the magic of christmas with grandchildren

I used to love christmas!

When my children were young, I would eagerly start shopping and have a calendar packed with Christmas fairs, nativity plays and trips to a multitude of Santa’s grottos! Then, as my children grew and flew the nest, scattering themselves across the world, Christmas began to lose its sparkle. I’m lucky to have a large family, a whole bunch of fantastic friends and a home to gather my clan together but found the commercial Christmas was taking over. Christmas festivities began to be thrust upon us in September, children’s present lists read more like a stocktake at Hamleys and I found my Christmas spirit sinking as quickly as my supermarket trolley grew!

Then, six years ago, my first granddaughter arrived… and everything changed!

baby sitting in front of a Christmas tree

nanny’s first christmas

My very first Christmas as a Nanny was different, even with a granddaughter who was too little to have any understanding of what was happening. Decorating the house and the tree, which had become a bit of a chore, was exciting. On each visit, she would wonder at the twinkling lights and shining baubles. I would add more, make more, decorate and bake until our home resembled a winter wonderland smelling of cinnamon and pine. Although on that first Christmas, she was only interested in trying to eat the wrapping paper, something wonderful happened – the whole family came together for one whole day because of this adorable little human! The magic happened!

christmas traditions old and new

Having young children in our lives again has brought back all those wonderful traditions which sit in that special childhood memory bank within each of us. The anticipation and excitement of young children at Christmastime is infectious – it begins by tickling the eternal child within us all until we smile, laugh, dance and learn to see the magic and wonder of Christmas again.

From advent calendars which, with each door opened brings you a step closer to the special day to putting out a mince pie plate and carrots for Father Christmas and the reindeer. Even though our grandchildren are not with us at bedtime, we still do this at our house – you never know, Santa might leave some presents here too! This year Grandad has made Christmas Eve boxes which we plan to fill with snuggly pyjamas, a soft toy and a Christmas story. Hopefully, this will begin a new tradition which will be warmly remembered, and the boxes will be passed down to the next generation perhaps with a little Christmas magic stored inside.

little boy with his mothercare christmas eve box

the moments that matter – even the sticky ones!

Making homemade gifts, decorations and cards are the perfect way to spend some magic moments with grandchildren. If you don’t have family close by, ask your friends and offer a Christmas art afternoon with their children. Parents are always grateful to have the glitter and glue scattered and spread somewhere else and to perhaps gain a few secret present wrapping moments. You don’t have to be super arty – there are lots of videos online to give you some ideas. Prepare for a mess, get stuck in, enjoy the moment and see the pride on their glittery faces as they hold up their finished masterpiece.

Last weekend my granddaughter and I made an angel from a cardboard tube. With her smiley face drawn in felt-tip pen, she will sit at the top of our tree I expect, for many years to come. She may not be as ‘perfect’ as those topping the trees of Instagram, but she holds the magic of that wonderful afternoon spent covered in glitter whilst ‘carefully’ giving her tinsel wings.

homemade arts and crafts christmas angel

Over the years we have been blessed with two more granddaughters and our Christmas now is very different. Instead of loading up the shopping basket we load up on the memory making and we choose presents for their ‘smile’ value, not the price tag (though obviously until Santa brings me a bottomless purse, cost does still factor!) We don’t spend every weekend in December decorating the house and we don’t do last minute trips to the supermarket in the wee small hours for the forgotten chocolate tree decorations – they just stay forgotten and nobody ever notices!

wishing you all a magical christmas!


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