Why Make Your Christmas?

 

 

We welcome parents and families of all faiths and none.  Whether you celebrate Christmas for religious reasons or not, it’s impossible to avoid the build-up to 25th December –  so it’s no wonder that so many families join in, decorating their homes and sending cards.

 

It can seem quite competitive, with photos shared on social media of beautifully decorated trees and piles of presents.  Adverts show happy families gathering for a wonderful Christmas dinner and children who are overjoyed at receiving this year’s must-have present.  This “perfect” ideal of Christmas is not realistic for most of us, but parents can feel that their children are missing out somehow, or that they are not “good enough” at parenting.

 

For some years we’ve shared useful seasonal information (eg: about safety and mental health). Over the last few years, we’ve all been “feeling the pinch” of rising prices and many people are again worried about the costs of celebrating. In 2022 we expanded our information campaign to include ideas to help families have a happy but cost-friendly Christmas. This was very successful and we received lots of positive comments, so we’re repeating this for 2023 (with some new information and ideas too).

 

There are suggestions for making decorations, cards and gifts; technology ideas to send greetings and amuse the children; baking and making food items; plus information about cooking Christmas dinner on a budget.

 

From 27th November we’ll be posting information and ideas on our social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – with the hashtag #MakeYourChristmas.

 

We’ll also be sending out digests of the information to everyone who receives our emails; if you don’t get our emails,  you can sign up to receive them (we just need an email address and we won’t sell it to anyone or share it with anyone unless you ask us to do so).

 

Although we focus on parents and families, some of this information will be relevant to everyone (so do share it with anyone who might find it useful). If you’re able to download our poster to print and display that would be really helpful (if you know of a group or venue which might like a poster, please pass on the details).

 

This page will be updated regularly to include extra details and background tips about some of our social media posts – do make a note to check back here often. (Last updated 21st December 2023.)

 

So, let’s #MakeYourChristmas …

 

Download a #MakeYourChristmas poster to display.

 

 

 

20th December:  More Christmas Activities

 

Today we’re sharing even more simple Christmas activities for your family.

 

Christmas will soon be here – are your children excited about it?

 

Watch this “Where’s Santa?” video together and write/tell a story about it. What’s he doing? Who’s that reindeer with him? What will happen next? Where will he go? What adventures will he have? You can find the short animation here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycwhsD7.

 

 

There’s still time to add decorations to your home/tree. Artist Jan Brett has a colourful cone to print which can be hung from a tree branch  or elsewhere (eg: a door handle, a clothes hook). You could fill the cone with sweets or leave it to simply look festive.

Download and print it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycjbD10.

You can make plain Christmas cones too, or maybe use colourful/patterned paper. (A simple way to make a cone is to draw round a plate or other object to get a circle; either cut it in half and overlap edges of the semicircle to make the cone or cut a wedge out of the full circle – experiment!)

 

 

Christmas paper lanterns are also fun to make – there’s a film to show you how here:  http://tinyurl.com/PVmyclntD10.

These lanterns even have an optional card base, so you can place a battery-powered tealight inside (keep out of the reach of small children –  batteries are very dangerous if swallowed).

 

 

Finally, how about this bauble addition sheet: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycbbaD10?

It’s a quick activity for children, so useful if they have a few minutes to fill!

 

 

 

19th December:  Christmas Activities

 

Here are some more things for you and your children to do!

 

First, why not download our Activity Booklet?

 

It has a maze, a word search and colouring – children can do these activities without (much) parent involvement. This may be useful if you want some time to do something yourself.

Download and print it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycabkD9.

 

 

The next two activities involve food (so parental/other adult involvement will be needed).

 

A no-bake flapjack could be a tasty treat before or after Christmas. It could also make a foodie present – and children might like to leave out one or two flapjacks for Santa (it’s different to mince pies!).

The instructions are here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycfjkD9.

