I don’t know about you, but I have frequently noticed my kids getting twitchy about Christmas in mid-November. Young children often go into a kind of pre-Noël, excitement overload/meltdown that demands epic reserves of patience from already seasonally-stressed parents. Children love Christmas so much, they want it now! Waiting is for losers, what’s the point in hanging around until December 25th – why can’t we reschedule it, Mum?
Er, well, because we can’t. It’s complicated. And anyway, Father Christmas has already blocked out 24th and 25th of December, I’ve checked his appointments diary.
If you have been struggling over similar negotiations with your children, here’s an idea to keep them focused on their beloved Christmas, but also employed in a useful and educational activity.
Break open the arts and crafts supply box and throw a Christmas crafting extravaganza for you and the kids. Start by giving them a list of your Christmas related craft requirements, then let them run with it. Here are some ideas to get you going…
Let them take a load off you by sorting out your Christmas card list. Shop bought cards never really do it for me, what with their mass-produced thin paper, hollow written sentiments and to be honest, mainly crass designs. I much prefer the hand- made bespoke card invested with care, love and time. Admittedly, my Christmas card list has been whittled down over the years – I do send a few electronic greetings to far flung relatives and distant friends across the globe. However, for the most important and dearly loved members of my circle, I like to push the boat out with a specially crafted Christmas card. Buying Christmas card blanks from online craft suppliers is the best way of achieving stylish and professional looking results. They supply the basic festive card shape and envelope, and then I personally decorate it with its recipient firmly in mind. This year, however, I’m handing the reins over to the kids – it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
Are you throwing a Christmas bash this season? If so, brief the children on how you want the invitations to appear, then let them run with the designs. Buy in pre-cut cards and blanks and sprinkle with Christmas fairy dust with special festive decals, cut outs, small wooden decoys and customised, crafty adornments.
The tree decorating ceremony has become one of the ritual high points of the Christmas period in our house. Excitement by this time has reached fever-pitch and I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown, whilst the children have that manic, feral look in their eyes that spells trouble. I feel that before we get to this point, it might help if I can get the kids engaged on a deeper level with the whole tree decorating routine. I figure if they make the decorations themselves, they might be more respectful of the tree and what it represents – and it might curb their insatiable desire to climb the poor thing every time my back is turned.
Making tree decorations with kids is a great project. There are some wonderful kits and blank polystyrene decorations available from craft suppliers that are just waiting to be embellished and customised by eager little hands. All shapes, ranging from spheres to bells to stars and leaping reindeer can be sourced, allowing you to turn the drabbest tree into a truly glittering glory.
A gift that is hand crafted is always warmly received. Invested with extra love and time, a personalised and customised present is guaranteed to hit the mark on Christmas morning. Create something impressive by choosing to start off with MDF shapes cut into butterflies, rocking horses or teddy bear motifs. Children can let their imaginations run wild with the decorations, whether it’s paint, glitter, sequins, jewels, ribbons or other crafty bling, with self-decorated MDF shapes you can guarantee it will be an original, one-off creation.
As well as MDF shapes, there are paper maché blanks to try out, too. Plain and neutral in their basic form, designs range from trinket boxes in various sizes, babushka doll sets, animal shapes and more. Again, with the huge range of decorative materials at your fingertips, the potential for a cracker of a Christmas sensation is there for the taking.
Christmas will always be a magical time for families, especially children. Give yourself some breathing space and let them explore their creative sides with some festive craft projects – it could end up being the best Christmas ever!