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Mum's Guide To Romford Blog

The Magic of Christmas at Home

Published:

Christmas is on its way and here we are stuck in the middle of Lockdown 2.0!  Back in March when all this first began, I naively thought that by now things would be back to the normal we all knew. However, here we are!  Lots of the usual Christmassy events that we are used to seeing and getting involved in have been cancelled this year. Even if lockdown ends and restrictions are more relaxed, some of us may still be feeling anxious about the thought of going out and mixing with big groups of people. 
In light of that, we got together with Mum’s guide to Hertford and came up with some ideas that will definitely help make celebrating Christmas at home with the kids that little bit less stressful.

We bring you…

Let’s make this Christmas memorable for all the right reasons.

 

Activites & Games

  • Build a Christmas grotto/den – add some homemade hanging decorations and some battery lights to make it festive.
  • Movie night – we have lots of suggestions below for family Christmas movies!
  • Board games night – what’s your family favourite? Dig out the games you've not played with recently.
  • Card games night – we love Uno!
  • Scavenger Hunt – get out and explore the local parks and woods. This scavenger hunt could be done at more than one venue as what you find could be different at each location. You’ll find a great list of ideas here.

  • Create a 2021 Wish List Jar - all add things the family would like to do together in 2021.
  • Minute to Win It games - stack it up, Full of hot air, snowball swap and more. You'll find lots of ideas on Pinterest. We like these too.
  • Who am I? - using post it notes, choose a character from a Christmas film and post it on someone's forehead. They have 20 questions to guess their identity! 
  • Lego Challenge – a great activity for a wet dreary day. Click here for some lego challenge cards or try and use your bricks to make something Christmassy! 
  • Candy Cane Hunt – hide some candy canes around the house or garden (if the weather is on your side) and send the children off to find them. Hopefully this will give you enough time to sit down and have a coffee and a mince pie in peace!
  • Make a Gingerbread House – you can buy the kits cheaply in most supermarkets if you (like me!) haven’t got the skills to make one from scratch!
     

Movies

There is nothing like a Christmas Movie to get you in the festive spirit. We all have favourites and every year there are some new additions to the list. Here are just a few to inspire you.  

 

Advent Activities

There are so many ideas for advents that don’t involve chocolate or toys. Here are just a few!

  • Book Advent - we have been doing this now for a few years. I use mostly books that we haven't read for a while (we do have an awful lot of books in our house!) and sneak in one or two new books! I number them so that in the week leading up to Christmas there are mainly Christmas stories. Kids love revisiting books that they have forgotten about - even if you think they may have outgrown them. 

  • Reverse Advent – why not get a box and each day in December add an item to it that can be gifted to a local charity or Romford Food Bank? It might be an idea to start this a week or so earlier than December and then it can be gifted in time for Christmas Day.
  • I was a teacher for many years and we always had a Kindness Advent Calendar. I bought one of the calendars with pockets in it and each day had a piece of paper with a random act of kindness challenge for the class to do. It’s very easy to replicate at home and you can add anything you like – wash the dishes without being asked, make mum a cup of tea, let your brother or sister choose the game/film etc.
  • Santa’s Beard – this is really popular this year, I've seen it a lot on social media. Create an image of Santa’s head without his beard. Each day the child adds a cotton wool ball to create the beard.
  • Advent Blessings Jar – all you need is a jam jar/mason jar and some lolly pop sticks. Each day write something on the stick that you are thankful for – a nice activity to go through and read all the blessings on Christmas Eve, especially after a year when there has been so much going on.
  • Activity Advent – if you have a printer at home there are lots of websites where you can print off puzzles, word searches, colouring in and other paper and pencil activities. Put each one in an envelope, seal it and add a number. Click the links for ideas.
  • Photo Advent – this is a lovely idea that I found in a Facebook group. Why not print off some photos of the kids that you have taken during 2020, put each one in an envelope and mark them to be opened one per day during December. This is a great early gift for a grandparent or family member who hasn’t seen much of you and your children this year due to the restrictions.


Photo with kind permission of Jen Rose 

 

Arts & Crafts

I must admit I am not particularly artistic but at Christmas I do love to get creating. There are so many simple ideas that you should be able to create using items that you already have at home or can buy with your essential shopping.  