 

 

 

Finally, BBC Good Food has an easy recipe for stained glass gingerbread biscuits. These would also make a lovely gift – the recipe is here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycstnD9.

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18th December:  Christmas Meals (including tips for toddlers)

 

Are you planning what to cook for Christmas Dinner next week (and how you’re going to cook it)?

We have some more suggestions for budget-friendly recipes.

 

BBC Good Food has several energy saving ideas. These include air fryer sprouts, parsnips and turkey breast. If you have a slow cooker, maybe you’d like to try the slow cooker turkey crown or vegetarian hotpot. You can find these and many more recipes here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycesrD8.

 

The Cheaper Little Christmas page has several budget recipes; these are from a few years ago, so prices have risen since then: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycbtsD8.

 

Beat the Budget has ideas to feed 6 for under £20! The article has recipes and a cooking schedule for the meal: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycbtbD9.

 

BBC Good Food also has a budget vegetarian Christmas Dinner (which serves 4): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycvegD9.

 

If you’re worried about how your toddler will get on with Christmas food, don’t worry! The Infant and Toddler Forum has some top tips for planning your Christmas Meal with a toddler: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycitfD8.

 

Made For Mums also has information about Christmas finger food for young children which you can find here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycm4mD9.

 

 

 

 

 

17th December: More Christmas Activities

 

Today we’re sharing some more things for children to do while they wait for Christmas.

 

– We have a free Christmas word search for your child/ren to do. You can download and print it here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycwdD7.

 

There’s an answer sheet too (in case you can’t find that last word)!

 

– We also have a fun Christmas stocking colouring sheet. Download and print for your children here: tinyurl.com/PVmycclrD7.

 

– On Christmas Eve, Norad tracks Santa for children; if you visit the site before then you can find out about Santa, his sleigh and more, listen to Christmas songs and watch some short films.

Find it all here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycn0rD7.

 

– Christmas is just a week away but there’s still time to make more decorations! Why not try making this origami Santa/gnome decoration? You don’t have to use origami paper (but it does need to be cut square): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycoriD8. Great fun for all the family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

16th December: Christmas Activities

 

Today we’re sharing several activities for children – and the whole family! Some of them are things which children can do on their own (eg: our activity booklet), others may need parents to help (eg: making crackers).

 

– We have  a 12 page printable book of Christmas activities for children. It includes colouring, a word search, a letter to Santa and much more. You can download and print it here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycawD6.

– If you like Christmas crackers, why not try making your own this year? You can find detailed instructions (and a template) here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyccrD6. It’s a fun family activity and you can adapt it to what you have and what your family likes (eg: use your favourite jokes). If you don’t have any “snaps” to make your crackers go bang, you can see who makes the best “bang” sound when the crackers are pulled, or they can be silent (useful for any family with someone who’s sensitive to noise).

– Colouring is not just for young children. Jan Brett’s Nutcracker Christmas Tree drawing has lots of detail and could keep older children/adults busy for some time: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycjbD6.

– Another decoration idea is a tealight snowman. A very basic (naked!) snowman just needs a battery tealight and black marker pen to draw round “coals” for his eyes and mouth (the light is his carrot nose). However, you can go further with hats, scarves etc. There are two films which will give you some ideas about doing this (but do adapt it with what you have or can easily get/afford): https://tinyurl.com/PVmyctl1D6 and https://tinyurl.com/PVmyctl2D6.

 

 

 

 

 

15th December: Party snacks and food gifts

 

Today we’re sharing some more ideas from BBC Good Food for some delicious party snacks or food gifts. These are all relatively simple and could be fun to make with your children.

 

First, there’s reindeer and snowman bark. Apparently this can be made in 30 minutes and it could be a quick and easy Christmas dessert: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycrdrD5.

 

Toffee popcorn bark (http://tinyurl.com/PVmyctpbD5) is a “simple chocolate slab” which is broken into pieces and could be served at a children’s party. It needs just 3 ingredients and the recipe makes 8 servings – though these are quite large portions, so you could get more by dividing the slab into smaller portions.

 

Sweet snowballs are an alternative to truffles. The recipe makes 16 snowballs and they could make lovely gifts (if they aren’t eaten before being wrapped!). Find the recipe here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycsnwD5.

 

Finally, for a savoury treat, how about some cheese stars? They’ll make a tasty party snack (the easy recipe makes 20 stars) and will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. The recipe is here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycchsD6.

 

 

 

 

14th December: Mental health at Christmas

 

Today we have some more information about mental health at Christmas.

 

This time of year can be tough for anyone with mental health challenges. Some of the information below may be useful:

 

– In this Rethink Mental Illness article, Alexandra discusses how she overcomes feeling disconnected from the festive spirit: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycrmxD4.

 

– An Anna Freud young champion has written about some of the reasons why Christmas can be tough and what their Christmas wish is. They explain why young people should be supported but not pressured to do things. Find it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycafx2D5.

 

– Loneliness affects many young people and for some students, Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year. Read The Mix‘s tips to combat this (and please pass it on to any young people who might find it useful): http://tinyurl.com/PVmycmixD5.

 

– Parents supporting a child or young person with mental health challenges may find Parenting Mental Health‘s “Christmas Your Way” guide useful. You can download it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycpmhD5.

 

– This Metro article has several tips about how to get through Christmas Day if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): http://tinyurl.com/PVmycsadD5.

 

 

 

 

13th December:   Christmas information for families who have a child with additional needs/a disability

 

Today we have some more information, articles and resources for parents who have a child with additional needs.

Christmas usually means lots of changes. For a child with additional needs, this can cause stress and they may become overwhelmed.

 

 

Action for Children have some simple suggestions to help your child cope with the Christmas changes: http://tinyurl.com/PVmyca4cD4.

 

National Autistic Society have a brief list of useful resources which may be helpful in making the festive period as special and as stress free as possible for autistic people. You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycnasD5.

 

The ADHD Foundation has a booklet to help everyone (adults and children/young people) stay cool at Yule. You can download it here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycadfD4.

 

The ADHD Centre also has 12 tips for an ADHD Family Christmas which you can find here; http://tinyurl.com/PVmycadhdD5.

 

Finally, the RNIB has a 30 page “Joy Makers Guide To Christmas” with lots of suggestions to make Christmas accessible for children with vision impairment: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycrnIbD5. (This includes making sensory decorations, suggestions for presents and festive activities.)

 

 

 

12th December:   Edible treats to make for Christmas

 

Gingerbread and Christmas seem to go together!

Gingerbread houses are popular, but why not make some gingerbread biscuits?

If you’re looking for an easy gingerbread recipe, take a look at this one from BBC Good Food: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycbgbD4 (it uses 8 ingredients).

They say that it’s “perfect for baking with children” & suggest you can use them for decorations (but you may prefer to just eat them).

Maybe you’ve thought of making some sweet treats, either for your family or as a gift. What could be better than some Christmas truffles?

 

BBC Good Food has another simple recipe here: http://tinyurl.com/PVmycbtfD4.

Put these truffles in a pretty box to make a delicious present or keep them for your family (they may not last long!).

 

 

 

11th December:   Mental health at Christmas

 

Today we’re sharing some information about mental health and Christmas.

 

Christmas can be a difficult time for many people for various reasons, and there’s usually a certain pressure to have “the perfect Christmas” which then results in a feeling of failure if things don’t go to plan.

There’s an expectation that everyone will have a good time and be happy – many don’t have a good time and there are lots of people who feel lonely at Christmas.

For anyone with mental health challenges it can all be amplified. The following links to information may be helpful –

 

 

– Mind has some tips about mental health and coping at Christmas: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycmndD3.

 

 

– This article covers a lot of general points and advice about Christmas and why it can affect mental health: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycmhxD3.

(NB: this is from High Speed Training and aimed at people who are working, but the information and tips may be useful for everyone).

 

 

– The Anna Freud Centre has a post written by one of their Young Champions about Coping at Christmas: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycafx1D3.

 

 

– Christmas for anyone with an eating disorder can be very difficult. In this BEAT article, Lucy shares some thoughts about this: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyced1D3.

 

 

– Papyrus has a post about loneliness at Christmas (which is surprisingly(?) common): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycplOD3.

 

 

 

10th December:  More Christmas activities for children

 

Are your children excited about Christmas (it’s just two weeks until Christmas Eve)? We have some more suggestions for children’s activities which may keep them occupied for a while!

 

First, if they like colouring why not download our colouring book for some Christmas fun: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyccr1D2?

Of course, you can print all the pages as many times as you like – so this is useful if you have several children who like colouring or if your child likes a particular picture and wants to colour it more than once!

 

Next, there’s a simple paper craft for children – make a rosette snowman: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsnrD2.

You can use crayons to colour white paper for the carrot if you don’t have any orange paper. The snowman’s hat doesn’t have to be black – you could try another colour or maybe use colourful printed paper!

 

Finally, how about making a small paper Christmas tree? Watch how here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycpxtD3.

(If you don’t have a lolly stick for the trunk, try using a straw or cut a piece of thick card.)

This is simple for young children to do and the tree can be decorated with stickers, small circles of coloured paper, scrunched up tissue paper or just draw small circles to make baubles!

 

 

 

 

 

9th December:  Christmas activities to do with children

 

Today we have some ideas for Christmas activities you can do with children (everyone’s getting excited now, the holiday is getting closer!).

Paper chains are a simple December activity for families and they’re great Christmas decorations.

All you need is paper, scissors and something to stick them (glue, staples, sticky tape). A pencil and ruler will be useful too if you want to make your chains the same size (but they don’t have to be). Most types of paper are suitable for this, so you don’t have to buy special packs.

Why not make your chains with wrapping or plain paper (children can use crayons to make patterns on plain paper first), newspaper (for a vintage/minimalistic look), leaflets etc. (You can find free newspapers at many supermarkets, railway stations or on buses and most supermarkets have leaflets – when you’ve read about what they’re offering, you could use them to make paper chains.)

There’s some inspiration and instructions here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycpcD1.

We made large chains from newspaper (4cm x 29cm approximately), some medium size chains (2cm x 14-1/2cm approximately) also from newspaper, and smaller chains (2cm x 20cm approximately) from colourful supermarket leaflets.
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Another idea is to make your own wrapping paper. Watch our short film for ideas & inspiration (adapt to what you have!): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycwrpD1.

If you use paint on your wrapping paper, making it now means it will be dry with plenty of time before you use it to wrap presents.

Have fun with these ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th December:  Christmas food on a budget

 

Are you starting to think about planning your festive meals?

 

 

Today we have some ideas for festive meals on a budget.

 

– Save The Student’s guide to cooking Christmas Dinner on a budget may help students who are cooking for themselves, as well as anyone else who needs to save money. The ingredients have been costed and they suggest a meal for four can be done for less than £2.75 per person!

Find the details here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycssxdD1 (this includes an idea for frying sprouts – worth trying if you’ve not been a fan up till now!).

 

– Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge have a turkey roll and traybake veggies recipe: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycfstrN28. This should serve 4 – 6 people; it’s a Full Time Meals recipe from a couple of years ago, so the cost may be a little more than the £10 stated on the site.

They also have a suggestion for Boxing Day breakfast (which can be vegetarian): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycfsvN28. Plus the Squash & roots traybake might be a suitable vegetarian Christmas meal (the price of carrots and parsnips is often lower in supermarkets just before Christmas): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycfssqN28.

Another vegetarian possibility is the giant veggie pasty: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycfspD1.

 

–  BBC Good Food has 74 Budget Christmas recipes: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycbxrD1. With so many different recipes. costs and cooking skills will vary, but take a look to see if there’s something your family may like.

Of course, you don’t have to have a large Christmas dinner – if you and your family decide you’d like something totally different (whether that’s beans on toast, egg and chips, bubble and squeak or something else entirely), go for it!

Have a meal that you enjoy rather than something that you feel you must have because it’s traditional.

Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7th December:  Making decorations

 

Decorations which are made by (and with) your family can make memories that will last for years.

 

If you have a young child, check out these ideas from Action For Children – there are instructions and films to show you what to do: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycacN30.

 

 

For older children (and adults) there are some fun hat decorations which can be made with cardboard tubes and some yarn!

There are several short videos which show how to make the basic hat decoration. Most suggest using some stuffing or cotton wool – this will make your hat plumper, but it can be left out.

Try watching https://tinyurl.com/PVmycyht1N29 which is good for the basics. If you want to hang them on a tree, just make a longer loop of yarn, and either knot it inside the hat or tie it around the yarn which is tied to form the top (“bobble”) part of the hat.

Another film to watch is here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmychtN30. This one shows how to use several hats to make a garland.

This next film is 6 minutes long and shows the whole process of making hats, just one colour or stripes (again, with some filling): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycht2N30.

Finally, you can even make some little gnomes! This film shows you how: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycygmN30.

This idea uses a (hot) glue gun, but other types of glue may also work! You could also use a tiny pompom or a circle of felt – or even paper – instead of a bead to make the nose (this could be safer if there are young children around who could swallow a bead).

If you don’t have any yarn, you could try asking friends or neighbours who knit or crochet whether they have any oddments they would give you. Many charity shops also sell yarn (for varying prices, so do look around).

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6th December:  Toy safety and making presents

 

Are you buying toys for Christmas?

 

Why not watch this very short Child Accident Prevention Trust video about the possible dangers of buying cheap toys online: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyctytN29?

There’s also more information here about watching out for dangerous toys and how to spot if one might be unsafe: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyctoysN29.

Do pass on this information to anyone else who may be buying toys.

 

Have you thought about making some presents this year?

There are 10 ideas from Save the Student for easy gifts to make, include microwaved handwarmers and hot chocolate sticks. Find it all here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycstsN29.

Do pass this on to any students, but they are great ideas for anyone else too!

There are another 116 (yes, 116) ideas for gifts here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycgftN29!

This is an American site and several ideas may involve buying items (so you’ll have to adapt to British brands); but there are some great food gifts (Grinch cookies, Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies, Gingerbread Fudge) and other inspiring ideas (eg: bubble bath gift box) which can be adapted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th December:  Christmas for families with a child/young person who has additional needs

 

If there’s a child or young person in your family with additional needs, you’ve probably started planning for Christmas early.

Many children like routine and don’t like changes. Christmas usually involves lots of changes and surprises – presents, parties, meeting people who you don’t see often, visits to relatives’ houses etc.

Some children have sensory needs to consider to avoid overload. Different food, people and places, noise, lights – it can all become rather overwhelming!

We have some suggestions for information to help parents with a Christmas that suits your child.

 

–  SENDIASS have a general article about coping with Christmas for parents of children and young people with additional needs: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycHWSN27. This is a short article covering a number of basic issues to consider.

 

–  SNAP charity (based in Essex) has an 18 page Christmas survival guide: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsn4pN27.
This covers decorations, food, presents and more, including festive messy play and suggestions how to make sure that visually impaired children don’t miss out.

 

Sensory Integration Education  has a Christmas Sensory Survival Kit. You do have to provide an email address for them to send it to you: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsskN27.

 

–  Witherslack Group‘s Seasonal Support Pack has webinars, podcasts and articles to support you and your family at Christmas. It includes sleep support and strategies to support over-stimulation. You can find it here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycwthN28 (again, you have to provide an email address).

