1. Table activities. Christmas dinner can be a long, drawn out affair. Much longer than young children would usually be expected to sit at the table so arm yourself and others. I plan to pen G in with as many people as I can to avoid any escaping but I also have a few table friendly activities squirreled away. Christmas colouring always goes down well. I also have a racing reindeer toy and pass the parcel-Sprout.
2. Batteries. All of the batteries. You can never have enough batteries at Christmas. Whether they are for toys or fairy lights, I have been stock piling at my weekly shop for a while. Also check that the toys take regular batteries. There is nothing worse than having a supply of AA and AAA batteries, only to discover a particular toy takes those massive ones.
3. Naps. If your child still takes a nap, for goodness sake, don’t let Christmas Day be the time when you don’t bother putting them down. It will not be a treat for anyone. The sheer excitement is sure to send even me snoozing. No one wants a grumpy child when trying to carve a turkey.
4. You may be really keen on instilling some of these Christmas traditions that so many people go on about. Don’t take anything too seriously. Children thrive on routine in my opinion and, an extra half hour awake on Christmas Eve to make reindeer hot chocolate and watch the Snowman may well result in melt downs. Take everything with a pinch of salt and try to remember how exciting Christmas is to children without the added pressure of traditions. The chances are, as they get older, you will make your own family traditions without even trying.
5. I have saved the most important to last. Your children will not remember whether the parsnips were as good as Mary Berry’s. No time for smoked salmon for breakfast? Stick with the Coco Pops. The most important thing you can give your children at Christmas is time. They want to show you the presents Father Christmas has brought (sometimes repeatedly) and they want you to play with them and the new toys. If it means buying ready made vegetables or staying up until 2am to peel potatoes, the so be it. Don’t miss out on a minute with little ones. The magic won’t last forever.