  • Christmas Pebble Painting – lots of us got involved with painting pebbles in the first lockdown, why not make some Christmassy designs.
  • Retro Paper Snowflakes – everyone loves these and they are very simple.
  • Homemade Cards for family – Grandparents, aunts and uncles will love a handmade card far more than a shop bought card. It's also a perfect wet Saturday afternoon activity.
  • Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes – these might be a little fiddly but they look fantastic! Click here for instructions.


Photo credit - https://www.firstpalette.com

  • Twig Christmas Trees - I am going to try these and then put in a box frame – a new Christmas decoration to come out each year!
  • Paper Plate Crafts – so many ideas and all you need are basic craft supplies and a packet of paper plates!
  • Lolly Stick Christmas Trees – These look really effective as a tree decoration or on the front of a homemade card.


Photo credit - supermommyclub.com

  • 3D Paper Trees - these are perfect for older kids and teens as they are a bit tricky to make. Click here for instructions
  • Make a Wreath - You can use anything for this. Start with a card base and add pasta shapes, twigs/moss/pinecones, pom poms or anything else you can find.
  • Light Up Angel Cups - These look so cute! All you'll need is: plastic cups, felt tips or sharpies, scissors, some card and a battery tea light. 


Photo Credit: http://mollymoocrafts.com

  • Salt Dough Decorations – Thanks to Kayleigh at Mum's guide to Hertford for sharing her recipe! 1 cup of flour to half a cup of salt and a small amount of water. Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes and poke a hole through with a pencil. Cook on low in the oven for 3 hours or until dry (alternatively dry for up to a week in the airing cupboard) paint and decorate the tree.
  • Hand & Finger Print Baubles – Turn finger prints into reindeer, hand prints into Santa and fingers into snowmen! You'll need some paints for this one. There are lots of ideas here to make really memorable decorations for your free. Click here for ideas

Tasty Treats

It’s the time of year for having extra treats with no excuses! There are lots of recipes and ideas online – these are a few of our favourites which are really easy to make! Click the links to find the recipes.

  • Gingerbread Men/Rudolfs – Make your usual gingerbread men biscuits or cookies using the cutter. Turn them upside down and decorate to look like Rudolph!
  • Peppermint Creams - these are so simple and can be adapted to suit a theme. Make them any shape, add food colouring, dip in chocolate... the options are endless!
  • Christmas Rocky Road - I have to admit to loving Rocky Road but I rarely make it as it's so moreish and it wouldn't last five minutes! The classic recipe is really easy to make but there are lots of ideas for adding some Christmassy ingredients too or just making a more child friendly version!
  • Christmas Cookies - So many ideas on this website for fun cookies which the kids can help make. I am off to find my Christmas cookie cutters!
  • Rice Krispie Cake Christmas puddings – Christmas pudding is often something that kids don't like. It's a grown up pudding! These little gems are absolutely the best substitute and can be made in advance. 
  • Cheese Stars – these really can be any Christmas shape. All you need is a roll of ready made puff pastry, some grated cheese, flour for dusting and a little milk. Unroll the pastry and sprinkle the cheese over one half, fold the pastry in half to cover the cheese and use a roller to seal it. Roll until doubled in size. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet. Use cookie cutter to make your shapes and brush with milk before cooking for 10-12 minutes! These will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. 
  • Mini Christmas Tree Pizza Bites – these can be adapted to suit your preferred pizza toppings. Click here for the recipe.
  • Christmas Fudge – This great no bake fudge was shared by Mum's guide to Hertford. You can easily tweak it to make it Christmassy by adding toppings of your choice or cutting it into different shapes. Take a look!  

 

Elf on the Shelf 

Love them or loathe them, the Elf has become a part of Christmas festivities for lots of families! Last year we published our Elf Cheat Sheet which was hugely popular and we have updated it this year with some new ideas. Most of the ideas are simple so can be easily achieved - especially if you remember you've not done anything just as you get into bed - sound familiar? I am all for making life as simple as possible!

 

I really hope that this article gives you some ideas to help make this Christmas fun for everyone. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas - stay safe!

 

Jane x

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