Traditions and Ideas to Make Santa Even More Magical!
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Santa is a fun part of many families' Christmas celebrations. A prime example of the magic of childhood, Santa is a great way to build excitement for the season. Many of us have Santa traditions from when we were young, but as I've learned from being a parent, there are always ways to make things even more amazing for our children.
Here is some inspiration for how to make the Santa tradition even more magical and exciting this year!
1. Use dedicated wrapping paper for gifts from Santa. Print labels or disguise handwriting on tags.
I remember wondering why Santa used the same wrapping paper as my parents when I was a child. Today, I make sure that Santa sends all gifts with special wrapping paper, and when relevant, tags. You can also use plain brown paper and decorative twine to wrap gifts, which gives a classic look. While younger children won't know the difference, the small details matter a lot in making Christmas all the more magical!
2. Bake cookies for Santa, and leave one or more by the fireplace overnight with milk (or a milk alternative). Make sure to take a bite, or eat it and leave crumbs for Christmas morning! (Bonus: leave carrots for the reindeer)
We started baking cookies for Santa with our child last year, and can't wait to do it again in 2021! Last year we made and decorated fresh gingerbread men on Christmas Eve, and made sure to leave one for Santa. This is a tradition I didn't have as a child, and it is one I've loved bringing into my home. We didn't leave milk out overnight, of course, but we did put some out while our son was awake!!
To make things even more special (remember those details that matter so much?) we have a special Santa cookie plate, and a dedicated mug to leave his milk in.
3. Never give big gifts from Santa; leave small, meaningful gifts that kids will still appreciate.
If you are getting your child the hottest toy or a big/special gift, don't let Santa take the credit. You worked hard to afford that gift!!! Your child will find magic in, and appreciation for, Santa... whatever Santa brings. That said, Santa always sends our children something they will love, not just practical gifts. We just make sure the present is something smaller. Stocking stuffers also come from Santa, which means fun trinkets, tasty (and allergy safe) treats, meaningful mementos like ornaments, and sometimes practical items, too. These gifts only arrive Christmas morning, making the surprise extra special.
4. Write letters or send cards to Santa
My little one was too young to send a letter to Santa last year, but this year he is excited to send a picture! There are tons of ways to make this tradition special, and have it be developmentally appropriate. If your children are very young, letter templates or coloring are nice ways to write to Santa. Older children may want to handwrite a note or create a card. Get creative, and have fun!
Looking for a great letter template? You can also grab your free letter to Santa template here.
5. Start reading Santa books and doing seasonal craft/activities early in the season to build excitement
We usual start with Santa and Christmas everything on Thanksgiving, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (though this year an early arrival of a Santa book from a family member and missing out on so much last year has lead us to doing a bit of Christmas even earlier). Santa books, Santa and Christmas activities, Christmas movies, decorations..... it is all Christmas, as much as possible!!
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6. Focus on your child's heart, not good or bad behavior.
And, Santa watching us when we are sleeping? Well, that is just plain creepy. Okay, we sing the song, but in explaining it? We make sure our kids know that it is just a song. Santa won't be spying through any windows at our home!
7. Visit Santa (in person or virtually), but don't force it.
Visiting Santa can be an exciting tradition, but for some children, it feels more scary than fun. If your child doesn't respond well to strangers in character, or is very shy, consider whether visiting Santa would be less magical and more upsetting. With recent events, virtual Santa visits have become a great alternative to in person!! And, in Westchester, we also have a chance to see Santa at a distance at our local drive through light show. Many other communities offer similar events, so be sure to look and see what is available near you. These distance events are an excellent way to see Santa while not upsetting young, stranger adverse children (and while being safe if there are high case rates in your area).
8. Track Santa on Christmas Eve.
If you aren't already doing so, make sure to track Santa on Christmas Eve! NORAD has an awesome feature allowing families to see where Santa is on his epic journey, so if you haven't used it yet, definitely check it out.
Love these ideas? Be sure to check out my entire Christmas Guide!
And don't forget to make sure you are prepared for holiday shopping with my 2021 holiday shopping tips!
Be sure to save and share these ideas with other families!!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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