Christmas Eve Traditions for Children
“'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”
For children around the world, Christmas Eve is perhaps the most exciting night of the year. They sleep with one eye open, and they wait in anticipation for Santa to arrive with his sack stuffed full of presents. Christmas Eve has been a special time for centuries, where children and parents anticipate the joy and magic of Christmas morning to come when the legend goes that St Nicholas himself visits with his reindeer. From ‘Elf on a Shelf’ to Christmas Eve boxes, there have been lots of relatively new Christmas traditions for children springing up over the past few years. Along with the more traditional Christmas activities of going to church, carol singing and writing a letter to Santa, Christmas Eve traditions new and old all contribute to the magic of childhood.
5 Beautiful Christmas Eve Traditions for Children
1) Christmas Eve Nature Trail
Heading out for a long walk to collect holly, pine cones and twigs for decorating the house is a good tip for Christmas Eve to help tire out little legs and ensure a long night’s sleep! Stomping through the woods or fields to find some natural treasures will help little ones to remain calm (-er!), and creating some natural Christmas crafts when you get home will keep them focused. Fragrant sprigs of rosemary, thyme and cinnamon sticks can all be used for crafting, and will provide a treat for all the senses.
2) Christmas Eve Boxes
A relatively new Christmas tradition is that of gifting Christmas Eve Boxes. Many parents have started to give their children a box on Christmas Eve containing things to create an oasis of calm on such an exciting night. Sparkly “reindeer dust”, a new hot chocolate mug, some colouring books, a Christmas movie, snuggly pyjamas and cosy slippers are commonly left in Christmas Eve boxes (new PJs also help to cajole excitable little ones into their new nightwear and into bed on time!). You can buy ready-made ‘Christmas Eve boxes’ online, or you can make your own for that personal touch. We think whether shop bought or homemade, adding some special occasion labels with a personal message for your little ones really makes your Christmas Eve boxes that extra little bit special.
3) Christmas Eve Panto
The tradition of the pantomime (or panto as it’s more commonly known) hails back to 16th century England where comedic theatre productions involving slapstick, music and dancing were made popular around Christmas time. Pantomimes are a beloved Christmas tradition for many families who love to dress up smartly and go along to the theatre on Christmas Eve to participate in the light-hearted performances which heavily involve participation from the crowd. It’s a nice idea to make an evening of it and enjoy a family meal all together afterwards to enjoy some family time and talk about the show. Don’t like panto? Oh, yes you do!
4) Track Santa
There are two online Santa tracking websites (NORAD and the Google Santa Tracker) which let kids (and adults) track the big man in red to see his progress in the night sky on Christmas Eve. The boffins at NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) kindly dedicate December 24th to tracking Father Christmas as he darts from chimney to chimney, country to country, and continent to continent, delivering gifts. Volunteers answer calls and emails from around the world to keep everyone informed just where in the world Santa is, making a magical evening for all!
5) Reindeer Treats
Making magic ‘reindeer food’ to sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas Eve leaves a glittering path-and a sweet snack -for Rudolph and friends. Simply mix porridge oats with some edible glitter and half a cup of sugar and sprinkle on your garden for the reindeers to enjoy when they stop off for a rest after the biggest journey of the year! Don’t forget to label the food bags with a poem such as the one below:
“Under the stars of Christmas Eve night
This magic reindeer food will sparkle bright.
In guiding Rudolph to your house,
You’ll have to be as quick as a mouse.
Go outside and sprinkle it on your lawn
And Santa will visit before it’s dawn.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed our run down of favourite Christmas Eve traditions. Do let us know if there’s any family-favourite festive customs that we may have missed over on Facebook.