Fun and family-friendly ideas to celebrate Christmas in lockdown with the kids
We’re all hoping that lockdown restrictions are lifted in time for Christmas. But just in case they’re not, we’ve put our festive thinking caps on to make Christmas extra special at home.
Here are our favourite ideas for getting in the spirit of things – both in the run-up to Christmas and for the day itself.
Although some Santa visits have been cancelled, some are still going ahead for now. You can find a list of local Santa visits here.
1. Dial up to Zoom!
Schedule in some Zoom time with family and friends to bring a bit more Christmas cheer into your house. The kids could even put on a festive show for them! Or you could all do some carol singing together.
2. Play some games:
Break out your favourite board game, or try something like charades. We like to stick sticky notes on our heads and guessing what is written on them. Jigsaws are a good one too. If you’ve got a toddler who likes to tear them up, set them up with another task so their hands are busy.
3. Watch a festive show:
One of our Christmas traditions was seeing a festive play at Square Chapel. We’ll really miss that this year, so the kids will either put on their own show, or we will see what’s on You Tube instead. We might treat ourselves to ice cream in the interval, and dress up fancy like it’s the real thing.
4. Do a North Pole Breakfast (or lunch, or tea!):
It will hop the kids up on sugar from the get go, but would be a really magical start to the day. Maybe Elf on the Shelf prepared it overnight. I’ve seen them with syrupy pancakes, candy canes, hot chocolate, marshmallows and more, but you could make it a bit healthier by incorporating fruit. These banana elves on sticks are super cute, and these grape and strawberry grinch hats are adorable, with a tiny marshmallow on the end. Arrange apple slices into a wreath shape and add pomegranate seeds for sparkle and colour, or arrange strawberry and banana slices into a candy cane shape. You could make this into a festive afternoon tea too, and serve it on a tiered stand.
5. Start a new tradition:
Everyone’s got their favourites, but you can never have too many special Christmas traditions. Here are some of ours, but you can find many, many more online.
6. Bring in some Hygge
Everything is cosy and twinkly over Christmas – the perfect time to embrace hygge. If you haven’t tried it before, this blog explains the concept and gives some ideas. But bringing in duvets, blankets, candles and lanterns and snuggly toys to have some chilled out time could be really lovely and help calm down fried nerves.
7. Make a Memory Advent Calendar
We’re doing this for the grandparents, and putting a photo of the kids, or a little anecdote or joke behind each door. They have hardly seen them this year and they have grown and changed so much. This gives them a little glimpse into the kids’ lives every day and would be a lovely project to work on as a family.
8. Have a Christmas Baking competition:
You could all try the same recipe, or a different one. Make it as serious or carefree as you like, or do a Christmas showstopper, a la Bake Off! Obviously you won’t be able to taste each other’s efforts, but you can chat about them over Zoom and show them off. Maybe Grandma could be the judge among the cousins! For a really easy one, make gingerbread men and turn them upside down to decorate as reindeer. We’ve tried these Christmas trees on candy canes – they are slices of cake and went down brilliantly with the kids. Another idea is to send everyone a baking challenge in a jar: compile all the dry ingredients in the jar, along with some instructions. Maybe it could be a Bake Off Technical Challenge!
Salt dough lends itself perfectly to ornaments (add a sprinkle of cinnamon for a delicious scent) but there are lots of other easy ideas and these all use items you probably already have in your craft box. You can make something festive from lolly sticks and paint, thread some beads onto pipe cleaners to make candy canes, or paint a Christmas tree by spreading the paint out with a fork and adding pom poms and sequins for the baubles. Paper chains are easy and effective too. (Images from Pinterest)
10. Read each other a Christmas story
We have a million Christmas books (not really but I bet it’s close!) and really enjoy cuddling up and reading them. This year we might get the kids to read their favourites aloud too. If you don’t fancy that, make up your own.
11.Recreate famous pictures at home
This is a fun one to liven up the long winter day, and perfect for sharing with friends and family. A friend has done this with her daughter and the results are brilliant! Do it with a festive them if you like, but otherwise choose paintings that you enjoy.
If you can’t go to the shops, get creative and ask the kids to make you a gift! You could try something lovely like a bath bomb, or fudge, or have them use their imagination. Now is a great time to use up some of those craft kits they got for their birthday!
13. Have a Christmas disco
Kids missing the school Christmas disco? Have your own at home. Even better if you have disco lights and a karaoke machine! Glow stick baths are always popular with my kids, the perfect end to a disco.
14. Random acts of kindness
Whether it’s donating to a food bank or doing something kind for each other or people you don’t know, see what the kids come up with.
15. Set the kids a Christmas construction challenge:
From what you have in the craft box, recycling bin and garden, can they make Santa a sleigh? A reindeer? How about a nativity scene?
Singing a few Christmas carols at the kids’ nativity is one of my favourite things to do, and I’ll really miss it this year. Singing a few carols as a family will still be lovely though. If you play an instrument, why not play along? Or have a recording playing in the background too.
18. Drive and see some lights
The jury’s still out on whether the winter illuminations trails will still be open around the region, but people will still decorate their houses and gardens. If there are some in your neighbourhood, wrap up warm and walk around to see them at dusk, or bundle up in the car and drive around.
19. Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board
The perfect treat after a chilly walk; a hot chocolate charcuterie board! You can’t go wrong with this, just gather hot chocolate, cream and any toppings you fancy – candy canes, sprinkles, marshmallows, toffee sauce, cookies, fudge, sweets, fruit, mince pies, stollen… anything goes!
20.Christmas Movie Marathon
Set aside a whole afternoon and settle down for a run of festive films. Let the kids pick, or choose some yourself. Set aside some special festive snacks too, such as popcorn with chopped candy canes or festive sprinkles on top.
We hope you love these ideas – let us know which ones you try!