Conversation

9 ways to make Christmas Eve magical

1.Christmas Eve boxes 

These are a really lovely way to bring a bit of magic and excitement to Christmas Eve. To make, decorate a box (it can be as simple as a cardboard box decorated with Christmas gift wrap) and pop in some wrapped gifts all to be opened and used the night before Christmas.

Ideas for what to put in your box could include: 
  • New pyjamas
  • Cosy slipper socks
  • Reindeer dust – read on to find out how to make this
  • Mugs, hot chocolate sachets and mini marshmallows
  • A book (such as ‘The Night Before Christmas’)
  • A Christmassy colouring book and pens

Christmas Eve boxes don’t need to cost the earth. It’s all about creating the magic and not spending loads on extra gifts. Look in pound shops for mugs, books and art supplies, head to supermarkets to look for pyjamas.

2. See Santa flying through the sky 

You really CAN see Father Christmas flying across the sky as he makes his way around the land delivering presents. You have to be very patient and look very closely though, but if you look up at just the right time you will see a very bright light in the sky.

Shhhh! It’s not really Santa; it’s actually the International Space Station, which has flyovers visible from earth. Check NASA’s  website to find out exactly when you can see the next space station and where in the sky you should be looking.

3. Track Santa 

Even if you don’t manage to spot Santa with your own eyes you can track his progress as he sets off from the North Pole and delivers presents to girls and boys all across the world. Each year NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defence Command) sets up a website for children to track Santa’s progress. Keep an eye on their Facebook page, so you know when to start tracking this Christmas Eve. There is also an app with lots of lovely Christmas Eve themed games for children to play too.

4. Santa’s Magic Key 

If you don’t have a fireplace, your children might get worried about how Father Christmas will be able to get to your house and deliver presents round the tree, and fill the stockings. To soothe their worries, you can make a Magic Key. Take an old key (you can buy some pretty ones in craft shops or you might find a nice old key in a charity or antiques shop). Simply tie a ribbon to it and a tag with the words ‘Santa’s Magic Key’.

5. Reindeer dust 

To light the path or driveway outside your house for Santa, make some reindeer dust to sprinkle. Simply mix oats with glitter (edible glitter is best just in case any curious birds peck it too). You can pop your reindeer dust in a pretty bag or sachet all ready to sprinkle on Christmas Eve.

6. Make a gingerbread house 

This is a lovely family activity for the afternoon on Christmas Eve. You can make your whole gingerbread house from scratch if you like, but to make things easier you can buy ready to assemble gingerbread houses from Ikea or from supermarkets. You glue the pieces together with icing and add icing and sweets for decoration. They look (almost) too good to eat.

If you want to make your own gingerbread then here’s a recipe.

7. Go on a twinkling walk 

Especially for young children, the excitement and build up on Christmas Eve is almost too much to bear. To give everyone a chance to get some fresh air and get out of the house, why not make a twinkling evening walk part of your annual family tradition? Wrap everyone up warm and you could hand out torches for extra excitement. Then walk round your neighbourhood, spotting the twinkling tree lights in the window, the frost twinkling on the paths and glimpses of families getting ready for Christmas through the windows

8. Mince pies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer 

Of course Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without putting out some snacks and drinks for Father Christmas, Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer before bedtime. We wonder if Rudolph will take a bite out of the carrot you left and if Santa will nibble the mince pie, and drink the large glass of milk?

9. Make sure Santa leaves footprints 

For added magic when the kids wake up on Christmas morning, cut footprint shapes out of card and place a few on the floor near the chimney and the Christmas tree. Sprinkle icing sugar or flour all over the card footprints and then when you lift up the card you will be left with some ‘snowy’ prints left by Father Christmas.