Get That Elf Off the Shelf: 6 Traditions To Start This Christmas

Like if this guide is helpful
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

Inspired by the children’s game The Elf On the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, social media feeds over the Christmas period last year were filled with peering elves, perched high on shelves.

If you got caught up in all the elfmania then you may well want to plonk Santa’s little helper up there again in 2016 (in order to spy on kiddies’ behaviour, as the story has it!), but why not also start your very own family tradition this Christmas?    

1. DIY Bauble Decoration



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

There are few things more evocative of an earlier period in your child’s life than finding a drawing or piece of writing (or an attempted piece of writing, anyway) that they produced years ago. So to mark each passing Christmas, why not have your child or children decorate a Christmas bauble that then gets hung on the tree from that year onwards? 

There are countless ways to create these baubles, but the easiest method is to simply purchase some large, plain Christmas baubles, then have your kids work their festive magic on them using gold or silver permanent markers. While they’re at it, you could even have them produce baubles for other family members – you can guarantee that grandkid-made baubles will be a huge hit with Nan and Granddad. 

2. Homemade Advent Calendars



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

Obviously, kids love standard-issue advent calendars – because who doesn’t enjoy getting a chocolate every day? – but you can make the whole counting-down-to-Christmas process even more exciting with a homemade advent calendar.

Not only do they look nicer, you can also reuse them every year and cater the daily mini-treats to your child’s own tastes – so if they’d rather get a toy or a healthy treat than a titchy chocolate then that’s totally doable.

Craft blogs are filled with suggestions on how to put together your own advent calendar, but one of the simplest options is to decorate money envelopes with the numbers one to 24 – using gold and silver permanent markers for extra Christmassy glitz – place a sweet/gift/whatever inside each one, and then pin them all to a large corkboard. Et voila, a simple, fun advent calendar.

3. Family Christmas Cards

Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

Got a photo printer (or looking for an excuse to buy one)? Then make your Christmas cards stand out by producing them yourself – with you and your nearest and dearest as the stars of the design. Like school proms and Black Friday, it’s a long-standing North American tradition that’s becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. 

Simply gather the family, dress them in suitable attire, snap a cheery photo, print said photo off and glue it onto the front of as many blank greeting cards as are required. And if you find the whole concept just a teensy bit too sugary to get onboard with, don’t fret, you needn’t all be decked out in matching reindeer knitwear – you can be as goofy and off-the-wall about it as you like. 

4. Have Your Kid Bring Christmas Cheer To Another Child



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

A great way to instil within your kids the idea that Christmas is as much about giving as receiving is to have them choose a gift they’d like to donate to children who are facing a less festive Yule.

Use eBay for Charity to support organisations such as Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Salvation Army as they are always looking for donations of toys, particularly around Christmas time. Without these donations, many children would be without any gifts to open come Christmas morning.

Before your kids go ahead and make their choices, it’s worth checking on the donation policy of your chosen good cause: Many are only able to accept new and unused toys, particularly medical facilities dealing with very young patients, where total cleanliness is obviously a top priority. 

5. Become Santa Claus



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

If you can’t make it into a town centre to take your kids to meet Santa Claus – or simply can’t face the queues and carnage of the Christmas crowds – why not have the big man swing by your house to get this year’s present wish-lists from the kids? All you need is a Santa outfit and somebody with a sufficiently cheery demeanour and booming voice to take on the role.

And, of course, there’s no need to limit Santa’s meet-and-greet to your own family: While you’re putting the costume to use, you could always invite friends and neighbours to come by with their offspring for an exhilarating one-to-one with Mr Claus. Or even have Santa head out 'on tour' and knock on a few doors, blowing local kids’ minds as he goes. 

6. Create Christmas Eve Boxes



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

This relatively modern tradition is a great way to get kids feeling extra-festive and Santa-ready on Christmas Eve. Firstly, you’ll need to source the children a box each: You could go all-in and buy a personalised Christmas Eve box that’ll last for years, or, if you’d rather just see how popular the idea proves first, a decorated shoebox (or similar) will more than do the trick. 

Fill the Christmas Eve box with some suitably night-before-Christmassy treats. Nothing too extravagant, but things along the lines of a Christmas-themed colouring book, some hot chocolate to drink before bedtime, treats to leave out for Santa and his reindeer (a mince pie, a carrot and a miniature of sherry), a Christmas DVD to watch, or maybe a new set of women's pyjamas or men's pyjamas to dream in while Santa Claus goes about his business…

Looking for More Fun Christmas Ideas?



Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Have something to share? Create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides