As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in England, I remember simple family times, when we had a piano in the front room which my mum would play on special occasions like Christmas. Myself and my sister and brother were all squeezed into 1 bedroom, as my Grandmother occupied the other spare room, and I can almost feel, all these years later, the tangible excitement on Christmas Eve.
We would be lying in our beds giggling and shushing each other as we were supposed to be asleep, under the dire warning that if we were awake when Santa arrived, he would not come in. We would all have written a simple Christmas wish list, and left it with a glass of Brandy and a biscuit for Rudolph. Amazingly, none of us ever realised that the sound of rustling paper outside was my mum and Dad trying to make the delivery silently after a glass of brandy had been downed…
Christmas dinner was always at home and my poor mum would be up at 6 to get the turkey in the oven. The morning was a frenzy of opening presents in our pyjamas together, followed by a special breakfast, the Queens speech, and playing with our new toys. But after dinner, we would all be ready to play games as a family; charades was one I particularly remember.
Old fashioned as it all seems now, I still want to bring back some of that old magic to my own family Christmas day, although I will not be getting up at 6 to stuff the turkey!
I think that my childhood memories had a huge influence on how I have chosen to bring up my own daughter. I wanted her to know the value of coming together as a family at meal times, to be able to talk to her parents about anything, and to have memories of a happy childhood that she will want to emulate in the distant future when she has children of her own.
As an arty crafty person, I love sitting down and helping my daughter get creative. Glitter is ingrained in our old pine table top from years of mum and daughter time together. We have had many happy hours together, and it was this love of creating that brought an idea to myself and 3 other like-minded mums to build a craft business called MyGeckoBox. The concept was simple…spend quality time with your children, and help them learn key basic skills, whilst soaking up fun and interesting information that we provide to complete the whole learning experience.
In an ideal world, as parents, we want to make time to help our kids get through the school years and build their confidence in their own ability. But sadly with kids having so much pressure to achieve good results in school, they can learn to hate or fear education quicker than to embrace it. They fight with us over doing the homework, and then they seek refuge in mind numbing TV or computer games. Hiding from the pressure, not talking about their fears, it can all build up to an explosion when they have had enough.
As busy working modern day parents, life is not so simple as it was in the old days, where mum was at home and always there to help. But if we can just make a date with fun once a week, to enjoy a parent/child shared experience, is that going to be something they remember over and above the hour on an XBox? Will it give you time to talk about “stuff”? I think so.
I adore my job, it is fun, but hard work, but most importantly it is inspirational and rewarding. If I can give one parent the gift of feeling that they have just created a treasured childhood memory, then that makes me happy.
I would like to set a challenge to anyone who is a parent (or a grandparent) of young kids. Try making one of these 3 Christmas crafts. See how much fun you have, how it gives you and the lucky child a sense of fulfilment and achievement. I bet you will want to do another!
3 Easy Christmas projects with bits and bobs you have around the house!
- Make a santa stop sign to hang on the door handle
There’s always a piece of card somewhere in the house, even if it’s from some old packaging… shirts always have a handy piece of card inside of their packaging. Cut a whole big enough to fit over a door handle at the top and leave enough room below to sit a cheeky little elf with his special message. Let them draw a little face, use could use pipecleaners for the arms and legs. You could make 2 little holes and thread the arms through. Then just add clothes and a hat, they can draw them on, or stick scrap material, napkins, tissue paper, whatever is knocking around the house to dress the little fella. (We attached a little bell courtesy of the chocolate bunnies a certain chocolatier make). Easy peasy!
- Polystyrene or plastic balls, glue, glitter, sequins and ribbon…let your kids imagination go wild.
- Buttons of different sizes stacked from largest to smallest and threaded to make a cute tree, with a little bell to top it off.. . go on, do you need to an excuse treat yourself to another one of those chocolate bunnies if it helps the cause!