It is, undoubtedly, the nostalgia of Christmas past that makes parenting at Christmas so special. The process of taking your own childhood traditions, perhaps blending them with those of the family you co-parent with, adding into the mix some elements of your own and creating a new generation of memories and habits.
Stockings, sacks or pillowcases
As a child, we didn’t hang up stockings on the fireside for Father Christmas. For one reason or another, we laid pillowcases on the end of our bed. (Anyone else?).
We would excitedly drag them into our parents room in the dark, rubbing sleep from our eyes and tear into them. Allowing Mum and Dad time to nip downstairs, grab a brew and turn on all the fairy lights ready for the big reveal under the tree (he left some there too!).
And now, our own kids follow the same path. Except now we are the ones grabbing the early coffee, and we have gorgeous hessian sacks, personalised with the girls names which are laid out on their beds.
‘Just what I need!’
So have the contents of a Christmas stocking changed? It’s a fine balance between what goes in the ‘first round’ of opening versus what goes under the tree. Much like my parents did, we try and go for low budget items that are often practical and needed items in the sack, resulting in a well trained chorus of oohs, ahhs, and ‘Just what you need!” in an almost uncanny resemblance to the words of my own Mum, thirty years ago.
I can remember every year feeling a bitter sweet feeling of excitement of Christmas and everything I’d opened, and also wondering whether perhaps I wouldn’t get that walkman / pram / new bike / stereo I’d written at the top of my list and asked Santa for. “Never mind” Mum would say, you have some really lovely things haven’t you…and we’d excitedly agree, fumbling around with packaging and putting on new slippers to wear downstairs.
The second coming
Not allowed into the living room until everyone was up and in dressing gowns, we would then burst into the lounge where Dad would be lighting the open fire, and under the enormous real Christmas tree would be a sea of gifts in piles for each of us. Mum would have always gone to town with not just the things we had hoped for, but a wonderful selection of incredibly thoughtful gifts so specific to our interests and passions – something she still amazes us with to this day.
With our own kids we follow a similar set up. A selection of smaller gifts to start Christmas morning with a buzz, then the main event under the tree in the lounge. Delicately balanced to make the sack look full-ish, and the remainder in under tree piles worthy of the wow factor. As a Mum, I don’t think there are many better moments than watching your Children’s faces on Christmas morning as the magic unfolds in a carefully orchestrated routine before your eyes.
The perfect stocking fillers
We still try and keep the sack-fillers simple; a bit old school and within a budget of around £30. Normally I’ll do a supermarket run just for the purpose of the stocking fillers and pick up the annual standards…
- Chocolate pennies
- Hair accessories
- Small toy (doll, pony)
- Bubble Bath
Clearly, it takes some doing to keep to the £30 budget. A great deal of bargain hunting and supermarket shopping pays off, and picking bits up early in sales or on offer.
Nowadays, there are even shortcuts to nailing the stocking on budget, and with minimal fuss (if you’re fed up of stressing over leaky bubble bath). Hawkins Bazaar offers a range of pre-filled stockings, categorised by gender and age, so you could even watch the kids open their stocking with genuine surprise, as opposed to your best Oscar winning performance. You could even treat yourself to an adults option so you don’t miss out on the fun on Christmas morning.
We have got our hands on a 3+ Boys and 3+ girls pre-filled stocking, and expect the contents to go down a treat on the big day. Filled with a mix of traditional and totally random fun toys that the kids will LOVE. Stuff I’d never have thought of, but that young children will adore in the way that they do when it comes to little knick knacks. If a hassle free stocking is what you’re looking for, then this could totally be the solution for you.
I have no doubt the kids will prefer a pop tortoise to a pair of socks… I might have to squeeze in a bag of chocolate pennies though!
You can win a pre-filled Hawkins Bazaar stocking
by entering via Rafflecopter on my GIVEAWAYS page here.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post