Advice about how to make Christmas really memorable for the kiddies - another not-a-Mommy-blogger post

Of COURSE you want to make Christmas special for the little ones!  What parent doesn't?  The kiddies need experiences at Christmas which they will talk about for years to come.  I was the same when I was a young parent (and that was before Sellotape was invented and we had to use moose skins and catgut to wrap the Fisher Price kitchen set).  We did everything we could to make Christmas especially memorable, and I'd like to pass on a couple of ideas so you can do the same.

1. Teach the truth about Santa in a way they will always remember.  Children never forget the Christmas during which they find out that Santa is not real.   Don't leave it to an older sibling or a cousin to break the news - often the job is very unsatisfactorily done because the kiddie begins to cry uncontrollably and the sibling/cousin doesn't have the guts to go through with it.  So, as a responsible parent, it's up to you to make sure the moment really is unforgettable.  Follow these easy stages:

a) Put out the mince pie and sherry by the fireplace as usual just before bedtime, and don't forget the carrot for the reindeer.  Get the kiddies really into it all - talk about the reindeers and their names, the elves, the sleigh.  Don't hold back on detail.  It will all help to create expectation.

b) With the children helping, hang up their stockings from the mantelpiece.  Act excited and full of anticipation, just as the children are, building up the tension and suspense as much as you can, as this will again make the moment of revelation all the more striking.

c) Then, when the clock strikes midnight, and the kiddies are fast asleep in bed, push their bedroom door open so that it creaks.  This wakes them a little and they will start wondering excitedly, 'Perhaps this is Santa!' and may even peep over the top of the bedclothes.

d) Then, for maximum effect, turn on their main bedroom light, shine a torch into their eyes at the same time, and shout, 'LOOK WHO IT IS!  IT'S MUMMY AND DADDY, BRINGING IN YOUR PRESENTS!  BECAUSE, GUESS WHAT, HONEYBUN!  R.I.P. SANTA CLAUS!  IT WAS ALL A CON!'

I guarantee that this technique will make sure that they will never forget the special way in which you introduced the truth to them about Father Christmas.

Jonny was upset about the Santa thing, yes, but he thought it was a bit much for Mommy and Daddy to have replaced his garden swing with the monument just to mark the occasion

2. Create an impressive pile of presents under the tree that will get them very excited.  What children like more than anything is to see a tower of presents under the tree.  The bigger the pile, the more thrilled theY get, and what's Christmas about if it's not to see the children shivering with anticipation?  But obviously in times of economic difficulty, not everyone can afford lots of expensive gifts.  So, I have some ideas for presents which will guarantee an enormous pile under the tree for little cost:

a) Individually wrapped balloons.  Children love balloons and many parents do indeed give packets of balloons to them in their stockings, but what a wasted opportunity!  Why not blow them up and wrap them individually?  This will be a great start to your impressive pile of presents and may even help Christmas Day go with more of a bang than usual.  And if your child is frightened of balloons, even better, because it means they will need an hour or so to get over each one before they unwrap the next, and this will make Christmas Day go SO quickly.  Before you know it, you'll be tucking them up in bed again and can relax with your fourteenth glass of red wine and a turkey sandwich.

b) Cardboard boxes.  I have mentioned how useful cardboard boxes are in a previous post, but this is surely the very best use for them.  Secure all the edges and openings of the boxes with strong sticky tape before you wrap them in pretty paper, as this will make sure that the child's suspense and excitement lasts for as long as possible before they actually find the box is empty.  There's nothing to entertain parents and grandparents and all the aunts and uncles more than seeing a child's face as they find out what is finally in the box after all that unwrapping.  And, with all those people around, there will be plenty of people to comfort the child afterwards.  Granny may even have a handkerchief up her sleeve to mop up all the tears.  Sorted!

c) Industrial-size rolls of bubble wrap.  Now, you can't tell me that there's a child in the world who doesn't love playing with bubble wrap!  Not only that, it will keep him/her occupied for quite a few hours popping all the bubbles once it's all unwrapped on Christmas Day, especially if there is a promise of something to eat once all the bubbles are popped.  Should the child be slow about this, there's no need for everyone else to be kept waiting, so sit them up at the table with the sheets of bubble wrap and they can happily pop away while you all make your way through the four courses.  The child may, of course, complain, but as long as everyone assures them that they too would MUCH RATHER be popping the bubbles than eating crispy roast potatoes, there should be no more problem.

'I'm not sure this is quite enough,' said Daddy, when he went shopping for the bubble wrap.  'I have a lot of beer to get through and could do with a few hours of peace and quiet.'

See?  My present ideas are so simple, and yet so effective, with no fuss about batteries or plugs or USB ports to spoil the day.  Ask any of my children (they don't speak to me much, so you'll have to do this yourself ... aren't young people BUSY these days?!)  I know they'll confirm that Christmas was one particular time of year that they remember.  Let me know how you get on as I love to hear happy stories of seasonal family fun.


  1. Hilarious. Facetious much?

  2. I hate to destroy your illusions but I've recently heard from all of your children, yes, even the one in Japan, asking if they can come to our house for Christmas this year because they feel festive fun in Franland is a bit... thin. I've assured them that they can, since I've catered for 14 and if the snow continues I think it might be just the hub and I, and since I'm vegetarian there will be a lot of turkey going spare. I trust they also like Christmas pud, which I have in industrial quantities.

    I hope this is ok?

