It might be one of the busiest times of the year, but Christmas is also the time when your kids are most likely to want to get involved in the preparations. In fact, if you can build on their excitement about the festive season – and maybe throw in a little bribery! – you should be able to get them to get some of the most time-consuming tasks off your plate, leaving your Christmas less frantic.
1. Decorate the tree
Get the tree standing securely upright, then let your children express themselves with baubles, tinsel and trinkets. Young kids will love this, but even older kids will enjoy it, especially if you give them responsibility for setting the colour scheme and design. They can always Instagram the results! Avoid glass decorations for the youngsters. After Christmas, give them tissue or newspaper and have a ‘wrapping-up’ game packing it all away for next year.
2. Tidy up the rooms
It’s not such a fun job, but you can get your kids to collect up all the toys, books and mess around the lounge and kitchen ¬– for the promise of Christmas chocolates or mince pies they’ll be willing to make a little extra effort. Check out our article Trick the kids into tidying up for some more ideas.
3. Play at being chef
Some of the root vegetables might need a sharp knife and adult attention (perfect for dads and older kids), but even the younger ones can wash the veg, remove outer leaves from sprouts, and wrap up all the peelings into a parcel for the recycling caddy. Meanwhile, older kids will feel a sense of pride if they’ve been involved in preparing the biggest meal of the year! And everyone loves making mince pies. Read our guide to Get-ahead Christmas cooking for some ideas to get done in advance.
4. Organise your Christmas card list
One for 10-year-olds and over – get names and addresses printed off by the member of the family who is never off your computer. Or if they’re arty, get them to handwrite the envelopes with a really nice pen, for a more personal touch (obviously make sure the writing is legible!). Alternatively, go green and save money by getting them to seek out a website where they can personalise a short film with uploaded family photos and send out e-cards by email for you.
5. Choose the gifts
Give your teen the budget to buy the gifts for the younger kids on your list. They should be close enough in age to still know what will go down well! To avoid any cheeky pranks, get them to choose them online and save a list for you, so you can approve them and pay for them. You could even start a private Pinterest board to share ideas.
6. Make pudding
If they want to buy a traditional pudding, encourage them to shop around first and report back to you with a few options (a useful life skill!) or let them find something great in a cookbook and give them a small budget to buy ingredients. Alternatively, get your teen to sort the starter instead. If they don’t like Christmas pudding, why not try one of our Alternative Christmas desserts or go for a traditional Italian Panettone, which also makes a great gift option.
7. Wrap the presents
Wrapping and writing labels takes more time than you think so share out this task with gifts that don’t have to be kept secret from your children. Little ones can get creative with ribbon and glitter, while older kids will enjoy knowing the secrets of who has which present, as well as perfecting their wrapping techniques!
Do your kids get involved in the Christmas preparation? Let us know your tips for an easy Christmas in the comment box below.