spoonful of pre-made mincemeat into each pie before cutting out smaller circles and laying the lids on. Beat an egg (my toddler is worryingly effective at this!) and let them paint the tops of each pie. Bake until ready and enjoy the taste testing… just don’t forget to let them cool first. Wear Santa hats throughout for extra festive fun.
Salt Dough Decorations
I really love this as a tradition as it also allows you to make cute gifts for family members at the same time. Salt dough is easy to make (find a recipe in our Easter Crafts roundup) and easy to manipulate for little hands. Make it personal by imprinting a hand, foot or fingerprint in the back of your shape, bake it and allow it to cool. Don’t forget to make sure you leave a hole to thread some ribbon through for hanging before you bake them to dry. Once dry, let the kids loose with paints and glitter to give them even more festive sparkle. Feed the ribbons through once done, tie in a loop and get ready to hang them on the tree – make sure you write their age and date on the back too. This is a lovely one to do year after year, just make sure you keep them nice and dry in between festive seasons!
Make Reindeer Food
A good one for rainy days, reindeer food is super simple to make. The best bit? You can use pretty much anything you can find in your cupboards! Last year we used rice crispies, oats, a bit of bird seed/nuts (because these reindeer have to fly like birds) and some chilli powder to keep his nose glowing red (thanks to the RSPCA for giving us the hint on that one!). As tempting as it is to use glitter, it’s not great for wildlife so try to avoid it if possible – we use a sprinkle of sugar sometimes to pretend it’s magic dust! Mix your reindeer food up and put it into small bags ready to sprinkle on the night. Chat about reindeer whilst you do it – where they come from, what they like to eat, and why they need food to give them energy. Store it away and sprinkle it outside (or leave by the fireplace) on Christmas Eve!
About the Author
This post was written by Hayley from Devon Mama. Working mum to both a one year old and a three year old and a self-confessed festive fanatic, you can find Hayley over on her blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.