Christmas is special for lots of reasons, but we all have those family traditions that make it extra special. As an adult, I most look forward to the slightly more boozy tradition of having prosecco with breakfast and stuffing myself full of nice food. But once upon a time, it was laying out the cookies, milk and carrots for Father Christmas and his reindeer!
We all have quirky traditions that might sound weird to everyone else. But, some of our favourite things, I guess, wouldn’t sound out of place in anyone’s household.
So, here are some fresh takes on popular traditions that your kids will love, not just opening presents.
Leaving food for Father Christmas and the reindeer
The idea that Santa would squeeze down the chimney and go back up with treats you’ve left for the reindeer is magical for a child. Although Santa may well prefer a glass of wine and a tube of Pringles at Midnight than milk and carrots, it’s not quite as fun.
We used to leave a glass of port, some cheese and carrots. It was always gone the next day!
Singing Christmas carols
Children and toddlers mostly love singing. Similar to nursery rhymes, many Christmas carols are tunes that tell a fun story which kids are naturally attracted to. Songs like Jingle Bells, Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Rudoph the Red Nose Reindeer can be great fun to sing with your children. Singing to children can also help them develop their speech!
Making gingerbread (a healthy version)
Making gingerbread is a lot of fun, but any helpers will understandably want to eat their creations! Try a healthier recipe to appease little ones that have a sweet tooth with this healthier version. There’s no butter or refined sugar in here!
- Organic white flour x 1
● Cornstarch ¾ tsp cornstarch
● Baking powder ¼ teaspoon
● Almond flour x ¼ cup
● Palmyra jaggery x 4tsp
● Ground ginger 2tsp
● Ground nutmeg (a generous pinch)
● Ground cloves (a generous pinch)
● Salt ¼ tablespoon
● 2 tbsp coconut oil - melted and cooled slightly
● 1 large egg
● 1 ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract
● Molasses x 60 mL
1) Mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, all the spices and the salt in a medium bowl.
2) In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Slowly stir in the molasses and the palmyra jaggery.
3) Add the flour, spice mix to the bowl with the liquid molasses and stir together to make a dough.
4) Cover the dough and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
5) When the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade oven 180 C
6) Roll out the dough until ⅛ inch thick. Pop your cookie cutter into some flour to stop it sticking and go ahead cutting out the shapes.
7) Place onto a baking tray on top of some baking paper.
8) Bake for 8-10 minutes.
9) Allow to cool and then decorate - or eat!
A Christmas and Boxing Day walk
It’s tempting to spend most of Christmas and Boxing day inside, relaxing. Especially if you’ve had a hectic build-up to Christmas. For toddlers, who naturally have a lot of energy, this can make them go a bit stir crazy. Wrapping up and getting out of the house for a walk after lunch, or/and on boxing day freshens everyone up and helps little ones get rid of any excess energy!
Stockings first, presents later
Everyone has their own present giving traditions, and whatever works for you, great! With our first child, they stayed in bed till their regular wake up time until around 4 years old. With our second, this hasn’t been the case. Older brothers and sisters tend to enrol any younger siblings into their efforts to wake you up at the crack of dawn.
Something that we find works really well is to give the little ones a stocking to open with some small presents. Oranges and fruit, a soft toy or something similar to find and enjoy means that any other presents can wait till later when we’ve managed to drag ourselves out of bed!
We hope you enjoy all your family Christmas traditions this year. Merry Christmas from everyone at Matchstick Monkey!