Christmas isn't just about one day to me, it's about the whole period leading up to it and in fact I enjoy that just as much, if not more than the big day itself. I love to see the children's excitement and anticipation building throughout the month and I think it's my job to make everything about Christmas as magical as possible for them.
They both have a Christmas tree in their bedrooms and decorate them however they want to in whatever colours they want to (which would probably bring me out in a cold sweat if they had carte blanche over the tree in the living room) and they also hang a stocking on their bedroom door. I normally buy a few packets of chocolate coins and every couple of nights I pop a few in each of their stockings so they wake up to an extra little treat 'from Santa's elves'.
We do all the usual things in the run up to Christmas but Christmas Eve is probably my favourite day, even more so than Christmas Day, so I thought I'd share our family's Christmas Eve traditions with you.
We start the day with homemade pancakes for breakfast followed by a trip to the cinema to see a Christmassy film and usually a trip to the shop to buy anything that I've forgotten about. Once we get home, that's usually us done for the day and we snuggle on the settee with our blankets and watch more Christmas films (usually Elf, Santa Buddies or The Santa Clause) and play a few games together.
When my husband gets home from work, it's time to bake cookies for Father Christmas and this is the only time every year that he bakes (or does anything kitchen related) with the kids. They always make chocolate chip cookies together while I try to relax in the living room with a book (or more recently Twitter) although it's quite difficult as all I can hear usually is 'Daddy, we're making them too you know' or 'Daddy, can I stir now?'
After cookie making, it's bath time where there's usually bubbles and splashing and much excitement as they know that the pyjama fairy usually visits while they're in the bath and leaves some new pyjamas under the tree. Last year she even left dressing gowns (seeing as they were on offer somewhere) which caused squeals of excitement (them not me).
When the kids are ready for bed we give them a present each, usually one that'll keep them occupied and quiet for a while – this year they'll be getting a little magic kit and a french knitting kit. Then it's dressing gowns on and outside to sprinkle the reindeer dust before putting the chocolate chip cookies and a glass of baileys on a plate for Santa.
After they've gone to bed, we relax with a takeaway and a film, finish any last minute wrapping, argue over who gets to drink the baileys and lay all the presents out in colour coordinated piles (we all have different wrapping paper so I don't have to write tags out lol) before heading off to bed for an early night ready for the day ahead....