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How to make Christmas truly magical (without spending a fortune)

Posted on December 14 2018

Christmas is a magical time of year, especially for young children.

For many adults, the joy of the holidays is marred by worrying about how to pay for it all. But it is possible to make the most of the festive season without spending a fortune.

Instead of panicking about how you will get hold of the latest must-have toy, focus on making special memories which your children can take with them to adulthood.

At The Story Corner, we believe children thrive when they explore their interests and creativity through imaginative play. Here are our ideas of how you can have fun this Christmas without worrying about your bank balance:


  • Take a tour of the lights
  • There are a lot of different Christmas experiences out there, many of which need to be booked months in advance. But one thing children will always find enthralling is heading out into the darkness to see some Christmas lights. This could be as simple as wrapping up warm and going on a stroll through your neighbourhood. Get your children to spot the houses which are decorated for the season and take turns picking your favourites. If you prefer to stay a bit warmer, you could go for a drive and see what you can discover. There are often certain streets which really go to town in the run-up to Christmas so ask around to find out if there are any places which are worth a special visit.


  • Make time for screen-free evenings
  • Many of the things we do to unwind involve screens, whether it is playing games on a console, relaxing in front of the TV or checking our phones. Make a conscious effort to set aside some screen-free time as a family over the Christmas period. Mark it on the calendar and stick to it, turning off your phones so you can enjoy being together without any distractions. Use this time to play together – you could introduce your children to some traditional board games, have a go at some party classics like charades or let your kids get you involved with their favourite toys. Share some Christmas stories together and listen to some festive music. The greatest gift you can give your children is your time and attention.


  • Create your own winter wonderland
  • The weather can be unpredictable and we often don’t see a flake of snow until well into the new year. Make your own winter wonderland for your children to play in by creating some fake snow. Put one cup of bicarbonate of soda and one cup of shaving foam in a bowl and mix together with a fork. You may have to add a few drops of water, depending on the consistency. Put your fake snow into a large plastic tray or washing up bowl and let your children add plastic toys so they can create their own winter scene to play with. You could also encourage them to trace shapes in the snow. If you have a baby or toddler who puts everything into their mouths, blend some white bread into breadcrumbs and use that instead.


  • Mix up some magic reindeer food
  • Putting out a carrot used to be enough for Santa’s reindeers but now lots of families sprinkle their own reindeer dust to guide Rudolph and his pals to their house. Many of the packets of reindeer food you can buy in the shops contain glitter which is bad news for wildlife. Get your children involved in making their own eco-friendly version. Buy some wild bird seed, which could include ingredients like yellow millet and black sunflower seeds, and mix with rolled oats, dried cranberries and grated cheese. If you really can’t go without some sparkle, choose edible glitter used for cake decorations or some coloured sugar and mix with rolled oats.


  • Christmas Eve boxes
  • Giving children a box of goodies on Christmas Eve has become very popular in recent years but it doesn’t need to be expensive. You choose what you put in the box and it can help take the edge off your children’s excitement and make the long wait until Christmas morning a little easier. Good options include hot chocolate and a treat to enjoy before bed, a festive film to watch together as a family and a book to read as a bedtime story. You could stick to tradition with The Night Before Christmas or go for something completely different.



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