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Five Fantastic Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Kids

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1. Decorated Christmas Sack Pillowcases

Create a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition for your children with pillowcases! All you need is a plain white pillowcase per child and some fabric pens or paints.

On Christmas Eve when the excitement is getting all too much, settle down with the kids and let them decorate their own Christmas pillowcase sack. I know a family who has upheld this tradition for 15 years since their first child was a toddler and they now have an amazing stash of keepsake pillowcases that each child has decorated for every Christmas of their life! If like many families with children, you have a box of art and craft bits and bobs now is the time to get it out and add trimmings and decorations to the hand drawn creations. Don't forget to add the date or childrens ages so that you can look back in years to come. So much more fun than a shop bought Christmas sack or stocking and fun to boot!

2. Salt Dough Christmas Tree Decorations

Set the kids to work in the Christmas holidays to create new decorations for the Christmas tree. Salt dough is the perfect material for making durable, colourful Christmas tree decorations and it's a fun activity that the kids will enjoy and the perfect way to keep them busy in the build up to the big day.

Simple Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups plain flour
1 cup table salt
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil (optional for easier kneading)

Mix the flour, salt and water together in a bowl. Add the vegetable oil if using. The dough should be firm but not dry. if it becomes sticky add a touch more flour. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and then leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out to the depth of a pound coin (you may need to flour the surface) and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes ready to decorate. For hanging decorations, make a hole in the dough before cooking for a ribbon to be inserted. The hole will get smaller during cooking so much it quite large to begin with.

The dough can either be dried in the oven for about 3-4 hours on a low heat or alternatively 'cook'them in the microwave for around 3 minutes, checking every 30 seconds.

Decorate with acrylic paints and coat with pva glue for a shiny finish and insert a pretty ribbon.

3. Advent Treasure Hunt

Forget a standard advent calendar and start your own tradition of an advent treasure hunt from the 1st of December until Christmas Eve. You will need 24 small gifts a set of clues and a dose of imagination! This is a fantastically fun activity that is suitable for kids of all ages. Depending on the age of your children and how long you would like it to take, you can have anything from 1 single clue to a set of several clues to lead your kids to the treasure. Set a fixed time each day for this fun activity to give the kids something to look forward to.

4. Gingerbread Men

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the perrenial favourite gingerbread and this is another activity that suits children of all ages. Kids love to mix and get messy with dough so this is a fun way to spend some time together that everyone will enjoy. Mix up some simple icing in a selection of different colours for the kids to pipe their designs and adorn with smarties, sprinkles and edible glitter for some fantastical creations!

5. Christmas Eve Box

Most young children are possitively bursting with excitement by Christmas eve and getting them to bed (when you know they will be up again at the crack of dawn) is often a struggle. Start a lovely tradition of a Christmas eve box to be opened after your evening meal and start the calming down process leading up to a restful bedtime. Here are our top tips for filling your kids Christmas eve boxes;

Christmas Colouring
Pop in a little Christmas colouring book or print out a picture from the internet, along with some pencils for a calm activity before bed.

Special Hot Chocolate Sachet
Choose a selection of individual hot chocolate sachets in the supermarket and let the kids choose which one they want. Snuggle up together on the sofa, watch a Chrismtas movie and enjoy!

Mince Pie and Carrot
Include a little mince pie and a carrot for Rudolph along with a notepad and paper so the kids can write a special note for Santa to leave by the fireplace or back door.

Christmas Tree Decoration
Each year include a new decoration or bauble for the tree, or if you have made some salt dough decorations, time it so that the last one is baked and ready to hang on Christmas eve.

Chrismtas Story Book
Choose a special story book with a Christmas tale - perfect to lull them into Christmas Eve sweet dreams!

Cosy Jim Jams
Kids need new pyjamas all the time so why not time is specially for Christmas so they have a special cosy new set specially for Christmas Eve.

Your Traditions - we'd love to hear from you and your own family traditions. Do you have a special activity you do year after year, or perhaps you're just starting one. Let us know!

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