 

Some of the information in the downloads above may be useful for adults with sensory challenges too, so do take a look.

We’ll share more information about Christmas and additional needs/disabilities soon (so do check back).

 

 

 

 

 

4th December:  Small pom-pom decorations

 

It’s just 3 weeks until Christmas!

We’re starting the week with a simple decoration idea – small pom-poms to hang on a tree!

To make these you’ll need some yarn, a fork and scissors. If you don’t have any yarn, why not ask a friend or relative who knits/crochets or does other yarn crafts whether they have any oddments you can use? (Many crafters have bits left over from their projects.) You can often find small balls of yarn quite cheaply in charity shops too.

Watch our short film here to see how to make a small pom-pom using a fork: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycpomN27.

If you need a simple Christmas jumper you could jazz up a plain one by sewing on some pom-poms (which can be removed later).

If you’d like to make a larger pom-pom using (pac-man shaped) cardboard discs, there’s a video to show you how: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycrtN27.

There’s also a more detailed video about making pom-poms using a fork here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycytN27.

We hope you and your children have fun with this idea!

 

 

 

 

3rd December:  Advent, Christmas cards and video greetings

 

Advent always starts four Sundays before Christmas.

That means that this year Advent starts today, 3rd December.

 

Here’s a simple activity for children – why not colour in an Advent wreath: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycbradN27?

This is free to download and print from Baker Ross.

 

As it’s now just 3 weeks until Christmas Eve, you may be thinking about Christmas cards.

There are 15 cute and easy Christmas card designs that your children can make here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsitN26.

 

(This includes a fingerprint reindeer (this could be messy?) and paper strip trees – you’ll need blank cards for this.)

The difficulty varies, but you should be able to find something for your child!!

 

If you want to send something a little different to cards, why not use your phone (or other technology) to make a family video greeting to send this year?   Watch our short film about doing this here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycvgrN26.

It’s definitely different to cards – this could make your season’s greetings unique for your family and will also save on postage costs!

 

 

 

2nd December:  Advice for divorced/separated parents, top tips for students (and others), and grief at Christmas

 

This can be a difficult time for parents who are divorced or separated. Family Lives has some useful advice if you’re in this situation (or know someone else who is – please pass it on!): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycfldivN25.

Next, do you have a student in the family? The costs of festive fun can add up, and young people can struggle to afford the costs!

But it is possible to do Christmas on a budget.

Save the Student has some top tips to help (some of them may be useful for other young adults and just about everyone): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycstsN26.

Finally, today is the start of Grief Awareness Week. Grief takes many forms and bereavement can be really tough at this time of year.

Grief has no time limit and people grieve differently – there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Christmas can bring back memories of the person who has died, resulting in a variety of emotions. The Mix has some coping tips to help young people through the festive season: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycmixN26.

 

 

 

1st December:  Money, presents and buying safe toys

 

Today we’re talking about presents – sticking to a budget and not getting carried away, overspending or getting in to debt at Christmas, and buying safe toys.

 

So, will you make the presents count this year?

In this short film, Martin Lewis outlines reasons why there should be no unnecessary Christmas gifts: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycmlN25. He argues that banning unnecessary presents can mean less stress, less cost and more joy.
(This is from 2018 but even more relevant in 2023!)

There are another 30 Christmas money saving suggestions to cut costs this festive season here (from Money to the Masses): https://tinyurl.com/PVmycm2mN25.

And If you’re buying toys it’s important that they’re safe. Watch this recording of the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s webinar about dangerous toys and how to avoid buying them: https://tinyurl.com/PVmyctoysN25.

 

 

 

30th November:  Chocolate decorations and Space-saving Christmas Trees

 

Do you want some chocolate decorations for your Christmas tree? We’ve got a suggestion for making some simply, quickly (and cheaply) – watch our short film to find out how!

These can also be used with the free Advent Calendars we told you about yesterday.