    (Just got a text to say that college is closed tomorrow again, so I'll have plenty of time to make up beds for your offspring. I know this will bring a bright smile to your face.)

  3. dbs - Facetious, dbs? Moi?

    Isabelle - my kids will do anything for a good roast dinner, especially if the cook is someone who won't hide a brussels sprout underneath their carrots year after year after year. And ner-ner-ner-ner-ner, I've finished term for Christmas. However, I start a new job in January and am doing a MASSIVE BIG SORT-OUT.

  4. I like teasing the kids with a big pile of presents and then pointing out that the labels on them clearly name them all as MINE.

  5. An alternate 1. d) scenario might involve a starter pistol, screaming and several trails of ketchup.
    With a follow up in the next day's news:

    *evil smilie*

  6. Almost makes me sad that my kids are grown...hey, wait...I've got grandchildren. Is 3 and 5 too young to burst their bubbles?

  7. Steve - well, that's just cruel. You really don't belong here underneath my sensitive, thoughtful post.

    June - Ditto. Join Steve. Honestly, are you lot misunderstanding me, or what?

    Nana - Definitely not too young. In fact, you've left it quite a long time - get in quick.

  8. Simply brilliant!

  9. Oh, dear, I'm quite upset here - so he's not real then?

  10. I wish I had thought of this tactic myself! Sheer brilliance!

  11. Difficult choice . Fighting your way into Hamley's in December or rolling one of those industrial-sized rolls of bubble wrap home through the drifts .
    Are you sure they need to get ANYTHING ? They've still got a balloon from a neighbour's party .

  12. Rosiescribble - thank you!

    Vintage - I am SO sorry. Have I spoiled your Christmas? Whoops.

    Sandra - well, now you can implement all my ideas and pretend you thought of them.

    WW - have you seen the website where you can pop bubble wrap on screen? I think it's on or something like that. Or maybe it's on

    SmitandSon - Ah well, then, as long as they have the neighbour's balloon, you're sorted. Pour yourself a drink and put your feet up.

  13. Reading your 'not-a-Mommy-blogger' posts make me almost feel sorry for not having children. Almost! I love all your entertaining-your-kids-and-make-them-wish-their-parents-were-childless-ideas.
    Thanks for the smiles :-)

  14. Inspired ! especially the bubble wrap. Tell me - do you have any ideas for getting teenagers OUT OF BED on Christmas morning & to be polite & chatty to their grandparents ? and do you know of any small children I could swap them with as I miss all that comes with having young children at Chritmas.

    Can't quite remember how I broke the awful news about Santa but I do remembering having to go off & collect myself when my son told me how generous Father Christmas was for bringing him all those little things in his stocking !!!

    Maybe that was the PERFECT time to tell him when his little face was beaming with joy.

    Cruel moi ? no - you've just called me an Angel !

  15. Carolina - that's my aim, that people without children see what a joyous and celebratory time it can be at Christmas. Seeing their bright little faces as you give them the treats I suggest is just the best thing.

    bad penny - get a teenager OUT OF BED for Christmas? Why on EARTH would you want them downstairs?

  16. Fran, this is your best ever. I've been howling. And I love Isabelles come back too; made me laugh nearly as much. But not quite.

    Have a good one my friend and hope to meet up in 2011.


  17. Bluestocking Mum - I'm very glad I made you howl. Very satisfying! Yes, if only I was sure that Isabelle is joking. I wouldn't put anything past her.

  18. I seem to recall the board game Mouse Trap kept me quiet for hours as it took ages to set it up. Also being given Domino Rally - oh the fun relatives would have 'bumping' the table after it had taken me hours to set up every domino... that wasn't you, was it?

  19. I used to get really excited at the sight of a box filled with styrofoam-doodles (my brother called it Snow Man Poop.) I think, as a kid, I would have gotten along just fine in your house. - G

  20. Jane - We had Mouse Trap, too!! You're right - it's one of those games that takes years to set up and is over with very quickly. (Just like Christmas lunch.)

    Georgina - That's what I like to hear. People with imagination who can turn even the most mundane gift into an absorbing plaything. Come round anytime.

  21. I was actually thinking of wedging two wellies up the chimney and telling the kids that Santa got stuck and couldn't bring their presents after all, but your ideas sound much better!

  22. I have fond memories of the last time my brother and sister ever spoke to each other. She was 5, he was 7 and had kindly allowed her to sleep on the top bunk as a treat. How we laughed when he got the Tiny Tears and she got the pop gun with real cork bullets and refused to swap...still brings a tear to my eye.

  23. Kerry - I thought I was cruel, but it seems you are out of my league, actually. I LOVE your wellies idea.

    InvisibleWoman - there's a real life lesson there! Funny story! I can see see your little sister hanging on to that pop gun.

  24. lol is it wrong that I'm still lolling. Its a good thing I dont have children because they would probably hate me lol

  25. Love your ideas! Shame my boys are all adults now...

  26. aren't young people BUSY these days?!

    Too funny.

    Happy holidays Fran.

  27. LilyS - lol away. That's the aim.

    Ca88andra - oh, I have plenty of ideas for adult children, too. Just ask my lot. (They are staying round at Isabelle's for Christmas, though - see above.)

    Lane - are you saying, maybe they're actually NOT busy? That they're lying to me? Why does no one TELL me these things?!

  28. I am almost tempted NOT to wish you a Merry Christmas, you mean old woman.

    Still, I have such a kind heart I can't do it.


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