Having a toddler is really bringing out the magic of the upcoming season for me.
I have such warm and wonderful memories of Christmas when I was kid, filled - thanks to my parents - with plenty of festive fun and family traditions. It’s still my favourite time of year, a great excuse to enjoy a glass of wine with loved ones infront of a roaring fire, but now I have my own little person to go all the way back to the beginning with, and I can’t wait to introduce her to the Christmas magic.
Imogen may only be 18 months old, but I’ve already booked us in for Breakfast With Santa, Lunch with Santa (different days, difference places and different Santas) and a trip to see the Christmas display at Chatsworth House. She has a Christmas jumper waiting in the wardrobe and a little elf costume (sorry kid) that I’m determined to put her in on Christmas Eve. Overkill? Perhaps. But the truth is those first Christmases are unlike any others you get in your life; they’re precious and fleeting and I want to inject them with as many magical memories as I can.
With that in mind, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the traditions I want us to start with her this Christmas. Last year she didn’t really know anything was going on, so I love that this year she’s going to be able to enjoy the twinkling lights and the excitement of family gatherings. She’ll be able to help hang baubles on the tree, take a turn stirring the Christmas pudding and enjoy opening her advent calendar. My husband and I can’t wait to watch Christmas films in our PJs with her, take her walking in the snow (if we do, indeed, get a White Christmas) and read The Night Before Christmas before we pour Santa a sherry and tuck her in bed on December 24.
We’re also keen to start our own brand new traditions with her and we’ve spent the last few weeks picking up inexpensive books, from places like The Works and Tesco, and making her a Book Advent, so that she can open a new little book every night in December for us to read with her before bed. More than that, we’re keen to put across the Christmas message of thinking about other people to her nice and early, so we’re joining in Hallam FM’s Mission Christmas, to send a toy to an under-privileged kid in South Yorkshire this Christmas and are planning to bake cookies to take along to staff at our local hospice on Christmas morning.
Mostly we will be teaching her that presents are great, really great, but Christmas is about so much more. It’s about kindness, making memories that will last a lifetime, reconnecting with friends after a busy year and precious time spent with family.