Maybe you need a Christmas tree too. You don’t have one yet or maybe you don’t have space for a tree? We have two suggestions for alternative, space-saving trees!

Why not gather some twigs/sticks to make your own unique tree which can hang on the wall? (Go on a family walk in the fresh air to gather the twigs – even more family fun!)

There are 15+ simple DIY decorations, including a paper chain tree here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsdN25.

(NB: your paper chain tree doesn’t have to be green – why not make it colourful using different papers? We’ll have ideas for paper chains very soon!)

 

 

 

29th November:  Advent Calendars/Christmas Countdown

 

Do you need an Advent Calendar?

Calendars with chocolate are the “norm” now, popular since the 1990s (though they’d been around before that!).

Printed Advent calendars were introduced in the early 1900s; the first commercially produced advent calendars in Germany were a sheet of different festive pictures.

These are some calendars which you can download and print (continuing the original tradition and saving money):

Jan Brett’s colourful calendar has doors to open (you have to print the front and back and cut the doors): .

– The Supercoloring site (American, hence the spelling) has 25 colouring pages which you can download or they can be coloured online.

– Johanna Basford’s Inky Advent Calendar has small detailed pictures to print and colour.

– The Crayola Christmas Countdown colouring page also has small pictures; they can simply be coloured, or follow the link on the page to see a way to use them to craft a calendar with pockets for small gifts.

– Baker Ross  has something a little different – a Random Acts of Kindness calendar to download.

If you want to add chocolate, you can do so – our next idea is for making your own simple chocolate decorations to hang on a tree. (Your child can choose one from the tree after opening a door/colouring each day. The small Crayola colouring pictures could be stuck on to wrapped chocolate pieces if they’re the right size).

 

 

 

 

 

28th November:  Saving Money

 

It’s time to talk money! Here are some articles with suggestions to help keep costs down.

– Money Saving Expert’s 48 money-saving top tips can help reduce financial stress at Christmas.

– Family Lives’ short article has some ideas for parents about celebrating Christmas on a budget.

– You can also find 20 free/cheap ways to sprinkle some Christmas magic for children in the short Money Saving Expert team article.

 

 

 

27th November:  Letters to Santa

 

Does your child want to write to Santa/Father Christmas?

Royal Mail has information about doing this and the address for letters to reach Father Christmas (very important!).

You can find the details here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycsnN22. 🎅

If the letter doesn’t reach him by 30th November for a reply (it’s an earlier deadline than previous years), you can download the card which he’d send to your child (this could also be good for any letters which might be left out for him?).

 

Baker Ross also has a printable template for a letter to Santa here: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycbrsN22 (NB: this is a sales site but the letter is a free download to colour in (and write)).

 

 

 

 

26th November:  Short film about the launch of #MakeYourChristmas

 

Watch our short introductory video ready for the start of #MakeYourChristmas: https://tinyurl.com/PVmycvidN22.

 

Here are some suggestions for  things which you may want to start collecting:

  • Newspapers (you may get a free one on a bus, at a train station or at a supermarket)

  • Magazines/Supermarket leaflets/flyers

  • Paper of various colours and sizes (eg: envelopes, A4 sheets to print downloads)

  • Cardboard tubes

  • Cardboard (eg: biscuit packets, tissue boxes) – this will be useful if you need to make a template

  • Sweet wrappers (foil)

  • Small boxes (for food presents)

  • Various lengths of cotton, yarn or string – to hang decorations

  • Small amounts of yarn (for decorations) – try asking friends/neighbours who knit or crochet for oddments, or check local charity shops (some have cheap balls of yarn for sale)

  • You’ll also find scissors, sticky tape, a pencil and glue helpful!

 

We hope you have lots of family fun with some of the ideas we’ll be posting – we’d love to see what you do, so don’t forget to share them on social media (with the hashtag #MakeYourChristmas) or email them to parentsvoiceworc@gmail.com.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

 

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