Making Christmas Magical

One of my little ones came up to me with tears in her eyes a few days ago and told me that sometimes when she thinks about things she is happy or excited about she feels like she’s going to cry, but didn’t understand why. What a sweetheart. I explained about happy tears and discovered what she was feeling really excited about was Christmas approaching.

Christmas is our favourite time of year around here. But not just the day; the whole month of December leading up to it. We’re all SO excited it’s almost here again! I know just how my little happy crier feels. The togetherness, the joy, the creating, the food, the magic. Yes please!

“We use traditions and rituals to inspire us, to bring us together and to deepen the grooves of a message we hope our kids know well–that no matter what they do, where they go or what happens in their lives, there are comforting constants as sure as the sun above, amid all the things that change–and that is that they are loved and they belong.” -Kelle Hampton

Traditions are important to me, for all the reasons Kelle said so perfectly above. And not just at Christmas, although it does feel like an extra special time, packed full of traditions we only get to enjoy once a year. These rituals make us feel that we belong, that we’re part of something. They feel like home.

As parents, it’s mostly up to us to create these traditions. We are the chief magic makers. So I thought I’d share some of the ways we do that here. Below are some of the comforting traditions that make the Christmas season magical in our home…

The Advent Calendar

Every year, since my eldest was tiny, we do an advent calendar. It’s one I made myself and I put new things in every year. There are always crafts, baking, special events, acts of kindness, and things like that. This is probably the highlight of December. The girls take turns picking out each day and love doing all the activities. Here’s what’s in the calendar this year…

Make an advent countdown spiral from clay
Make some beeswax candles and clay candle holders
Do a Christmas art class (from Masterpiece Society)
Make Salt Dough gift tags
Make some Christmas tree ornaments from magic clay
Bake and decorate gingerbread houses
Bake some Christmas cookies for the neighbours
Have a Christmas party with friends
Go ice skating
Make a starry wall hanging
Make a dried orange garland
Buy a gift for someone in need
Make coffee filter Christmas trees
Make some Santa binoculars
Christmas Poetry Teatime
Bake some reindeer cookies
Construct a Christmas joke teller
Christmas digital escape room
Make a nativity diorama
Go and look at the Christmas lights tonight
Write a letter to a family member
Bake a treat for Santa
Have a Christmas Carol dance party
Put on a Christmas eve play or puppet show

On Christmas day I just put some candy canes in the pocket. We also have so many more things we want to bake or create that we do more than this list, ha! But they love having a surprise activity prepared for them. They check the calendar first thing every morning when everyone wakes.

Christmas Books

During December we switch our read alouds to all Christmas books. Mostly picture books. Over the years we’ve collected quite a few. You can find our favourites here.


I mean of COURSE decorating, right? The tree, the twinkly lights, the handmade ornaments. All of that. This year I’m also surprising the kids with a new tradition. I’ve ordered some Christmas bedding and hubby and I are going to secretly change all the doona covers to Christmas ones while they are sleeping, so they wake up on December 1st to a whole new level of festiveness! I think they’re going to squeal!

Matchy Matchy Christmas Clothes

In December you’ll find us stylin’ in our matching Christmas PJ’s. Anything that adds to the fun and connection, and I think all the little things really do. I also make them matching Christmas outfits to wear during December, and to Christmas parties, etc.

Christmas Movies

So many Christmas movies! Here’s our list this year…

Family Movies:
1. Miracle on 34th Street
2. Klaus
3. The Santa Claus
4. Home Alone
5. Noelle
6. A Christmas Carol
7. The Grinch
8. Mr Bean’s Holiday
9. The Christmas Chronicles
10. Elf
11. The Polar Express
12. Fred Claus

One’s we’ll watch without the kids:
1. Love Actually (every year lol)
2. The Family Stone
3. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
4. Love the Coopers
5. Four Christmases
6. The Holiday
7. Holidate
8. Let it Snow
9. Noel
10. Christmas with the Kranks
11. Christmas Unwrapped
12. While You Were Sleeping


We always have music playing during the day here, and in December it’s exclusively carols happening. I hope the neighbours are enjoying it, haha. The girls and I are right into the ‘Christmas Pop’ playlist on Spotify.

Chapter books

Surely there’s never enough book recommendations. We do a book club with our homeschool group every month, and the girls listen to audiobooks every night before falling asleep. This year the plans are…
1. Greenglass House
2. Winterfrost
3. A boy called Christmas
4. The Christmasaurus (for the little ones)

Those are our most favourite Christmas traditions! What about you? What are your favourites?


November 28, 2020 at 2:13 am

Thank you so much for this. I have older boys and so feel like I really did Christmas for them, and now I have a six year old and I struggle to find the energy to make Christmas extra special,but I am so inspired by this post. Thank you with all my heart and have a blessed Christmas season.

November 30, 2020 at 1:41 pm

My kids are younger than yours (almost 5 and 18 months). But I love Christmas and have been enjoying the start of traditions with my son and just beginning with my daughter. We love decorating the tree, decorating gingerbread houses, baking sugar cookies and all sorts of other goodies. We are in Canada and so with Covid we aren’t able to do some things that we normally would like to do such as going to a Christmas concert put on by our city’s symphony. But we have been enjoying bundling up for evening walks now and seeing the Christmas lights in our neighborhood.

My son’s favorite Christmas show is the Curious George “A Very Monkey Christmas”. It’s a great one for little kids and explains lots of the exciting things that happen around Christmas with a nice focus on giving to others.

I hope you will do a post about Christmas gifts this year. I always enjoy the neat stuff you find for your kids.

December 3, 2020 at 11:30 pm

I love Christmas! It’s been a challenge with a child whose excitement keeps him up nights and makes for long, exhausting days. The last couple of years, I realized I could “adjust” our Christmas to fit him better. I added delay – we’ll decorate this coming weekend, instead of the day after Thanksgiving – and less of the Advent calendars I’d so lovingly prepared that were adding to his stress. As he grows, I’m hoping to move back into the full stream of holiday love. Reading this makes me excited for this all over again! Christmas really is magic, however you do it.

Jennifer Picard
December 16, 2020 at 10:28 am

I would love to hear how you spend Christmas Day and what traditions you have started. My daughters are 6 and 7, and I am looking for some meaningful activities to do with them on Christmas Day. I feel like we do so many wonderful things leading up to Christmas and I would like to keep that going. Thank you.

January 25, 2021 at 4:56 pm

I have older boys and so feel like I really did Christmas for them, and now I have a six-year-old and I struggle to find the energy to make Christmas extra special, but I am so inspired by this post. We also have so many more things we want to bake or create that we do more than this list, ha! But they love having a surprise activity prepared for them. The last couple of years, I realized I could “adjust” our Christmas to fit him better.

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